Waukee Schools Pays Former Employee $1M, School Board Candidate Responds

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WAUKEE, Iowa -- A former Waukee School District administrative assistant reached a $1 million settlement with the district after she claims she was forced out after reporting the wrongdoings of their former Chief Operations Officer, Eric Rose.

This settlement comes after Amy Patters filed two lawsuits against the district: one for wrongful termination and the other claiming the district violated open meeting laws.

Patters’ attorney said the minute leaders in the district knew Patters participated in investigations surrounding Rose and the district she became a target.

“Once they found out that she had participated in these investigations, she had her first negative review in 7 years, she had her job duties systematically taken away one by one and other people were assigned to her job duties. So that by the end, she was literally just sitting there with nothing to do, Patters’ Attorney Paige Fiedler said.

Fiedler said Rose was accused of changing employee time cards, receiving kickbacks and other intimidating practices.

“One other thing I know that he did was he put up cameras video cameras to show who was going into the HR office to talk to human resources. I mean that’s just flat out intimidation to try and discourage people from coming forward and participating in the investigations,” Fiedler said.

Now that they’ve reached a settlement with Patters the new administration and soon to be elected school board members can start fresh.

Dan Gehlbach is one of the board candidates.

“I think it comes down to people and culture. You can have all the laws and policies and procedures on the books, but if you don’t have the right people and the right culture around those things, then that’s why openness and transparency is so important. With the new board and the new administration that’s in place to move us in a forward direction,” Gehlbach said.

Gehlbach said if elected he would make sure the board is more transparent to taxpayers and parents.

“We need to open things up and I'm looking forward to broadcasting our meeting out either recorded or live video feed of our board meetings. So, the public can get a better idea of what happens in those board meetings,” Gehlbach said.


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