Steven Slyh has withdrawn his resignation from the Groveport Madison Board of Education and states he is still a member of the board.
However, the Groveport Madison Board of Education maintains that Slyh is no longer a board member and will proceed with interviewing candidates to fill the open seat.
"We’re going to move forward," said Board President Dr. Naomi Sealey, who said the board hopes to name its new member at the board’s March 12 meeting.
Slyh, who was elected last November to fulfill the unexpired term of Patti Froehlich, originally sent an e-mail on Feb. 13 to Groveport Madison Treasurer Anthony Swartz, Sealey, and board member John Kershner stating he resigned from the board as of Feb. 13. At that night’s board meeting the board voted to accept Slyh’s resignation.
"I have notified all appropriate parties that I have withdrawn my resignation from the Groveport Madison Board of Education," said Slyh on March 4. "It has been told to me by legal representation that, since my notice (of resignation) was not signed and directly addressed to the board, it is not considered valid."
However, after conducting a legal review of the resignation, Groveport Madison officials maintain that Slyh’s resignation is valid and he is no longer a board member.
In a statement released March 5, the Groveport Madison Board of Education stated, "…based, upon the information available, the board has every reason to believe that Mr. Slyh resigned from his position as a board member. His intent to resign immediately on Feb. 13, 2008 was expressly set forth in his written communication to the board president, treasurer and the press. In response to this clear communication, the board acted in open session to accept the resignation. The board now seeks to go forward with filling the vacancy so that the community may be represented by a full five member board."
According to the district’s attorney, Bricker and Eckler, Patrick Piccininni, the assistant prosecuting attorney who represents the Franklin County Board of Elections, informed Groveport Madison that the matter between the school board and Slyh was "not our (Board of Elections) fight" and that the Board of Elections was not planning on doing anything with regard to the matter.
Why Slyh withdrew his resignation
Slyh indicated he withdrew his resignation in part because he was dissatisfied with the board’s process in naming his replacement. He said he is concerned that the board was going to conduct applicant interviews behind closed doors.
"It was my hope that a suitable replacement would have been named to the (school) board and the business of our district could continue," said Slyh.
He also thinks the board is not progressing on issues that are pressing on the school district.
"To date I have not seen any mention from current board members regarding district financing and the lack of classroom space," said Slyh.
Resignations & Ohio Revised Code
Slyh also questioned the validity of the resignation process, noting in a letter to the Franklin County Board of Elections that there is "no provision in the Ohio Revised Code that indicates that the local board has any authority to accept or decline a resignation of another elected official…I do not see a Revised Code that indicates I cannot pull my resignation off of the table."
Slyh added he will re-evaluate the situation after he is "comfortable with the direction the board will take in appointing my replacement…When the board of education…pledges to conduct honest, open and fair interviews for the public to view I will then re-evaluate the situation."
Slyh did not respond when asked whether or not he intends to take his seat on the board at its March 12 meeting. However he has requested that Superintendent Scott McKenzie send him an agenda for the meeting.
"Once again he’s (Slyh) stopping the board’s business," said Sealey referring to Slyh’s withdrawal of his resignation. "Once again he’s costing the district money in legal fees to research this. Now he is threatening to attend the board meeting to further disrupt the district’s business. Maybe the community has the answer to this."
Filling the open seat
Following Slyh’s original notice of resignation, the board had 30 days to fill the seat, the term for which expires on Dec. 31, 2009. The board began accepting applications to fill the vacated seat and seven candidates responded, including Darlene Bates, Peter Broeckel, Mark Cole, Duane Dailey, Brent Fridley, Dan Knode, and Larry Ricchi.
According to Sealey, county officials told the district it has until March 15 to fill the open board seat. If the board does not select a new board member by then, a county probate judge would pick the new board member.