Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tribune Article: Kyle Bateman "discovers" he lives out of area and declines State School Board 13 position


I underlined a couple of important passages of the article.

Key Questions that might be answerable: When did Kyle Bateman know of his residency problems? It appears to be a situation where he knew about this for some time. Did C. Mark Openshaw or others know of the probable outcome of the residency problems?

Key Question that we'll never know: Did Kyle Bateman seriously think it was OK to move outside of the district he was elected to represent? He signed an oath that he did...

Snarky, but relevant question: Does Mark Thomas of the Lt. Governor's office really think it's OK for candidates to lie on their oath and that it's up to others to challenge those assertions?! For example, how would one possibly prove that a candidate did or did not know of the residency requirement they were apparently planning to break soon after being elected?

State ed board race winner drops out
Residency » Worried he didn't meet requirements.
By Lisa Schencker
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 11/17/2008 07:18:01 PM MST

The winner of a recent state school board race has decided not to take his seat because of problems related to residency requirements.

Kyle Bateman, who won the race for the District 13 board seat two weeks ago, sent his letter of resignation Thursday. His opponent in the election, C. Mark Openshaw, will now likely take the seat, said Mark Thomas, administrator at the Lt. Governor's Office.

"This is just me trying to follow the law," Bateman said. "I would love to have served but I didn't want to get up there and find out there was a problem and create controversy."

Bateman said he has two homes -- one in his district in Provo and one that his company bought as an investment outside his district in Mapleton. He said he intended to live in the Mapleton home for a time and sell it eventually while keeping the Provo home as his primary residence.

In his letter, however, he said he sought private counsel, who recently told him the law "would not likely support" that arrangement.

Bateman said the confusion was due to a misunderstanding. State school board member Kim Burningham, however, said he believes Bateman purposefully waited until now to drop out.

"They knew this ages ago," Burningham said, referring to the residency problem, "and they have just purposefully manipulated it."

Burningham said he believes Bateman waited until now to drop out to prevent other, possibly anti-voucher candidates from appearing on the ballot. A total of six people originally vied for the seat. Those six names went to a governor-appointed committee, which narrowed the list to three candidates, ranked in order of the committee's preference. The governor then chose the top two ranked candidates to appear on the ballot.

Had Bateman dropped out after today -- the day election results become official -- the matter might have gone to the governor or to court, Thomas said.

Had Bateman dropped out much earlier, Openshaw might have had to run against the committee's third-ranked choice, A. LeGrand Richards, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations at BYU.

"The democratic process has been totally sidestepped," Richards wrote in an e-mail Monday. "Voters were not allowed to decide on the candidates in the first place and now their choice doesn't matter either. It looks like a great way to stack the deck."

Bateman said he did not purposefully wait until now to withdraw to cut anyone out of the race.

"I don't know anything about that," Bateman said. "I'm not trying to play the system. I have nothing to gain from doing this."

Openshaw, co-founder and president of AirComUSA, a fax and business services company in Provo, said he also thinks Bateman's withdrawl was due to an honest misunderstanding.

"I don't think there's anything nefarious about it," Openshaw said. He said he thought Bateman would have made a good board member, but he'll take the seat if that's what state officials recommend.

Thomas said candidates sign an oath when they file for office stating that they meet the requirements, and it's up to others to challenge those assertions if they feel them to be untrue.

Several lawmakers and the governor are now pushing to change the election system to so voters directly elect board members instead of first sending the names through a committee and the governor.

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