Appointments Draw Fire at School Board

Two Ohio County Board of Education members took issue with the way in which committee appointments were handed down Monday.

At a special meeting, board member Sam Andy challenged a motion to approve committee appointments, citing a rule that required a particular position to be chosen after the new board of education president was selected July 6. That appointment, an advisory board position with the Regional Education Service Agencies’ sixth district, or RESA VI, was given to board member James Jorden.

The RESA VI post is the only paid appointment chosen by the Ohio County board and had been given to Andy in the past. The position pays $100 per meeting.

Board President Erik Schramm said tradition calls for the two-year terms on the RESA VI board to be served by each board member as a way to “spread the wealth.” Andy, however, objected to the choice.

“The law says this is supposed to be done by that (July 1),” he said. “I just don’t see how we can change it now.”

Ohio County Schools Superintendent George Krelis said the board traditionally allows the president to choose appointees. However, state guidelines indicate the appointees must be approved by the school board, which was not done, causing Andy to challenge the appointments.

Schramm defended his appointments, saying he asked the board members to volunteer for the positions they wanted to take.

“I’m the only president during my time on this board to do that,” he said. His only regret in making the appointments, Schramm said, was that he did not inform Andy that Jorden had chosen the RESA VI appointment.

“I failed to call and get your input and give you the courtesy of informing you, and for that I am sorry,” Schramm said.

While he accepted the apology, Andy contended the appointment was invalid because it occurred too late. He suggested because the appointments were not done in the proper manner, all appointees from last year should carry over with outgoing member positions being filled by new members. He also questioned why he was not given the chance to continue in the position.

“I just want to know why,” Andy said. “If it’s because I didn’t do a good job or because I missed meetings, which I never did in two years, that is fine, but just give me a reason.”

Board member Shane Mallet also questioned the appointment, saying it should have occurred at a July 6 meeting.

“I am concerned we did the appointments incorrectly,” he said, adding that because of this Andy should remain as the RESA VI appointee.

When the issue was put to a vote, Jorden, Schramm and Christine Carder voted for approval. Andy and Mallet voted against the appointments.

Krelis said the board will look further into the process and get clarification to make sure the procedure was done correctly. This could include getting an interpretation from the state board of education.