Knox County Schools' chief security officer on administrative leave pending investigation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- On Friday, Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre said:

"The fact that he worked at the company had nothing to do with any of the procurement decisions that were made and there was no impropriety of any kind."

But hours later, he placed Knox County Schools' chief of security Steve Griffin on paid administrative leave while his relationship with the school system's former security system provider - Professional Systems Consultants & Design, or PSCD, is investigated. McIntyre said Griffin's son-in-law used to work at the company, and said:

"Last night, Mr. Griffin disclosed to me that he had made two social trips with the proprieter of PSCD. This new information led me to believe that a full investigation into his relationship is warranted and I placed him on administrative leave pending that investigation."

Knox County and the Public Building Authority are suing PSCD, after a 2011 audit showed major problems with security systems at Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School.

"They found that some of the wiring did not meet code, that a lot of the equipment that was installed did not meet the specifications, that the cameras that they installed were not functioning as they should function," said Jeff Galyon, with the Public Building Authority.

Galyon said wires also ran through firewalls, destroying their effectiveness.

The Public Building Authority built Powell Middle and Hardin Valley Academy and chose PSCD as the security provider there. Galyon said he would have preferred to bid the work out, but said Steve Griffin strongly recommended going with PSCD.

The school system said PSCD's contract was up around the time the audit report came out, and they switched security providers to SimplexGrinnell, which checked - and fixed - problems at all of Knox County's schools during the summer of 2012.

"At this time I am confident that our security alarm systems, our fire protection systems are operating appropriately and functioning properly and doing what they're supposed to do to help us keep our children safe," said McIntyre.

Knox County mayor Tim Burchett isn't so sure. He maintaines he wants an independent audit of security systems at all of the schools.

The School board said it will discuss whether an audit should be done during its work session on Monday.


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