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Board hires investigator

By Greg Bird

The McCreary County Board of Education has retained the services of Sturgill Turner, a Lexington-based law firm to conduct an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct of Superintendent Michael Cash.
The Voice filed an Open Records request with the School District for a copy of any agreement between the Board and an investigator and received a copy of a document outlining the agreement and apparent scope of the investigation, which could involve other allegations beyond the rumored video.
“You have approached our firm on behalf of the Board of Education about services to the McCreary County Board of Education, specifically, handling the investigation of alleged unprofessional conduct toward employees by Supt. Michael Cash,” the agreement reads.
According to the company website the firm is involved in various legal matters, including school law and special investigations.
While the reported video may have triggered the investigation, the term “unprofessional conduct toward employees” may indicate other allegations may have been reported and broadened the aspect of the inquiry.
The Board agreed to pay an hourly rate for the firm’s employees conducting the investigation – $200 per hour for partners, $150 per hour for associates and $90 per hour for paralegals. The agreement states Sturgill Turner would utilize paralegals and associates when possible to try and keep overall costs to the Board down. The Board will also be responsible for expenses incurred during the case, including travel, phone charges, research and photocopying.
The Board voted on February 2 to hire the investigator and placed a limit of $10,000 for the cost.
Attorneys Josh Salsburey and Jessica Stigall will be the lead investigators on the case.
The agreement was dated February 6, meaning the investigation has been underway for more than three weeks at this point. A separate Open Records request, asking for copies of all subpoenas authorized by Board Chair Dustin Stephens through February 11 was returned with the comment that none had been issued as of that point.
A separate ORR obtained a copy of the agreement between the Board and Ronald “Sonny” Fentress, who will be serving as Acting Superintendent during Cash’s suspension.
By the terms of the agreement Fentress will serve as Acting Superintendent for a maximum of 30 working days, with a daily wage of $506.24 plus reimbursement for any reasonable expenses incurred during the performance of his duties.
The daily rate awarded to Fentress is less than the salary of around $544 per day Cash would receive as a result of his contract. The Board voted to award the Superintendent a raise last December, which resulted in an increase of annual salary of about $26,000.
According to the agreement Fentress “shall perform the duties of a Superintendent for the Board while the current Superintendent, Michael M. Cash, is suspended from performing his duties.”



Concerned parents to host meeting


By Greg Bird

A group of concerned parents have organized a community meeting next week to discuss recent revelations concerning the McCreary County School District.
Planned for Wednesday, February 27th at 5:30 p.m. at the McCreary County Public Library the meeting is being advertised as a means to “get the thoughts and opinions of those that are willing to voice theirs.”
Organizers Missy Skinner, and Melissa and Brian Maxwell are inviting all parents and citizens to attend.
“We as parents want to know that our children are the top priority while they’re in school & currently, I personally don’t feel this way,” the invitation reads.
The group says they want to present a united front to the Board of Education in presenting their concerns over District leadership.
“I understand there are several who are afraid to speak out, and I hate that,” they state. “Hopefully there will be enough of us that this board will know we’re not going to sit by & let them sweep yet another eye sore under the rug.”
The community meeting will be held one day prior to the next session of the McCreary County Board of Education, which will meet Thursday the 28th at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Office.

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