Enge won’t resign after drunken driving arrest
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Trustee Joe Enge said Monday he will not step down from his position on the Carson City School Board following his arrest for drunken driving Saturday.
“Despite my personal failing, professionally I’ve always been high achieving,” he said. “While I’m ashamed of my private failing, I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve made and will continue to make toward education. My personal situation will in no way affect my professionalism on the school board. I’ll remain as focused as ever.”
Enge, 46, was jailed on a first-offense drunken driving charge around 3 a.m. Saturday after being pulled over in the area of Gold Dust West and Highway 50 East for driving without his headlights.
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 affect 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.
He said Monday he realizes he has a problem with alcohol.
“That’s pretty public now. I can’t ignore it anymore,” he said. “It’s a problem one needs to deal with as many others have so successfully done and as I plan to do. I will be going through a treatment program. That’s definite.”
School Board President Barbara Howe said she would like to see some sort of recourse.
“We need to do something because if we don’t do anything, it’s condoning it,” she said. “We send mixed messages to our youth.”
She is calling for an agenda item at the board’s next meeting to discuss the code of conduct, in particular the third item that states, in part, “Trustees should not bring disrespect to the Board.”
“I’m not going to let this go by,” she said. “This is just too big.”
However, the board is limited in what it can do.
“As publicly elected officials, it’s really up to the individual board members to decide if they want to step down,” said Michael Pavlakis, an attorney representing the school board. “Or the public can remove that person through the recall process. It’s really up to the public.”
According to Nevada law, a recall petition would require the number of signatures equivalent to 25 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last election.
All signers must be Carson City residents and registered voters in order for a special election to be called. There has never been a recall election in the history of Carson City nor its predecessor Ormsby County.
Enge said his arrest should not overshadow his accomplishments on the board.
“I do feel a great deal of self-satisfaction there,” he said.
He listed a program he initiated in which administrators must now respond in writing to all grievances within a specific timeline.
“It used to be a complaint could go all the way to the superintendent without any response,” he said.
Enge said he’s also clarified open-meeting law for the board and encouraged better recording of minutes of the meetings and posting them online.
He also brought to the board’s attention a federal database through No Child Left Behind called “What Works Clearinghouse” that evaluates programs based on scientific research.
However, he said, he’s learned an important lesson.
“One can’t let any successes in one area of one’s life allow one to ignore problems or addictions in another area,” he said. “One must deal with them.”
– Contact reporter Teri Vance at email@example.com or 881-1272.
WHAT: Carson City School Board meeting
WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 10
WHERE: Sierra Room,
Carson City Community
Center, 851 E. William St.
Trustees are expected to lead their public and private lives in the same manner that they expect those who interact with our community youth to lead their public and private lives. Trustees should not bring disrespect to the Board or the Carson City School District by their private or public acts.