The Blaine County School District’s board of trustees stripped sitting Chairman Rob Clayton of his title and censured the former top trustee for “multiple” unspecified ethics violations following an extended closed session Tuesday night.
The board passed both measures 3-2 during a somber vote near midnight, following its regular June meeting on June 11. Clayton and Ryan Degn opposed both motions.
The board declined to reveal the charges prior to taking the vote.
Trustee Ellen Mandeville said she became aware of potential breaches dating back to late January of this year, and running through early May. Mandeville, who will now serve as acting chairwoman, declined to elaborate on specific violations, or how many occurred, in an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express on Wednesday morning.
“Voting to remove a trustee from the chairman position is a rare event,” Mandeville said. “I did not take my vote lightly.”
Tuesday’s meeting was at least the third time the board has meet in executive session over the past month to consider disciplining Clayton.
Prior to the vote, he acknowledged wrongdoing but objected to the use of multiple in the motion against him.
“Multiple is a generic term,” he said. “I’m not comfortable with the use of it with no basis. I’d like to have that quantified. …I’ve had maybe two, or one and a half. That does not equal multiple.”
Clayton could not be reached for further comment Wednesday morning.
“Chairman Clayton oversaw significant changes in Blaine County schools during his tenure on the board,” Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes, who was present during the late-night vote, said in a prepared statement shortly after the roll call. “He has been a champion for balancing the budget and closing the achievement gap. His service on the board has been focused on what is best for all students. I am sure he will continue to be an advocate for all students at the board table and am looking forward to continuing to work with him.”
Clayton, who has served on the board since 2014, was re-elected last year; his current term expires in 2021. The disciplinary action does not affect his position as trustee.
This is a developing story. For more information, see Friday’s edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.