Lyon school superintendent fights allegations of favoritism, misconduct
Appeal Staff Writer
Lyon County School Superintendent Nat Lommori is vigorously defending himself against six allegations levied against him by the school board.
The board met Tuesday at Silver Stage High School in Silver Springs to discuss how Lommori has carried out his duties as superintendent and agreed to continue the meeting tonight.
In their notice to him, the board outlined six areas of inquiry involving information to the board about employee grievances and the retaining of legal counsel; favoritism and preferential treatment, failing to place items on the agenda or create follow-up reports and failing to have his assistant carry out directives of the board.
Nearly 200 parents, staff and other residents were on hand for the meeting, which ended about 9 p.m. after board Chairman Russell Colletta became concerned about emotions rising among the audience, many of whom supported Lommori. The board only had time to discuss the first two of the six complaints listed.
“My career and competence has been challenged. I’m going to take as much damn time as I need to present my case and protect my reputation,” Lommori said to applause from the audience.
Lommori said he could not give details about grievances or lawsuits to the board because in the third step of a three-step process of hearing grievances, the board will become the triers of the facts.
He said, when a grievance is filed, step one is to try to settle the matter at the school level and step two is to settle it at the superintendent’s level.
Step three is to bring the matter to the school board.
“All the advice I have gotten from legal counsel is not to discuss it until the proper time, because you then trample the employee’s rights,” Lommori said.
Two union officials, Chuck Fletcher and Steve Simmonds, testified they would be uncomfortable if they knew the board was getting information on grievances from the superintendent.
On retaining council, Lommori said he was just following past practice in contacting an attorney.
On the second issue, regarding allegations of favoritism and preferential treatment, Lommori called about eight administrators to testify there was no such problem in the district.
At one point, he asked administrators in the audience to stand if they had been invited to his home. None stood. Then Lommori asked if any had been invited to the home of a school board member, and many stood.
Lommori alleged that the administrators would feel pressured to attend in either case.
At that point, with emotions running high, the meeting was continued to today. No other issues were addressed.
“These are difficult times for the school district,” he said. “It’s upside down. It needs to get back on track. If it takes to 2 a.m., we need to sit here and get ‘er done.”
Lommori has been the Lyon school superintendent for the past 14 years of his 32-year education career.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
Here are the six complaints against the superintendent.
1. A failure to communicate and inform the board about various employee grievances and lawsuits, a failure to provide details about how attorneys have been retained to handle these matters and a failure to provide a status on these matters.
2. The superintendent giving preferential treatment to certain administrative employees … on step increases and salaries.
3. Treating principals who have requested leaves of absences differently without explanation.
4. Failure to include agenda topics on meeting notices once these topics have been requested by school board members.
5. Failure to provide follow-up reports to the board on agenda topics once the board has so requested at a public meeting such as the topic concerning broken fire sprinkler pipes.
6. Failure to have personnel subordinate to the superintendent carry out specific directives of the board.