Special school board meeting Thursday to revisit compensation vote | SteamboatToday.com

Special school board meeting Thursday to revisit compensation vote

Attorneys tell school board members no conflict of interest exists

School Board President Margie Huron is sworn into office in November 2015.

— The Steamboat Springs Board of Education will revisit last week's vote on the Collaborative Bargaining Team compensation package during a special meeting Thursday.

The board voted 2-2 on May 23 on the package, which would have awarded eligible employees step salary increases. The proposed increases average 2.6 percent for teachers and 4 percent for classified staff. Some employees are topped out on the district's salary schedule and would not receive a raise under the proposed package.

Board President Margie Huron recused herself from voting on the package after attendees of the May 23 meeting made public comments suggesting Huron may have had a perceived, or real, conflict of interest related to the issue. Huron’s daughter is a district teacher and a member of the bargaining team.

Board members had initially agreed that board member Joey Andrew, whose sister is a district employee but not part of the bargaining team, did not have a conflict of interest.

Board members Sam Rush and Michelle Dover voted in favor of the package, while Andrew and member Roger Good voted against.

Huron said Tuesday that, after speaking with the school district's attorney, it was determined she does not have a conflict of interest.

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"We did consult with attorneys from several avenues. The decision was there is no conflict of interest," Huron said.

After receiving a letter from attorney Mike Holloran on the issue, Huron called a special meeting to revisit the compensation package vote. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the district office, 325 Seventh St.

In his written opinion, Holloran said the board failed to follow state law by not, as a board, excusing Huron from the vote. Huron recused herself without a board vote.

Holloran also said that, based on the board's policy regarding conflict of interest, Huron does not have a conflict. Historically, he opined, spouses of district employees serving on the board have been permitted to vote on budget issues that include compensation increases.

"The situation here, with an employed, married daughter, is even less of a potential conflict than a spouse," Holloran said.

Good said Wednesday he also had sought the opinion of an attorney following last week's meeting.

The attorney Good consulted made the same assessment as Holloran: There is no legal conflict of interest with Huron voting on the package, Good said.

Good noted that a legal conflict of interest and the perception of a conflict are different things.

"If you take city council, it's the perception of conflict of interest that has been widely reported on," Good said.

The meeting agenda is available at sssd.k12.co.us.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

If you go:

What: Special Board of Education meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2

Where: District office boardroom, 325 Seventh St.

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