Baldwin school board moves on after dispute

Baldwin County’s once divided school board is trying to move on after a long dispute over who should serve as school superintendent, school board chair Jeff McAfee said this week.

Board members had fought each other over the matter enough, that some board members filed a lawsuit against the other members that racked up $66,000 in legal fees that the school system must now pay.

The dispute started last fall when three of five Baldwin school board members voted to accept the resignation of then superintendent Troy Journigan, while two fought to save him.

Then the same board majority, including McAfee, voted to hire deputy superintendent Geneva Braziel as the system’s new superintendent. That action caused a rift among the two opposing board members, Harold Simmons and Wilbur Manson, who filed a restraining order against the rest of the board.

The order, filed in the Baldwin County Superior Court, aimed to prevent the board from voting on any superintendent decisions until Journigan’s matter was resolved. It also claimed Braziel’s hiring was done in an illegal board vote.But the court ruled last month that no board members made any violations and Braziel’s post stood, McAfee said this week.

“We’re trying to move past it for the betterment of the children,” he said.