Cleveland School Officials Jailed

September 07, 1981 1 min read

Two officials of the Cleveland public-school system were jailed briefly last week for holding up the paychecks of some 30 employees in the system’s desegregation department.

In the latest of a year-long series of conflicts between the school board and U. S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti, John E. Gallagher, Jr., president of the school board, and Paul Yacobian, treasurer, had refused to pay for raises, promotions, and contract extensions granted by Donald R. Waldrip, the court-appointed desegregation administrator.

The board has sought to limit Mr. Waldrip’s authority since his appointment in 1980. Last June 19, Judge Battisti empowered Mr. Waldrip to hire his desegregation staff without school board approval. The school board and administration have maintained that Mr. Waldrip’s hiring powers do not include the right to grant pay raises or promotions.

Judge Battisti ordered federal marshals to handcuff andjail Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Yacobian, then approved Mr. Waldrip’s request that $61,000 be appropriated for the salary increases. Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Yacobian were released from jail after about 30 minutes, after the paychecks had been delivered to Mr. Waldrip’s lawyer.

Judge Battisti said: “There is no doubt, so long as he stays within budget, that (Mr. Waldrip’s) authority to hire includes the authority to set salaries .... The defendants once again have insisted on reading this court order in the most convoluted and distorted fashion possible.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 07, 1981 edition of Education Week