Investigation under way in grievance against Alexander

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   In what has shaped up into a lawyer's playground, the next chapter involving administration at Elizabethton High School is unfolding.
   David R. Duggan, of the Garner and Duggan law firm in Maryville, has interviewed city school personnel over the last two weeks regarding a grievance filed against Principal Edwin Alexander.
   The high school's director of vocational education, Adeline Hyder, filed a discrimination complaint in November stating that Alexander had questioned her integrity, loyalty to him, and her friendship with director of schools, Dr. Judy Blevins.
   Blevins told the Star last week that Duggan had been interviewing school employees beginning Jan. 21. She said Duggan would submit the finding of his investigation to the school system. She said the results of the inquiry could be completed by the end of this week.
   Duggan did not return a telephone call seeking comment about his investigation.
   According to Blevins, Duggan has interviewed Hyder among other high school personnel. Alexander confirmed that he and his attorney, Virginia McCoy of the Tennessee Education Association, had met with Duggan on Thursday. He declined to elaborate on the specifics of that meeting.
   Alexander had filed a grievance against Blevins on Nov. 7 after receiving a telephone call from the school board's contracted attorney, Patrick Hull, regarding Hyder's complaint against him.
   In his grievance against Blevins, he had stated Hull's intervention was a "strong-arm tactic" against him. Hull recused himself from investigating the grievance filed by Alexander.
   Hull, the board's contracted attorney, recused himself from the complaint process and attorney Thomas J. Garland Jr. of Greeneville was appointed to investigate the complaint by school administration. He submitted his report to the system in January. The system's designated complaint manager, assistant director of schools Rondald Taylor, reported to Alexander that the investigation had found no wrongdoing by Blevins.
   The board voted 4-1 to affirm Garland's findings in Alexander's complaint against Blevins.
   Kingsport attorney Bruce Shine appeared at that Board meeting and spoke on behalf of Blevins. Attorney Cherie Adams served as acting board attorney for the city School Board at the January meeting as Hull stepped aside based on his being named in the Alexander complaint, Blevins said.
   Alexander has been represented in both matters by attorney McCoy of the state teachers union in Nashville.