UPDATE #2: 7NEWS’ Deb Stanley with an absolutely blistering story–if you were wondering if this little time-waster of a stunt had pissed off the media as we suggested this morning, you can stop wondering.
The political posturing around the recall election for three JEFFCO Public Schools board members has soared to an absurd new level. [Pols emphasis]
On Thursday morning, embattled board president Ken Witt said he was making a “major announcement” in regards to the recall he was facing.
When the media arrived, Witt announced he was filing an ethics complaint against himself and handed out copies of what he said he was mailing to the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission…
And it turns out, Witt’s point is moot anyway.
— John Ferrugia (@johnferrugia7) October 8, 2015
UPDATE: We think this clip speaks for everyone who endured today’s presser:
Meanwhile, Jeffco United for Action responds:
“Ken Witt’s political stunt this morning is exactly why thousands of parents and educators are seeking to recall him. We must get politics out of our schools and today, Ken Witt further confirmed he isn’t the person to move Jeffco Schools forward,” stated Lynea Hansen spokeswoman for Jeffco United for Action.
Parents have previously filed complaints about board actions with the IEC. The IEC about a year ago told us the school board is not inside their jurisdiction and neither are open meeting laws. Jurisdiction would lie with the District Court. Even if the court was to rule in our favor that the School Board Majority did hire their personal board attorney behind closed doors, the only outcome would be to require the Board to re-do their vote in the public.
“This recall is so much bigger than one issue. Thousands of parents collected double the required signatures because the community wants these harmful politics out of their schools,” continued Hansen.
Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt mysteriously gave notice last night that he would make a “big announcement” this morning. Since the report aired on CBS4 Denver last night, Jefferson County politicos have been scratching their heads trying to figure out what Witt was about to announce. Would he resign from the school board? Something else equally dramatic, justifying a presser at the Denver West Sheraton and camera crews from all the local networks?
As the Denver Post reports, not so much:
Ken Witt, board president of Jeffco Public Schools, announced at a news conference Thursday that he has file an ethic complaint against himself.
He has asked the Colorado Ethics Commission to investigate whether Witt was involved in breaking any open meetings laws.
Witt, a conservative member of the board, said the decision was in response to a recall effort seeking his ouster.
“I’m just calling their bluff,” Witt said Thursday…
That’s right, folks! Witt just self-inflicted this nigh-on unbelievable headline:
Now, the first problem here is that Witt filed his “complaint” with an entity that has no jurisdiction over school boards. Because it’s not a paid position, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission ruled in 2009 that board members are excluded from the definition of “public officers” under Amendment 41. And if that’s not bad enough, the IEC isn’t even scheduled to meet again until after the election.
In short, this was about the most perfectly-engineered waste of the media’s time Ken Witt could have possibly come up with. If we had been a reporter suckered into showing up to this farce of a press conference, we would actually be very upset about the time and expense of dispatching busy camera crews and journalists to an event way out in the suburbs with absolutely zero news value.
The only thing we can add is that drawing attention to one of the principal allegations leveled by recall proponents against himself, especially in a way that makes him look like a uninformed clown while failing to refute anything regarding the allegation in question, is just laughably bad PR strategy. “Hey, look over here! They’re accusing me of something bad and instead of disproving it, I’m pulling this lame stunt!”
Whoever dispenses this kind of political advice needs to find a new career. Right now.