Supervisor says he's a scapegoat
By MELANIE AVE
TAMPA -- The man who supervised a school district employee accused of misappropriating $1-million said Wednesday he thinks administrators are setting him up as a scapegoat.
Doug Erwin, the district's general director of maintenance, said he is not responsible for the financial troubles uncovered by a private investigator and detailed in an internal school district audit.
The audit accuses James McClelland, whom Erwin supervised, of overpaying contractors, ignoring bidding procedures and giving work to his nephew's company.
In some cases, companies were found to have been paid twice for the same job, according to the audit.
McClelland, supervisor of the grounds and landscaping department, retired in July after the private investigator was hired. He has denied wrongdoing, but refuses comment.
Erwin has asked to go before the School Board on Dec. 11 to tell his side of the story. He said he fears he will be fired or disciplined for the wrongdoings of others.
"Before I'm judged, I want a chance to speak my piece," said Erwin, the former principal of Armwood High School. "I don't want decisions made behind closed doors."
Superintendent Earl Lennard has said the district is considering whether Erwin failed to properly supervise McClelland.
Erwin claims he alerted district officials to the wrongdoing, then complained to his bosses and School Board members when it appeared nothing was being done.
'I am not responsible for what happened," he said. "I did all I could to prevent it."
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