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Move to reinstate Angst to executive sessions fails

Published March 12. 2010 05:00PM

A move to reinstate Panther Valley School Board Director R. Mickey Angst to the board's executive sessions failed by a 5-3 vote. Angst abstained from the vote.

The request was made by director Irene Genther, who made the motion to reinstate Angst. Citing the state's code of ethics for school boards, Genther quoted, "Board members should work together in a spirit of harmony."

Genther also cited the board's resolution that the superintendent and the president of the school board are the official spokespersons for the district. Genther encouraged her fellow board members to put aside their differences and reinstate Angst.

Angst was barred from executive sessions by a 6-1 vote in August 2008. At the time, then-president Ron Slivka stated that the reason for removing Angst from the sessions "has to do with blatantly going out and handing out information that is sensitive to personnel." Specifically, Angst was accused of revealing sensitive items related to the contract negotiations that were going on at the time.

Director Anthony Pondish recommended against reinstating Angst.

"He violated the code of conduct," said Pondish. "He did divulge information that was detrimental to the contract talks. I don't know how many more chances you want to give the man."

Angst disagreed that his removal developed from that situation.

"It developed not because of me violating it, it came up because of me threatening to have the school board members arrested for violating the Sunshine Law," responded Angst.

Angst also said that the Department of Education and the state school board association agreed with him; however, they recommended that it was unwise for one member of the board to have the other members arrested.

Pondish and director Dave Hiles attempted to respond to Angst; however, director Donna Trimmel called for the question.

Angst slipped in one more comment, saying, "I never violated any confidence from an executive session."

Pondish, Hiles, Trimmel, and directors Jeff Markovich and Anthony DeMarco voted against reinstating Angst. Genther and directors Bill Hunsicker and Koreen Nalesnik voted in favor of reinstating him.

Later in the meeting, Angst resigned from all committees that he served on, including the policy and buildings and grounds committees.

"I don't want to force myself on anyone," he said.

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