Appointing members to an ethics committee, being formed by the Tullahoma Board of Education, erupted into controversy Tuesday with sharp comments made about who would fill a third position. Chairman Pat Welsh moved toward appointing himself; the board’s vice chairman Sharon Vance, and Tullahoma attorney and former Board of Education member Bill Rieder to the ethics committee being discussed during a regular work, study session with no votes being taken. Board of Education member John Manis said he believed someone close to Rieder had ridiculed him during a meeting a week ago when Director of Schools Dr. Dan Lawson’s contract was extended in a 4-3 vote. Welsh and board members Linda Thoma, Kim Uselton and Vickie Shelton were in favor while Manis, Teresa Lawson and Vance were in opposition. Questions about a special meeting called by Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee on Oct. 17 and whether some attending Tullahoma Board of Education members may have violated the state’s open meetings act, also referred to as the sunshine law, led to the move to form the special ethics committee. Manis, who was not at the Oct. 17 meeting, said last week he made the request to have the special committee because he believes ethics violations have occurred. He said he believes the meeting was not properly announced, plus some board members may have taken other action that has violated the board’s operational policy.
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