MHS officials still silent on Brooks’ fate

By Ned Seaton

Officials continued to decline comment Thursday on the situation of Tim Brooks, who remains suspended from his job as the boys’ basketball coach at Manhattan High School.

MHS athletics director Mike Marsh reiterated late Wednesday that “when a decision is reached, we will issue a statement.”

Does that mean that a decision hasn’t been reached? “No comment,” Marsh said.

Is it possible that the decision has been to simply leave Brooks suspended for the remainder of the season and to just let his contract run out? Marsh didn’t comment on that, either.

Manhattan-Ogden School Superintendent Bob Shannon gave no update on the situation, but did say in an interview that the school district’s policy gives him the authority to suspend employees such as Brooks. In that sense, it’s clear that Shannon is the decision-maker, unless and until there’s a decision to fire Brooks prior to the end of the year. If that was the case, Brooks would be entitled to a hearing before the school board. Shannon said he would have to check to see if such a hearing would be open to the public.

Brooks met with administrators last Thursday and was briefed on the allegations against him, but no action was taken. He said at the time that he understood that school officials wanted to move quickly and not drag it out.

Neither Marsh nor Shannon would comment on whether they needed more information to make a decision. Now a week later, Brooks said he’s heard nothing new, with no meeting planned between the two sides.

Brooks was suspended on Jan. 31. He said at the time the suspension was “parent-driven,” and subsequently multiple sources close to the situation have said it involved allegations of bad language and a “negative attitude.”

Since then, assistant coaches Shane Sieben and Benji George have led the team through four games, going 3-1 over that span. There are five games remaining in the regular season.

Brooks’ employment contract as coach is a one-year agreement which he signed Sept. 19, 2013. The contract “may be terminated at any time without prior notice,” according to a copy of the document obtained by The Mercury under the state’s open-records law.

He is paid $8,580 per year for the coaching duties, in addition to his teacher’s salary. He is suspended with pay.

His suspension as coach does not apply to his teaching duties, which he has returned to at MHS. His contract as coach could be terminated without affecting his status as a teacher, Shannon said. Terminating a teacher is more complicated.

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