A due process hearing held in December regarding recently fired Wilson County Director of Safety David Burton offered the school system’s reasons for his dismissal.
According to documents in Burton’s personnel file, which The Democrat received following a public records request, a hearing was held Dec. 20 explaining reasons for disciplinary actions against him. Five incidents were written in the report.
The first incident dealt with irregularities in payment for background checks on new employees.
“Mr. David Burton was in charge of paying the L-1 Background Check bill. Because of some irregularities in paying the bill in the 2012-13 school year, this responsibility was transferred to the HR department as of July 1, 2013. However, Mr. Burton did not send the bills for July and August to HR until requested,” the report said.
“At that time, it was ascertained that the bills, which are mailed monthly, had not been paid since January 2013, and there was an outstanding balance of $9,096. Additionally, this was the time of year when new employees were being fingerprinted in high volume. On Aug. 29, HR received a call from L-1 that Wilson County Schools was in “transaction denied” status and they would no longer fingerprint anyone until the bill was paid in full.”
Burton was also reprimanded in the report for ruling “on several suspension appeals without holding an actual hearing as prescribed by policy.”
Burton said there was one incident in which he did not do a face-to-face appeal, one which he said had “carried over from last school year.”
“At the time, nothing was said to me about not doing a face-to-face appeal,” Burton said.
Another point listed in the counseling report was failure to get prior approval for several conference registration fees. Burton said the three safety conferences were held when Mike Davis was director of schools.
“When Dr. Setterlund came on in June, he and Mickey Hall ordered me to pay these fees out of pocket,” said Burton, “which I did because I didn’t want to risk my career over $150.”
Burton’s file also mentioned he made purchases at Walmart that “included snack items and submitted the purchase including those items for payment by the district.”
Burton said he did buy snacks and supplies from Walmart for meetings with committees he chaired.
“This was out of my operating budget,” he said. “[Setterlund] charged me with fraud, saying I should not have those expenditures.”
The final incident included in the report was in reference to failure to attend sessions during a conference for which he registered.
“I went to a special ed law conference in mid-December and he alleged that no one saw me at the conference,” Burton said.
“Mr. Burton’s neglect of duty in not attending those sessions that directly fall within the purview of his job responsibilities jeopardizes the district’s ability to ensure compliance with all state and Federal laws and the ability to provide the highest quality support for the students of Wilson County Schools,” the report said.
In a handwritten note on one report, Burton wrote, “Disagree. I have always performed my duties responsibly.” In another section, Burton wrote, “P.S. I firmly disagree with all charges made against me and I plead not guilty to all charges.”
Burton has said he is “exploring all my options” in regard to his dismissal.