The Tooele Board of Education is meeting behind closed doors today to discuss personnel issues, likely those associated with the superintendent's arrest for driving with an open can of beer in his truck.
The school board's executive session to discuss personnel and litigation comes in place of a retreat, which will be rescheduled, said board president Kendall Thomas."We don't want to overreact to it, but we certainly want to get it resolved" through careful consideration, Thomas said of Superintendent Jim Buckley.
"You bet it's serious. It's against the law. . . . But it's a tough issue for the board," Thomas added. "If he were a marginal administrator, we'd say, `It's time to move on, Jim.' But he's doing a good job . . .
"He's just got these personal decisions he's dealing with. There's been some really dumb decisions."
Buckley, 42, has pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle with expired registration and while in possession of an open container of alcohol, said Tooele City Attorney Roger Baker. The fine for the class B misdemeanors was $150. A charge for driving without proof of insurance was dropped when Buckley presented appropriate documentation.
At about 6:15 p.m. on July 14, Tooele police officer spotted a truck with expired plates and attempted a traffic stop. But before the truck stopped, the officer saw the driver bend over "like he was either reaching for something or trying to hide something," according to a police report.
The driver, who identified himself as Buckley, stopped and tried to get out but was told to get back inside, the report states. Buckley's son was inside the vehicle. The officer found a can of Keystone Light beer between the seat and the floor. The can was one-fourth full.
Buckley was arrested and transported to the Tooele County Jail, the report states.
Buckley could not be reached for comment Friday. Assistant Superintendent Richard Tolley said Buckley is in Southern California on vacation.
The arrest was not Buckley's first run-in with the law.
Last April, Buckley pleaded no contest in 5th District Court to telephone harassment of a Cedar City woman. He paid a $100 fine for making the March calls to Karen Ward, who was described as an old family friend by Buckley's attorney.
Authorities said Buckley was in Cedar City on district business March 13 when he allegedly called the woman three times, hanging up when she answered. Later that evening he allegedly made two more calls, again hanging up.
Buckley meant no harm and hung up because he did not recognize the woman's voice, his attorney has said.
Buckley, hired as Tooele superintendent in June 1997, is half-way through his job contract. Formerly, he directed special education, youth in custody and English as a Second Language pro-grams for the Iron School District.
Tooele school board members are fielding a slew of calls from the community over the incident.
"They're concerned about his ability to lead the district," said board member Robert Lawrence, adding he shares that concern. "I've had numerous calls (from residents who) sympathize and feel sorry for the man and his family."
Lawrence said he suspects the board will make an announcement on the issue Tuesday.
The board is holding the executive session today because that is the first time all members have been in town, Tolley said.
"I wish it had never happened," Tolley said. "There are situations that arise in all school districts that cause problems. You just have to work through those situations."