Selection must be above board

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By The Staff

With children fast approaching the high school age/grades I am pleased to see that we, as a community, are one step closer to hiring a new principal for the Los Alamos High School.

The youth of Los Alamos deserve to have a decision made to provide some stability, especially with the upcoming years of construction on the high school facilities.

However, the one concern that has come to light is that one of the two finalists is the spouse of the current School Board President Ken Johnson.

It should be clear that Claudia Krause-Johnson has some great qualities that have elevated her to be considered one of two finalists. And that this writer wishes her all the best in this endeavor.

But, in order to make the decision a completely fair and unbiased selection, the sitting president, Mr. Johnson, needs to step down from the board at this time.

Unfortunately, in the state of New Mexico, nepotism seems to run rampant and I personally expect MORE than the status quo in ethical behavior from my elected officials.

Ms. Krause-Johnson must be evaluated for the position on her own merits. Thus, it would be unfortunate to have her selection (if she is selected) tainted due to any perceived pressure placed on Superintendent Gene Schmidt.

Additionally, I believe there is a state statute that expresses that said hirer may not be initially employed while their spouse is a sitting member of the school board.

This of course may be open for interpretation; but in one’s point of view, the intent of the statute would clearly frown upon this potential conflict of interest.

With all this being said, I hereby encourage Mr. Johnson as an elected official to do the right thing and resign his position on the board immediately for the good of the community and wish his spouse well on the final selection process.

Pete Peterson

Los Alamos