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Interim director writes scathing resignation letter
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The interim director of Upper Cumberland Development District has resigned, but not before pointing the finger of guilt at board members.
“It is clear this board does not have the best interest of the agency’s employees, or those who are served throughout the Upper Cumberland region, by decisions that continue to cripple the agency financially,” said interim director Earl Carwile in his resignation letter.
Carwile, a longtime employee at UCDD, was appointed Feb. 24 as its interim director by UCDD board members. This was after an investigation identified the misappropriation of funds by former director Wendy Askins, who resigned and admitted she “made some mistakes.”
Carwile was with the organization for 16 years and resigned after 14 weeks as interim director.
“I have been a faithful employee of UCDD for over 16 years, however, I will not continue to be associated with such an organization,” he said.
Problems arose shortly after his appointment, says Carwile. He maintains no direction was given to him from the board, but criticism was abundant.
“Upon this appointment, we received no guidance from the UCDD board of directors in which was best suited for the situation in which we inherited, rather an immediate criticism of practices that were only for the betterment of the agency,” he wrote.
Since his appointment, raises totaling $25,000 annually were given to eight UCDD employees. Carwile says the organization was down eight employees so he reassigned duties and gave raises instead of hiring eight people they could not afford.
To investigate Askins’ activities as director, the board hired attorney Bob Walker. Carwile says the investigation of a former director cost 10 times what Carwile gave in raises to current employees.
“Where were your concerns when the accrual of a $250,000 lawyer bill was rising,” said Carwile.
Carwile says he was criticized for the raises by board members using “backstage gossiping” that he “certainly wouldn’t expect from board members who are supposed to be of highest support.”
Last week, Carwile voiced displeasure at a vote by UCDD board members to give Amanda Mainord, a former UCDD employee, profits from grants she worked on while employed by the development district.
“I personally don’t agree with the decision you just made, but that’s my opinion,” he told the board at that time.
According to Carwile, those profits totaled approximately $135,000.
Along with an allegations of crippling the organization financially, Carwile’s resignation pointed to a behind-the-scene attempt by the board to find the individual or individuals who leaked information to the media. Specially, the board wants to know which employee gave information to News Channel 5.
“You and others continue to focus on who contacted the media and who took information out?” wrote Carwile. “Both items listed are things that may never be disclosed and falsely accusing staff will provide you with even greater problems and will never allow for success to occur at this agency.”
Carwile says “deals” have been made to remove suspected individuals as soon as a new director is hired, with his name making the list.
“We as management continue to be made aware of deals that have, and are being made, to ensure that I, as well as others, are removed upon appointment of the new executive director,” he said. “It is highly unfortunate people who call themselves leaders would partake in such activity.”
Carwile’s resignation is effective June 15. In his place as interim director, board members have placed UCDD employee Randy Williams. Applications for the executive director position are currently being accepted.