Concerns over “financial aid matters” led to the firing of Georgia Piedmont Technical College President Jabari Simama.
Four other college employees were suspended, including Irvin Clark, vice president of economic development and dean of the Newton County Campus.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story indicated Jabari Simama was fired effective Wednesday. A representative of the Technical College System of Georgia later said Simama was informed of the decision to terminate his employment Wednesday but placed on administrative leave for a month.
Mark D’Alessio, a spokesman for the Technical College System of Georgia, confirmed the changes Thursday morning. Simama was notified of the termination Wednesday and placed on administrative leave, and his last day of employment will be May 11.
“The commissioner (Matt Arthur) did that and the reason for that is there’s some big financial concerns at the college and so we’ve decided that we are going to make a change in leadership there,” D’Alessio said.
The Covington News first reported the story.
Simama was appointed president of the college in 2012. He previously was the chief of staff for the DeKalb County CEO. Information about him and his leadership team had been scrubbed from the college website as of Thursday morning.
D’Alessio said Simama was the only person fired.
“There have been a few folks that have been put on suspension until we get things figured out,” D’Alessio said, “and it is around financial aid issues.”
Ivan H. Allen, the president of Central Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins, will lead an assessment team “to kind of lead the school until a new president has been put in place,” D’Alessio said.
The spokesman said financial problems at Georgia Piedmont Tech were pressing, to the point Arthur had to act quickly.
“The main issue with us is we’re always going to do things that are in the best interest of our students,” he said.
D’Alessio said there should be no concerns for GPTC students on financial aid “at this point.”
“Everything should be running as it always has,” he said. “Students shouldn’t have any worry at this point.”
Clark is suspended with pay, and D’Alessio said there is no timetable on the expected resolution of concerns.
Georgia Piedmont Tech has two Newton County centers, on Alcovy Road and on Bob Williams Parkway in Covington. GPTC serves students in DeKalb, Morgan, Newton and Rockdale counties.
The college recently lost a vice president, Ivan Harrell, who was chosen as the president of Tacoma Community College in Washington. Harrell served as the executive vice president of academic and student affairs at Georgia Piedmont Tech.
Clark declined to comment Thursday afternoon.
Attempts to contact Simama were not successful and his voicemail inboxes were not accepting messages.
This is a developing story. Get more updates later at covnews.com and in this weekend's issue of The Covington News.