John Kiser, the longtime transportation director for the Fayette County Public Schools, is retiring.
Fayette Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall confirmed Monday that Kiser will retire effective Thursday.
District officials will post the transportation position when schools reopen Monday, and they hope to name a new director by the end of the month, Deffendall said.
Kiser headed the Fayette Schools' transportation for more than 20 years, but he was embroiled in controversy at times.
Four Fayette school bus drivers sued Kiser and then- superintendent Peter Flynn in U.S. District Court in 1999, alleging that they were harassed by supervisors after they publicly complained about alleged age and sex discrimination in the transportation department. The suit also named the Fayette County school board.
In 2000, a federal jury affirmed the four drivers' complaints of discrimination, awarding them a total of $100,000.
The controversy began in 1998, when some Fayette bus drivers took their complaints to the district's Equity Council, which then issued a report calling for reforms and concluding that the transportation department was "in chaos from the inside out." Some of the drivers also picketed the school system's central offices on East Main Street to call public attention to their complaints.
Flynn, the superintendent, responded by arranging to provide mediators for disputes and sensitivity training.
Controversy in the department persisted, however.
Sherry King, a former Fayette school bus driver, sued Kiser, former superintendent Stu Silberman, three transportation supervisors and the school board in 2011, alleging that she was sexually harassed while working for the district. King alleged that she became a target of bullying and intimidation by Kiser and the three supervisors after she filed a grievance about the alleged sexual harassment.
Tom Shelton, who was named Fayette superintendent in June 2011, said he began hearing complaints over working conditions in the transportation department shortly after he was hired.
Shelton said he planned to conduct an inquiry into issues in the department, but he had to put that plan on hold once King filed her lawsuit.
Shelton recently resigned to become director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.
Associate transportation director Marcus Dobbs will direct the department until a permanent director is named, Deffendall said.