CONCORD — The Mt. Diablo school district announced Friday it reached a settlement with a law firm, after an investigation into disputed legal charges that resulted in a reprimand of the superintendent.

The legal firm of Miller Brown and Dannis will pay the district $56,011 for charges billed between 1999 and 2008, based on contracts that were never approved by the board.

An outside investigation found that Superintendent Gary McHenry did not bring the firm's contract to the board for annual approval after the 1999-2000 school year because he believed it rolled over every year, said board president April Treece.

"The board was aware at all times that the law firm was providing our legal services, but we did not have a contract," Treece said.

"The superintendent brought it to the board (last October), when it became clear that it should be approved on an annual basis."

The board reprimanded McHenry for his failure to follow district policy, which requires board approval for all consultant contracts exceeding $25,000.

McHenry could not be reached for comment Friday.

Trustee Gary Eberhart, who is running for re-election along with Treece in November, said he didn't think the reprimand was sufficient.

"A letter of reprimand is a joke," Eberhart said. "There are countless things that have been taken away from our students, and the superintendent is out there spending millions of dollars without board approval."


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Treece said McHenry has been held accountable, and she is ready to move on because the investigation found no evidence of malfeasance.

The settlement represents the amount in excess of board approved fees, she said.

Theresa Harrington covers the Mt. Diablo school district. Reach her at 925-945-4764 or tharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com.