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|04-10-03: St. Marys superintendent admits error
|By LANCE MIHM
The Daily Standard
ST. MARYS - St. Marys City Schools Superintendent Paul Blaine admitted
the school board may have inadvertently violated Ohio Sunshine Laws with their appointment
of new school board member Anna Katterhenry.
"When you make mistakes you want to admit it and learn from it and
move on," Blaine said at a Wednesday night special board meeting.
Board member John Lampert sent a press release to The Daily Standard on
Tuesday afternoon saying Katterhenry had been "selected" as a new board member.
Lampert and board member Joyce Finke both said to The Daily Standard the decision was made
without the board holding a public meeting - a violation of Ohio Sunshine Laws.
Under Sunshine Laws, boards of education cannot take any action outside
of a public meeting. The members admitted board members had been calling each other and
made the decision during telephone conversations.
The Daily Standard objected to this process on Wednesday morning and
later in the day received a letter from Superintendent Paul Blaine saying the press
release was misworded and should not have said a new board member was selected. Instead,
Blaine said the release should have said current board members would "consider"
the appointment of a new member at the Wednesday night meeting.
At the meeting, the board went into a short executive session to
discuss the 14 candidates and then returned to appoint and swear in Katterhenry to the
Blaine at the meeting said he wanted to stress a few things about the
"There were no secret meetings," Blaine said. "We've
been very good about that. That is not the way this board operates."
He also said most people are unaware of the law and violations are
common. He added the situation should not reflect negatively on Katterhenry.
A position with the school board was vacated when Jeff Ginter, who had
been on the board for three years, resigned at the March 13 meeting. The school board
began to seek a replacement almost immediately, asking for interested citizens to notify
the school. A questionnaire was sent out, and 14 residents responded to the resume.
Resident Bill Kellermeyer, who was one of the 14 candidates, told board
members at the meeting that he found it disheartening that several members who had been
involved with school administration did not know the Sunshine Laws.
"We didn't know about it," board member Darren Caywood said.
"But I know a heck of a lot more about it now."
Lampert also addressed Kellermeyer.
"I'm not perfect," Lampert said. "But evidently you are.
I made a mistake and I'm going to move on."
Katterhenry will finish Ginter's term, which expires at the end of the
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