Valdosta Daily Times

February 23, 2014

Non-disclosure questioned

Agreement signed between Davis, Lowndes County School District

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — On Sunday, Feb. 16, The Times ran an article discussing the conduct of Lowndes County School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Morgan Troy Davis. Since that time, the non-disclosure agreement between Davis and the District that apparently prevented the board from commenting on the situation has raised questions in the community.

The document was signed by Davis, Superintendent Wes Taylor, and Board Chairman Fred Wetherington on Dec. 16, 2013, the same day that Davis officially submitted his notification of retirement.

Warren Turner,  attorney representing Lowndes County Schools, explained that the document is similar to those that would be signed by an employee working for a private business that had access to confidential information. Turner said there is no difference between the documents that public entities, such as a school, and private businesses would have employees sign when they decide to leave.

If Davis decides to run for a position on the school board, Turner was questioned if this document will prevent Davis from discussing board issues or policies or using his prior knowledge about the school system in any way.

The agreement states:  “Davis agrees to keep any information as it relates to his employment while at district confidential including any and all financial information and/or trade secrets.”

As the finance director for several years, potentially any knowledge Davis received during his employment could appear to violate the agreement if discussed in a campaign or a board meeting.

However, Turner said the agreement would not keep Davis from running for public office, such as a school board position.

Below is a copy of the non-disclosure agreement between Davis and the Lowndes County School District.

“This agreement made on the day and year set opposite each party’s respective signature by and between DR. MORGAN TROY DAVIS, hereinafter referred to as “DAVIS” and the LOWNDES COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, hereinafter referred to as “DISTRICT”, for and in consideration of the mutual promises herein contained agree as follows:

The Parties agree to cooperate with the other Party in making an orderly transition of the activities relation to DAVIS’ current assignment. The Parties will not disparage the other Party or its board members, officials, or employees during the remainder of DAVIS” employment with the DISTRICT and following his retirement.

The Parties hereby release and discharge the other Party, including its board members, officers, employees, or representatives from any and all claims and demands known or unknown, present or future of any type including but not limited to ethical, legal or administration claims, existing or arising subsequent to the execution of this document, including but not limited to any wrongful termination, harassment, EEOC, Workers Compensation, Social Security, Wrongful Termination, Title 7 of the U.S. Code, unemployment compensation, wage and hour compensation, discrimination of any kind, disability of any Federal, State, or Local Claim, which are based on events or circumstances arising from any point in the past through the date of this Release as a result of the employment of DAVIS with the DISTRICT. The Parties and their agents expressly deny that they have any liability to the other Party and this Release is not to be constructed as an admission of either Party.

DAVIS agrees to keep any information as it relates to his employment while at DISTRICT confidential including any and all financial information and/or trade secrets.

This Release constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties hereto and completely replaces any and all prior agreements or understandings between the Parties regarding the matters covered by this Release. If any of the provisions of this Release are declared illegal or invalid, the validity of the remaining provisions will not be affected.

Neither Party shall voluntarily discuss the contents of this Release.

This Release was executed by and between the parties on this the 16 day of December, 2013.”