Follins is a finalist for a college president in California.
By Kyle R. Cotton
Dr. Craig Follins, former Northeast Lakeview College president, has filed a motion to dismiss a previous summary judgment and start a new trial over Public Information Act requests about his dismissal in October 2015.
The Ranger and the San Antonio Express-News have requested documents concerning his dismissal by Chancellor Bruce Leslie and the separation agreement he signed with the district in December 2015.
Follins was reassigned as special project administrator after Leslie removed him from the top spot at Northeast Lakeview.
The district provided The Ranger a copy of the memorandum the chancellor issued Follins when Follins was reassigned.
“You have once again violated expectations set for you and engaged in a pattern of unacceptable behavior,” Leslie wrote Follins in the memo.
On Nov. 18, 2015, The Ranger filed an FOI request seeking additional details.
Follins is alleged to have engaged in abusive behavior toward faculty and staff at Northeast Lakeview College before he was terminated as president Oct. 29, according to Follins’ previous affidavits.
The district asked the attorney general Dec. 10 for a ruling on whether the documents could be released. The attorney general ruled in The Ranger’s favor Feb. 24.
“Upon review we find none of the submitted information at issue is highly intimate or embarrassing information and of no legitimate public interest, and it may not be withheld …,” the attorney general’s decision said.
On March 22, Follins filed a lawsuit in Travis County against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Alamo Colleges seeking to keep the details of his behavior private. The judge in the case ruled Sept. 14 in favor of Paxton’s motion for summary judgment.
Paxton argued, “The information at issue relates to a prominent public employee’s negotiated separation agreement with a public employer. While Follins may find these records ‘embarrassing,’ none of the information at issue is of a type of information previously recognized as highly intimate or embarrassing by judicial decision or prior attorney general opinion. And the public plainly has a legitimate interest in the job performance and dismissal or resignation agreement between a public employee and employer.”
In Follins’ Nov. 8 request for a new trial, he argues through multiple privacy precedents that the information requested is exempt from the Texas Public Information Act.
As special projects administrator — a position that did not exist previously — Follins kept his salary of $205,387.03 to “analyze and provide recommendations on the market opportunities for distance learning.”
Follins resigned from that position Aug. 6, forgoing the remaining $90,000 due him, to pursue a position at Houston Community College, which pulled the offer after further investigation by the HCC district into allegations of alleged abusive behavior.
Follins currently is one of three finalists for president of Norco College in Norco, Calif.
The others are Virgina Parras, former president of City of College of San Francisco who was let go in August 2015 after it was discovered the college reimbursed her for trips to Asia, meals at high-end restaurants and purchases from Best Buy and Amazon; and Bryan Reece, vice president of instruction at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, Calif., according to The Press Enterprise.
Follins told the Enterprise, “There was a team in place prior to me being there, and things were done a certain way that wasn’t successful. I had a style of coming in and holding people accountable. I guess people didn’t appreciate being held accountable.”
Follins said the experience at Lakeview showed him the importance of researching a prospective institution before taking a job, according to The Press Enterprise.
Click here: Follins’ motion for a new trial