By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) temporarily tabled a request for the transfer of Brett Bell, who was hired for a position at Morgan County Middle School (MCMS), to fill a social studies position at Morgan County High School (MCHS). The board expressed two concerns. Keith Howard said the primary concern is the assurance that a suitable candidate would be found to replace Bell at MCMS in time.
Stephens noted that he has already looked into a promising pool of applicants. Another reason for pause is the issue of nepotism, which goes against the BOE’s GAG policy. Bell’s father, Davis Bell, is an administrator at MCHS. According to Policy GAG, “The superintendent shall not recommend and the Board will not approve the employment or transfer of any person which would result in one relative having supervisory responsibility over another relative.” However, Superintendent Ralph Bennett reminded the board that they have made exceptions on this prohibition before. “You have waived this policy in the past,” said Bennett. “I am not making a recommendation, but asking for your input.” Bennett reminded the board that in this case, Bell’s father would have no real involvement or influence over his son’s professional career even though they work at the same school. And since both the MCMS and MCHS principals are in agreement over this matter, waiving the policy should not be problematic.
Jim Malanowski, principal of MCHS recommended Bell for the position. In-coming MCMS Principal Darrell Stephens is in support of Malanowski’s recommendation. The board was receptive to transfer request. “Mr. Bell is of outstanding character,” said Dave Belton, BOE member. “If this is what they want to do, then we should let them do it.” “Mr. Bell would do a good job at either school, and the principals know best what works the best for the kids,” said Andrew Ainslie, BOE member. While the board tabled the request, they said it would be approved once Stephens finds a satisfactory replacement for Bell at MCMS. “By all means, move forward with looking and interviewing candidates. I think we would support this if you can find a qualified replacement,” said Hale.