Dr. Anthony Tricoli’s name is Cleared with Sovereign Immunity Finding for USG

By Kelly Sizemore

 

Let’s begin this story the same way we end it: The moral of this story is this: If you are a State Employee in Georgia, and if you harm another state employee while functioning in your role as an employee, you will be protected by Sovereign Immunity.  Your protection shall be provided regardless if your actions are illegal, or if you intentionally misreport budget facts to your supervisor, or if you withhold budgetary information from someone who reports to you, or if you slander or commit libel against another in the national media or Internet, or if you retaliate against that person, or if you use your professional discretion to intentionally abuse another person….you shall be guaranteed Sovereign Immunity.

 

Dr. Tricoli photo with red bookGiven this accurate definition of the Sovereign Immunity laws in the State of Georgia, a finding of Sovereign Immunity for the USG is equal to a Name Clearing Finding for Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli.

 

What every person who works in this great country of ours wants to know is that the State in which they are employed will come to their defense if something goes-a-wry.  If that is your dream, then don’t move to Georgia.

 

Only the Georgia Constitution can waive sovereign immunity for state agencies and their employees.   However, since the USG reported they could not produce the employment contract for GPC’s former president, no waiver of sovereign immunity could be applied.  However, when Dr. Tricoli himself produced that original employment contract signed by Rob Watts and himself; the USG began back peddling and said that agreement was a hiring contract and not an “employment contract” even though it included specific terms of employment.  The USG said Dr. Tricoli never had a contract for employment even though they paid him to be the president of GPC for nearly six years.   Unbelievably, the judge in this case sided with the USG.

 

You cannot be held personally liable for tortious acts against another as long as you commit those acts on the job.  “The Georgia Tort Claims Act expressly exempts state officers and employees from personal liability so long as the allegedly tortious actions fall within the scope of their employment,”  said Judge Daniel M. Coursey.

The University System reported this finding in the Final Audit Report it produced on 9/17/2012, “It is clear from our review that GPC’s CBO did not provide GPC’s President with timely and reliable financial information for the President’s use in managing the institution.

 

Regardless if you do your job or you fail to do your job, or if you intentionally do a poor job you cannot be held personally liable in the State of Georgia if you are working as a state employee during the time in question; even if your poor intentions or criminal acts result in someone else losing their job.  “Here, the tort claims against the individual defendants concern matters that arose ‘from the performance or non-performance of their official duties or functions.”  “Therefore, the tort claims against the individual defendants are dismissed,”  Judge Daniel M. Coursey.  Had the claims been filed against the State of Georgia instead of individual defendants, we would like have seen a very different outcome.

 

In his Motion to Dismiss, not once did the judge indicate that Tricoli led the college into a budget deficit, or that he was not a good college president, or that he failed to do his job.  In fact, on page two of his Motion to Dismiss, Judge Coursey recognized Dr. Tricoli’s outstanding work and success….“Anthony Tricoli was President of Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) from 2006-2012, during which he won numerous leadership awards and accolades.”

 

It is true, that the constitutional violations identified by Dr. Anthony Tricoli were also protected by the law in Georgia, as long as the constitution is violated in the line of duty.  “Even where the plaintiff alleges a state constitutional violation, if the underlying conduct complained of it tortious and occurred within the scope of the state employee’s official duties, the employee is protected by official immunity under the GTCA,”  said Judge Daniel M. Corsey.

The University System reported this finding in the Final Audit Report it produced on 9/17/2102, “GPC’s former fiscal leadership team relied on inaccurate, internally generated spreadsheets that did not correspond to the General Ledger. Specifically, it appears that members of GPC’s cabinet, to include the former President, and both the President’s Council and the Strategic Budget Committee were provided incomplete and inaccurate budget presentations made by the CBO and the Budget Director at various group meetings.”  “We agree that he [CBO] was responsible for the institution’s fiscal operations in the overall context of his accountability to the former President.”

 

5826421860_704e838757_mRegardless of how egregious the conduct of the Board of Regents or the USG or their employees were at the time they were harming Dr. Tricoli, because they were on the job at the time they committed these acts, they are protected by the law.

The University System reported this finding in the Final Audit Report it produced on 9/17/2102,”The internal reports produced by the Budget Director did not suggest that any significant budget issues existed.” 

 

“The Board of Regents’ conduct falls within the exclusion set forth in Section 24.  Defendants’ alleged misreporting of the colleges budget is covered by Subsection 24(11), which retains immunity for financial oversight activities.  Defendants’ alleged defamatory statements are covered by Subsection 24(7), which retains immunity for libel and slander.  Defendants’ purported retaliation against Tricoli for his attempts at good governance and their trickery in procuring his resignation are also covered by Subsection 24(7), which retains immunity for contractual rights.  And the Board of Regents’ remaining actions concerning Tricoli’s departure as college president “were within the ambit of the Board’s discretion inherent to the exercise of it as administrative functions,” and thus covered by Subsection 24(2), which retains immunity for discretionary acts, “whether or not the discretion involved is abused.”

Finally, the University System reported this finding in the Final Audit Report it produced on 9/17/2102, “It is clear from our review that GPC’s CBO did not provide GPC’s President with timely and reliable financial information for the President’s use in managing the institution.

 

So once again, the moral of this story is this:  If you are a State Employee in Georgia, and if you harm another state employee while functioning in your role as an employee, you will be protected by Sovereign Immunity.  Your protection shall be provided regardless if your actions are illegal, or if you intentionally misreported budget facts to your supervisor, or if you withhold budgetary information from someone who reports to you, or if you slander or commit libel against another in the national media or Internet, or if you retaliate against that person, or if you use your professional discretion to intentionally abuse another person….you shall be guaranteed Sovereign Immunity.

Tricoli Contract with USG

Tricoli Case Audit Excerpts

 

 

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  1. Hitman January 7, 2015 Reply
  2. Denise Caldon Sorkness January 1, 2015 Reply

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