Huron school board tables Fox vote

No reinstatement tonight.
Sandusky Register Staff
Mar 19, 2013

After nearly 90 minutes of anticipation, the Huron school board declined on Monday to make a decision whether to reinstate fired district superintendent Fred Fox. 

The board vote was 3-2 in favor of tabling the motion. 

Audience members spoke for about 55 minutes before the vote was taken, including Kalahari owner Todd Nelson.

Check back here for updates and for video of the meeting. 

Be sure to pick up Wednesday's Register for the full story on the meeting and to read more on what Fox's supporters and detractors had to say. Also in Thursday's Register: A story on the budget crisis just on the horizon for Huron Schools.

Pick up the print edition at a newsstand near you or subscribe to the ePaper here.

 

Comments

Still Sold

Great post Got. !

TaxRaider

SCatri...Thank you for having the courage to ask questions and seek the truth. Each time I hear you speak out at a Board meeting, I want to vote you in as a Board member. If you ever consider running, I will volunteer to be your campaign treasurer.

It is a shame that Mr. Schoolboardspouse wasted your employer's time and resources as an attempt to intimidate you. I checked into the supposed FRAM story and I found ..... the last year you were the yearbook advisor the book did not get produced because not enough books were sold to make a minimum order and everyone was refunded their money. The yearbook sales significantly decreased for two reasons (1) the state of the economy and (2) the decline in student enrollment. I find it interesting Mr. Schoolboardspouse has no connections to Sandusky but he refers to the yearbook as FRAM and knew the book was not published .... hmmmmm, wonder where he got his misinformation????

Still Sold

I would have to say that I too, would like to see Ms. Catri run for the Huron Board of Education.

She can't be any worse than who's there now.

UgtaBkdnMe

Still Sold

What are you tryng to say because you are hard to follow. Are you saying the board member didn't make sales that he shouldn't have or are you saying he did but the law is unfair. The letter posted is clear that he should not be selling to the board and it does say directly or indirectly. I am assuming that the letter is from the attorney for the schools like some said earlier. Please give us an example of how a sale can be indirect if going through a contractor is ok.

Don Hardy

ok two posts .. nothing Huron Cement sold to the school required board approval. again how it was done was not in violation . now im done! have a nice day!

Tsu Dho Nimh

You are absolutely right about the right to supply if you are the lowest bid. I'll be the devil's advocate. What if the maintenance dept. picks up 16 sheets of drywall for a small project? What if they buy some strip-eeze to remove graffiti? What if the maintenance supervisor hires snow removal for the 4 school buildings on December 27? Do you think that these items went throught a bid process and the board voted on it?

Still Sold

TDN-
All good examples, but there is some type of blanket PO, (purchase order), to allow for such purchases.

As I stated over and over: I do not think the law, (conflict of interest), is fair, but it is a law(s). We can't fault Huron Cement for doing anything at cost and I will bet John Caporini has documents to back up the cost on these purchases.

Huron Cement constantly donates to the Huron City Schools and it should be illegal for them NOT to make a profit.

(And.. I feel the same way about ACE and Asher Bros. You should not be penalized for giving your time to the schools.)

UgtaBkdnMe

I agree that the law doesn't seem fair in some instances but it is still the law. There was a blanket PO, or open account, for the school. That is how many items were purchased. But the ORC specifically says he can't sell and he did. I think the whole point of the statement at the board meeting was that Asher never questioned his buddy selling miscellaneous items but as soon as Sowecke and he started to disagree about Fred, Asher questioned if it was ethical for Ace to sell to Huron schools. Ends up that the lawyer said Huron Cement couldn't either.

whazup

I see you changed your comment and the laws are gone. I'm confused. All the sales were fine because contractors use your supplies. Isn't there a bid process for projects and the board then votes to approve it during a meeting? Precision Paving was voted on by the board to make a contract to do work. I'm not saying there was wrong doing but the explanations of why it was okay doesn't make sense.

Still Sold

Ugta-
The only way that a board member's company, (and that also includes if a board member just works for the company), is:

Example:
A contractor is doing work at the schools.
The contractor buys supplies from ACE Hardware and uses them at the schools.

Example 2:
A contractor is putting in cement or drywall at the schools.
The contractor buys cement, or drywall from Huron Cement who delivers the supplies to the schools.

Example 3:
There's a job at the schools that requires the purchase of concrete.
Huron Cement bids on the job vs Other Concrete Company.
Huron Cement is the low bidder and sells the concrete to the school.

Example 3 is the only one I am not totally positive about. I believe it to be allowed in this instance, but would have to look it up, or just wait for someone else on here to research it. Hahahaha

Hope this clears up what I was trying to say above !

local observer

As an outsider following all of this, I am a bit curious as to why some folks seem to be blindly supporting Mr. Fox in this saga.

I understand you are now hanging your hats on the Department of Education Referee’s finding but I have ask you, is Mr. Fox the type of person you want leading your district? Mr. Fox carried on an affair using public resources, his work time and his work computer. At the very least, this shows extremely poor judgment, outright stupidity, unbelievable arrogance or some combination of the three. As the leader of the organization responsible for educating the community’s children the Superintendent (Mr. Fox) should exhibit behavior (both professional and personal) worthy of emulating. Don’t you agree?

Something else the supporters of Mr. Fox seem to want to dismiss is the ethics angle. Something the Referee basically punted on and it is a very real problem Mr. Fox faces whether he is reinstated or not. Kalahari has tax abatements in place granted by the school district. Those abatements are formally reviewed each year. The school district is part of those reviews. Due to those abatements, Kalahari has a continuing business relationship with the district. As such, under Ohio Law, anyone associated with Kalahari is an “improper source” of any gifts or discounts, period. Each time Mr. Fox accepted a gift or something he did pay full value for from anyone associated with Kalahari he violated the law. The freebies and discounts from Kalahari are criminal violations with each instance carrying a maximum penalty of six months in jail. Mr. Fox is probably facing years in jail.

Please see for yourself at:

http://ethics.ohio.gov/education...

The Kalahari involvement again shows extremely poor judgment, outright stupidity, unbelievable arrogance or some combination of the three. Again, I ask is this someone you want leading your district?

Even if certain are individuals are pursuing a vendetta against Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox’s own actions have provided them the ammunition. School leaders are paid a lot of money these days and their employers (the School Board) and the people paying the bills (the community) have every right to expect and should demand exemplary behavior (both professional and personal). It has been well demonstrated that Mr. Fox has failed to exhibit exemplary behavior on numerous occasions but he still has supporters. Why?

Years ago, when we still had some standards in this country, someone in Mr. Fox’s position would have resigned in shame and would have been provided little to no community support but today it is sadly a different story. People who defend or want to ignore the misbehavior of others are a big reason why this country has been on a downward drift for quite sometime.

Fox supporters, please look yourself in the mirror and ask, “Am I part of the problem?”

I’d like to hear your answers.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Excellent points and you are absolutely correct. Mr. Fox engaged in behaviors that are the root cause of the situation that he is in today.

Still Sold

No matter how you glorify it, Kalahari is a non-issue.

Fred Fox has no influence over Kalahari's tax abatement.
For the 500th time, talk to the treasurer who handles the MONEY !

nobodyfromnowhere

Unfortunately your above comment is some what lacking in details. First off you are correct in Fox's lack of judgement in having an affair and using the school e-mail system to do it.

As to Kalahari your information appears to be lacking. First Mr. Fox's involvement with Kalahari was not only condoned but strongly encouraged by the District. Kalahari paid approx. $100,000 (some body correct me if I am wrong) for naming rights to just the field at the High School Stadium, and I believe was preparing for an approx. $500,000 donation towards the renovation of the Jr. High auditorium. I have a hard time finding how obtaining $600,000 in potential donations is bad judgement. You then speak to the tax abatement. When Kalahari began to pursue their abatement Mr. Fox recognizing his friendship with Mr. Nelson recused himself from the issue. It was decided that the school treasurer would handle the issue. The Treasurer is under the direct supervision of the school board and is not in the Superintendent's chain of command. The actual abatement was negotiated by Erie County and the school board only approves it. Again the Superintendent did not have any influence over the decision. The tax abatement does not constitute a "continuing business relationship" with the district any more than a home owner paying his property tax does. Your statement also over simplifies Ohio Ethics laws. Nowhere does it say that any gift from an "improper source" is a violation. In fact the Ethic Commission Information Sheet you referenced says the opposite. The controlling statute is ORC 102.03 D&E which requires that the gift "... manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person’s duties." By recusing himself from the tax abatement issue Fox removed the appearance of, or actual possibility of substantial and undue influence. In addition the district was not even able to prove that on the golf trip Fox received any discount. Their own investigator did not even attempt to determine exactly what Fox paid, the rack rate for the stay, or the actual rate on the dates of the stay (flex rate). In short the District failed to prove not only substantial undue influence but that any discount was even given.

As for why I support Fox it is that I have a belief in fundamental fairness, and I feel that the Board was unfair to Mr. Fox throughout this whole process. First they suspended him with-out pay when they had no right to. A move which they then had to reverse. They went off the reservation an hired an unknown law firm who's purpose I believe was the deliver a predetermined out come. This law firm conducted what I would generously call a substandard, over priced, unobjective, and biased investigation which produced a report of the same quality. The failure to even attempt to interview Mr. Fox, Mr. Nelson, Mrs. McNulty, The Treasurer, Mr. Blodgett, Mrs. Beula, etc. all major figures in the investigation and curiously all people who later testified in support of Fox speaks to the bias and cannot be excused. This report was then improperly made a public record and released by the Board to local media. The District then used this report to begin termination proceedings. As part of those proceedings a hearing was held before a neutral referee, as required by law, chosen by both parties (the first example of fairness thus far). This referee not only found in favor of Fox but found that the District failed to meet the burden of proof for every single charge (including the accusations about the trip). While the Ethics Commission has yet to rule the burden is even higher than the ODE. You speak of the affair yet it is general knowledge that a coach had an affair with a married co-worker who worked in the same school yet neither suffered official sanction for it. There was also ample testimonial and documentary evidence introduced that many people use the school e-mail system for personal business yet nobody before or since this incident suffered sanction for it. Again fundamental fairness means you can't punish one person for something then not punish everybody else who did the same thing, its not fair.

You mentioned that years ago our country had standards. One of those standards was fairness. Everybody was supposed to get a fair shake, a fair hearing, a fair chance, it is one of the founding principals of our country. That did not happen here. From the beginning the school board appeared to be determined that Mr. Fox was not going to get a fair anything. Once the investigative report came back many more people began to question the fairness of what the board was doing, including this paper. Then the neutral referee's report came out which brought the same questions of fairness to the fore front. His ruling was strongly in favor of Mr. Fox and he even alluded to this bias on page 45 when he stated "Because the board did not appear to consider the arguments and explanations from both sides with regards to these charges, this referee believes that there was a rush to judgement by the majority of the Board against the Superintendent." You stated that "People who defend or want to ignore the misbehavior of others are a big reason why this country has been on a downward drift for quite sometime." Yet you seem to want to at least ignore the misbehavior (improper suspension, biased substandard report, squandering of taxpayer monies, improper public release of the report, unproven allegations, general unprofessionalism and unfairness of the process, replacement of personal feeling over sound judgement) of the majority of the school board in this situation. If you support this "the ends justify the means" and "by any means necessary" attitude over a professional, through, unbiased, fair, and objective investigation & review then, please look yourself in the mirror and ask, "Am I part of the problem?"

I'd like to hear your answer.

nobodyfromnowhere

Still waiting.

Still Sold

Great post Nobody !

I think your figures on what Kalahari/Todd Nelson gave for the football field are low, but besides that you make perfect sense and the only answers you will ever get will be off your topic and putting yu down for supporting Fred Fox.

Well said !

Tsu Dho Nimh

Sold...please provide us the right figures. We want to know what the going price is for ignoring gross misbehavior.

Go BIG Red

As a Bellevue residennt i have been following this and now i have to comment. I have been doing business with Huron Cement for years and must say how sad i am to hear the way they are being treated. Anytime over the last 10 years that we have poured concrete at Bellevue High School or any of our sports fields , John or Jodi have always done so at a cost basis to save our district money. Always saying that when its for the kids we dont make any money. They have saved our school thousands of dollars. I cant even begin to wonder what Huron Cement has saved your school over the last 50 plus years !!!!!! Not how much they made, but rather what they gave up to support there school system. What a shame. Does anyone even know if John is majority shareholder in the corporation ? He may be an employee . Either way, we apprieciate what they have done for us. Go Red (Bellevue redmen that is )

Darwin's choice

Good post!

Still Sold

This is another example of how good people who give to the school(s) are hosed by the 'conflict of interest'.

Huron Cement/ACE/Asher Bros most likely all give things, (including their time on the school board), to the schools, but are subsequently not allowed to do business with the school.

And in reference to the post above, Huron Cement doesn't have to give to anything to anybody, but they choose to even give to schools other than Huron.

'Conflict of Interest' doesn't always make sense.

whazup

From what I hear, he is the president of a family owned business so I would think he is more than an employee. I'm sure he has done alot of kind things for people over the years including Huron schools. I would like to know why the law firm for the schools told them to cease doing business with Huron Cement if it isn't a problem.

Retiree

The people in Huron are being blindsided by the friends of Mr. Fox. They are manipulating the truth and lying. Kalahari's CEO signed a bank note for the purchase of tickets by the Huron Boosters. A portion of the money from the sale of the tickets went to the resurfacing of the football field. The rest of the money went to pay off Kalahari's loan at the bank. The football team appreciated Mr. Nelson by honoring him at a football game for helping the
community and boosters.

Kalahari was give a tax abatement for fifteen years for the construction of other buildings. An agreement was signed prior to the construction that at the end of the fifteen years a percentage of the taxes would go to the remodeling of the Junior High School. There are people that want you to believe that this agreement does not exist. The agreement does exist between the Huron Township Trustees and Kalahari.

It takes a lot of money to raise a family in Huron today. Besides educating a student there is clothing, food, activities, etc. As owner of property I am very concerned about the misuse of taxpayers money. I support the three board members and their investigation into the theft and corruption of taxpayers money.

Still Sold

You support the 3 board members who will imminently cost Huron taxpayers millions of dollars and not one of those dollars going towards educating Huron's children ?

Typical

Still Sold

I'm using imminent a lot today.

It's imminent that I post imminent !

Sit n Spin

Maybe you should purchase a thesaurus and broaden your horizons :)

Still Sold

Listen, oh king of posting a phrase instead of a whole sentence.. lol

got.integrity

I find it interesting that Fred's friends on the blog fail to respond to any post that contains fact! They post anytime they can to sling mud but are absent when facts are presented. But what can you say when the testimony of the guy you are supporting contradicts your posts. So sorry Good Humor Doper and friends you have attached your boat (or the boat you use) to a very heavy anchor.

Still Sold

Listen acorn, I mean GOT-
Please look back through the entire blog and you will see me address all, (factual, or fictional) with equal enthusiasm.

I even found time, between mud slinging, to address this post.

I commend you for your research on the above, (about 5 back), post and want to tell you that you, along with Ms. Catri should run for a seat on the Huron City Schools Board of Education.

At least you two do your homework !

Truth and Justice

There are certain posts on here that are Attorney/Client privilege and not public record. These posts clearly were purposely and wrongfully leaked. I’m not a regular poster as all know. Thank you Mr. Hardy. All this stuff about Huron Cement is making me sick. This all started way back with Dino and Rose Caporini. Great supporters of the school system and philanthropic people. All you had to do was go and ask Dino. He supplied concrete, drywall, gravel, money - whatever was needed at cost or fully donated for the “kids” as he would say. How many years did he donate use of the drywall truck and driver to haul the kids around for Homecoming or other parade sponsored events. If the Caporini’s are selling anything to the school sub suppliers, it is at cost. No profit there. They make no money. Oh let’s not all forget the annual Huron Cement Scholarship. Also let’s not all forget how many students have been employed there over the summers at Huron Cement. How many times John or Dino had the big front end loader out on the Huron streets pushing snow because the City did not have big enough equipment. Did he send them a bill – no sir. Or how many times he has moved those big concrete blocks to the lake to help save eroding property during big storms. So let’s get off this. Anyone out there short of Todd Nelson that wants to stack up what they’ve donated next to the entire Caporini family over all these years – let’s go. Drop it. Catri and all of you out there, any time you want to put together an excel spread sheet and compare your donations in total to the entire Capering family, let’s do it.

nobodyfromnowhere

Further proof that NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!!!

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