ELIZABETHTON — A group of citizens have begun an online petition drive to urge the Elizabethton City School Board against rehiring Superintendent Ed Alexander when his contract expires in September.
The petition is the latest response to a controversy over Alexander’s decision not to rehire Doug Mitchell as principal at West Side Elementary School. Parents and other supporters of Mitchell have stated their opposition to Alexander’s personnel decision at a public meeting at the school and at the last school board meeting.
The petition was started by Dr. Rebecca Powers, a pediatrician and mother of children attending West Side. Powers also spoke out at the school board meeting.
The petition is addressed to the school board and says: “We, the undersigned citizens of Elizabethton, Tennessee, demand that Mr. Ed Alexander will not be rehired as superintendent of schools at the completion of his current contract in September 2013. We further demand that no other administrator, teacher or staff member who currently is employed by the Elizabethton City Schools should be involuntarily removed from their current position until such time as a new superintendent is elected/hired and the Board is able to enact policies and procedures to prevent any one individual from having the power to hire and fire employees at will.”
Although the petition refers to the signers as citizens of Elizabethton, Powers said signers from out of the community are permitted to sign for “citizens of Elizabethton who are afraid to sign because of fear of retribution.”
Powers said on the petition page that the decision to hire and fire school employees rests solely in Alexander’s hands. She said failure of the school board to comply with the petitioners’ wishes will result in a recall election involving all five positions on the school board.
Another petition supporter, Ronda Bolton, said the group will present the petition to each of the school board members and to Alexander.
Alexander declined to comment on the petition drive.
The group’s goal is to obtain 200 signatures. By May 3, there were 169 signatures.