Dr. Williams Speaks to Matthew Tully

Matthew Tully has written a post on his Political Junkie blog and shares that he spoke with Dr. Williams yesterday. Dr. Williams said he agreed with his column but that the situation was clearly messed up.

“We are really trying to resolve this closely along the lines that you suggested,” he said. “We are getting — bluntly, these are not very stable people — we are not getting the kind of response that is productive (from the opposition on the school board).”

“We are attempting — clearly attempting — to reach a compromise on this situation we think could be satisfactory — actually unsatisfactory to both sides to a degree — but satisfactory to both sides,” he continued.

Williams said his lawyers do not want him to publicly disclose his latest proposal. But he said it would result in him leaving the district.

Williams said he has not been involved with Take Back Perry Schools, a group that has opposed the school board members trying to fire him. “If I leave,” he said, “many of them will be very, very, very upset. And I know that. But this has got to end.”

I will concur that the easy thing would be for Dr. Williams to leave, but I don’t believe the easy way out is the path we should be choosing in this instance.

I’m very curious as to what the deals of his proposal to the board members would include if they’re not immediately jumping on the opportunity to agree with it so they can be rid of Dr. Williams.

27 Responses to “Dr. Williams Speaks to Matthew Tully”

  1. 1 Nathan Jun 8th, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    So, this blog is at a crossroads, maybe? If this post is true, do you continue to support Williams in his endeavors or do you purpose to move past Williams and continue to belittle the school board? Not that belittling the school board is all bad - it has got its fair share of problems, but if Williams is out of the picture, is there reason to continue the blog?
    Obviously, this is all speculation…but in the next few weeks (maybe months), I would bet money on a situation close to the one Tully is suggesting that will transpire.

  2. 2 Admin Jun 8th, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    I don’t know if I’d say it’s at a crossroads. If things progress as I would hope and Dr. Williams is reinstated into his position of Superintendent, this website would probably not continue to be updated. It wouldn’t be taken down though as long as I have the resources to maintain the hosting and general upgrades and upkeep.

    My efforts to continue overseeing the actions of the board would not change though, those efforts will continue as long as there is a board in control that I don’t feel I can trust to best handle the education of my kids.

  3. 3 Calling Dr. Williams Jun 8th, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Maybe Dr. Williams did not ask for the public support he has received here. But he accepted it and privately encouraged it. He owes his supporters more than just a negotiation for his exit. He needs to publicly address the minor complaints of the board and propose how things will be different should he return. With all the support he has received, he has never publicly moved one inch to a peaceable resolution. Lawyers…schmallers…it’s time he takes that last step before he stakes his claim to the township treasure chest and sails into the sunset.

    I’m sure he would say that he has made these proposals in private and it would weaken his “bargaining” position to go public. If it’s always been about the money, he didn’t deserve the support of so many. Sure, his treatment by the board majority has been horrendous. But without taking ANY public responsibility to prove his good-faith effort, he has only “used” the support to take more of our kids’ money.

    Legal, yes. Ethical, maybe. Moral, no way.

    It would be a tragedy if the bottom line looks like this:

    Nancy Walsh – Winner (she gets to show the world how she “won’t be bullied”)

    Doug Williams – Winner (early retirement, big money for no work)

    Perry Students/Taxpayers/Williams Supporters – Big Losers (betrayed by a “great” leader, huge financial hit, still stuck with a pathetic board majority)

    The board was wrong. Dr. Williams deserved much better. But if he can go public about his payoff and exit, he should go public with his proposal to stay. Yes, it’s a bad situation for everyone, but it’s time for Dr. Williams to prove he still deserves this massive support.

    Please, Dr. Williams, do the right thing. Right now.

    Thanks for considering….

  4. 4 Admin Jun 9th, 2007 at 12:19 am

    Of course I’ll post your comment. I rarely moderate anything out completely, maybe an edit here and there for people using language or phrasing that’s inappropriate in my opinion. However, I pretty much let anyone make whatever points and share their opinions as much as possible if they’re civil about it.

    I’m not worried about your IP address, or many other people’s for that matter. It’s only people who repeatedly antagonize and attack without having the courage to put their own name behind it that starts to draw my attention, especially when what appears to be the same “voice” does it under a variety of pseudonyms.

    I’m not sure why you think you deserve to hear the inner workings of our core group of people, but again that’s your opinion. In my estimations, it’s the equivalent of an executive session of the board, so if they want to share with me what goes on in those meetings, I’ll start sharing what goes on in ours.

    As for Dr. William’s efforts at a resolution, I have no clue. I hope at the very least it’s a resignation of two for one. If Dr. Williams is going to leave the township, we absolutely can’t leave it in the hands of the current board majority to bring us out of this mess.

    As for his “privately encouraging” the support you’re wrong there, at least from my perspective. Not sure if you’re implying as others have that we’ve all been bought and paid for by him, but trust me when I say I’ve spent far more on this cause than I’ve gained from it, which is $0.00.

    I’d be interested in you providing a concise list of the minor complaints the board has had with him. It seems to me all of those items could have been worked out in mediation at the least if the board majority had really been interested in working together.

    He’s never staked his claim in th township’s treasure chest, only his compensation package that is rightfully due him. Would you walk away from 3 years of your salary and benefits if your contract stated it was owed to you and the charges brought up against you were bogus or not enough to precipitate your firing? Again, it’s never been about the money. Staying and fighting this battle has cost him more personally than I’m sure I can even imagine.

    It’s amazing to me you keep stating the he’s been the one to take money from the township and the kids. He’s yet to spend any money that he hasn’t earned through his contract and employment through the township. The board on the other hand has spent and or lost 100’s of thousands of dollars out of our township’s general fund which is used directly for programs for students and schools. Who’s claiming the township treasure chest money?

  5. 5 Nathan Jun 9th, 2007 at 1:08 am

    I don’t see how you can throw Perry students in the group of big losers. People keep mentioning how students actually are affected by the board - the majority of them don’t even care what’s happening. People mention that it has hurt the morale of the schools. While we had some outspoken teachers concerning this issue, school proceeded as usual. It likewise proceeded as usual when we lost our principal. It’s really, really difficult to greatly alter the morale and day-to-day happenings of a school. I think some people are making this issue a lot bigger than it needs to be. It is a significant issue, sure, but it’s not the end all of Perry Township education.

  6. 6 Perry Dad Jun 9th, 2007 at 1:34 am

    If Williams wants to leave, that’s his call and right. And if he does leave, at least he knows he had strong support from the public, teachers, and at least part of the school board through these extremely harsh months.

    Personally I’m supporting Dr. Williams because, from my perspective, I believe his leadership has been good for the township. My children HAVE benefited from his leadership. They attend EXCELLENT Edison schools and have had very positive (i might say inspiring) PERSONAL contact with Dr. Williams. As a parent who watched the man interact with my children (long before any of this school board nonsense began), I am convinced that he loves children and education. My children’s teachers have rallied behind the man as well, and honestly, I want my kid’s teachers to be happy employees and inspired to go to work every day. (They sometimes haven’t been recently…)

    I hope Dr. Williams stays, especially since, if he doesn’t, the “unstable” board that has lost public trust will be the very ones who pick our next leader!! But as I said, it’s his call.

    Would this website stop functioning? I’m not in any way involved in it, but my assumption is “yes”. When Dr. Williams leaves our township, frankly his future life will be irrelevant to my children’s education. I assume others like me will eventually forget about him and focus on our kids education. And, of course, voting some of our school board members out of office…

  7. 7 Perry Dad Jun 9th, 2007 at 1:49 am

    Replying to Nathan:

    If you haven’t seen morale suffer, my guess is that you aren’t very close to teachers in the township. I know teachers and a few administrators personally, and they have been fighting this board since before the last election (fighting to not elect some of them, then fighting with them since). This is the leadership of their district - OF COURSE they are concerned. If the leadership at my company were unstable and vindictive, I’d be pretty concerned too. And that affects morale.

  8. 8 Calling Dr. Williams Jun 9th, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Time out. I think I’m on your side. Just thinking that the “resolution/compromise” referenced in Tully’s piece is mainly about the dollar amount of a compensation package. If Dr. Williams is negotiating a 2-for-1 resignation, then that’s a bit different.

    I personally trust Dr. Williams to run the system his way. But if reality means “apologizing” and doing a bit of coddling to keep his position, then why not do it?

    The complaints…it’s not my list…none of the board’s frivolous complaints bother me. I just think Dr. Williams could be successful even if he has to put up with a bit of micromanaging for a while. He’s skilled enough to get the same end results, the board would just make it more inconvenient. I hope he’d be willing to live with that, even though he shouldn’t have to.

    And yes, all the wasted money is the board’s fault. But the amount of a possible compensation package is still an open question and will impact students and taxpayers. I’d feel a lot better about a big payout if I hear Dr. Williams publicly state just how much personal and professional inconvenience he was willing to accept to keep his job. I’m not yet convinced that he deserves the full amount of his contract.

    I know you’re not making or taking money with the websites. But you have to admit that Dr. Williams…at least indirectly…supports the content. He hasn’t asked you to stop and let him go-it-alone has he? And I think it’s great that you’re doing it and he likes it. I’d even go so far as to give you “hero” status for all of your time.

    It’s just disappointing that the new “3-3” voting status has resulted in Dr. Williams’ public comments about an exit strategy rather than a plan to return.

    Keep up the good work. Still hoping for the best possible result.

  9. 9 Sue Jun 9th, 2007 at 10:44 am

    I have a question.

    At the close of day yesterday, late in the afternoon, an addendum was added to the Board Agenda by Susan Adams.

    It read something like: Reschedule hearing after N.Walsh Appeal.

    Can someone help me understand this???

    Is Susan Adams recommending that the hearing on Dr. Williams’ firing be rescheduled after Nancy Walsh appeals the judge’s ruling that she cannot vote?


  10. 10 PMHS Grad Jun 9th, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    I curiously read today’s article in the Star that said Dr. Williams was interesting in negociating a buy-out of his contract. Has this been his idea all along and he just had to do something once Matthew Tully wrote about it, or was he inspired this week?

    Unfortunately, it probably would have been the best solution all along and everyone knows it. Support the board or not, there would have NEVER been a positive relationship between the board and Dr. Williams after this debacle. Wait until they’re all re-elected? He’ll probably want to retire by that time. Who would blame him?

    What’s really unfortunate is that tons of money has been spent (in my opinion, wasted), people’s feelings have been hurt, relationships between friends have been destroyed, etc. Dr. Williams has cashed in for the last 8 months making more money than most of the residents of Perry Township for doing nothing, the school board has been heckled constantly (my favorite was the meeting in which a gentleman led the crowd in chanting “You four must go!” third grade style), and not much progress has been made on any other issue in the township because everyone is so concerned about Dr. Williams.

    I agree with Nathan. I was close to a ton of teachers, very involved at PMHS, and besides watching passionate teachers waste classroom time complaining, I was never affected by this in the classroom. I spoke at a school board meeting about this because I was so tired of teachers bringing this into my class–I’m there to learn, and I don’t care that you’re going to get your orange shirt and showing up three hours early to stare down Susan Adams. For the students who were interested enough to care about this, it was really an issue of observing teachers’ maturity.

    All that being said, he should negociate out his contract and leave. I attended Perry schools for 13 years, shook his hand maybe one or two times, and never at any point felt that he was irreplaceable. For the sake of the students and their educations, let’s move on.

  11. 11 Nathan Jun 11th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Someone just made a lot of sense…

  12. 12 To Nathan Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Of course it makes sense to you. You want Williams gone. The truth is that most people disagree with you.

  13. 13 PMHS Grad Jun 12th, 2007 at 12:38 am

    This is not about: “You want Williams gone. The truth is that most people disagree with you.”

    Matt Tully has already criticized the school board for their actions, and I would as well because I don’t think their actions were timed or executed very well. But the point, unfortunately, does not fall in the past. However badly the school board messed up eight months ago is irrelavent at this point. To end this mess, someone needs to step up to a leadership position and say, “I’m going to be the bigger person, and I’m going to end this.” Dr. Williams is the obvious choice. As you alluded, the school board isn’t respected anyway, so any action on their part would just be ridiculed. If Dr. Williams did something, though, he could speak to his numerous supporters and give advice on how to handle this and move on.

    As I said before, I’ve had personal contact with Dr. Williams, and though he was nice, he never seemed irreplaceable. Perhaps it’s because of my parents and what is important to my family, but on several occasions I was unimpressed with his performance in the township and thought long before this school board that we might be better off without him. Really, I hope this all just goes away. I don’t want to be sitting in my dorm room next year, hearing on the news “..and a small township in Indianapolis is tearing itself apart…”

  14. 14 Nathan Jun 12th, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Exactly. I don’t necessarily want Dr. Williams gone. I really want what is best for Perry Township education, to be overtly cliche. Since the focus of the school board has turned from the students, its first and foremost goal, to a secondary administrative quibble, that yield no benefactors in the controversy. I guess maybe the only people that are benefiting are also the only ones that like to cry loudly.

    The school board did not carry out their actions very well. There were several alternatives to removing the superintendent. This website and subsequent comments have detailed all those likable scenarios. But it’s been eight months. As Tully, PM grad, and myself (also a PM grad), along with many others - I’ll just make that assumption, have said, it’s time to move on. It’s time to focus on the students again. And from this time forth, as well. We don’t need this to be a lingering issue.

    This issue will either be resolved through some judicial means that puts Dr. Williams back in his position or Dr. Williams’ resignation. If he’s back on the board, the focus will indefinitely remain on this administrative politicking. If he resigns, the board will find a suitable replacement and put the issue to rest.

    This idea riles emotions and comments because the board is getting off scot-free. If you really have a personal agenda against the board, vote ‘em out. I’m sure seven board members that all like Williams would have the power to do a lot of stuff to rectify any supposed wrongdoings during this board’s term.

    The wise philosopher Tom Petty says it best, “Time to move on, time to get going. What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing. But under my feet, grass is growing. It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going.”

  15. 15 To PMHS Grad Jun 12th, 2007 at 10:37 am

    You just hit the nail on the head. YOU will be going away to college next year. WE will still be here, and we wil be the ones dealing with this mess if Dr. Williams is not reinstated OR if Susan Adams and Nancy Walsh remain on the board. One of those two things has to happen for any healing to begin. It’s not a matter of someone being irreplacable, as you put it. It’s a matter of what is best for our community and our schools. The whole “Dr. Williams needs to be a bigger person and end this” is just a clever way of his few detractors trying to nudge him from walking away from all of the people who do not want him to go. To me, it is fairly transparent. I don’t believe Dr. Williams will fall for it. He will not leave us having to deal with those two.

  16. 16 Nathan Jun 12th, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    But wanting Dr. Williams back is just a clever way of his few ardent supporters (and a bunch of bandwagoners) trying to nudge him on to spite the board. He’s just a superintendent. There’s plenty of ‘em to go around. The whole of Perry Township education can’t be focused on one man’s job status.

  17. 17 Mrs. Butler Jun 12th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    I don’t want to spite the board, but I am tired of the board making poor decisions just to spite others. The board majority acts like mean girls in the middle school cafeteria. It needs to stop.

  18. 18 Tim Nance Jun 12th, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    To Nathan:

    My wanting Dr. Williams back as superintendent has NOTHING to do with spite directed toward the board.

    I respect the fact that all of the board members were elected by the people of Perry Township and I, personally, believe that they should ALL be able to work together for the best interest of our community.
    That means working with Dr. Williams. This situation is ridiculous.

    Also, your remark, “He’s just a superintendent. There’s plenty of ‘em to go around” to me shows that you really don’t appreciate how important good leadership is to the teachers of this township.

  19. 19 Nathan Jun 13th, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Maybe you can take it that way. I was just trying to say that the superintendent isn’t the end all of this township’s education. There’s many pieces to the puzzle. Williams, like fellow PM grad said, isn’t irreplaceable. That’s all I was trying to reiterate.

    And I completely agree. This situation is ridiculous.

  20. 20 Calling Dr. Williams Jun 13th, 2007 at 1:06 am

    It would still be nice for Dr. Williams to publicly address this group and report on the specifics of his efforts to keep his position.

    Meanwhile, I am interested to know what members of this group see as the main variables in an exit negotiation for Dr. Williams, since he seems to be moving that way. Also, what supporters see as his moral duty in those negotiations. Of course legally he could just push for a maximum payout. Is that ok with everyone?

    What variables am I missing besides:

    1. Amount and timing of payout relative to his contract.

    2. Simultaneous resignations of board member(s)

    3. Threat of additional lawsuit based on how the board’s actions impact his ability to find other employment

    4. Public disclosure/nondisclosure of all terms of a deal

    5. Dismissal of current legal actions

    6. Public disclosure of complaints against Dr. Williams that have not yet been made public

    If staying is not an option, would everyone be happy with this:

    Dr. Williams resigns. Adams and Walsh resign. Dr. Williams is paid up to the full amount of his contract at normal intervals until he finds new employment. All parties agree to not pursue any additional claims. All current legal actions are dropped. Dr. Williams and board members are prohibited from discussing anything to do with the deal: past, present, future.

    What say you? Admin? Others?….Dr. Williams?

  21. 21 Mrs. Butler Jun 13th, 2007 at 9:07 am

    This does sound logical, “calling Dr. Williams”. I can’t see that Dr. Williams would just pack up and leave this district that he dearly loves while leaving Adams and Walsh in control. And I don’t know why people who support the board want to cry out about Dr. Williams asking for money that was promised to him in a contract. Why does it even matter? We have been paying him for months and months to watch birds. I would FAR rather see the township money go to Dr. Williams, as promised, than to go into more and more ridiculous legal bills. The appeal is the real kicker. I’m sure even their own attorney, Jon Bailey, who advised them against the appeal, is just shaking his head with embarrassment. Oh how he must regret ever signing on to represent such a foolish board.

    If they ever were to reach an agreement, and Dr. Williams does leave…I highly doubt that details could be kept silent. One very simple reason would be that spouses often discuss things, and one spouse of a board member has PROVEN to spew private, confidential township information.

  22. 22 PMHS Grad Jun 13th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Correct, I’ll be leaving next year, but my family will still live in Perry Township and my younger sister will still attend a township school. I personally won’t be affected, but the closest people to me will be.

    Allow me to direct your attention to the following website which I haven’t seen mentioned thus far: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007706090510

    I don’t see Dr. Williams’ negociating a buy out of his contract as a nudging from anyone. In fact, in that article he says “I’m very much willing to talk about a solution that does not involve Doug Williams as superintendent.” Even Dr. Williams is beginning to consider that the battle might not be worth the damage that Perry Township will sustain!

    As Mr. Nance said, we should all work together. Unfortunately, that is no longer an option. If he is restored to his position, I would venture to guess that the tension at school board meetings would be higher than it already is. Good leadership is important to teachers, I agree, but if he leaves, are the teachers going to leave with him and follow him to a new position somewhere else? The teachers have been teaching all year without him, and if it’s really about using the best teachers to educate kids in the best way, then there should be no leadership issue.

  23. 23 Nathan Jun 14th, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Re: Calling Dr. Williams

    I think that is a very logical resolution. I have just one question, and it’s a dicey one at that. Fully expecting any emotionally-charged responses, here it is: on what grounds is it that Adams and Walsh need to resign? They might have helped create this whole mess, to be sure, but why do they merit resignation status and not Thompson and Alexander? What did they do differently? They were the outspoken two of the board majority, yes, but they acted as legally (or illegally) as the other two. And if all four are called on to resign, that’s just playing partisan politics. You might as well start clean and ask all seven to resign for taking sides in a heated, controversial issue. It makes as much sense.

    The grounds to get rid of the board President and Vice-President are as shaky as the grounds to dismiss Dr. Williams. If one thinks Dr. Williams was treated unfairly, then it’s hard to imagine calling for these other two resignations. Other than to serve some political justice…

    Now, if Dr. Williams assumes this hero role that Matt Tully writes about, it could make sense for the board members that started this mess to assume the same hero role. A willful resignation is much different than a forceful one.

    Or there’s some silly, obvious something that would explain why the two need to resign. I must’ve missed it.

  24. 24 TO PMHS Grad Jun 14th, 2007 at 9:35 am

    I have read that article about Dr. Williams and his attempt to negotiate a buyout. What the article doesn’t mention (nor should it) is WHAT the specifics of his offer included. My guess is that it would include some board member resignations along with his. That must be why Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. Adams will not agree to it.
    After the federal judge’s decision last week, it is obvious that this board will not be able to remove Dr. Williams from his job. He and his attorneys know that so now they hold all the power cards. It should be interesting, and I wish you well in college.

  25. 25 PMHS Grad Jun 14th, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    I hadn’t considered that the negociation might involve board member resignations, but that would be interesting. However, even if that is the case, I don’t think that’s why Adams and Walsh aren’t agreeing to it. If they wanted to buy out his contract, I don’t think there would be any hesitation from either party. I think it’s quite obvious that they don’t want him to get anything. I don’t think their desire is to support his contract for three years if they don’t have to.

  26. 26 Calling Dr. Williams Jun 14th, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    If there is a way to do it, all the board members should resign and then have a special election. I don’t think the minority members would have any trouble returning if they chose to run again. At least three of the majority members would lose by a landslide if they chose to run. Ruby is a question mark, but hopefully she’d hang it up. Meanwhile, we could add some good people…like Jason (admin)…if he chose to run.

    Probably not possible…but it’d be fair.

    I don’t expect to see any resignations unless Dr. Williams makes it part of his negotiation.

    If you look back a few posts at my original proposal, we could add this:

    To be even more fair to Dr. Williams, the township should agree to subsidize any reasonable salary in a future position to bring total compensation to the current contract level during the remaining contract term. That way Dr. Williams could immediately take a lesser-paying job and not lose money. If he agreed to those terms and actively searched for a new job, I’d put him back in “hero” territory.

    What do you think, Dr. Williams? Is that fair?

  27. 27 Admin Jun 15th, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Thanks for your voice of support. I’ve entertained the idea of running for the board, but I think it will depend on who the other candidates are that step up after this ordeal. Whomever runs is going to have their work cut out for them in trying to heal and repair this township.

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