School & District Management

Fallout Continues from Omaha, Neb. Superintendent Scandal

By Christina A. Samuels — August 24, 2012 1 min read

Back in June, I wrote about a scandal that had enveloped Nancy Sebring, whose tenure as superintendent of the Omaha district was cut short after a public records request turned up several racy emails she had sent to a man who was not her husband.

The Omaha World-Herald has continued to follow the story, writing recently that one of the city’s school board members has filed a complaint against the Omaha school board attorney.

The attorney, Elizabeth Eynon-Kokrda, and the school board president,Freddie Gray, have stated that they knew about the emails weeks before Sebring was fired, but that Sebring played down the incidents and they considered the situation to be a personnel matter deserving a privacy. Gray survived a vote earlier this month that would have removed her from her seat as board president.

Now, another community official, Ernie Chambers, has filed a grievance against Eynon-Kokrda, accusing her of gross negligence for not revealing the information sooner. Chambers is a member of the Learning Community Board, an entity that oversees joint education issues among the 11 school districts in the Omaha metropolitan area.

From the article:

Citing state lawyers' rules, Chambers writes in his grievance that Eynon-Kokrda's "client was not Gray or Sebring, but the board collectively acting for OPS." "The Rule is turned on its head when the lawyer is the ringleader or mastermind of the actions that are inimical or adverse to the best interests of the client," he writes. An attorney can't represent two masters with adverse interests, and attorneys must give their clients enough information to make informed decisions, the grievance says. Chambers alleges that Eynon-Kokrda violated the oath she took as a lawyer and the code of conduct by scripting how Sebring and Gray would respond should news organizations discover the explicit emails.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.