As proof that not even school system officials learn their lessons well, two recent incidents of administrative misbehavior are giving Superintendent Linus Wright new headaches.
The auditing firm Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. recently found “gross mishandling of the way tires were issued” within the school district, leading DISD officials to believe that employees had been selling the tires for their own profit.
Accounting procedures within the district are so bad that Wright and his auditors can’t say for sure exactly how much the tire selling schemes cost the district.
After an internal investigation prompted by the Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. findings, several employees were moved from their jobs. But no one has been fired, a circumstance that does not please Wright. The case is being kept open by the superintendent, who says if implicated employees “can’t answer the questions right… I’m going to fire them.”
In another case, Wright demoted two program directors after it was found that they had been using DISD vocational training tools for personal purposes.
Wright says thefts by employees were at one time “so blatant that people felt it was just a fringe benefit. You would think that after what we’ve gone through, people would know that I’m going to keep the pressure on, that this stuff would let up. But it still crops up.”
Wright’s new problems are little relieved by an old headache that won’t seem to go away. Former Assistant Superintendent Weldon Wells has been threatening Wright and school board members if he isn’t given his old job back.
Wells recently filed a multi-million dollar damage suit against the district for his firing last year. His attorneys have written DISD officials claiming the litigation will probably result in “recovery by Dr. Wells of a very substantial, if not enormous, judgment against the school district.”
Ever the charitable soul, Wells still wants “to salvage what remains of his long relationship with the school district.” He wants his job back.