Adam White, who has a lawsuit pending against three of his fellow Olentangy Board of Education members, was again the lone contrary voice at a recent meeting.
Board meetings begin with a routine approval of the meeting’s agenda. White, who sometimes votes against the agenda, asked that a written objection be included in the meeting minutes.
“I object to your decision to deny my request to review the executive session policy of this board,” White said to board president Kevin O’Brien last Thursday. “You have conducted executive sessions that should have been held in public. We need to have minutes of our executive sessions. We need a superintendent that works with the board, not a board who works for the superintendent.”
“If you’d come to the meetings, you’d have the information,” outgoing Superintendent Wade Lucas said to White. Until recently, White had missed half of the district’s board meetings. Unlike other board members, he does not serve on any district committees.
“There is a means to get on the agenda: You need to have two board members support the item,” O’Brien said. “There is no support for your item, so it failed. Again, you have demonstrated your lack of knowledge on how to get things done.”
White said he was concerned about the board being forthcoming when reporting improper conduct between teachers and students, while O’Brien said the board had responded appropriately.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the agenda, with White voting “no” and handing the objection to Treasurer Brian Kern.
White is suing current board members O’Brien, Dave King and vice president Julie Wagner Feasel for violating the state’s open meetings laws through electronic communication. The case will be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Later in the meeting, White was the only board member to vote against promoting Mark Raiff to be the district’s next superintendent. O’Brien asked White for his rationale.
“I had someone else in mind that I had picked out,” White said, referring to finalist and superintendent of Euclid City Schools, Keith Bell.
When it came to the superintendent’s action items, White asked to pull out several items, including the continued employment of John Feasel as girls’ golf and basketball coach at Olentangy High School. Feasel is the husband of board vice president Julie Wagner Feasel. White has stated in the past he considers the hiring of relatives to be a conflict of interest. The vote was 3-1-1 in favor of Feasel, with White voting “no” and Wagner Feasel abstaining.
The remaining superintendent items were then voted on. First were the items White pulled out, and he cast the lone dissenting vote. Then the items White didn’t pull out were voted on, and once again he was the only “no” vote.
“Why pull them out if you’re going to vote ‘no’ on all of them?” O’Brien asked White. “Just for practice? Outstanding contribution.”