ELECTED BOARDS LACK AUTHORITY TO DISCIPLINE FELLOW MEMBERS

November 16, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

School boards in Oregon can do little to discipline their own members.

We have no authority to discipline or remove each other, said La Grande School Board Chairperson Ron Arritola.

Arritolas comment came in the wake of questions over whether the La Grande School Board would discipline two board members who earlier this year overstepped their authority in a matter involving student records. The board members are Kathleen Cathey and Shari Bennett. Cathey apologized to the board earlier.

David Turner, an attorney who works for the Oregon School Boards Association, said that the reason a school board can do little to discipline its members is that each is elected and is accountable exclusively to the public.

It is not like an employer-employee relationship, Turner said.

He said that the only thing a board can do is censure another member through a vote of no-confidence.

Citizens upset with an elected officials actions have the option of recall.

It is really up to the electorate, not the board, Turner said.