Investigation of Meetings Violation Concludes for SCSD1 Trustees

Views

An investigation into the Sweetwater County School District 1 Trustees, stemming from an internal complaint during the January 14 meeting, has concluded.

In the January 14, 2019 meeting Trustee Stephanie Thompson brought forth a written complaint that she had been advised of a meeting taking place where a quorum of the board met and was not in compliance with the Open Meetings Act. “…this meeting was not advertised and no agenda was published.” At that point, she requested an investigation by independent counsel. Lemich Law Center, regular counsel for SCSD1 contacted the special counsel for this incident. See Trustee Thompson’s statement here.

Special Counsel Bruce T. Moats, P.C., who was hired to conduct the investigation and interviews released his findings and stated, “The meeting of Jelaco, Jackman, Mickelson, and Bettolo about two days after the election was not a violation of the Wyoming Public Meetings Act as a quorum of the board…. was not in attendance. Jackman and Bettolo were not officially members of the board” at that point.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

“Certainly, a quorum gathering to discuss plans for what they would do once they were all officially on the board would arguably be a violation of the spirit of the law, and led many in the public to mistrust the board.” See full investigation results here.

Trustee Leonard Hay provided a written statement on the situation describing the events and pointed out, “On at least two occasions, these Trustees told the public they did not have a meeting. The investigation findings say differently.”

“Although the investigation results yielded the four Trustees, Max Mickelson, Carol Jelaco, John Bettolo, and Matt Jackman did not violate the letter of the law, they did in fact violate the spirit of the law and the integrity and trust of this Board of Education.”

– Trustee Leonard Hay

He continued by stating that “The results of this investigation found the four Trustees to be dishonest with a lack of integrity.” and concluded by requesting his full statement be listed in the minutes of the board meeting. See Trustee Hay’s full statement here.

Trustee Max Mickelson declined to participate in the interviews by the special counsel, but did provide a statement at the conclusion of the investigation. “We need to remember we are here for each other, to set aside these actions that reflect so poorly on us, and to show each other how great we truly are. I still believe.” See Trustee Mickelson’s full statement here.