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State upholds Waukesha's firing of school locksmith for tampering with security camera

School Zone

The Journal Sentinel education reporters offer news and notes from their beat

May 28, 2014

By Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel

May 28, 2014 0

The Waukesha School District's decision to terminate a long-time maintenance worker for tampering with a security camera in a warehouse full of technology equipment, then lying about it, has been upheld by an arbitrator for the state.

District surveillance video footage shows Keith Jamieson, the district locksmith, taking technology equipment out of a warehouse on Dec. 18, 2012, and then returning to use a broom to move the security camera so that it was no longer facing the equipment.

The district had installed a new security camera in the warehouse after noticing that security cameras in the room were repeatedly being moved somehow to face the wall.

The district terminated Jamieson on Dec. 27, 2012, and then Jamieson, a union leader with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, fought the decision by filing a grievance.

Christine Hedstrom, assistant superintendent for human resources, said last week that the district has spent more than $64,000 in attorney fees defending the decision to terminate Jamieson.

Fox 6 first reported the case last week, and aired the surveillance video footage.

William C. Houlihan, an arbitrator with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, upheld the district's decision on March 20, according to a letter Waukesha officials released to the Journal Sentinel.

Houlihan notes that the incident "is not a theft case," because the district didn't accuse Jamieson of stealing equipment.

But he said termination was warranted, given that turning the security camera disarmed the security aspect of the camera, an act "compounded mightily by the fact that he was the locksmith, charged with maintaining the security system."

Jamieson had denied ever turning the cameras before, but Houlihan said he did not find it credible that Jamieson had turned the camera just once.

According to Fox 6, Jamieson is now a maintenance worker for St. Mary's Parish in Waukesha.

Erin Richards thumbnail
About Erin Richards

Erin Richards covers K-12 education in urban and suburban Milwaukee, as well as state politics related to education issues.

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