Former Bibb County school Superintendent Romain Dallemand wants $10 million from the school system for what he maintains are violations of his severance agreement with the district.
In his filing with the American Arbitration Association, Dallemand contends that school board members “flagrantly and intentionally” breached his severance agreement and committed “acts of libel and slander” against him.
Specifically, Dallemand cites paragraphs six and seven of the agreement, which state that board members had agreed to release Dallemand of “all claims, known or unknown,” and that they would “not make any statement of any kind ... that may reasonably be considered to disparage or impugn the other’s work and/or reputation.”
The Telegraph obtained the Jan. 28 filing through an Open Records Act request. Dallemand paid a filing fee of $14,900 to the association, documents showed.
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The Telegraph tried to contact Dallemand at his Florida home. A person who identified himself as Dallemand answered the phone. When a Telegraph reporter identified himself, Dallemand said “no comment” and hung up.
Board members declined to comment on the complaint, saying the matter involved pending litigation.
In the filing, Dallemand also condemned an audit report from the accounting firm Mauldin & Jenkins nearly a year ago, maintaining that it contained “fictive and false findings” and “unjustly impugned and maligned” his reputation.
That audit, presented to the Bibb school board after Dallemand had left the district, said Dallemand had repeatedly violated school board policy by ordering more than $26 million in technology equipment and services without the required, prior approval of the board.
Later, the school system sent a copy of that audit and the findings of its own investigation to the state’s Professional Standards Commission, Georgia’s educator regulatory agency, and the state Attorney General’s Office. This past October, the PSC voted to revoke Dallemand’s certification.
In his complaint, Dallemand attached exhibits to support his claim, including a copy of the audit in question and three Telegraph articles. Those articles detailed the audit’s findings, the board’s aim to explore options for investigating the matter, and former interim Superintendent Steve Smith’s intention to notify the PSC.
Dallemand’s arbitration filing came just a couple of weeks after he appealed the PSC’s revocation of his license, asking the agency to reverse its decision and reopen the proceedings. He claimed he was never notified of the decision and learned of it only after the 30-day appeal period had passed.
The appeal was denied, said Paul Shaw, director of the PSC’s ethics division. If Dallemand wants his license back, he added, he will have to start by filing suit in Superior Court.
Dallemand was hired as the district’s superintendent in February 2011. He launched a strategic plan for the district, which he dubbed the Macon Miracle. His administration was beset by controversy, from clashes with board members to questions about his spending.
The board eventually voted 7-1, with Lester Miller voting against, to buy out Dallemand’s contract for $350,000 in February 2013.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report. To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382.