NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Longtime Metro Nashville Public Schools administrator Dr. Tony Majors has been demoted and suspended for three days without pay following a NewsChannel 5 investigation. Our investigation found several potential conflicts of interest surrounding Majors' job with MNPS and his role with an outside youth sports program.
The district also announced today it has hired a new Chief of Human Resources. Dr. Chris Barnes will take over Dr. Majors' HR role beginning February 17. Majors is being transferred to a position to that will oversee the district's Alternative Learning Centers.
MNPS says Dr. Battle intended to hire a new HR chief and return Dr. Majors to his former role in Student Support Services once the new HR chief was hired. But the district said in a statement Thursday that "As a result of the information that has come to light in the past few weeks, Dr. Battle has determined that there is a potential conflict of interest in returning Dr. Majors to a position in charge of the extended learning program. Dr. Majors will instead be transferred to a position to coordinate efforts to improve the academic and social emotional learning supports for students at our Alternative Learning Centers. This position aligns with Dr. Majors’ expertise in social emotional learning and restorative justice practices."
In a suspension letter, Dr. Battle says that Dr. Majors was directed to resign in July 2019 from his role with RBI due to a "potential conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest," but that he failed to do so. You can read the full suspension letter here.
"I think it's appropriate for us to ensure that we truly understand the facts of this situation that will inform us as we move forward," Battle told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
In addition to the demotion, Dr. Majors also loses his district vehicle and his pay will be cut by $65,000.
MNPS also confirmed Dr. Battle has requested that Metro Internal Audit conduct an investigation into this situation to determine if any laws, policies, or procedures were violated.
Last month, Dr. Majors told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that MNPS hadn't given any money to his youth baseball program, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities or RBI. But documents show that wasn't the case. Additionally, emails show Majors frequently uses his Metro Schools email address during workday hours to organize RBI events and had Metro Schools fix its high school baseball fields for his RBI teams to use.
Yet he insisted that's okay because the kids who play for RBI are also Metro students.
"I'm representing both. I'm not trying to hide anything here. It's people's perception that I'm doing something, I guess wrong or there's a conflict of interest. At the heart of the work for me is how do I create opportunities for kids to take advantage of the program," Majors said.
What RBI used the money for is unclear.
This all comes amid questions about Majors' involvement in a controversial land deal with Belmont University. As NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed, Belmont wants to build a new athletic facility on Metro School property and in turn, RBI was to have received $20,000 a year and have nearly exclusive use of the building.