Report Finds Actions by ASDB Chief Were Lawful ; but Leadership, Communication Problems Noted
Younger, Jamar, AZ Daily Star
An investigative report cleared Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind Superintendent Robert Hill of any major wrongdoing after five employees accused him of harassment and discrimination.
However, the report questioned the way Hill communicated with employees, as well as his handling of certain situations.
There were two reports compiled by the law firm Fennemore Craig, which was hired to investigate the complaints the employees made earlier this year.
One outlined the allegations against Hill. The other looked at accusations Hill made against former administrator Nancy Amann.
The Star obtained the reports through a public-records request.
The employees accused Hill of sexual harassment, gender and disability discrimination, and retaliation. However, the report found Hill did not engage in any unlawful activities when he dealt with the workers.
Hill was placed on administrative leave at ASDB's Oct. 24 governing board meeting and will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations at the next board meeting.
Hill wasn't available for comment and Amann didn't respond to a Facebook message Friday.
Parents, students and employees have criticized Hill for poor communication, lack of leadership and the dismissals of Amann and former agriculture teacher Richard Layton.
Hill and former board President Bernhardt Jones are also under scrutiny from the state for a potential conflict of interest regarding their involvement with an interpreter-training program and for allegedly excessive travel expenses -- issues that are being investigated by the state and not covered by the report.
Most of the disagreements between Hill and Amann stemmed from her placement on administrative leave after a series of incidents where Hill questioned her leadership.
The incidents included a search of employee vehicles after a video gaming device was stolen, improperly hiring employees, and questions surrounding the school's agriculture program.
Some of the incidents between Hill and the other employees involved a drug investigation at the school and sexual harassment allegations.
Amann filed two grievances against Hill.
In the first, Amann claimed her placement on leave was due to Hill discriminating against deaf people and women, with the intent to intimidate, threaten and harass her.
She also claimed Hill, along with Human Resources Executive Director Maria Murphy and Executive Staff Consultant Lauren Peirce, used the leave process as a "fishing expedition" to develop a record on her. …