2017-05-03 / Front Page

Brown City school chief placed on leave

810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com

Doug Muxlow Doug Muxlow BROWN CITY — On Wed., April 19 from 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., the Brown City Schools Board of Education, meeting as committee of the whole, huddled in closed session.

The move to go into closed session came on a motion by member Jeff Liebler for the stated purpose, “to discuss communication from Attorney,” according to the proposed minutes.

All board members were present and the vote was unanimous.

Coming back into public session, the proposed minutes state, “Moved by Liebler and supported by Rutkowski to approve the Resolution to allow the Board President to engage the School District’s law firm to conduct an investigation of Board Policy compliance.”

The following morning, Thursday, April 20, the News visited the school to keep a 10 a.m. appointment with Superintendent Doug Muxlow for a post-committee meeting briefing, only to be told by office staff that he was not in.

Muxlow had not called to postpone or cancel the appointment. Neither did he respond afterwards to several messages left on his phone or email.

All that school officials would say of Muxlow for the next seven business days was, “He is not here.”

On Mon., May 1 the News obtained a copy of a resolution adopted unanimously by the board when it came out of closed session on April 19, placing Muxlow on paid, non-disciplinary administrative leave effective immediately.

The resolution states in part: “WHEREAS: 1. The Brown City Community Schools Board of Education has adopted a number of Board policies covering a range of subjects; and 2. The Board determines that compliance with such policies is of significant importance to the School District; and 3. The Superintendent has primary responsibility for ensuring that Board of Education polices are followed and implemented. IT IS RESOLVED THAT: 1. The Board President engage the School District’s law firm…. for the purpose of conducting a limited review with regard to whether there has been compliance with Board of Education policies. 2. During the course of such review, the Superintendent is to be placed on paid, nondisciplinary administrative leave effective immediately.”

What board policies which may or may not have been complied with, and by whom, remains unclear.

Board President Alan Burgess did not return a phone call from the News on Monday.

The school district has a retainer relationship with the Thrun Law Firm of Lansing.

According to a staffer at Thrun, veteran attorney Michael B. Farrell is handling matters pertaining to Brown City Schools.

As of press time, Farrell had not responded to a request by the News for comment.

Muxlow has been superintendent since Feb. 2014. Prior to that, he was elementary principal at Brown City.

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