web page consultants:
|04-09-03: St. Marys school board appointment looks
|By LANCE MIHM
The Daily Standard
ST. MARYS - The appointment of a St. Marys resident to fill the vacancy
of former school board member Jeff Ginter appears to be illegal.
A press release sent out Tuesday by school board President John Lampert
announced that Anna Katterhenry "has been selected to fill the school board
vacancy." But no public meeting was held for the board to make that decision.
Lampert in a telephone interview Tuesday night confirmed the
appointment and said the board did not hold a public meeting to make the decision, but
instead made telephone calls to each other.
"They are not allowed to make the appointment until they vote on
it in open session," said Dave Marburger, an attorney at Baker and Hostetler in
Cleveland, who specializes in open meeting regulations.
When asked how Katterhenry was selected, both Lampert and board member
Joyce Finke said board members discussed the 14 interested applicants through telephone
"We just called each other and talked to each other at different
times," Finke said. "We didn't have any scheduled meetings."
According to the Ohio Sunshine Laws May 2001 edition, "all public
bodies must take all official actions and hold all deliberations on official business in
meetings that are open to the public."
The update also says, "A public body must not circumvent the act
by scheduling back-to-back discussions of public business, which, taken together, are
attended by a majority of the members. Such 'round robin' or serial meetings appear to
violate the Open Meetings Act."
Marburger said that while maybe only two school board members were on
the phone at a time, if a majority of the school board members were involved in the phone
calls, it would constitute a meeting. All public bodies are required to hold public
meetings on such action and announce the meetings with at least 24 hours notice.
Along with saying Katterhenry already was "selected," the
press release also says a board meeting would be held at 6 p.m. tonight in the high school
library to formally make the appointment.
Finke argued against The Daily Standard's stance that this decision was
made illegally by saying Katterhenry would not be "officially" appointed until
"She will not take the oath until tonight at 6 p.m.," Finke
Lampert said Katterhenry was chosen over the other prospects because
board members felt she was the best overall candidate.
Katterhenry, 38, 03235 Ohio 219, has two children attending the school
district and is the owner of LACO Laundry and Dry Cleaning in St. Marys. She was
unavailable Tuesday and this morning, but responded to the appointment in a press release.
"As a lifelong resident of the district and as a business leader
in our community, I understand that there is a very serious scholastic and business side
of running any school system," she said in the release. "I believe a positive
and high quality school system can help provide growth in our community."
Katterhenry has served as the after-prom coordinator, on the school
board's business advisory council and on the Memorial High School principal advisory
council. She also is a junior achievement instructor for sixth-graders and a reading
mentor at St. Marys West Elementary School.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY STANDARD
(419)586-2371, Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH