Board calls on Joe Enge to resign
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Trustee Joe Enge refused to resign Tuesday from his position on the Carson City School Board despite impassioned pleas from the public and a formal vote from fellow board members that he do so.
Although the board has no power to remove a member, trustees cast a unanimous vote to call on him to voluntarily resign following his arrest for suspicion of drunken driving on Jan. 31.
“I’m not participating in this,” was the only response Enge gave to the vote.
Vice president Norm Scoggin said it was with “much soul-searching and regret” that he requested Enge to resign.
“I hope for your sake that you work through your problems,” Scoggin said. “Until you’ve resolved your problems, you need to step away so as not to embarrass or burden the people of Carson City.”
Enge voluntarily stepped down from his position on the legislative liaison committee for school board, but called the process to encourage him to resign “inappropriate.”
“It’s an unprecedented reach by the board into matters private to a trustee,” he said. “The claim of no intent to harm me is, on its face, a gross lie.”
Board member Joanna Wilson said his arrest made the issue public.
“What happens in your home is not our business, but once it comes to the public forum, as it did the other night, it becomes public,” Wilson said. “You brought it there, Joe. We did not.
“The honest and right thing to do here is to resign.”
The arrest is the latest in a series of run-ins for the former Carson High School history teacher elected to the school board in 2006.
In October 2007, he was cited for driving into a neighbor’s fence and leaving the scene.
In 2005, he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Lyon County, but charges were dismissed after Enge said in court he’d been wearing dentures, which can impact the accuracy of the tests.
He also has two previous DUI convictions from 1997. Under Nevada law, a person must have two DUI convictions within a seven-year period in order for the third offense to be considered a felony.
Eagle Valley Middle School teacher Bonnie Preston, a 1987 Carson High School graduate, said Enge’s actions insulted her life’s work.
“As a teacher, you are my supervisor,” she told him. “As a supervisor, you’ve compromised my reputation, and you compromised my hometown.”
Two people spoke in defense of Enge, including South Lake Tahoe businessman Michael Clark.
He said the community seemed “unusually anxious to publicly crucify Joe Enge,” but said Enge “truly cares about the children of this community.”
Laurel Stadler, state director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was among six people to call on his resignation.
She cautioned against referring to the alleged drunken driving as a mistake.
“In reality, a crime was committed,” she said. “It’s a crime that kills approximately 13,000 to 17,000 people in this country year in and year out.
“To rationalize that this behavior is OK because of good things you might do on the board is just that, a rationalization. And it makes no sense.”
Enge, who makes $400 a month as a school board member, could face two days to six months in jail and a fine of $340 to $1,175. His driver’s license also could be suspended for 90 days.
– Contact reporter Teri Vance at email@example.com or 881-1272.
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