Attorney hired by school board’s conservative majority resigns

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Miller compliments work of recalled board members

By Gabrielle Porter

Jeffco school board attorney Brad Miller, who was hired by the ousted conservative majority after they gained control of the board two years ago, has resigned, according to a letter he submitted Monday.

Miller, who was hired in December 2013 to provide independent legal counsel to the school board, wrote that he’d learned from incoming board member Ron Mitchell that the newly elected board didn’t intend to retain him.

Outgoing board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams were criticized for their hiring of Miller, as most boards in the past have used the school district’s general counsel for legal advice.

“As you are aware, I have maintained that the Board of Education, if it wishes not to be a rubber stamp for administrative priorities, should have continuing access to independent legal counsel,” Miller wrote in his resignation letter. “However, Mr. Mitchell clearly expressed that he and his fellow incoming directors had agreed to terminating my contract and to proceeding without independent legal support.”

Mitchell is one of the three newly elected board members replacing conservatives Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams, who were recalled Nov. 3. The new board will officially take over at a meeting Nov. 19.

Mitchell said he had a conversation with Miller but didn’t say the board would be letting him go.

“I did not tell him that we met and made a decision …,” Mitchell said. “I think I was pretty careful to tell him that I had listened to the other board (candidates) on the campaign trail … but that decision has not yet been made.”

Mitchell said the issue of board legal representation would remain on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. He also said the five members-elect — the three recall successors, plus two board members who won the open seats in Districts 3 and 4 — have been careful not to meet since the election.

“We have been so dang careful not to meet,” Mitchell said, adding that a celebration planned Monday night would be the first time the five would be in the same place at the same time since the election, and that he checked to make sure the event would not violate sunshine laws.

Miller charged the district a monthly rate of $7,500, a total of $90,000 per year. According to his invoices, Miller performed research, helped in negotiations with the teachers union, and helped respond to Colorado Open Records Act requests.

In his resignation letter, Miller complimented the work done by Witt, Newkirk and Williams on the board.

“Your efforts to equalize funding for all students, to increase compensation for all employees, to significantly reward all highly effective teachers, to manage facilities needs without recourse to tax increases and, most of all, your diligent effort to ensure that each child receives a great education have been admirable,” Miller wrote.