Mistake nullifies Dolores school board appointment

Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 10:47 AM
The Dolores School District RE-4A board planned to appoint a new board member at its Sept. 13 meeting.

An improper executive session held by the Dolores RE-4A School Board has nullified a board appointment, reports Superintendent Phil Kasper.

The mistake came after interviews of several candidates in open session during a special meeting Sept. 4.

On the advice of Kasper, the board went into executive session under the personnel issue provision to discuss the merits of each candidate. The board came out of executive discussion and publicly voted to appoint Lenetta Shull to fill a vacant board seat left after board president Dee Prock resigned.

But Kasper later learned the executive session was not legal because under Dolores School District policy, board members are not considered personnel, so the executive session using that provision was not allowed.

“This one is on me,” Kasper said. “At my previous job, school board members were considered personnel, but that is not the case here.”

The mishap nullifies the board appointment, he said.

To remedy the situation, school district attorneys and the Colorado Association of School Boards advised the RE-4A board to hold a discussion about the candidates in open session during the regular board meeting Sept. 13. They will then conduct a second vote for the board appointment.

Candidates interviewed were Keith Moore, Joe Warren Reed, Eugene Reininger, Shull, and Jerry Whited. The appointed board member will serve the remainder of Prock’s term, which expires in November 2019.

Recall election is set for Oct. 9, via mail-in ballotAlso, a recall election against Dolores School board member Vangi McCoy will take place Oct. 9, via mail ballot.

The mail-in ballot will have two parts. First, it will ask registered voters whether to recall McCoy. If the answer is yes, the voter will choose a successor candidate listed on the ballot.

Successor candidates are Keith Moore and Joe Warren Reed. The candidates were required to obtain 25 signatures from registered voters within the school district.

Ballots will be mailed out beginning Sept. 17, said Montezuma County Clerk Kim Percell.

Prock was also originally targeted for the recall, but she will not be on the recall ballot because she resigned. McCoy did not resign by the Aug. 31 deadline, so the recall election against her will take place.

The recall effort began in April by petition circulators Amy Lewis and Michael Smith, who claim the two board members did not follow school district policies. To have a recall election, they were required to obtain 335 signatures from registered voters within the school district. In June, Percell verified the signatures were sufficient.

Supporters of the Prock and McCoy filed 12 formal protest in July, claiming the petition was too vague.

Protests were presented at a public hearing, but they were rejected by a hearing officer, who ruled the recall petition language does meet the requirements of the law.