A conflict of interest was questioned during the Nebraska Unified District’s discussion on the interlocal agreement between Clearwater, Ewing and Neligh-Oakdale.
After a majority of the meeting breezed by, the members of the board stumbled upon the topic that raised questions of the district’s unification and superintendent responsibilities.
Superintendent Dale Martin presented to the board the discussions that have been held about the potential merger, as well as his involvement in the talks. He explained that many of the meetings have been informational and that his involvement has been very minimal. However, Orchard board member Terri Hergert was very concerned with possible changes.
“I guess the one thing I am kind of struggling with is in my mind (is) I see a little bit of a conflict between your involvement in this. I mean we are all in this to protect the unification. To me, your involvement in that is not conducive to the unification because that is going to change if this goes through,” she said. “Unification as we know it is going to change, if that passes. And I guess I don’t understand your involvement in that because you’re the top one in our Unified District, so I am having a little trouble seeing your role in this.”
As Martin currently stands as superintendent of the Unified District, meaning he oversees three schools, he explained his obligation is to represent Clearwater just as he would for the other two in a situation like this.
Along with this concern, board members also questioned how Martin’s involvement in the potential merger could interfere with unified time and whether the unified would be pushed to the side in certain instances. Martin stated that although his involvement could shift a little more, he knows that “there is a fine line.”
The three boards from Clearwater, Neligh-Oakdale and Ewing are set to meet on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Neligh-Oakdale. The public meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the Antelope County News Facebook page.