Mike McMillan, East Knox County’s member of the Knox County Board of Education, responded to a story appearing in yesterday’s edition of The Knoxville News Sentinel. The Sentinel has published a series of stories detailing failures in a security contract and possible ties between schools Security Chief Steve Griffin and a security company doing business with the school system.
McMillan explained he emailed reporters Jamie Satterfield and Lydia McCoy “to make sure they understand a couple of things from the perspective of Board members”.
The Sentinel story followed a timeline provided by school officials of the problems with security contractor PSCD. A new security contract was ratified by both the Board of Education and the Knox County Commission in 2011 and the story noted there was no discussion nor any questions asked at the time by Board members.
“That’s a valid point,” McMillan admitted, “but I think it has to be put into the proper context.
“While I can’t speak for other Board members, I can definitively say neither the Superintendent nor any member of his staff ever told me, advised me or otherwise stated anything about the lapses in security at Powell or Hardin Valley.
“To the best of my knowledge, Dr. McIntyre never mentioned any of these lapses. I suppose I can understand Dr. McIntyre not wishing to publicly detail security issues at any school, as that might possibly put someone in danger, but he certainly could have made us aware via a written report.”
McMillan also admitted he has been “completely surprised” by the reports published by the Knoxville News-Sentinel. McMillan also said he is shocked by some of the details.
“Apparently the security contract was transferred from one company to another following one individual moving from one company to another,” McMillan said. “In all my time in public office, I’ve never heard of such a thing and I think we need to determine if that was done with the consent of the Board of Education.
“If not, then somebody needs to answer for that and I’d be shocked if it were legal. It’s certainly, at best, a terrible way of conducting public business.”
McMillan went on to say that the comments by Board Chair Karen Carson “however well intentioned” are not likely “realistic”. Carsonhad made a plea for the County Commission, which is the funding body for the school system, not to withhold money from the schools due to the ongoing security scandal.
“Clearly this isn’t going to make anybody, the Commission, parents, or the general public glow with confidence in our spending of their money,” McMillan said. “From all I can tell, taxpayers and the school system got pretty much nothing from this security company, so much so that it would seem a scandal. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”
Focus staff reporting…