Another contract extension, another open meetings dispute

Blaine County district Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes’ contract is in limbo — amidst complaints that trustees discussed a contract extension in an illegal executive session.

GwenCarol Holmes
GwenCarol Holmes

On Nov. 17, trustees voted to extend Holmes’ contract through 2019, a three-year extension that would go into effect July 1. The move surprised some patrons and drew a rebuke from Blaine County Prosecutor Jim Thomas.

Thomas told trustees that their Nov. 17 meeting violated Idaho Open Meeting Law, according to the Idaho Mountain Express, since they had not provided proper notice of their intent to consider Holmes’ contract.

Trustees took no action on the contract at their meeting last week. This inaction surprised both supporters and opponents of the contract extension, and left Holmes visibly annoyed, the Express reported.

Holmes has been Blaine County’s superintendent since 2014. She was the highest-paid superintendent in Idaho in 2014-15, at annual salary of $168,000.

If the Blaine County contract extension snafu sounds familiar, it probably should. In June, a divided and lame-duck West Ada school board voted to extend Linda Clark’s superintendent’s contract. This decision became a flashpoint in a rift between trustees and Clark, who resigned in October. Mike Vuittonet, a trustee who participated in the June executive session, faces a recall campaign centered on an alleged violation of the Open Meeting Law.