NewsPlymouth School Board Attorney, Jeff Houin, has further clarified what information on candidates for superintendent can be made public. The current Plymouth Superintendent, Daniel Tyree, will be retiring effective June 30, 2017. The board members will be interviewing the candidates on May 9 that were chosen to bring forward out of the 17 applications they received.

During the May 2 board meeting, a handful of local residents voiced their opinions on the process and questioned why the public would not be given the opportunity to provide input for individual candidates.

During the meeting, Board President, Todd Samuelson, said he would allow some latitude for comments although it was not on the agenda. Comments from the audience are usually restricted to agenda items only.

Those speaking suggested that the names of the final few candidates be released to the public and that the candidates themselves should participate in what they termed a “meet and greet”. During the meeting, Houin said it was a personnel matter and would be illegal to release the information.

He also issued the following statement saying, “Superintendent applications and interviews cannot be made public because it is a personnel matter and must be confidential by law.”

However, over the weekend, Houin said, “Public employee files fall under IC 5-14-3-4(b) and it is left up to the discretion of the governing body whether to keep them entirely confidential”

He went on to clarify the wording saying, “Even though there is not a blanket requirement to keep the entire personnel file confidential, IC 5-14)3-4a) does require confidentially of information if required under other state or federal law. This may apply to some, but not all of the information in an application.”

According to Houin, the board is required by law to follow their own policies. PCSC Board policy 1220  states “ the name of a superintendent candidate shall not be included in the notice or discussion of any proposed contract”.

He included other concerns. He said, “Although not covered by statute, it is possible that a candidate could bring a claim against the corporation for disclosing information in their application if they were told it would remain confidential. “

Houin apologized for any confusion that was caused by his incorrect statements on the matter. Speaking to confidentiality, Houin said, “All of these scenarios may legally require confidentiality, but they do not create a blanket requirement, which was the impression given by my original statement.”

Carol Anders Correspondent