THOMASVILLE -- After a 15-year stint, Thomas County School transportation assistant Gerri Simpson will soon be riding the unemployment line.

The Thomas County Board of Education has voted against renewing the contract of the "at will" (non-certified) employee.

"This is a personnel issue, and he has not been rehired," Thomas County Schools Superintendent Larry Green said.

Simpson was not happy or understanding about the board's decision.

"The problem I've got is just a couple weeks ago there were statements made that this would not happen, and now it is," said Simpson who began as a substitute driver in 1987. "They said this is a reduction in force. They are covering this up by saying it is downsizing."

While Green concurs that reduction in force is listed on Simpson's termination papers, he stated the budget cuts are not the reason behind the separation.

"This was not because of the budget," Green said. "I would be remiss if I let people think budget was not a factor. We are basically duplicating some services, but there is more involved than what's on the surface."

Simpson also says there is more to the dissolution of employee and employer then is being told.

"There are some issues involved that I will not indulge in at this time," the soon-to-be former employee said. "I am withholding some serious issues at this point and I mean some serious issues."

Simpson also contended that as a CDL trainer he generates a portion of his own salary.

"The tax payers don't pay my full salary," he said. "A portion of my salary comes through a fee we charge for CDL testing for eight different counties. Why would they let someone like that go? The tax payers need to know."

According to Simpson he is the only one at the county school system that is qualified to perform the CDL service.

Green, who stated he was willing to answer what he could, however he can not reveal the details of personnel issues, did not agree that Simpson's wages come from the fees.

"That is his perception," Green said.

Both parties implied that litigation in the matter may become necessary.

To contact reporter Sandi Olson, call (229) 226-2400, ext. 226.

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