Wilson County schools rehires Moss

Longtime employee’s job reinstated amid wrongful termination lawsuit
Jan 10, 2014
Bill Moss

 

Longtime Wilson County schools employee Bill Moss had his job reinstated Tuesday, which leaves a wrongful termination lawsuit Moss filed in limbo.

Moss was dismissed in September of 2013 when his position at the Central Office as career and technical education supervisor was eliminated. Director of Schools Tim Setterlund said Moss’ title will be the same, “but as part of the reorganization of the Central Office, his duties may change somewhat.”

Speaking Thursday, Moss said he is “glad to be back” and “I’m optimistic that it is going to be a good thing.”

Moss served in the Wilson County School system for 31 years in various capacities. Setterlund said Moss and Deputy Director of Academics Leisa Justus have discussed his role in the reorganized office.

“He and Dr. Justus have had several conversations about how to best use his strengths,” Setterlund said.

He said the system wanted to “continue to use his skills and talent” in the area of CTE, and there are discussions about using Moss’ experience as a principal to aid in principal development for the district.

Moss will receive the same salary – nearly $100,000 annually – as he received prior to his position’s elimination last year.

The fates of the two individuals who were sharing many of Moss’ duties in his absence, Monty Wilson and Jennifer Cothron, will not result in either losing their jobs.

“Monty Wilson has accepted a job with the Tennessee Department of Education,” Setterlund said. “He will be sorely missed here.”

Cothron will remain at the Central Office, but Setterlund said her duties could change, as well.

Moss said he was appreciative of the support he and his family have received.

“The support that I’ve received in the community has been astronomical, and we appreciate everyone’s kind words.”

In October, Moss sued Setterlund and the Wilson County Board of Education in Wilson County Chancery Court and requested a jury trial. In the suit, Moss claimed Setterlund and the board broke state law in eliminating Moss’ position and asked for back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees, according to a copy of the suit.

Setterlund said he eliminated the supervisor of career and technical education position Sept. 13, which left Moss without a job. 

“There’s a myriad of reasons,” Setterlund said at the time. “One is money. That was an expensive position for us. Another is that it creates a lean central office with expectations for high achievement.”

In the suit, Moss claimed he was “denied his right to a preference for re-employment accorded to tenured personnel,” according to state law. He said in the suit he was never placed on a preferred list for re-employment.

Moss also said in the suit Setterlund and the board violated state law by not considering him or evaluating him for any vacancies. He also claims in the suit his fitness was not evaluated as required by state law.

The suit also claims the board failed to “state on the record why it abolished” Moss’ position “if, in fact, it voted to do so.”

Moss claims in the suit Setterlund failed to give Moss or the board notice prior to eliminating Moss’ position, which Moss claims is in violation of state law.

Moss said in the suit his losing his job was not due to the elimination of his position, and he was denied a hearing before the board.

Moss became vocational director in February 1988 and additionally took on the responsibilities of principal of the Career Technical Center in 1996.

Moss became supervisor of career and technical education in May 2012.

Jill Micco, who held the position of supervisor of special education prior to Sept. 11 when Setterlund eliminated it, also filed suit Nov. 21 in Wilson County Chancery Court and requested a jury trial. She joined Moss in filing a separate-but-similar suit against the board and Setterlund. Both Moss and Micco hired local attorney Michael Clemons with Clemons and Clemmons in Nashville to represent them. 

Clemons did not immediately return messages from The Democrat on Thursday. 

In the suit – much like Moss – Micco claimed Setterlund and the board broke state law in eliminating Micco’s position and asks for back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.

Setterlund eliminated Micco’s position Sept. 12, one day prior to action taken with Moss’ position.

It’s not known whether Setterlund would rehire Micco in her former position. 

 

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