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.’”