Superintendent fires back after he's accused of wrongdoing
The Lee County Superintendent wants to set the record straight after being accused of misappropriating funds and doing favors for friends. Today, Doctor Joseph Burke issued an eight page memo to board members. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason got a hPhoto: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY – The Lee County Superintendent wants to set the record straight after being accused of misappropriating funds and doing favors for friends. Today, Doctor Joseph Burke issued an eight page memo to board members. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason got a hold of that memo and spoke with school officials.
When board member Jane Kuckel called for an investigation into Superintendent Joseph Burke at last month’s meeting, other board members fired back.
Don Armstrong: "We continue to go out here looking for ghosts, looking for something that's not there."
Kuckel issued an eleven page memo claiming the Superintendent made a transfer of federal and state grant funds totaling $1.6 million dollars from their designated grant accounts to a separate account without board discussion or approval.
Dr. Alberto Rodriguez: "We feel that there were many inaccurate statements and allegations made on that memorandum."
Today Burke issued his own memo to set the record straight.
Mike Mason: “Kuckel is saying that Dr. Burke spent this money without even talking to the board members.
Alberto Rodriguez: "That's not quite true. Dr. Burke had, several board meetings ago, talked in an open meeting about re-purposing dollars."
Alberto Rodriguez is Burke's second in command. He says he even sent an email to all board members on January 30th which included a graphic illustrating "where the dollars were and where they currently are." Burke himself told us that transfer never required a vote from board members to begin with.
Joseph Burke: “I don’t think it was any reason for us to have board approval to move the funds.”
Kuckel claims records show Burke may have done special favors for his former colleague, Deedara Hicks by awarding her 75 sick hours when she transferred from her previous job in Orange County.
Mike Mason: "Did he give Hicks any special sick days she didn't earn?
Alberto Rodriguez: "No, absolutely not. The practice Dr. Burke used is a common practice that is used in many districts."
Rodriguez says a letter from Orange County proves the district transferred Hicks' sick hours according to district policy. Burke's memo also addresses other issues Kuckel brought up in her complaint. We called Kuckel for a comment but were unable to reach her.