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Caren Cafferatta-Jenkins, Executive Director, Nevada Commission on Ethics
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- School Board President Carolyn Edwards and Associate Superintendent Joyce Haldeman used taxpayer money when lobbying to get a question on the ballot regarding an increase in property taxes for education. They’re not supposed to do that. A citizen complaint about their actions led to a state investigatory panel, which found sufficient evidence to move forward with an ethics hearing.
According to Caren Cafferatta-Jenkins of the Nevada Commission on Ethics will look at in their July meeting.
“Taxpayer money was being used to influence tax payers and that’s exactly why the statute exists, why the prohibition exists. If we’re paying taxes toward the support of the school district, those dollars shouldn’t be used to influence us as the keepers of public funds, one way or another,” says Cafferatta-Jenkins.
The expenditure in question is $650 that went toward hiring individuals to drive a van to the printer to pick up materials and drop them at several locations, then store them at a school district facility for volunteers to pick up.
In their deliberations, not only does the ethics committee need to find that the violation took place, but that it was willful.
“We’re not certain whether Ms. Edwards or Ms. Haldeman acted in their own interest,” says Cafferatta-Jenkins. “There is certainly no evidence that they got any personal benefit from it, or that they knew that what they were doing was prohibited by law.”
Cafferatta-Jenkins says that if the committee finds that Edwards and Halderman committed a willful violation, they can impose a financial sanction on the individuals.