A called meeting of the Bibb County school board meeting set for Thursday afternoon was canceled less than an hour before it was to take place.
An agenda of Thursdays meeting listed a closed-door session of the board, which could include discussion of personnel matters. There was widespread speculation that the meeting would focus on Superintendent Romain Dallemands future with the school system. According to several sources, Dallemand asked the board in a closed-door meeting on Jan. 17 for a buyout of his contract, saying he thinks its time for him to leave the job. The board took no action during last weeks meeting.
The meeting that had been called for 4 p.m. Thursday was postponed due to the unavailability of essential parties, according to a news release from the school district that was e-mailed to news media less than an hour before the meeting was to begin.
Neither board member Thelma Dillard nor school board attorney Patrick Millsaps was able to attend Thursdays planned meeting, board member Lester Miller told The Telegraph.
Dillard, however, said Thursday evening that she changed her schedule after finding out about the called meeting Wednesday night. She said she showed up for Thursdays meeting, only to find out it had been canceled. She said she never told anyone she wouldnt be able to attend.
That meeting is expected to be rescheduled next week.
Talk of Dallemand seeking a buyout comes about a week before a Bibb County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments about the legality of Dallemands new contract, which the board approved Dec. 3.
A recent lawsuit contends, among other things, that the boards December vote violated the states open meetings law. The lawsuit also alleges that some of the new contracts provisions approved by the board differed from the final contract Dallemand signed. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Feb. 1.
If Dallemands current contract, which took effect this month and expires on Dec. 31, 2015, is declared null and void, he would be working under the terms of his old contract, which ends June 30.
Another hearing also is scheduled Feb. 1 related to a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by Ron Collier, former Bibb schools chief financial officer, who wants to be reinstated to his job. Dallemand, with the boards blessing, removed him from that post last month. Collier also wants the courts to block payments on a lease agreement with the Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development as part of the Promise Neighborhood initiative.
How the votes may fall if a Dallemand buyout comes to a board vote is uncertain.
The school board could be deadlocked in a 4-4 vote on any potential buyout agreement for Dallemand if last weeks efforts to choose a board president are any indication.
The board presidency came down to two candidates: Lynn Farmer and Wanda West.
Farmer, who voted for herself, also received the support of Miller, Susan Sipe and Jason Downey.
Meanwhile, Tom Hudson, Ella Carter and Thelma Dillard threw their support behind Wanda West, who cast a vote for herself.
Because neither woman received a majority of votes, Sipe, who was chosen as treasurer, now serves as the boards interim president.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 744-4331.