Complaint dismissed against Clark schools chief
December 9, 2004
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.
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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.