Champaign school board hires former board member as school attorney

Champaign school board hires former board member as school attorney

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board Monday hired a former board member for a newly created school attorney position.

The board voted 4-1 Monday to hire Tommy Lockman to the new position. Lockman served on the Champaign school board from April 2009 until he resigned in December, citing personal and professional reasons.

Board member Jamar Brown voted against hiring Lockman.

“I don't believe Tommy's the candidate that is in alignment with the direction that the district is going,” Brown said.

The new position has been created to cut down on the school district's legal fees, according to a news release, and Superintendent Judy Wiegand believed Lockman's legal background and board experience “make him an ideal choice for the new position,” the release stated.

“Mr. Lockman will be a great asset to the district,” Wiegand said in the release.

Board President Stig Lanesskog said he didn't believe the board had a conflict of interest in approving Lockman's hire.

He said Lockman was up-front with the board and resigned before applying.

Lanesskog said Lockman will not report directly to the board, but to Superintendent Judy Wiegand.

“I think the board feels strongly that she should be able to select her team,” Lanesskog said.

Lockman will not represent the board's interests, because it has its own legal counsel, Lanesskog said.

He said he also believes Lockman's board experience will be helpful.

“He can put the law into Champaign's context,” Lanesskog said.

Three candidates interviewed for the position, said Ken Kleber, the school district's executive director of human resources.

The school board originally listed the hire as an action item on its regular agenda, but did not act on it at that time.

After its second executive session, the board voted to put the hire back on the agenda, and then voted to hire Lockman.

Lanesskog said the board voted on Lockman's hire when it did in order to have a “thorough discussion” prior to the vote.

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Rickenbacker II wrote on January 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

And yes I would also would resign if I knew I could make more money..oh hell you know the rest

rsp wrote on January 15, 2013 at 5:01 am

So did Lockman have input into creating this position before getting himself hired for it? You know, duties, salary, that kind of thing? And they don't see the conflict? If they are missing this what else are they missing?

45solte wrote on January 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

So there were no abstainers from the board vote?  Nobody regarded this as a conflict of interest.  This may not be Wisconsin, but, no questionable moral or ethical niggling roused in board members, huh.  (Not surprisingly) Stig proudly stated as much (and he's in charge).  Nice trust building there as you attempt to extract more property tax money to steward.  Are there any non same-old, same-old candidates running for the upcoming School Board elections?


 


Wisconsin Statutes (Section l9.59 Code of Ethics) No district board member may use or attempt to use the position held by the member to influence or gain unlawful benefits, advantages or privileges personally or for others.

No former district board member, for 12 months following the date on which he or she ceases to be a district board member, may, for compensation, on behalf of any person other than a governmental entity, make any formal or informal appearance before, or negotiate with, any officer or employee of the district with which he or she was associated as a district board member within 12 months prior to the date on which he or she ceased to be a district board member.

No former district board member, for 12 months following the date on which he or she ceases to be a district board member, may, for compensation, on behalf of any person other than a governmental entity, make any formal or informal appearance before, or negotiate with, any officer or employee of a district with which he or she was associated as a district board member in connection with any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, application, contract, claim, or charge which might give rise to a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding which was under the former member's responsibility as a district board member within 12 months prior to the date on which he or she ceased to be a member. 

jimmy61821 wrote on January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

So let me make sure I understand this. The board in all of its wisdom hires someone who is not even practicing law yet the district says his "legal background" makes him the ideal choice? A search in the ARDC website (as of 1/15/13) shows Mr. Lockman is voluntarily inactive and not authorized to practice law.  Do a lawyer search at www.iardc.org.

This hire reeks of backroom politics. Resign as a school board member in December and then get hired for a new attorney position in January.  Sounds like the school board really takes care of its own.

And lastly, three candidates were interviewed? So, if Lockman (non-practicing attorney) was the most qualified candidate and "won" the job, this must mean the other two candidates must have had even less experience, or maybe they were just law students.

The friends and family program seems to be alive and well in Unit 4.  What a joke!