By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – The former head of the Lee County School District on Thursday said he did not authorize Jimmy Weeks to do contact work for the district.
Weeks, the district’s current superintendent, was cited by the state Ethics Commission after a cleaning and janitorial company he owned performed work for the school district in 2010. He reached a settlement with the commission last Friday that required him to repay $33,426.61 in income and a $10,000 punitive fine.
The violation concerned two different projects Weeks’ company performed in 2010: janitorial services while Weeks was principal at Mooreville Elementary School and a subcontract with Siemens Industry to clean up at the end of a construction project at six Lee County schools.
Weeks became assistant superintendent in spring 2010. He was elected superintendent in November 2011 when he defeated incumbent Mike Scott.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Weeks said he received “bad advice” from his superiors.
The statement said that he was told by his superiors at the time that the work “was not a problem.”
When asked, Weeks declined to say whom he meant by his superiors, confining his comments to the statement.
Scott, who served as superintendent at the time, would have been Weeks’ supervisor. Keith Steele served as assistant superintendent when Weeks was principal.
Both Scott and Steele said Thursday they did not give Weeks any authority to do any of the work.
“If that is true, let him say who it was,” Steele said.
Steele said no one in Central Office knew about the Siemens contract until it got notification of a tax form.
“No one could have told him it was OK because we didn’t even know about it,” Steele said.
Steele said Scott told Weeks to cease the janitorial work at Mooreville Elementary. He said school principals had the authority to bid out the cleaning contract for their schools.
“I did everything right in my 42 years in education and to have him sit up there and indicate that I did something wrong, I resent that fact and that is just not true and that is a lie coming from him,” said Steele, who is now retired. “I’m not going to allow him to attack my character over something he is lying about.”
Scott said he concurred with Steele’s comments.
Weeks said he had nothing more to say than his original statement.