Clark alleges that Shelton uses his position as a member of the Board of Trustees to recruit for Southern Wesleyan University.
Board chairman Alex Saitta studied the issue and has presented his opinion on the matter to the local media.
The first part of Clark’s complaint deals with violations of the state ethics law.
“Any complaint concerning ethics laws sits with the state ethics commission,” Saitta said. “The school board doesn’t enforce their rules or field complaints pertaining to those laws.”
The second part of Clark’s complaint deals with school district policies, which means it falls into thelap of the school board and the school district.
“The district has allowed Mr. Shelton to solicit teachers during the school day, during their planning periods,” Saitta said. “The solicitation policy’s stated purpose is to protect instruction time and teacher preparation time from solicitation activities. To me it looks like solicitation in a school during the school day is prohibited. That makes sense. When school is in session the focus needs to be 100 percent on educating the children.”
Saitta suggested a change in the wording of district policy to make things more clear.
“Our attorney has said the policy’s ‘wording is poor’ so it is open to interpretation and parsing,” Saitta said. “I say fix the wording of the policy so it clearly supports the purpose of the policy — no solicitation in schools, while school is in session. After school is fine.”
The third part to Clark’s claim involves a possible conflict if interest.
“The district’s conflict of interest policy states employees are prohibited from soliciting the district or other employees,” Saitta said. “School board members are not employees per se, so the policy doesn’t apply to board members. State ethics laws cover conflicts of interest and elected officials. The ethics commission would field such complaints, not the school board.”
Saitta shared his personal opinion on the matter.
“In my personal opinion, school board members should not solicit employees at any time,” Saitta said. “Board members vote to approve the contracts and set the pay levels for employees. This puts undue pressure on employees to buy whatever it is that board member happens to be trying to sell. It is a bad idea.”