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Lawrence school board doesn't approve hiring principal's wife

By Nancy Glasscock 340-2443

MOULTON — A motion to hire the wife of East Lawrence High School's principal failed Thursday after Lawrence County School Board members agreed to meet later to discuss the school system's hiring practices.

District 2 board member Gary Bradford cast the only vote against a recommendation to hire Rebecca Nichols, wife of East Lawrence High School Principal Ricky Nichols, as a clerical aide at the school, while District 3 board member Dr. Beth Vinson abstained. District 5 board member Wendell Logan did not attend the meeting.

A recommendation to hire Rebecca Nichols failed at a board meeting in August after a discussion among board members on whether the hire would violate nepotism laws.

District 4 board member Jackie Burch said the board should make changes to its hiring policies when it isn't voting on a specific person.

"I would like to see this board at some point and time make a policy instead of picking and choosing," he said. "I'd rather start with a policy so in the future a board couldn't pick and choose."

Vinson said the board hasn't violated any nepotism laws. Principals and department heads make recommendations to the board, but the board makes the final decision on whether a person is hired.

"Because this board hires, it's my understanding it wouldn't be nepotism," she said. "It's who hires."

Vinson said she agrees the board needs to meet later with its attorney, Jerome Thompson, to discuss the issue. Superintendent Dexter Rutherford said the board could meet at an upcoming conference to discuss a possible change in hiring policies.

"I think we all need to be up to snuff about what we can do and what we can't," Vinson said.

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