School District Closing Admin Buildings in Fear of Superintendent Davis Coming to Work

Full statement from WCSD posted below.

The Washoe County School District announced tonight that it was closing its administrative buildings tomorrow because Superintendent Traci Davis announced that she was coming back to work.

“According to an email from Ms. Davis’s attorney received this afternoon, Ms. Davis intends to return to work tomorrow, Thursday, June 27, 2019,” wrote Acting Superintendent Kristen McNeill. “Out of great care and concern for all of you and our District, I am closing the Central Administration Offices, Buildings A, B and C, until Monday, July 1, 2019.”

Traci Davis
Traci Davis,
Washoe County
School District
Superintendent.

McNeill said that the district is concerned that Davis and her attorney, Bill Peterson, “intend to create a disruptive confrontation at the expense of our district and central administration staff.”

Peterson was not immediately available for comment. The district did not respond to a question about what the concern is.

McNeill ordered central administrative building staff not to report to work tomorrow and Friday. They get paid leave.

Email attachments (read them below) show Peterson and school district attorney Neil Rombardo agreeing that Davis would be on leave “until the end of the day June 30th, 2019.”

That was on June 17.

Rombardo then said, “in the interest of full transparency” he would only be informing high-level staff and would say “something very simple such as the ‘Superintendent has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons.'”

WCSD announced June 21 that it scheduled a public meeting essentially to terminate her contract.

Former Board Trustee Dave Aiazzi said that the district’s move raises obvious questions.

“If it was a ‘leave of absence,’ can’t she return when she wants?” he posted online. “Also, this will cost the district what, $150,000? Just because no one shows up doesn’t mean that Traci can’t be there and on the job.”

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The closure also raises questions about how schools in session will be handled, as well as emergency management. District spokesperson Megan Downs said that police officers will hold normal work schedules.

“Our police officers and emergency manager will still be working and most other staff that would be called on in an emergency are available remotely and can come in as needed,” she said. Summer schools and multi-track year-round schools are still in session.

Former Board Trustee Verónica Frenkel had this to say:

“My board colleagues and I worked diligently to put protections, policies and training in place to ensure something like this never, ever happened again. I am very concerned about the lack of process and the significant distraction from focusing on our children.”

Online commenters said that McNeill’s statement implies a threat.

“Wouldn’t it warrant a restraining order?” one person asked.

Commenters posted Michael-Jackson-eating-popcorn gifs, while other readers expressed continued dismay and embarrassment at the school district’s ongoing public drama.

“All I can think is that children are watching,” a ThisisReno reader wrote.

Rombardo Threatens To Report Davis’ Attorney to State Bar

Neil Rombardo, chief legal counsel for the Washoe County School District. Image: WCSD.
Neil Rombardo,
chief legal counsel
for the
Washoe County
School District.
Image: WCSD.

School district attorney Neil Rombardo today said that he was reporting Davis’ attorney to the Nevada State Bar. (Read his complete statement below.)

“We believe you are ignoring your conflict of interests and ethical duties, and we will have no choice but to report you to the Bar Association,” he wrote in an email to Peterson. “You owe duties to potential clients who met with you and provided detailed information, which you are ignoring.”

Rombardo also accused Peterson of lying.

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“The Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct…also prohibits you from knowingly making false statements of fact or law and using your representation of a client to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person,” Rombardo wrote.

Peterson, however, provided more information about Davis’ leave, clearly asserting her leave had input by Board President Katy Simon Holland. Simon Holland last week denied she knew anything about it. (Read Peterson’s complete statement below.)

“I told you that we needed to bring this matter to hearing soon after negotiations failed and wanted the district’s assurance that it would use good faith efforts to schedule that hearing for July, 2019,” Peterson wrote. “Superintendent Davis went on leave of absence based on my representations to her regarding what I understood to be the conditions imposed by the district, which the district now denies.

“Because the district now claims that she is out on voluntary leave of absence for her own personal reasons, Superintendent Davis has decided to return to work and will return to work tomorrow morning…” he added.

“Because the district terminated all of her email and other communications access, please have those restored as she reassumes her responsibilities.”

Those statements are what triggered the closure, according to McNeill.


Urgent Update from WCSD

Kristen McNeill, deputy superintendent, Washoe County School District.
Kristen McNeill, deputy superintendent, Washoe County School District.

In the interest of transparency, WCSD would like to notify our media partners that the following message was sent to Central Administration Building staff this evening from Acting Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill. Please be sure to review the documents linked below the message.

Dear Central Staff –

As you are aware, there is a Board of Trustees Special Meeting scheduled for Monday, July 1, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. to discuss the future of Traci Davis with the District. Today, the District’s Office of the General Counsel received an email from Ms. Davis’s attorney stating that Ms. Davis intends to breach an agreement made between her attorney and the Office of the General Counsel that Ms. Davis will remain on a leave of absence for personal reasons pursuant to Board Policy 9082 until the July 1, 2019 Special Meeting. According to an email from Ms. Davis’s attorney received this afternoon, Ms. Davis intends to return to work tomorrow, Thursday, June 27, 2019.

Out of great care and concern for all of you and our District, I am closing the Central Administration Offices, Buildings A, B and C, until Monday, July 1, 2019.

The concern is that Ms. Davis and her attorney intend to create a disruptive confrontation at the expense of our District and Central Administration Staff. Such tactics are abhorrent, and I am, therefore, doing all in my power as Acting Superintendent to protect you all and the interests of our District.

Therefore, you are not to report to the Central Administration Offices tomorrow and Friday except for regularly scheduled School Police personnel. You will all receive your regular pay for the next two days. If you are able to work remotely, you should do so. If you have a need to be at your offices over the next two days, you can certainly do so. You will all resume your regular schedules on Monday, July 1, 2019.

You may see further details of this situation in the media tonight and I wanted to notify you all before it reached the media.

With great respect and care,

Kristen

Bob Conrad
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Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.

1 Comment

  1. This whole situation seems more and more out of control, filled with obfuscation, and greater daily chaos. Who knows what the real issues are. They seem to have been long lost. Reading these daily updates makes me think I am in the midst of an endless and increasingly destructive Monte Python film. I can’t see how all this infighting has any bearing on the missions of WCSD. Where does it end? What happened to transparency in all negotiations? And what happens to the work of educating our children in the meantime? Good luck as you attempt to make sense of this mess.

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