Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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Panel to decide if School District officials violated ethics law

Carolyn Edwards

Carolyn Edwards

Joyce Haldeman

Joyce Haldeman

CARSON CITY — A complaint that Clark County School Board member Carolyn Edwards and Associate Superintendent Joyce Haldeman violated the ethics law is going before the state Ethics Commission in July.

A panel of the commission said there was “sufficient credible evidence” for the full commission to decide if there was any violation by the two members when they supported the election issue of raising taxes for school construction in November.

The complaint to the Ethics Commission in February was filed by Michael Silbergleid, associated with a group called Silver Knight.

The question on the ballot asked if the property tax should be increased to renovate and build new schools. Voters rejected the plan.

Caren Jenkins, executive director of the commission, said the complaint involves a question of law, because the facts are not in dispute. She said there was no personal gain by the two school officials.

Six members of the Ethics Committee will hear the case July 17 in Las Vegas.

The two-member ethics panel found in May that Edwards used her email, financed by the School District, to ask a school employee to send information about the ballot question to parents and supporters of the district.

The issue is whether Edwards caused a government expense and violated the ethics law in directing the employee to carry out the work on district time and with district equipment.

Haldeman is accused of asking the district purchasing division to handle and inventory ballot question material. Employees drove district vehicles and utilized the district warehouse to store the materials in October.

The School Improvement Committee, the political action committee formed to back the ballot question, repaid $648 to the School District for personnel costs, the gasoline and other expenses.

The panel said Edwards does not dispute that she directed the staff person to assist her in sending the emails.

The panel said Haldeman does not dispute that she asked the purchasing division for help and arranged for the School District to bill the political action committee.

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