CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The recently hired superintendent for the Charleston County School District, Dr. Eric Gallien, was placed on paid administrative leave by some members of the board of trustees during a controversial board meeting earlier this week.
It’s a move that’s igniting frustration among the community.
“It’s concerning the lack of transparency for the reasoning of putting a superintendent on administrative leave,” Director of Government Affairs for the Palmetto State Teachers Association, Patrick Kelly said.
We’re hearing more details about what went on in that closed-door meeting Monday.
News 2 spoke exclusively to an attorney representing Dr. Eric Gallien.
This attorney was in the room during the meeting and wishes to remain anonymous due to a pending investigation.
The attorney says days prior, the general counsel placed a personnel issue item on the agenda for the executive session.
The attorney says it was without the superintendent’s knowledge and “The general counsel has no authority to put anything on the agenda, as she is not a public employee.”
The attorney says Dr. Gallien then tried to figure out what it was about and did not hear back until the day of the meeting.
When the meeting rolled around, some of the board members still were left in the dark.
The attorney says, “One of the board members stated that she tried to get information and could get no information as to why they were going into executive session.”
Nevertheless, they went into executive session to discuss Dr. Gallien’s job and a complaint made against him, which the attorney says was made by a CCSD employee who wasn’t placed in a position quickly enough and then claimed Gallien was creating a hostile work environment.
Board members were polled about how they were going to vote about his leave, which the attorney says is illegal.
After this, the attorney says the executive session was adjourned, then put in recess where an illegal meeting was held to replace Dr. Gallien’s role, and Gallien was officially put on leave.
The attorney says the entire process violated the Freedom of Information Act.
They’re now conducting an investigation and the attorney says, “I have full faith in that investigation and how it will be handled.”
Kelly says this is a big distraction to the bigger needs of the district, “Assuming that there is not a clearly defined rationale for this administrative leave, it kind of concerns me that we’re kind of taking the eye off the ball in terms of what we really need to be focused on right now which is student learning and achievement.”
News 2 has reached out to the board members who voted in favor of placing Gallien on leave, but so far none have responded.