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Clark County School Board hires new attorney as AG continues review into member

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Posted at 7:26 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 20:43:57-04

UPDATE: Please be aware that the Clark County Board of Education has changed the date of the Special Called Meeting. The CCPS Board of Education will not meet on September 30, 2021 at 8:30AM. The Special Called Meeting will take place on Friday, October 1, 2021, at 12:00pm at the Central Office Board Room. The agenda states the board will consider the move to terminate current legal services provided by Brian Thomas' firm with a 30-day notice. The board will also consider executing the contract for legal services with the new firm.

As the review by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office continues into whether a Clark County school board member was in violation of ethics, another step was taken Monday night to replace the attorney that reported the alleged violation.

Allegations that school board member Sherry Richardson’s family business made thousands off a school project were reported by school board attorney Brian Thomas earlier this year, and the Kentucky Attorney General’s office is still looking into whether or not Richardson broke any of the rules to be on the board.

Richardson’s personal attorney has said that he doesn’t believe his client has broken any rules of being on the school board.

Richardson made a motion in August to advertise for legal services, a move that opened up Thomas’ job to other applicants. Board vice chair William Taulbee was one of two who voted against the motion then, and he has repeatedly voiced that any move to replace the board’s attorney should be held until after the Kentucky Attorney General’s investigation into Richardson was complete.

Richardson moved to continue with the process during last week's meeting.

“I think it's a board that needs to feel comfortable and when you have an attorney that doesn't support one of its board members I think that's an issue,” Richardson said at last week's meeting. “So I would make the motion that we go ahead and start the interviews.”

Taulbee told LEX 18 after last week’s meeting that he believes Richardson’s moves to replace Thomas are retaliatory.

During last week’s meeting, the board discussed proposals from three applicants for the position, including Thomas. After a group interview of the three applicants Monday night that lasted less than 45 minutes, three board members chose a new attorney without any public discussion.

The other two members of the board, Taulbee and board chair Ashley Ritchie, left the meeting before the interviews started, expressing that they wanted to wait to move forward with the attorney hiring process until questions about the bid process were answered.

Richardson’s initial motion Monday night to hire a new attorney initially also included a move to immediately give Thomas a 30 day termination notice. But Thomas, still the board’s attorney, pointed out that his termination hadn’t been added to the agenda and would have to wait until another meeting.

The board will temporarily have two attorneys, Thomas at his $80 an hour a week rate he has in place for the board and the new law firm, which has a $200 an hour rate, according to the firm’s proposal.