With less than four years in the Port Arthur Independent School District superintendent’s seat, Dr. Johnny Brown has accepted an early buy-out package, which will effectively end his employment with PAISD June 30. Brown announced his resignation March 28, saying he would fulfill the remainder of his contract – until September 2014 – before leaving his post.
As part of the deal, Brown will receive $228,000 in addition to his regular pay until June 30, payable to Brown and his Grapevine, Texas, attorney. He will also be paid for unused non-duty and local leave days.
Additionally, the district agreed to hold Brown harmless in current and future litigation, “excluding, however, those claims or any causes of action where it is determined that Brown committed a criminal act, official misconduct, or committed a willful or wrongful act or omission, or an act of omission constituting gross negligence, or acted in bad faith, with conscious indifference or reckless disregard.”
Brown also agreed to participate in future litigation brought against the district concerning the former superintendent.
For his part, “Brown intends to release any claim made by Brown for personal embarrassment, mental and physical strain and injury, and for damages to his reputation,” the buy-out contract states. Brown agreed not to sue the district, with the district agreeing to the same.
Other provisions included the district providing a reference for Brown, and each involved party agreeing to part ways amicably.
The PAISD board “individually and collectively, agree to refrain from making negative comments regarding Brown to others, including potential employers,” the agreement further states. “Brown agrees to refrain from making negative comments regarding the district and its administration.”
Trustee Theodore Victor said he was unhappy with the clauses in the superintendent’s buy-out contract that prevent full public disclosure.
“I have a concern in how the process ended,” he said. “Our negotiations have been taken from us – held hostage – by one of our own (trustees).” Because of that, Victor added, “The public will not have the opportunity to know what really happened.”
Official word from PAISD contends, “It is strictly a voluntary act of Brown to resign his employment as superintendent of the district because Brown believes it will be in his best interest, and that of the district.”
Brown said he was willing to work out his contract but is leaving early at the request of the board.
“Quite frankly,” Brown told The Examiner, “I’ve already been here longer than I had planned. My family and I have agreed to move on and pursue other options.”
Brown said he is currently looking for employment locally and out of the region. According to him, he has made applications to other appointments, but not in the Golden Triangle.