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School Board’s surprise superintendent hiring leads to open meeting law complaints

At least two open meeting law complaints have been filed against the Clark County School Board for interviewing and appointing Interim Super­intendent Pat Skorkowsky to the position permanently late Tuesday night.

The complaints allege the action was taken without proper notice being given on the agenda.

The Nevada attorney general’s office will investigate the potential violation and issue an opinion. If the state finds that the School Board acted illegally, not only could the appointment be voided, Skorkowsky’s contract — to be negotiated June 3 by the School Board — would also be null.

Neither complainant argued against Skorkowsky being superintendent. They both said Thursday that he may be a good leader. “You’ve spent 25 years in the district, and you should be honored for that,” Michael Bluestein told Skorkowsky at a School Board meeting before announcing that he had filed a complaint.

Kevinn Donovan, another complainant who will have four children in the district next year, said, “We want the best leader, and that may be Pat or someone else homegrown.”

But, they argued, the School Board’s decision to interview Skorkowsky on the spot at 10 p.m. Tuesday — with no notice given to him or the public — and then appoint him, was a clear violation of the state law. The open meeting law requires government bodies to act in the public eye and provide a “clear and complete statement of the topics scheduled to be considered during the meeting.”

School Board President Carolyn Edwards defended the decision, asserting at a Thursday meeting that, “This is a board that cares about public opinion.”

However, she was the only board member Tuesday who tried to delay the appointment, claiming “the public has a right to participate in this process” and not merely watch it after the fact.

The state’s open meeting law manual tells elected officials to not use “general or vague language,” and “broad categories.” For that reason, government bodies usually interview and appoint leaders under agenda items saying exactly what they’re doing, Chief Deputy Attorney General Keith Marcher said.

The School Board acted Tuesday under a boiler-plate agenda item, “Superintendent Search,” which stated the board may take “action regarding all aspects of the search and selection of a new superintendent.”

“I was blown away by the hiring,” Donovan said.

And Donovan, a Clark County School Board candidate in 2012, has been closely following the superintendent search. He’d seen the “Superintendent Search” item on all nine School Board meetings since March 6, the day after former Super­intendent Dwight Jones announced his resignation.

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