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Published: Friday, 7/5/2002

Swanton school officials pay after closing doors of meeting

SWANTON - Swanton school board paid its law firm $1,885 after meeting in a closed-door session last winter that the school's lawyer said violated Ohio's public meetings law.

The school district paid Eastman & Smith Ltd. of downtown Toledo to represent it, school treasurer Jeff Price said, after the board met in private for more than an hour and a half to discuss bids amounting to $11.4 million for construction of the high school.

Several school employees, a Blade reporter, and other taxpayers who had gone to the meeting waited while the board talked elsewhere in private. Days later, after complaints from The Blade, the board met again in an attempt to recreate for the public the discussion it had held behind closed doors.

Attorney Tom Gibney said at the time that board members had misunderstood the law.

Attending the executive session were board president William Green, board vice president Mark Secory, board members Michael Remer and Doug Lee, Superintendent Kevin McQuade, Mr. Price, and architect Frank Beans. Board member Barb Schmidt was absent.

The construction bids were approved in public after the board emerged from its private meeting.

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