Superintendent’s pact renewal reviewed for Sunshine Act violation

BLOSSBURG – The previous action by the Southern Tioga School District board to renew Superintendent Keith Yarger’s contract for three more years without being on the meeting agenda may have been a violation of the Sunshine Act, or it may not have, according to Pennsylvania Newspaper Association legal counsel Melissa Melewsky.

Yarger’s contract was renewed Oct. 15 without being placed on the agenda that night. Instead it was brought up by board member Kyle Lefheloc as an “additional item” to the agenda near the end of the meeting.

It was approved by a vote of 7-2 following an executive session.

The public had no chance to comment on the action, which is “problematic,” according to Melewsky.

“It does raise the issue of whether the public was given adequate time to comment before the vote was taken,” she added.

During its Dec. 4 meeting, the new board, including new President Steven Guillaume, new Vice President Sean Bartlett, new board members John Ritter and Jim Kreger, joined by Sally Knipe, voted to place an action to rescind the contract renewal on the Jan. 13 board meeting agenda.

The board decided to table any action on the item pending legal review.

According to Melewsky the Sunshine Act “does not require any agenda, or what they are going to vote on at the meeting.”

“Technically, they could announce just date time and place of the meeting, but I think they need to be as forthcoming as possible with details on planned votes to allow public participation,” she said.

Guillaume declined to comment on any action that may or may not take place at the January meeting pending legal review of the matter.

District Solicitor Chris Lantz was unable to comment.