Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs School Board member Wayne Lemley's recent absences from board meetings could cost him his seat.
Lemley missed his third consecutive regular board meeting Monday afternoon at Soda Creek Elementary School. He also was absent from the board's Oct. 22 meeting at Soda Creek and its Oct. 8 meeting at Strawberry Park Elementary School.
Colorado law states that a board member's seat shall be declared vacant “if the person who was duly elected or appointed does not attend three consecutive meetings of the board of education, unless the board by resolution shall approve any additional absences or unless the absences are due to a temporary mental or physical disability or illness.”
Reached by phone after Monday's meeting and asked about the reason for his absences, Lemley said he couldn't talk because he was in a meeting. He could not be reached again later Monday evening.
Lemley's fellow board members said they expected him to attend Monday's meeting.
“He said he was going to be here today,” Board President Brian Kelly said after the one-hour meeting Monday afternoon.
Lemley arrived at Soda Creek Elementary School 20 minutes after the meeting adjourned and spoke with Kelly.
“He was apologetic, but the bottom line is he wasn't there,” Kelly said. “Every meeting is important. If a board member has trouble attending meetings, maybe there is another volunteer activity they should look into if the (School Board) schedule doesn't meet their schedule."
Kelly and the other board members plan to consider declaring Lemley's seat vacant at their Nov. 19 meeting.
“I expect there will be some type of motion to declare the seat open, and then hear from Mr. Lemley as to why he cannot be here,” Kelly said.
Lemley, who ran uncontested for the School Board’s District 2 seat last fall, was the subject of a child custody hearing April 18 related to dependency and neglect, according to records on file at the Routt County Justice Center. Dependency and neglect cases are civil, not criminal.
He took a temporary leave of absence from the School Board in the spring, telling the Steamboat Today at the time that his absence would be temporary while he dealt with the civil issue.
The School Board accepted the leave and called Lemley's court proceedings a personal matter. However, board members were considering asking Lemley to resign or face censure in the hours before he announced his leave of absence on April 11.
Lemley's term expires in November 2015. If his seat is declared vacant, the board will advertise the vacancy and fill the seat within 60 days. State law then stipulates that his seat would be up for election at the next biennial school election, which is in November 2013.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com