Complaint dismissed against Clark schools chief
A complaint against Clark County schools chief Carlos Garcia, stemming from the school district’s purchase of a $29,916 sports-utility vehicle for him, was dismissed Thursday by the state Ethics Commission.
A two-member commission panel ruled there’s no “just and sufficient cause” to warrant a hearing and opinion by the full Ethics Commission on the SUV purchase that had been criticized last June by a Clark County School Board candidate as “a total waste.”
Ryan Devins filed the Ethics Commission complaint, saying the Ford Explorer purchased for Garcia had $7,300 in unwarranted luxury upgrades, such as a six-CD sound system, four-wheel drive, a costly off-road package and third-row seating.
The Ethics Commission’s executive director, Stacy Jennings, had recommended dismissal, noting that Garcia stated his contract with the district provides that he gets a vehicle for both business and personal use.
Jennings also said Garcia stated the audio system wasn’t unreasonable, that the third-row seat was needed for passengers while on school district business, and the four-wheel drive was needed for reaching school construction sites. He didn’t mention the off-road package that accounted for $4,470 of the total in upgrades.
Jennings also said there was no evidence that Garcia coerced Walt Rulffes, deputy superintendent of operations for the district, into making the purchase.
Rulffes has said the SUV was purchased as part of a bulk order of $20 million in new vehicles, including $17.5 million for school buses and $2.5 million for new police cars.
The district was able to get a deal on the SUV by using a bid negotiated by state officials and the purchase was handled by the business office, not the superintendent, Rulffes said.