CMS Board responds to leaked letter by board member from former superintendent’s personnel file

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education held an emergency meeting Monday afternoon regarding “former Superintendent Earnest Winston’s personnel file.”

A CMS Board member leaked a document sent by Winston’s attorney in March to WFAE. The board then called an emergency meeting so they could release their official response to that letter.

Board member Dr. Ruby Jones admitted to the leak in the meeting.

It alleges the board undermined Winston by interfering with administrative responsibilities and creating a culture where staff are interacting with the board on matters that should be between him and them.

He said in the letter, an example of this is when the board told him he needed a different chief of staff.

In response, the CMS attorney sent a letter about a week later disputing the arguments.

The letter said in part, “The Board, individually and collectively, has every right to meet with the Superintendent to discuss his performance and express their concerns.” ... “As to your specific claims, the Board has acted within its authority as set forth by law and policy.”

>> Click here to read the CMS Board’s full letter.

The leak and hastily called emergency meeting are another messy and complicated chapter for the CMS Board of Education.

“I will just say that this going back and forth with personnel files serves absolutely nobody. And if it wasn’t for the board having to correct the record, we would not be here today. So I am disappointed but here we are,” said Board Chair Elyse Dashew.

Jones made no apologies, but several board members seemed outraged.

“You brought all this ballyhoo to the board using outside sources to say that Earnest is a good man but not a confident man. And you might as well spit in my face. As an older black woman. I have heard that that perhaps since my youth director that black man, especially 52 years I’ve been in the education business. This has been one of the low points,” Jones said.

Winston’s letter said if the board isn’t satisfied with his performance, they should fire him for convenience. That’s what ended up happening.

On April 19, the board voted, 7-2, to terminate Winston’s contract. They said their decision came following what they call “serious mishaps” during his time as superintendent.

Due to a clause in Winston’s contract, the board is paying him more than $570,000 over the next two years.

The board named Hugh Hattabaugh as the interim superintendent of CMS.

No other details have been released at this point. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: CMS board chair talks about search for next superintendent)