Several school district bus drivers and mechanics showed up at the board meeting to support their boss, Hugh Braham, whose future is up in the air after he was accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in May.
Lisa Kinsley, a bus driver, stood and talked to the board for several minutes during the Monday night meeting.
“We understand he made a mistake, and we have forgiven him,” Kinsley said. “We’re proud of his 30-plus years of service that he’s given to the school.”
Braham, 66, of College Lane, Poland, the district’s transportation supervisor, was pulled over on South Avenue near Tiffany Boulevard just before midnight May 17. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated issued by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Braham called each of the bus drivers and mechanics to apologize for his actions, she added. “And we appreciated that.”
She went on to tell the board that Braham “had a difficult year” because of time-off requests among the staff.
“He went over and above to make sure our requests were accommodated,” Kinsley said. “We trust him. We know that he’s only a phone call away. We feel that he is a fair boss, and we don’t want to lose him.”
Those remarks were followed by about 20 bus drivers who stood up to show their support for Braham as well.
Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said he also has received letters of support from bus drivers.
“I thought [Kinsley] was articulate,” Lazzeri said. “Whether that will have any bearing [on the board’s final decision] remains to be seen.”
The board met earlier this month in executive session with legal counsel regarding open court cases with an employee.
John Landers, board president, remained quiet about the issue.
“We’re still evaluating and discussing the situation,” Landers said. “We recognize that the folks from our busing staff came out to support [Braham].”
It’s unknown as to when the board will make a final decision on Braham’s future. Board members plan to meet again July 27.