Board may mull if Marlow violated ethics code
by Michelle Babcock
July 17, 2013 12:05 AM | 5440 views | 4 4 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Newly elected Cherokee County Board of Education Chairwoman Janet Read, who has served on the school board for the last eight years, is sworn into office by Probate Judge Keith Wood during Thursday's board meeting. Read is the first chair to be elected countywide.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Newly elected Cherokee County Board of Education Chairwoman Janet Read, who has served on the school board for the last eight years, is sworn into office by Probate Judge Keith Wood during Thursday's board meeting. Read is the first chair to be elected countywide.
Staff/Todd Hull
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Cherokee County Board of Education Chairwoman Janet Read is calling for a code of ethics hearing to decide whether Board Member Kelly Marlow violated ethics policy when she requested a SACS investigation.

The chairwoman’s request is on the unofficial draft of the July 24 school board agenda, obtained through an open records request by the Tribune, and calls for the board to vote on whether to convene the hearing to decide if Marlow should be censured.

In the draft, Read said Marlow’s complaint to SACS violated board ethics policy related to governance structure and conduct as a board member.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write this message,” Read said in the email obtained by the Tribune. “After an extensive review of Board Ethics Policy (BH) and several discussions with the school board attorney and much thought and consideration, I am requesting the following item be included on the agenda for the July 24 Called School Board Meeting: Request for Censure of School Board Member Kelly Marlow.”

Read wrote in her email to the board that she sent her request in advance to allow “additional time to reflect.”

For a code of ethics inquiry to take place, the board must allow the hearing by a two-thirds vote. If approved, Marlow would be given 30 days’ notice before the hearing.

In the case of an ethics hearing, the school board attorney would represent the board and Marlow would be allowed to bring her own legal representation. A hearing officer would conduct the hearing, a court reporter would document the proceedings and Marlow would be allowed to present witnesses. The hearing would be open to the public.

“Please know that the decision to take this action was not made in haste nor was it taken lightly,” Read wrote in her agenda request. “My goal, and I hope all of yours as well, is to make sure that we are acting in accordance with our policies and that we are keeping our focus on our responsibilities to the 39,000 students who will enter our schools in less than a month.”

There will be additional security at the July 24 school board meeting, and officials are monitoring interest in the meeting, said schools spokesperson Barbara Jacoby.

“(We) will take appropriate steps to safely accommodate the public,” Jacoby said. “Including relocation to a larger venue, if needed.”

Marlow sent the complaint and request for a formal investigation in June to AdvancED SACS, the agency in charge of school accreditation in the South. Marlow claimed in her complaint that the board was “no longer able to effectively govern.”

Read said Tuesday she requested the “code of ethics hearing regarding the SACS letter that Ms. Marlow sent.”

“I sent an email to all the board members last Tuesday, so a week ago, really two weeks in advance of the agenda,” Read said, “and notified them that I was going to be requesting an agenda item for a code of ethics hearing.”

In response to Marlow’s SACS complaint and other actions since her first meeting in January, Jacoby said she estimated 75 to 100 complaints against Marlow have been emailed to the school board.

Marlow, her political adviser, Robert Trim and Cherokee Republican Party Secretary Barbara Knowles were arrested earlier in July on felony charges of making false statements to police that Superintendent of Schools Frank Petruzielo tried to run them over with his car in downtown Canton following a heated school board meeting.

Comments
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Cherokee Parent
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July 17, 2013
Kelly Marlow needs to do what is in the best interests of the community. That would be to resign, the sooner the better.
DiscustedParent
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July 17, 2013
When are we going to get this anti-child poison (marlow) off the board!? It has been obvious from the beginning that she has a conflict of interest (charter) and an agenda that only suits her and her cohorts, at the expense of our children's education!
Concerned Georgian
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July 20, 2013
Wow. Sounds like SACs should step in? What is there to hide from them anyways? Fear makes people do crazy things. I think Petruzielo has a history too. Use google.
jennifer88888
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July 22, 2013
Concerned Georgian......seriously??? your defending this woman who is an elected official who knows nothing about her job? Do you honestly believe that if there was anything wrong - really wrong - our school board and Super could hide it from auditors ( an then turn around and call them stupid) either they are or not.....pick. This district is very high performing - scores show you that- years and years of scores show the climb to where we are now. This is stupid, there is no cover-up or lying, or hiding money, or misspending....it is all a bunch of hokum! SACS already came and went - with only good things to say. If Dr. P and the board were hiding things what good would it do for them to come again? why worry?

Marlow got her answers - its right there in the open records of the emails......she got answers over and over again, I managed to find the budget why cant you? or anyone else? grow up and stop letting other people tell you what to think.
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