School Board member asked to resign by audience member

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Discussion breaks into personal exchange

By Ashley Zsedenyi

Monday’s meeting of the LaRue County School Board turned heated when an audience member asked one of the board members to resign.

Donna Miles and Penny Van Dyke, both of Hodgenville, addressed the board during the “audience comments” portion of the meeting.

Van Dyke voiced her support for board member Norbert Skees. She said she is “very proud he is trying to address issues that have been a problem.”

Miles brought up a recent investigation by the Office of Education Accountability which alleged conflict of interest by board member Richard “Dick” Greenwell.

Miles said she “would appreciate it if (Greenwell) would resign.”

The OEA concluded after investigations in 2006 and 2009 that Greenwell had a conflict of interest due to the school board doing business with a company in which his wife owns stock. The OEA notified Greenwell by letter of KRS 160.180 (2) which prohibits board members from “having even an indirect interest in the sale to the board of goods and services and if the OEA’s allegations are correct, you are not eligible to serve on the LaRue County Board of Education.”

A May 4, 2007, letter from the attorney general asked Greenwell to resign from the board. However, Greenwell provided additional information and the attorney general’s office did not pursue the matter.

The OEA sent a second report to the attorney general’s office in April.

Greenwell challenged Miles’ statements at the meeting with her letter to the editor in the May 13 edition of The LaRue County Herald News.

He said the statements she was making were not true, that no conflict of interest had been shown and he still had not been notified of a conflict, and that he would like an apology from her.

Miles refused to apologize, and her husband Jim told Greenwell “to watch it.”

“Are you threatening me?” Greenwell said.

“Yes,” he said. “You don’t call people liars.”

Miles said she did not come to the meeting to argue, just to make a statement and Greenwell could “like it or not.”

Board co-chair Anita Cruse requested the meeting move forward at that point and put an end to the audience comments.

Miles said she tries “to stay out of board meetings because I don’t really get an answer,” but she did “appreciate” the response she got from board member Price Smith.

After the meeting, Miles said Smith responded to a letter she had written asking the board to abide by open meetings laws.

In March 2008, Miles asked for the resignation of three board members who supported the so-called “nickel tax” in 2008. The tax was voted down by a large majority.