Worker at center of carbon monoxide investigation was fired, rehired

by: Shae Rozzi Updated:

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ATLANTA - Through a public records request, Channel 2 Action News has learned the names of the two Atlanta Public Schools employees whose work is the focus of an investigation into a carbon monoxide leak at Finch Elementary School in southwest Atlanta.

Channel 2’s Shae Rozzi obtained the personnel files for Ivan Mann and Maurice Williams on Thursday.

Inside Mann’s file is an email that stated he was terminated on Jan. 27 of this year then reinstated on Jan 30.

Mann’s file indicates that he was terminated for failing to get a police report after an accident. In a settlement reached with Atlanta Public Schools, Mann was rehired in March with back pay to January because APS mistakenly had him working in the position of Crew Leader. Mann had only applied for and was only qualified to be a General Maintenance Worker, documents stated.

Students and staff fainted inside Finch Elementary on Dec  3. Firefighters and paramedics brought at least 40 students and seven staff members to local hospitals.

APS Superintendent Erroll Davis said in a news conference last week, that the men performed work on the HVAC system’s chiller on the Friday prior to the evacuation. Davis said the men failed to flip a certain valve causing the boiler to work overtime over the weekend leading to high levels of carbon monoxide inside the school when students and staff returned Monday.

During the emergency evacuation, Davis said he was beyond disappointed that the men never came forward to say they’d recently performed work in the area of the boiler.

“This is obviously a very serious matter and we're investigating that,” Davis said.

Mann and Williams’ personnel files show that they both are certified Universal Technicians.

According to their resumes, Williams has performed maintenance work since 1982 and Mann has been in the same line of work since 1992.

Neither man is licensed by the state to perform work on the boiler, but according to the State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s office, they don’t have to be licensed as long as they’re performing work under a supervisor who is licensed by the state.

On Friday, a man who told Channel 2 Action News that he is the state certified site supervisor at Finch Elementary said the maintenance workers are not to blame.

"I believe it was not human error, it was definitely mechanical failure," the man said.

APS is still investigating the actions that led up to the carbon monoxide exposure.

Rozzi called the human resources office of the Atlanta Public School System to find out if the two workers under investigation are still on the job or if they’ve been suspended, but Rozzi’s call had not been returned.

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