Podcast: Ken Turnage Responds to “Bully Boss” Accusations

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

On this episode, I chat with Ken Turnage regarding the “bully boss” accusations within the Antioch Unified School District.

With a third-party investigator agreeing with District findings, Turnage is now willing to speak on what had actually transpired. Turnage shares his thoughts on the bond, the work environment, and changes within the department.

We then get into the placement of the desk on the roof, printers, to other comments made such as from the union. We touch on Board Member Antonio Hernandez calling for superintendent Stephanie Anello resign or being fired ahead of even being debriefed on the accusations and findings. Turnage says he looks forward to returning to work once everything is completed.

Note – Third-Party Investigator Confirms Antioch School District Handled “Bully Boss” Claims Appropriately

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AUSD Letter to The District Employees

May 15,

Deer Antioch Unified School District Staff,

I hope this message finds each of you well and thriving in your roles within our District.

As you may be aware, there has been recent media coverage regarding certain personnel matters within our organization. I want to take a moment to provide clarity and address some of the concerns that may have arisen as a result.

First and foremost, I want to assure you that the District takes all employee matters seriously and handles them with the utmost care and diligence. Any complaints or issues brought forward are thoroughly investigated by our Human Resources Department or a third party, independent firm, in accordance with established protocols, procedures, board policy, and applicable law.

Two of the four complaints recently highlighted in the media coverage, were in fact processed consistent with the District’s practices, protocols, procedures, board policy, and applicable law in that they were investigated by Human Resources and the complainants were responded to with Confidential Administrative Determination letters that contained findings of those investigations. In addition, under the Superintendent’s direction they were subsequently reviewed by an outside, third-party, independent investigator which found that the internal investigations and appeal process were appropriately conducted, finding no irregularities in the investigation processes or the findings of the investigations. The two more recent complaints are under investigation and will go through a similar process. If and when there is a need for employee discipline, based on the evidence and findings, such discipline would be assigned by the Human Resources Department, again, based on appropriate protocols, board policy, collective bargaining agreements, and applicable law.

Last month, the Board President spoke to the media claiming the District mishandled certain employee complaints. However, it was not until last Wednesday, May 8, that the Board first heard about the steps the Human Resources Department took to investigate and respond to the complaints. Moreover, the District and subsequently the Board has also been informed by an outside-third-party, independent investigator who reviewed the District’s handling of the complaints, that the District acted appropriately and in accordance with the law.

It is important to understand that personnel matters are confidential in nature, and as such, we are limited in the information that we can disclose publicly. While we understand that this may lead to speculation or misinformation, we want to emphasize that the District remains committed to protecting the privacy rights of employees while being transparent where possible.

We also want to make it clear that Superintendent Anello was not directly involved in the investigations, findings, or disciplinary actions related to these matters. This is consistent with the District’s practices, policies, and procedures.

We understand that media coverage can be unsettling, especially when it involves our organization. However, we encourage you to focus on the important work that we do every day to support our students and the community. We have had a challenging but rewarding year. All schools will soon see some much-needed facility improvements because of the passage of Measure B, which will bring $195 million in upgrades and repairs to our schools, and the District has implemented a new approach to early literacy to advance the skills of our students. Additionally, all schools have engaged in the equity audits commissioned by the Board of Education and most importantly, we provided a comprehensive, positive learning environment that was safe and supportive which has allowed students to thrive. This work, the work of our amazing employees, and the positive impact to students continues to be our focus and a reason to celebrate as we wind down the 2023-2024 school year.

Superintendent Anello is currently on medical leave and looks forward to returning once her doctor releases her to return. The Governing Board is working to identify an acting superintendent in her absence. More information will be shared once that person has been determined by Board action.

Thank you all for your dedication and commitment to the Antioch Unified School District. Your hard work and professionalism are greatly appreciated.

Warm Regards,

Robert A Martinez, Ed.D.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Antioch Unified School District

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.