Records: Milton schools admin. was placed on leave following complaint - Milton Courier : School

Records: Milton schools admin. was placed on leave following complaint - Milton Courier : School

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Records: Milton schools admin. was placed on leave following complaint

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Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 2:18 pm

School District of Milton Administrator Michael Garrow was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 12 after a complaint was filed about his conduct, according to records released Monday.

In a prepared statement dated Nov. 20, however, Garrow said the investigation found he had not conducted himself “in any way as to give the district any cause or reason for termination.” Milton Board of Education President Rob Roy said Monday he did not believe he could disclose what was investigated or what was concluded in the investigation.

Garrow is on an “approved leave of absence” with pay through June 30, 2013.

The district released a handful of documents Monday in response to open records requests filed by the Milton Courier and The Janesville Gazette, including an Oct. 12 letter to Garrow notifying him he was being placed on leave during an independent investigation and Garrow’s response to the records requests.

A letter signed by Roy that accompanied the documents said there were additional public records related to Garrow’s leave of absence, but the request for them was being denied based on the application of a “balancing test.”

“I am doing so because the content of the records requested includes private and personal information about a record subject that, if disclosed at this time, could have a significant adverse impact on the record subject and his/her family,” the letter stated.

The letter to Garrow notifying him he was being placed on administrative leave did not indicate what was in the complaint against him. Garrow said he had no communication with the district for several weeks and “was not provided with any reasons as to what misconduct was being alleged.” The letter also stated the administrative leave was “not disciplinary in nature and is with full pay and benefits.”

“To dispel several rumors I have heard about myself, I can share that: I am not having, nor have I ever had an affair, not ever misappropriated any funds, nor have I participated in any immoral or illegal activity,” Garrow wrote. “However, I am dealing with issues that are ‘personal’ and will not go further in those reasons any more than what I have already shared.”

Garrow said he was also dealing with the death of his father “and many family issues” during the time of the investigation.

The district administrator said he was given the opportunity to return to work at the school district, but Garrow and the school board mutually agreed to allow him to remain on an “approved leave of absence” for personal reasons for the remainder of the school year.

“While I will miss working with many of the staff of the district, I believe this to be the right choice for me and my family,” Garrow wrote.

According to the Oct. 12 letter to Garrow, the district “received a complaint concerning (his) conduct” and hired attorney Eileen Brownlee to conduct “an independent investigation into these allegations.” Garrow was placed on administrative leave with pay to “protect the integrity of the investigation.”

On Nov. 12, the Milton Board of Education voted unanimously to issue a press release with a statement from Garrow. The press release said the administrator was taking time off “to consider what is truly important, as well as take into account that ‘life is short’ and that we should live each day to the fullest – pursuing our dreams” in the wake of his father’s recent death.

Prior to an executive session meeting on Nov. 12, the school board met four times – Sept. 24, Oct. 8, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 – to discuss “District Administrator Evaluation,” according to posted agendas. The board’s human resources committee also met in executive session on Nov. 2 to discuss the evaluation.

Roy previously said Nov. 12 was the first time the board met to discuss the approved leave of absence, which was posted as “District Administrator Employment.”

The Milton Board of Education met Nov. 19 in executive session to discuss finding an interim district administrator for the rest of the school year, but no formal action was taken.

“I have a long sustained, positive work history with every school/district with whom I have worked,” Garrow wrote in his letter responding to the release of records. “In each setting I have demonstrated a strong work ethic, effective leadership, and fostered an environment of learning. I have been willing to make difficult decisions and address situations that presented themselves as wrong, unfair, or unjust – and been willing to stand by my convictions. With regard to making additional comments at this time – as a person of integrity, I instead will say ‘no comment.’”

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12 comments:

  • OldTimer posted at 8:08 pm on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    OldTimer Posts: 13

    The 'innocent until proven guilty' stuff does not apply outside of a court of law. Many people have to prove that they are innocent or they are presumed guilty.

     
  • WisconsinResident posted at 12:09 pm on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    WisconsinResident Posts: 8

    Would ny of you folks agree the schoo board should be looking at ptions for next yeawhile this isbeing investigated.

     
  • hooters posted at 11:18 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    hooters Posts: 1

    So what is it about Dr. Garrow that everybody in Milton dislikes??? You hired the man. Did you not do your homework? If he is not taking the path that the school board wishes he would...did someone file a fraudulent complaint in an attempt to oust him? Then find out (after the fact) that it won't be as easy as first thought to get rid of him? Mis-advised by district attorney that you could put him out on leave without pay..then realize that you will have to pay? Sounds like a big Milton conspiracy to an outsider looking in. Please, someone give me some insight as to why the board and Milton taxpayers do not like this man and his ideals? What is he doing or has done to make you feel so strongly about getting him out that you would pay for his leave of abscence (money you cannot afford) just to get him out for before his contract is up?

     
  • skijon posted at 10:29 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    skijon Posts: 1

    Mike Garrows dad died on Sept 18th One full month prior to Oct 15....so what gives?

     
  • berkshire posted at 6:44 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    berkshire Posts: 11

    The board admits the situation is a "mess" and that is likely due to the board's lack of effective leadership and their slow reaction to the taxpayers and staff to better explain their actions. I realize there are legal issues, but it sounds like they are being held hostage by Mr. Integrity. Staff and community members that saw him in and out of the work environment, know full well about his inappropriate behaviors as do many community members who do not work for the district. I am most upset that my tax dollars are supporting such a man.

     
  • JWEyster posted at 5:00 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    JWEyster Posts: 9

    I agree with "berkshire" - I too would state, "For the sake of the community, I'm glad he is no longer working in Milton." My real concern and frustration is that we do NOT have assurance from our Board of Education that Garrow will NOT be returning into our School District of Milton after the APPROVED EXTENDED LEAVE WITH PAY. Did YOU see that district records show he has been paid $11,294. between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15. He has been ON LEAVE since October 15. WHY are we - TAXPAYERS of the School District of Milton - PAYING Garrow for this leave?! As Board President Rob Roy asserted, we would get more information and then we'd have more questions. After the reports from yesterday's closed (secret) School Board Meeting, there are a lot more questions. What do YOU want to know? Here we go...

     
  • acj posted at 10:11 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    acj Posts: 5

    I personally see nothing at this point but speculation that Dr Garrow has done anything wrong. A complaint was filed....while I agree all complaints should be thoroughly investigated, it wouldn't be the first time that someone with an unfounded gripe or personal vendetta has lied to get back at someone else. It sounds to me like the school board has taken the appropriate steps and I suspect are following legal advice as to what they can and cannot say. I'd like to think that someone is still innocent until proven guilty in this country and that others like me will give Dr Garrow the benefit of the doubt until it's deemed by evidence that he doesn't deserve it.

     
  • tjhant posted at 6:27 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    tjhant Posts: 1

    Wouldn't it be nice if we all could take a leave of abcense for 7 months and get paid with benefits. Since when did our district have that kind of money to spend? As a taxpayer this makes me very angry. The rumors seem to come from pretty good sources...

     
  • WisconsinResident posted at 5:25 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    WisconsinResident Posts: 8

    Well in my opinion I will say this. I think the school board needs to think about is this: One look at the options for next year and decide how they wish to proceed in for the 2014 school year, two start looking for a replacement for Mr Garrow for the 2014 school, three we need to see what or if any disciplinary action will be taken with Mr. Garrow. The reason I am saying this is I am a resident of Milton and my roommates soon goes to Northside and I am concerned about the future of the district and what is best for the children and the parents in the district as well as the staff members dealing with this everyday.

     
  • WisconsinResident posted at 4:36 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    WisconsinResident Posts: 8

    Well I am going with my earlier statement and maybe the time has come for the school board to look at options for next year and see what is available and maybe consider replacing Mr Garrow before the 2014 school year in my opinion. Milton High School Class of 1988.

     
  • ButtonPusher posted at 4:20 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    ButtonPusher Posts: 0

    "placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 12 after a complaint was filed about his conduct..."

    "I am doing so because the content of the records requested includes private and personal information about a record subject that, if disclosed at this time, could have a significant adverse impact on the record subject and his/her family,”

    Parents and taxpayers deserve more information; this is being handled poorly.

     
  • berkshire posted at 3:08 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    berkshire Posts: 11

    The fact that Mr. Garrow thinks he conducted himself with integrity says a lot about what behaviors he considers to be appropriate. It sounds like he has an extremely high opinion of himself which others do not apparently share. For the sake of the community, I'm glad he is no longer working in Milton.