Twin Rivers Unified official gets $400,000 to settle lawsuit

Published: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 - 5:17 pm

A Twin Rivers Unified School District administrator will receive $400,000 to settle a lawsuit in which he alleged officials retaliated against him for reporting misdeeds, the district confirmed Thursday.

Gasps and whistles filled the Twin Rivers board room Tuesday night after trustees announced the district would pay Jeff Doyle $200,000 to settle the suit he filed last year against the district. But trustees described only what Doyle will collect directly from the district.

An insurance pool of local districts, Schools Insurance Authority, will pay him an additional $200,000, district officials said Thursday.

Doyle was the district's facilities director before being placed on paid leave in 2011.

His lawsuit alleged that top district officials retaliated against him after he reported misconduct, including misspending, improper relationships between a district administrator and vendors, and projects being awarded to contractors without going out to public bid.

Doyle asked the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office to investigate similar claims in January 2012, but prosecutors declined.

The lawsuit named as defendants Twin Rivers Unified, former Superintendent Frank Porter, former Assistant Superintendent Alan Colombo, Associate Superintendent Patty Smart and Associate Superintendent Rob Ball.

The Doyle situation actually cost the district much more than it paid in the settlement.

The district placed Doyle on administrative leave on June 15, 2011, and it has continued paying his $108,078 annual salary plus benefits since that time.

As part of the agreement, he will continue to receive full pay and benefits until he formally retires from the district on Dec. 30.

"The district is pleased the matter is now fully resolved and can be put behind us, allowing all to move forward," district officials said Thursday in a prepared statement.

Twin Rivers has faced several high-dollar lawsuits in recent years. One was a $3.9 million suit filed by Siegrid "Ziggy" Robeson, who was fired as deputy superintendent; another was a $3 million suit filed by Sherilene Chycoski, who worked as the district's visual and performing arts director.

The district also reached a $650,000 settlement in December with five men who accused district police officers of brutality and false arrest.

Call The Bee's Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert. Read her Report Card blog at http://blogs.sacbee.com/report-card/.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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