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Questions Pile Up Surrounding Morrison Resignation

CMS School Board Chairman Mary McCray finally spoke to reporters late Tuesday regarding the sudden resignation of Superintendent Heath Morrison.  However, all she said was  she had nothing to say.

"I know that you have many questions at this time.  But we’re unable to answer those and will be available as soon as we have information of value to share," McCray said at the Government Center.

WFAE's Lisa Worf spoke to Mark Rumsey about the many questions raised by Morrison's resignation. Here's a transcript of their conversation:

Mark Rumsey: Lisa, this has been a strange series of events over the past few days.  Is it fair to say his stated reasons for resigning have fueled even more questions?

Lisa Worf: Absolutely.  For one, if he’s primarily leaving to take care of his mother, why was this so sudden?  Why not talk about it, or at least show up for work at the office? Also, his contract stipulates that he give the board 90 days notice if he resigns.  And then, of course, why are school board members being so tight-lipped about the leader of our school system?

Mark: Now the Charlotte Observer is reporting this afternoon that there may be more to Morrison’s decision...

Lisa: Yes, the Observer is reporting today that there were complaints concerning his conduct…that he created a culture of fear and belittled staff members. The paper reported that the school board’s attorney completed an investigation into these complaints.  But we don’t know the findings of that investigation and, also, we should note that story is based on anonymous sources. 

Mark: The board is meeting on Thursday to discuss his separation agreement.  What can we expect? 

Lisa: The discussion will take place in closed session.  But the possibility of severance could very well come up.  If it is voluntary resignation, Morrison would not be entitled to any severance according to the terms of his contract.  County Commissioner Bill James thinks the public should see Morrison's personnel file. 

"It's a little difficult to determine whether someone is entitled to a severance package or the public to be aware of what's in the personnel file," James says.

Lisa: He’s interested because CMS makes annual budget requests to the Commission. 

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.