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PV school board asks court to reconsider ruling 'Mickey' Angst decision

Published April 01. 2013 05:06PM

The court battle between the Panther Valley school board and member Roy "Mickey" Angst isn't over.

On Thursday, the board, with member Irene Genther opposing and David Hiles absent, voted to ask Carbon County Court Judge Joseph J. Matika to reconsider his March 8 ruling that allows Angst to attend executive sessions, but forbids him to release confidential information.

The school board had asked the court to bar Angst from the meetings because he was posting confidential information on his blog. Angst argued that he revealed the information as a citizen, not as a board member, and that it was his Constitutional right to do so under the First Amendment.

In his 31-page ruling, Matika wrote that Angst, as an elected board member, has a duty to attend executive sessions and to receive all confidential information.

However, Matika ruled, he may not disclose or disseminate "any confidential or privileged information or material, regardless of how Angst may obtain such information or material, relating to the operation and administration of Panther Valley School District until such time as the board of directors of the Panther Valley School District authorizes such disclosure when such disclosure is necessary for the conducting of School District business."

The school board in August 2008 barred Angst from attending executive sessions because he was releasing confidential information. At that time the information concerned teacher contract negotiations. A move in March 2010 to reinstate him to the executive sessions failed by a 5-3 vote.

On June 14, 2012, the board agreed to take the matter to court, voting 7-2, with Genther and Bill Hunsicker opposing, to ask solicitor Robert T. Yurchak to file legal papers. The board's action followed Angst's refusal that day to leave an executive session, forcing the board to cancel the meeting.

Michelle Markovich, board President Jeff Markovich, Koreen Nalesnik, Anthony DeMarco, Richard Zabroski, David Hiles, and Angst himself voted in favor of the motion.

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