PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A top administrator at Pittsburgh Public Schools has been suspended without pay, and he could soon lose his job.
Milton Walters is the chief human resources officer in the Pittsburgh Public School District — a ranking member of Superintendent Anthony Hamlet’s cabinet, making $145,000 a year.
But the school board has suspended Walters without pay and plan to terminate his employment on charges of poor job performance and allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with his assistant.
“They had a relationship which we believe was not appropriate in a workplace,” Ira Weiss, Pittsburgh Schools solicitor, said.
Walter came to the district from Youngstown in October 2016 and soon hired the assistant in question, who was also from Youngstown.
A complaint obtained by KDKA cites some 700 text messages between them sent before and after her hiring, many of a romantic nature.
In one exchange, the woman texts from Youngstown, “Love you and miss you” followed by heart emojis. Walters responded, “I love you very very deeply and always will” followed by heart emojis.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan reached out to Walters by phone Friday, and Walters denied ever having a relationship with the woman, saying, “Never happened.”
“He was her supervisor and that relationship, we believe, was inappropriate given that he is the chief of human resources and secondly that, again, she directly reported to him,” Weiss said.
The board previously brought charges against the woman in question, citing poor job performance and violation of the residency requirement. That was when she accused Walters of unwanted advances, something Walters denied and the texts bare out.
But the charges prompted an internal investigation of the relationship and the discovery of the texts. The board terminated the woman this week, but Walters said he’ll fight to stay.
“I came here to do the work. I have consistently done the work, and I intend to keep my job,” he said.
“We are fully prepared to have a hearing and demonstrate conclusively that the board’s action of suspending him without pay was appropriate, and we believe he will be dismissed,” Weiss said.
Walters can request a hearing to try to retain his job, but the school district says it is prepared to defend their actions and proceed with his termination.