Decatur schools receive bill for Riley investigation

City Schools Decatur has received a bill for $14,757 from attorney Jonathan Poole, a partner with Atlanta firm Strickland Brockington Lewis, for his investigation into the firing of Decatur High media clerk Susan Riley.

Riley, 61, who’s worked at the high school 19 years, was fired by CSD Superintendent David Dude on Feb. 26 for reasons that remain unclear. But after a community outcry including emails to Dude, hundreds of social media postings and a rally outside the school, Dude changed her status to suspended with pay on Feb. 28.

Poole’s investigation lasted from March 7 to April 21 and included 79.40 billable hours. Riley returned to work on April 18.

According to the bill’s invoice, Dude and Riley were interviewed along with 16 employees, all unnamed. During an interview with AJC several weeks ago, former Superintendent Phyllis Edwards, and Dude’s predecessor, confirmed she was one of those interviewed.

The most extensive interview by far was on March 17 with Riley, lasting four hours and costing CSD $740.

Initially Poole announced his rate was $235 an hour, but eventually agreed to $185 an hour, the same rate longtime general counsel Bob Wilson charges the school system.