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Board members disagree over procedures

June 20, 2008
EAST LIVERPOOL — Members of the East Liverpool Board of Education sparred with the board president over several matters during Thursday night’s meeting.

Board member Larry Walton cited board President Gary Bonnell’s “outrageous behavior” by “arbitrarily” canceling a meeting.

“I think this board had better wake up and take control,” Walton said, adding Bonnell’s behavior was “reprehensible” and a crime. “It’s an overuse of perceived authority,” he told fellow board members.

Board member Janice Martin said she was not notified promptly about the canceled meeting as well and said she was concerned a violation of the Sunshine Law may have occurred by not providing members of the media with a copy of the canceled meeting’s agenda.

Bonnell said the meeting was called off early in the day and he directed the superintendent’s secretary to notify board members. He added that the agenda had not been officially approved and that one item on the agenda — the resignation of Superintendent Ken Halbert — should have not appeared since no formal letter of resignation was on file.

“This was not going to turn into a funny farm or a circus,” Bonnell said, adding that he would do the same thing if a similar issue came up again.

At one point, Bonnell made use of the power of the gavel to bring Thursday night’s meeting to order, saying he wanted to move on to other matters.

Later in the meeting, Martin questioned the methods used in having a home demolished to further the LaCroft Elementary School reconstruction effort. Martin said the job should have been open for the bidding process.

Bonnell said the work needed to be done quickly and since it is under the umbrella of the Ohio School Facility Commission, projects costing less than $25,000 may be done in certain circumstances without bidding it out.

Bonnell said the matter was discussed during a CORE meeting with architects, construction managers, school personnel and OSFC representatives, and Martin herself voted for the measure.

“I’m not going to it back and have my integrity attacked,” Bonnell said.

The notion of shuttering the current Administrative Building was tabled Thursday night as several board members had concerns over how to deal with the structure.

“We should not be occupying this building,” Bonnell said. “We are going to be in deep legal jeopardy if we continue to occupy that building.”

Several options have been placed on the table including the lease of the former WOHI building along Sixth Street or using a portion of Westgate School.



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