Secretary contests resignation
16-year employee asks school district to fire her after demotion
November 7, 2008
Steamboat Springs — When Ginny Fry stood in front of the Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday night, she asked board members to decline her resignation because she would prefer to be fired.
Fry said she did not intend to resign from her position as secretary at Steamboat Springs Middle School, which she held for 16 years. Instead, she mistakenly offered her two-week notice when she refused a demotion to an office paraprofessional position, she said.
The board listened to Fry’s account and opted to enter an executive session Monday night to discuss the matter. Another executive session is scheduled for this morning at 8:30, with a decision about whether Fry’s departure will be considered a firing or a resignation scheduled for 8:45 a.m.
“I want it well known that the school let me go. The school fired me,” Fry said Thursday. “This was not my choice. I loved that job.”
At stake are the unemployment payments Fry could receive if she were fired. She can collect no payments if she resigns and would not be eligible for her pension, she said.
“I did call them back within a day and said I would take the (paraprofessional) job,” she said. School officials then told her the job no longer was available and that she would have to apply for it like everyone else, according to Fry’s account.
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Fry, like many school district employees, held an “at-will” contract and had no tenure.
Jerry Buelter, the middle school’s assistant principal, said he could not comment on the situation because it is a personnel issue.
Fry said she was told she was “evaluated out” of the position. Fry considered the paraprofessional job a demotion and said, “If this were a transfer, the salary should match.” Fry said she packed her belongings, turned in her keys and left.
Superintendent Shalee Cunningham recommended the board accept the resignation letter submitted on Fry’s behalf by Judy Williams, the middle school’s office manager. Fry did not submit her own resignation letter.
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