Archived Story

Former Niles superintendent speaks

Published 9:03am Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weigel says allegations are false, un-released report ‘vindicated’ him

Former Niles Community Schools Supt. Richard Weigel told an Eastern Michigan newspaper that allegations made by key district staff members prior to his resignation are false.

Former Supt. Richard Weigel
Former Supt. Richard Weigel

Weigel, who resigned in February amid allegations that he bullied staff, is one of three finalists for the job of Port Huron Area School District superintendent.

In an interview with the Times Herald Friday, Weigel said an investigation was conducted after he left, which generated a report that was never made public because it vindicated him.

When asked about this report Monday, Niles Interim Superintendent Michael Lindley confirmed that a report was completed after Weigel had resigned, but disagreed with Weigel’s reason for why it hasn’t been made public.

“It’s never been released because it’s considered attorney/client privileged information,” Lindley said.

That could change, however, now that Weigel is talking about the report.

Lindley said the school board could decide to waive its right to attorney/client-privileged information and make the report available through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The board would have to take that action in a public meeting.

In the interview with the Times Herald, Weigel also spoke about a letter sent to the school board listing more than 20 complaints about him that was signed by 15 school principals and administrators.

Weigel told the paper his resignation was caused by a school board member and his wife, who is a principal in the district. He told the paper they collected signatures for the letter on a separate sheet of paper and many of the principals didn’t know what they were signing.

Howard Elementary School Principal Michelle Asmus, one of those who signed the letter, said Monday, “I knew exactly what I was signing.”

Three others also said they knew what they were signing, including Niles High Principal Robin Hadrick, Finance Director Tom Skarbek and Oak Manor Principal Molly Brawley.

The Daily Star is awaiting a response from the 11 others who signed the letter.

Weigel also told the newspaper that the situation started about 18 months ago when a popular high school principal was removed. Based on the information, Weigel was likely referring to Jim Knoll, a longtime high school principal who was moved to another school in the district before resigning.

Knoll disagreed with Weigel’s assertion that the situation began there.

“His issues didn’t start with me being moved. That’s not true,” Knoll said, adding that other administrators left the district before he did.

Weigel, when reached by telephone Monday, declined to speak about the matter.

“I’m not a bully,” Weigel told the Times Herald. “I did hold principals accountable. I was telling them that they needed to make some improvements.”

 

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