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Baker bus driver placed on leave claims school system withheld stipend from paycheck

2 months 6 days 13 hours ago Monday, September 26 2022 Sep 26, 2022 September 26, 2022 7:23 PM September 26, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BAKER - It has been a month since a group of bus drivers in Baker refused to go to work as part of a strike; protesting a payroll error that resulted in a large pay cut. 

All but one of those drivers has returned to work, but Keemichael Comena has been placed on leave ever since. 

Comena says the school system placed him on paid leave due to an altercation between himself and a supervisor while the bus drivers were meeting with the superintendent to end the strike.

He alleges a supervisor put her hand in his face and told him to quiet down when the verbal disagreement ensued.

“I stood up and told her what she is not going to do was put her hand in my face, nor are you going to tell me to shut up. Because of that, I was placed on administrative leave," Comena said.

In the meantime, Comena has still been collecting a paycheck from the Baker school system, but this time around, he noticed a stipend was missing. 

“Because I was on paid leave, I was supposed to collect all of my money. I was not given the money from my stipend and I reached out to the superintendent four times. She only responded to me once and that was only after I had to contact one of my other supervisors to have her email me back."

WBRZ attempted to make contact with superintendent De'Ette Perry on Monday, but were told she was not in her office. 

Comena says he is barely making it and looking for another job. While the Baker bus drivers are already living off of reduced paychecks due to the previous payroll error, the stipend was supposed to be his saving grace.

“My checks are already 600 and something dollars, so I was dependent on that stipend in order to catch up on my bills or at least my rent."

Comena also added he may have a termination letter in the mail, but has not yet received it. He says he won't go down without a fight. 

“If I have to stand here and fight by myself then I will. I don’t feel like I’m wrong. I know I’m not wrong."

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