Our Opinion: Letter of the law
We owe an apology to the Douglas County School Board. We reported Wednesday that trustees conducted an illegal meeting July 6 after the Nevada Attorney General’s office found fault with their notification process.
After our story appeared, we received two calls, one from the superintendent’s office and one from a trustee, leaving messages demanding a retraction and threatening “lawyers,” a word which makes our blood run cold.
So, we checked, and were told that, yes, the board was correct. One illegal action – even though it was the only action – does not contaminate the entire meeting. Our correction appears on page 3 of today’s Record-Courier.
The AG’s office said the action taken by the board – to extend Superintendent Pendery Clark’s contract – must be done in a properly noticed public forum. The board will consider the item again at its Nov. 14 meeting at Kingsbury Middle School.
Since we weren’t notified and did not attend the July 6 meeting, we asked for a copy of the agenda to determine what else the board did.
We are duty-bound to report that the other agendized items – pledge of allegiance, adoption of agenda, public comment and adjournment – were conducted to the letter of the law.
Instead of quibbling over technicalities like illegal “meeting” vs. illegal “action,” the board should be making sure everyone who wants to be informed is – and without having to go to the attorney general’s office to do it.
We would also like to apologize to Veronica Hulsey, who spearheaded the effort to protest this illegal action. She should have had our support and that of others interested in protecting the public’s right to know.
The trustees may claim clerical error on this violation, but with two attorneys on the board and two on the school district payroll, they should be old pros when it comes to the open meeting law. The spirit of the law, which is to guarantee that the public’s business is conducted in public, should not be compromised.