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Ethics and a school board - Part 1

AL. com reports: Huntsville would do well to take notice of Mike Culbreath, who is already making moves -- even running a contract past the Alabama Ethics Commission -- a month before being sworn in as the newest member of city school board. ...

He begins his time in office by doing something that elected city officials too seldom do, and almost never undertake before being sworn in. He's asking challenging questions and making waves. Most notable was his probing of a contract with a consulting company that employed the services of Frank Spinelli, who left the system last month for personal reasons. Superintendent Casey Wardynski had brought in Spinelli soon after being hired, and Wardynski has said he continued to need Spinelli's expertise, particularly when dealing with state and federal questions about the system's reduced special education budget.

Culbreath suspected that the board couldn't turn around and contract with a finance director who had just left. So he asked questions. Board members and school officials agree that legal advisors initially said everything was fine. Culbreath placed more calls, including one to the Alabama Ethics Commission. "I'm not going to be involved in anything that I don't think is right," he explained this week.

State law is clear. "No public official, director, assistant director, department or division chief, purchasing or procurement agent having the authority to make purchases, or any person who participates in the negotiation or approval of contracts, grants, or awards" can enter into a contract with the same agency they just left. Not for two years. -- Read the whole story --> New Huntsville board member, already bouncing illegal contracts, is one to watch (Our views) | al.com

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