New conflict of interest policy results in 2 members leaving school board |

New conflict of interest policy results in 2 members leaving school board

Tonya Bina
Granby, CO Colorado

GRANBY – The East Grand Board of Education adopted a new conflict of interest policy that says it’s against district rules to both serve on the board and be fully employed by the district.

The decision – which addresses complaints the board heard during the district’s controversial hearings about the 2011-2012 budget that surrounded school closure(s) – makes two current board members ineligible to serve.

During a May budget hearing, Hot Sulphur Springs representative Mike Thompson and Granby representative Melissa Quinn both had cast votes to close the Grand Lake Elementary School to save money.

Thompson is employed as a bus mechanic in the transportation department. His salary is partially paid for through the school’s mill levy-supported transportation fund. Quinn is employed as a district computer technician.

Both were elected in November 2007 and ran unopposed. When Quinn was elected, she was not yet an East Grand School District employee, according to district officials.

Although school officials had sought direction from the district’s attorney at the time of the vote and had resolved that Quinn’s and Thompson’s voting did not reflect conflicts of interest, Board President Tom Sifers had indicated the policy should be reviewed for future boards.

The policy change board officials adopted on Tuesday, Sept. 20, defines “employee” of the district as someone whose employment was approved by the Board of Education, who has a contract with the district, who is paid according to a district-approved salary schedule, and who is required to be the subject of formal evaluations of work-related performance.

Although the unanimous decision about the conflict of interest policy directly impacted Quinn and Thompson, neither of them abstained from the vote.

The policy goes into effect upon the start of the newly elected board this November.

Open seats

The seats being vacated by Quinn and Thompson are two of four board positions that could change in November.

One seat was vacated by school board member Gale Delphia, who cut her term short for personal reasons. The board appointed Chip Besse to fill her seat until the November election. To fill the remaining two years of Delphia’s term, Besse and candidate January Paulk are both running for the board. The seat represents the west side of Highway 40 in the Fraser Valley.

East Grand Schools incumbent candidate Joan Evans, who represents District No. 2 located on the East side of Highway 40 in the Fraser Valley, will be running against Donald Scott for the four-year term.

Thompson’s board position, which represents East Grand’s District No. 1 (defined mostly by Hot Sulphur Springs) is likely being filled by Taunia Shipman, who is running uncontested for the four-year term.

Quinn’s board position, which represents East Grand district No. 5 of the Granby area, does not have a candidate. No one filled out the petition or completed paperwork to be put on the ballot, according to District Administrative Assistant Sarah Berggren.

District officials have declared a board vacancy and the need to appoint someone to the four-year term. The district invites letters of interest and a list of qualifications by Nov. 2. The board hopes to interview prospective candidates on Nov. 15 and appoint someone.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.