Ron Collier speaks out on audit | News
Chief Financial Officer of Bibb County Schools, Ron Collier, spoke out for the first time today about his conflicts with former superintendent Romain Dallemand and why he drew the line that got him demoted.
"Sometimes, you're asked to do things that make you uncomfortable," Collier said. "If you were asked to jump off a cliff, would you? Of course you wouldn't. Because again, that's your death."
Collier says just days after he refused to sign a million-dollar check to a Macon non-profit because he believed it might be illegal, Romain Dallemand removed him from his position as CFO and sent him to a special assignment working alone in a school warehouse.
Collier says his demotion in December 2012 is proof of the atmosphere of fear and coercion under Dallemand.
"You already see what happens when you don't take the action or the direction of the superintendent. He'll send you to the warehouse and have you demoted," he said said.
At that time, Dallemand opened a ten-day investigation into Collier's office but never explained why.
"It says to me that the superintendent wanted to move me out of the way under the false pretense of an investigation so he could do what he wanted to do. The timing of all of this is ridiculous for someone not to understand that's what happened."
Director of Accounting, Sharon Roberts, said after Collier's demotion, staff worked in fear of losing their jobs, too.
"That was part of the fear and coercion that all of the central office was going through. We did not know from day-to-day what access we would be let go," Roberts said.
While Collier was removed from his position, Roberts was named interim chief financial officer in his place.
Two candidates qualifying for seats on the school board also reacted to that audit on Monday.
Attorney Daryl Morton and insurance agent Darren Latch are running for Posts 7 and 8 respectively.
Both told me they want authorities to keep looking into the matter.
"Dollars for schools are scarce anyway. We should be making sure every dollar goes to benefit our teachers and students, and when it gets misused like that, I'm angry., I want to know what happened. That's why I fully support an investigation," Morton said.
"In my opinion, i believe there were laws broken dealing in local, state and federal tax money and grant money," Latch said. "I believe there needs to be further investigations, and I also believe it's time for potentially the governor to be alerted."
School officials met with the district attorney's office this morning.
Bibb County D.A. David Cooke says the attorney general's office will appoint a special prosecutor who will decide whether there was any crime committed and whether charges should be filed.
That audit did not indicate there was any money missing or that Dallemand profited personally from any of that spending.
Cooke says he will not handle the case due to his connection to the Macon Promise Neighborhood program, which received that $1 million payment from the school system.
The office of Attorney General Sam Olens confirmed to 13WMAZ that they'd received Cooke's letter but said it's too soon to say when they might appoint a prosecutor.
Here is an extended interview from Collier: