ALBUQUERQUE)—The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, FOG, today filed an Inspection of Public Records Act request asking for the investigation report prepared for the Albuquerque Public School Board about former Superintendent Winston Brooks. Last Friday, Brooks and APS entered into a settlement agreement in which Brooks resigned in return for a $350,000 payment by APS.
“The public deserves to know the circumstances of Brooks’ resignation and why public money is being spent to end his employment two years before his contract termination date,” said Kathi Bearden, president of FOG.
Although the settlement agreement was released, APS has refused to release the investigation report that was prepared by attorney Agnes Padilla of Butt, Thornton & Baehr, P.C. for the school board, or provide any information about the content of the report.
“The investigation report is a public document and needs to be released,” Ms. Bearden said. “No one has seen the report, but we assume it is mainly a factual account, not opinion, and therefore not protected by the limited personnel exemption under IPRA.”
The settlement agreement is conditioned upon the issuance of a court order and approval by the New Mexico Public Education Department pursuant to state law.
“FOG does not believe any public entity, including PED, should approve a settlement based on an investigation without disclosure of the investigative report itself, especially when it involves the unexplained payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the chief administrator of the state’s largest school district,” Ms. Bearden added.
Under its public records request, FOG also has asked for any communications between any APS board member or employee and Ms. Padilla or her firm regarding Brooks or his wife, Ann Brooks, in connection with the investigation report. FOG also wants to inspect any emails and