Local News

Wake School Transportation Director Resigns

Posted October 20, 2004

— There is more fallout from a criminal investigation inside the Wake County Schools transportation office.

In August, Vern Hatley, director of the schools' transportation department, was demoted after an audit revealed possible overpayments to a supplier named Barnes Motor and Parts. After working for Wake County for 10 years, he is stepping down.

"It was Vern's decision to make and he let us know the other day and we respect that," said Michael Evans, spokesman for Wake County Schools.

Publicly, Wake school officials stood behind Hatley. Three long-time transportation employees resigned, two Barnes employees were fired and the company returned more than $1 million to the school system.

Although he was never accused of wrongdoing, Hatley's financial duties were stripped, leaving him to handle only bus operations. School officials say those operations will not suffer in the wake of Hatley's resignation.

"We want to assure parents we don't anticipate any interruptions in our bus service for our students," Evans said.

Eddie Adams will act as interim transportation director. School officials said Hatley agreed to stay on until the end of the month to ensure a seamless transition. In the meantime, the State Bureau of Investigation's financial crimes unit continues to investigate whether any laws were broken.

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