Second lawsuit targets ACCS - By John Pilati, Franklin Free Press

• Shelton State sues for reduced salaries


TUSCALOOSA - A second lawsuit has been filed against the chancellor of the Alabama Community College Systems alleging that several tenured employees of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa had their salaries wrongly reduced.
The civil action was filed in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court against Chancellor Jimmy Baker, the Alabama Community College Board of Trustees, Cleveland (N.C.) Community College President Jason Hurst and previous Shelton State interim President Dr. Cynthia Anthony.
The complaint alleges Anthony made the decision to reduce the salaries of a number of employees, including Scheree Datcher, division chair, Office Administration at Shelton and Khristy Large and Robert Pressley, also in Office Administration, based not on board policy, but on a document from 1999.
The plaintiffs allege the salary reduction and the document relied on by Anthony violate board policies.
Last month, Baker and Bevill State Community College President Dr. Kim Ennis, were sued by the newly-formed Legislative Advisory Task Force for Education in Marion County Circuit Court.
That lawsuit alleges that Ennis refuses to honor a request pursuant to the Alabama Open Records Act seeking a report Ennis said she relied on when she allegedly unilaterally decided to eliminate four work force development programs at Bevill State’s Hamilton Campus.
After public outrage and opposition from Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), Ennis announced she had changed her mind about eliminating the programs.
Morrow previously requested a copy of Ennis’ study and his investigation revealed that no school board officials or industrial leaders in the area were contacted as part of the study.
Morrow sent copies of the message to Gov. Kay Ivey, Baker and several other state education officials, including District 7 Alabama State Board of Education member Jeff Newman, ACCS Board of Trustees Chairman Al Thompson and District 4 ACCS Board of Trustees Member Matthew Woods.
“This was nothing but an effort to build the Jasper Campus up at the expense of Hamilton,” Morrow said. “And I’m not going to stand for that. Bevill State at Hamilton is too important to this area to allow this to happen.”
Ennis, while alleging the programs were outdated and no longer economically viable, planned to continue offering the same programs at Bevill State’s Jasper Campus.
Hamilton attorney Tony Glenn filed the lawsuit on behalf of the task force.
No response or answer has been filed yet by the defendants in the Tuscaloosa case as of the publication date of this article.

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