Letter – Testimony questioned

Published 7:48 pm Monday, November 28, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Recently, I spoke to Dr. Jim Thornton, the second time I had seen him since I witnessed his testimony during the day-long Freedom of Information Act hearing on Aug. 16. The veracity of his testimony was very concerning after being called by Isle of Wight County School Board attorney Stacy Haney as a witness.

Having been present for the entire hearing, I remember this pertinent testimony, which is verified by the court reporter’s transcript. Judge Matthew Glassman asked Dr. Thornton, “And I take it you were accruing annual and sick leave on a monthly basis, is that correct?” Dr. Thornton said, “Correct.” Judge Glassman subsequently asked Thornton, “So on March 10, 2022, you had not, in fact, accrued or earned time off that would have been reflected on March 30th of 2022, is that correct ?” Thornton said, “Correct.”

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Untrue. Thornton’s signed January 2020 contract states: “The Superintendent shall accrue 24 days of annual leave per fiscal year, to be credited on July 1 of each year. The Superintendent shall accrue 12 days of sick leave per fiscal year.” The school division’s human resources director responded to Chair Denise Tynes during the Feb. 15, 2022, board meeting that Dr. Thornton attended, saying, “We do front load the leave so everybody gets their leave up front in July.”

Question: Did Dr. Thornton perjure himself in responding to Judge Glassman’s questions? After all, he knew his contract’s provisions in detail. My opinion is that he did. Don’t you think so too?


Herb De Groft