Bills Breaks the Law, Board Says “Way to Go”

May 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm 6 comments

For all you Sumner Countians who think we have the best school system in Middle Tennessee, I have some bad news. We’re lucky if we can compete with small rural county systems and we’re not even in the same arena as Williamson or Wilson County. And the reason we’ll never be able to compete is because our system is being run with a backwoods, good-‘ol-boy mentality, and we don’t stand up and demand better. We either don’t vote in school board elections or we elect members with no concept of doing the right thing.

I briefly mentioned in a previous post that Benny Bills offered an increased insurance incentive to Jim Butler. Jim Butler would be the previous principal of Portland Middle who shamed our school system with an affair with one of his subordinates, an arrest for harassment, violating restraining orders, and has our system in two pending lawsuits for sexual harassment. What was Mr. Bills’ reaction to this insubordinate and unprofessional employee? He rewarded him by paying 100% of his insurance premium until he turns 65 years old, while all others retiring this year in good standing will only have 70% of their premiums covered. Well, not all. There are 3 more who were arbitrarily chosen to receive the increased incentive: Louise Smith (a central office employee), Amanda Reese (we will be paying 100% of her AND her family’s insurance premium for 10 more years because Mr. Bills felt sorry for her), and Dorris Brown (Mr. Bills’ former secretary when he was principal at GHS). What other benefits did Mr. Bills hand out behind the scenes to his hand-picked favorites? He will also be paying them an increased rate for each of their unused sick days (around $5,000 each), $800 per year from age 65-70 as a supplement to their Medicare, and cash money for their years of service.  None of the other dedicated employees retiring this year will receive any of Mr. Bills’ perks. What is the total price tag for these 4 employees’ retirement package? Over $200,000! Now, Josie Jarratt, how does that make you feel? How about you, Pamela Genung? Linda Daniels? After years of service to the Sumner County School System and no arrests or harassment complaints, why are you receiving less than Jim Butler? Maybe you should just ask Mr. Bills for the 100% coverage. He seems to think he has the right to hand out taxpayer dollars as if they were his own.

But here’s the thing. He doesn’t have the right to do that. Board attorney Jim Fuqua stated that Benny Bills acted illegally. So how does our school board handle this information? By playing politics and voting to uphold the illegal decisions made by Bills. So Beth Cox, Ted Wise, Rob Wheeler, Glen Gregory, Ben Harris, David Brown, and Will Duncan, I’d like for you to explain to those teachers retiring why Jim Butler or the other three deserve more than them. I’d like for you to explain to the taxpayers why their money, rather than buying textbooks for our kids, is instead paying for the insurance of a man who should have been fired. I’d like for you to explain to our students why Benny Bills and yourselves are not required to uphold the law. I think we all deserve an explanation.

As the School Board member representing the Portland community, Mr. Gregory shocks me most of all.  Based on his votes and comments during school board meetings it appears Mr. Gregory doesn’t agree with the actions taken by either Jim Butler or Benny Bills, but is fearful that his constituents would be angry if he voted the same as Mike Fussell. Wow. Mr. Gregory, your lack of integrity almost leaves me speechless. Not only do you vote against your conscience, but you also show us how little faith you have in the people of Portland being able to decipher right from wrong.

And, yes, I know that Benny doesn’t act illegally without spouting off miles of justification. “I saved the school system more embarrassment.” “They all retired last year but worked longer as a favor to me.” If there’s anything Benny is good at (and it really takes some searching to find anything that he is good at), it’s taking a black and white issue and adding in his own shades of gray. There’s no gray here, Benny. You’ve sent the message to our teachers that it would be monetarily beneficial for them to break the law. You’ve sent the message to our students that laws are subject to bending. And you’ve sent the message to our citizens and stakeholders that you are accountable to no one.  

Benny, you being out of our school system can’t come soon enough.  Only when your spindly little fingers no longer have a strangle hold on what could be a great school system will we see honesty, accountability, and integrity be used to describe the leadership in Sumner County.  Only when the voters of this county stand up and scream, “I can’t take it anymore!” and vote out the likes of Cox, Wheeler, Harris, Wise, Duncan, Gregory, and Brown will you quit being able to waste hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for your pet projects and back room deals.  Only then will we see all of our employees be able to commit their life’s work to our kids and not be fearful of your tyranny and retribution, or the pressure of knowing that if they don’t approach you on bended knee they will not receive what they deserve.  Only then will our kids receive what is rightfully theirs–a progressive and innovative school system that spends its money on them and not on making you king.


Entry filed under: Benny Bills, School Board, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

SCEA Actions Are Not Quite Mission-Driven Star Censors Truth about Benny Bills

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Janice Miller  |  May 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Ms. Louise Smith has been over special education. She ignored meaningful educational programs in favor of using weights and 3×4 wood seclusion boxes for our special education children. The administration is trying to win the federal lawsuits by discrediting parents and children who have been abused by the special education program. The administration should consider giving benefits to children who had their opportunity for an education taken away, not try to ruin their lives even further. It is so sad to see our hard earned tax dollars used in this manner. I hope your website will encourage more parents to keep working towards a better school system for our children.

  • 2. Jan  |  July 8, 2010 at 4:55 am

    Report from WSMV: Troubled School Principal Rewarded

    I don’t get it… Why weren’t Mr. and Mrs. Butler already on the family insurance plan if they both work(ed) for Sumner County Schools?

  • 3. Blue Daze  |  July 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    It’s bad enough how badly he behaves. The fact that he’s so smug and high-handed about it adds insult to injury.

  • 4. Andy Gregory  |  July 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Great piece by Channel 4! Caroline Moses really put Benny on the spot, didn’t she?

  • 5. Appalled mom  |  August 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I searched you tube for Sumner County School Board Meetings and I found:
    SCSB 04 20 2010 Part 2:

    As a parent, I question the validity what is described as a “common business practice”. How are parents to believe anything the administration puts in writing in the future? I am sure that Ms. Pappas was not speaking on behalf our hard working teachers, who are the real backbone of our school system. Our teachers do not deserve to be discredited by employees that do engage and support such unethical business practices. No “BS” about that.

  • 6. Anonymous  |  March 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

    looks like all family business at scs maintenace dept just check last names in dept


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