Superintendent speaks out about accusations he obstructed investigation
Dr. Joseph Burke being investigated for ordering officials to stop investigation
LEE COUNTY - The Lee County school Superintendent is speaking out after being accused of obstructing an investigation into one of his top administrators. Now he's the one under investigation.....Four in your Corner's Mike Mason bringing us the latest on this one.
Superintendent Joseph Burke wants to set the record straight. He says there's more to the story than people realize. It all comes after someone sent this lengthy report to members of the media and now some have serious questions.
The Superintendent has been under fire ever since hiring Deedara Hicks and now he's the one being investigated to find out if he used his position to improperly suspend an investigation into her.
Hicks was hired by Burke to be one of his top directors. She previously worked with him in Orange County. Now this report detailing the state's investigation into hicks is raising even more questions.
Jeanne Dozier: "Something that is very incriminating in this.”
School board members concerned about the Department of Education's recent investigation. It states multiple witnesses reported hicks appeared to be drunk when she went to work in August of 2011....just 2 weeks after beginning her new job. Executive secretary Rebecca Demo worked with the district for more than 27 years. In the report she stated Hicks was seen "having difficulty walking, staying awake, speaking and she emitted the odor of alcohol."
Demo went on to say Hicks was apparently passed out in her car on one occasion, "slumped over into the passenger's seat, (she) was not moving and appeared to be unconscious." Hicks had to be driven home. Despite all this, the report states Burke ordered the district not to investigate.
Jeanne Dozier: "Superintendent Burke had suspended the investigation into the allegations made by, made against Deedara Hicks."
Board member Jeanne Dozier now questioning Burke's motives and exactly what he told investigators.
Jeanne Dozier: "In that letter he said he never had any evidence whatsoever of alcohol of Mrs. Hicks being involved with any alcohol and yet in this statement it says a few minutes later Superintendent Burke instructed director Monroe to take Dr. Hicks home, Monroe gathered Dr. Hicks purse and found an empty miniature wine bottle and a full bottle of wine, Director Monroe gave the bottles to Superintendent Burke."
In the report, Burke apparently suspended the investigation because it violated Hicks' rights to medical privacy and due process. Demo says when district officials found out she provided information about hicks to investigators they retaliated against her, changing her work passwords and refusing to give her any more assignments.
Rebecca Demo: "I am concerned about any investigation and the employees of this district cannot, cannot say anything against Dr. Burke or their job is in jeopardy."
Burke has agreed to speak with reporters sometime tomorrow. He hopes Hicks’ side of the story will set the record straight.