West Ada trustee censured for election-eve emails

West Ada School District Trustee Carol Sayles was censured by the school board Tuesday for disclosing information in executive session and for using a district computer email account to support a trustee candidate in the May 19 election.

Censure is a formal reprimand.

Sayles and Tina Dean voted against the censure. She acknowledged using the district’s email account to support Julie Madsen. It is against district policy to use email for political purposes.

“I made a mistake with the email,” she told the Idaho Statesman after the board meeting Tuesday. “But I did not disclose anything in executive session.”

Trustee Anne Ritter, who was beaten by Madsen 522-385, outgoing trustee Janet Calinsky and Board Chairman Mike Vuittonet voted in favor of the censure.

The trustees’ action grew out of election eve emails that Sayles sent to about 40 people urging them to vote for Madsen. “The complexion of the board can change if we elect new members to the school board,” Sayles wrote.

Vuittonet said censure was necessary.

“I do think we have a responsibility if we do something wrong, we don’t just say, ‘It’s OK, we will look the other way.’ ”

He declined to discuss specifics about how information in executive session, when a board meets privately, was violated.

The district has said that Sayles named an employee in her email and the circumstances of that employee’s departure, which is protected information.