Flowers, Danford Talk About SJSD Issues

Flowers, Danford Talk About SJSD Issues

The district's human resources director has taken some heavy criticism from board member Chris Danford and others about recent school issues involving stipends, nepotism and other issues.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Since news of more than $250,000 of stipends for administrators, it has been a somewhat awkward relationship between the district's human resources director, Doug Flowers, and board member Chris Danford.

"Unfortunately, as people have called to become transparent, when you become transparent, you get beat up for it," Flowers said. "To continue to point the finger and put a bulls eye on individuals is hard to swallow sometimes."

However, Danford says that any move toward transparency was only made after she pushed for it.

"Look at the timeline. It was February 3, we found out (about the stipends). February 10 we make this vote. We find out more things and they don't come clean. Febrarary...the end of February, 1 of March, March 15. They didn't come clean until I sat at the board meeting March 24. I can't take this anymore."

Flowers has not spoken much publicly about the situation or his filing with the Attorney General's office over Sunshine Law violations by Danford. However, Flowers now says he feels Danford and others are personally attacking him and other administrators.

"It's very calculated on some individuals part to punish or to continue publicly criticize the work I've done and the work this district has done," Flowers said.

Danford says it's nothing personal against Flowers or anyone at the district office. She says she's just trying to do her job as a board member.

"Nearly 100 percent of all comments that I receive from people, from teachers, from parents, from high school students, from citizens, are thank goodness someone is looking at this and bringing it out in the open," she said. " It can't hurt to be more transparent and to figure out where everything is at."

Danford says she has been especially critical of the stipends because of recent cuts in technology and the need for funding of other programs such as Parents as Teachers.

"With all due respect to Dr. Czerwonka and to Mr. Flowers and to the board members, our focus has got to be the 11,000 students," she said.

Flowers disagrees with the end result of Danford and others speaking out.

"Those individuals who are supposed to be here for the well being of our staff and students are destroying our district and our community."

Earlier in the week Flowers made it known that he had found an additional set of stipends that had not previously been approved by the board.

He did not detail the amount of dollars those stipends represented or the total number of employees who received them.

He added that some of the stipends are not awarded to newly-hired employees and were only given to those who had been "grandfathered" in for the payments.
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