The Whole Truth

It is important to me for the public to know the whole truth concerning ethics complaints filed against me by 2 community members, neither of whom I know. One person requested from D5 all e-mails sent to me during a certain time period and the other person combed through past economic interest reports that are online for my 16 years of service on the board to find any technical errors that may have been made. There were several items placed in the incorrect space and one year my teacher salary was left off or placed incorrectly on a confusing webpage. As a matter of fact, the Ethics Commission recently changed the webpage and made it more user-friendly. Honest mistakes were easy to make. Many times over the past few years, I went in person to the Ethics Commission and had help from their staff.

The other one of these women that lodged the complaint reported a couple of emails where I was contacted on my D5 email and asked who did I think would be best to vote for in the upcoming school board race of 2020. I answered them on my own cell phone and believed that since I did not initiate the contact and that I was not on my D5 computer I was not in violation of the ethic rules. However, one of the people that contacted me, without my knowledge or my consent, forwarded my email to 6 other people. It seems the State paper and the Post and Courrier chose to sensationalize this story to cast doubt on my integrity and to hurt our great district. In spite of the attacks, this board under the leadership of Dr. Akil Ross is moving forward. These attacks appear to be motivated by poor losers since in the last election the entire board was flipped.  

Elected officials are required to file an Economic Interest Report every year. I agree it is important for our citizens to know that no elected official uses the office for economic gain. I can assure my public that none of my complaints resulted in economic gain for me. Technical errors like placing items in the wrong space and even not listing my teacher’s salary were not to do anything unethical. I assure you as a teacher on a teacher’s salary for the entire time I have served on the board should prove I was certainly not trying to hide my paycheck from the public. As for the emails, I answered I believe I had an obligation to answer them honestly.

I appreciate the work of the State Ethics Commission. I accepted their offer and paid a fine. The matter is resolved.

Now you know the whole story.

Jan Hammond

Board Chair

Lexington/Richland School District 5