PLEASANTVILLE — The school district’s interim superintendent will get $280,000 to settle a lawsuit she brought against the school board in 2013 claiming board members had harassed her and made it impossible for her to properly do her job.
Garnell Bailey also releases the school board and all past, current and future board members, employees, parents and others from any and all claims “which Bailey ever had, now has or hereafter can, shall or may have against any of them for or upon any matter, cause or thing whatsoever from the beginning of the world to the day and date of this release,” the settlement states.
Bailey served as a human resource officer and assistant superintendent before being named superintendent in 2011. The district has a history of superintendent turnover, and Bailey’s lawsuit states she was Pleasantville’s 15th superintendent in 15 years.
In her suit, Bailey claimed she was the victim of personal attacks, public humiliation and ridicule by five members of the board who wanted to terminate her. As an example, she cited a harassment complaint filed against her by then board member Darlene Bey-Blocker. Bailey said the complaint was in retaliation because she would not ignore the district’s policy to allow students who had received GED high school diplomas to walk at graduation. Bailey was found not guilty of the harassment charge in municipal court.
Bailey also filed several ethics complaints against board members and reported Bey-Blocker’s daughter for illegally using her mother’s address to enroll her daughter in the Pleasantville school district.
In February 2013, the board suspended Bailey, but that vote was overturned by the district’s state monitor. She filed her lawsuit in November 2013. When her contract expired in 2014, she claimed tenure in her previous position and remained in the district as an assistant superintendent.
At the May 17, 2016, board meeting, school board Solicitor James Carroll advised the board that an attorney with the district’s insurance company, AIG, had mediated a settlement within the approved limits. The board approved the motion to settle, with board member Lawrence “Tony” Davenport voting against it.
The district will cover any costs not covered by the insurance company, but the specific amounts were not available Friday.
Bailey referred calls for comment to her attorney, Louis Barbone, who was unavailable Friday.
In the settlement, the board denies Bailey’s allegations and states they are settling to avoid the cost of litigation. Bailey will pay her own legal costs.
Both sides also agreed that they will not make any disparaging remarks or otherwise negative statements about each other.
Bailey, who makes $147,258 as assistant superintendent, according to state data, was named interim superintendent in June, replacing interim Leonard Fitts, whose maximum two-year term had expired.
The board’s effort to hire former Superintendent Clarence Alston as its new permanent superintendent is awaiting a Superior Court judge’s decision in a dispute over whether Alston received enough votes to be approved.