Attorney: District ‘deliberately’ violated Buckley’s contract

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

In the first day of a civil trial for Dr. Melvin Buckley, attorneys gave opening arguments and jurors listened to the testimony of one witness before recessing for the day.

During opening arguments, John Mooney, attorney for the former superintendent of the Natchez-Adams School District, told the jurors that the lawsuit is a simple case of right and wrong.

&uot;The evidence is going to show that the (Natchez-Adams School District) deliberately, maliciously and in bad faith violated (Buckley’s) contract,&uot; Mooney said.

Email newsletter signup

Buckley was hired by the school district as superintendent in 1988.

After the school board decided not to renew Buckley’s superintendent contract for the 1993-94 school year the two parties came to a &uot;settlement agreement&uot; that Buckley would work for the school district for two more years on special projects earning $18,000 annually.

Buckley is suing for breach of contract.

As superintendent Buckley earned $66,500 annually but the extra two years would have allowed him to acquire the 25 years he desired for his state retirement.

His attorney plans to argue that the school district did not live up to the contract.

&uot;He entered into this contract in good faith,&uot; Mooney said.

But by agreeing to the original &uot;settlement agreement&uot; but not living up to its conditions, the school district was able to get around holding a non-renewal hearing on Buckley’s behalf.

&uot;It voided them having to undergo a hearing,&uot; Mooney said.

If Buckley had prevailed he would have been the school district’s superintendent for an additional year. Mooney said.

And because Buckley was accustomed to living on his superintendent’s salary it was not realistic for him to live off $18,000 annually or $1,500 a month without having another job elsewhere.

&uot;It was ridiculous to assume he was going to be able to meet his weekly monthly needs on $1,500 a month,&uot; Mooney said.