He lauds former HR director's "professional qualities," but won't divulge her complaint against him. She was paid $254,000 to leave.
In his first public comments about the Tania Chance controversy, Burnsville schools Superintendent Randy Clegg defended the hiring of his former human resources director.
But Clegg declined to comment on the fact that Chance, who was paid more than $250,000 last month to leave her post, had apparently filed a complaint against him with the Minnesota Board of Administrators. She had also filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, though the agreement does not make specific reference to any individual involved in that complaint.
"I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment," said Clegg, who hired Chance in 2010 as part of his cabinet.
As part of the settlement, Chance provided documentation to the district that she had withdrawn her complaints.
The unredacted document, a copy of which has been obtained by the Star Tribune, also notes that Chance, who left after serving only six months of a two-year contract that paid her a salary of $136,000, agreed to withdraw "all data requests to the school district." It was not clear what data Chance might have been looking for.
The paperwork does not indicate the nature of the complaints that Chance filed against Clegg.
State law mandates that a government agency provide a reason for any buyout or settlement that involves a payment of more than $10,000.
The district initially provided a version of the separation agreement with nine lines blacked out, claiming that this was sufficient to meet the state law regarding disclosures.
An attorney for the district also maintained that the three redacted paragraphs did not indicate why Chance was paid $254,000 as a payment for resigning.
The district has refused to comment on the unredacted documents, saying that to confirm or deny their authenticity would violate state data privacy law.
But in a statement issued on Friday, the district addressed the content of the newly revealed portions of the agreement, saying in part: "Complaints can be made to state agencies, and they must be accepted for processing regardless of whether or not there is any merit to the allegations. In fact, most complaints made to agencies are dismissed. But to get a dismissal, the employer must spend significant money and time -- even for claims that have no merit whatsoever."
During a heated meeting last week, dozens of people upset about the payout asked the school board to resign or threatened to recall them.
There were also calls from some people for Clegg to resign. He said Monday that he has no plans to do so, but he noted that he serves at the pleasure of the school board, which has four members up for re-election this November.
Clegg, paid $180,000 a year as superintendent, is under contract through June 30, 2013, according to Ruth Dunn, the district spokeswoman.
As part of the separation agreement, Chance was given letters of recommendation from Clegg and Ron Hill, chairman of the school board.
Despite being the subject of a complaint by Chance, Clegg gave his former human resources director high marks for her "professional qualities."
"Based upon my association with and knowledge of her skills and abilities," Clegg wrote, "I would highly recommend her for any position in the human resources area."
Heron Marquez • 952-746-3281