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By David Knopf/Richmond News
The district superintendent fired a Richmond High School custodian Wednesday for an alleged violation of a school board policy – despite an earlier 5-2 vote by the board that he be retained.
Citing confidentiality in a personnel issue, the district would say only that Scott Russell received the support of five out of seven board members during a closed session vote on Oct. 9.
According to minutes from the session, Board President Chris Minnick and member Gwen Weate voted to sever Russell’s ties to the district. Members Joey Duncan, Dale Vandiver, Jon Thoreson, Steve Rittmiller and Vice President Connie Taylor voted to retain him.
Although Superintendent Damon Kizzire declined to release more than the vote, reliable sources said that Kizzire personally fired Russell with powers granted by board policy GDPD.
Acccording to the district Web site, the policy says, “The superintendent may suspend (with or without pay) or terminate support staff members who are not under contract. The superintendent shall report any such termination or suspension to the Board of Education.”
Russell, an 11-year employee of the Stet School District before it shut down for good in June, had been charged in Carroll County Court in July 2011 with sexually abusing his daughter.
However, the charges – two counts of child molestation in the first degree and one count of sexual misconduct involving a child under 15 – were erased from Russell’s record when Carroll County Prosecutor Cassandra Brown dropped the charges.