School board member walks out on vote after ‘yelling, bullying in closed session’

Published 11:04 am Thursday, May 4, 2023

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STANFORD – A Lincoln County Board of Education member walked out on the vote to appoint a replacement board member last Friday.

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The vote was to nominate a replacement for the District 3 board seat that was left vacant by Bruce Smith, who resigned so he could apply for the superintendent position.

Following a lengthy executive session, which lasted more than three hours Friday afternoon, board members voted to return to open session to nominate the replacement.

That’s when board member Gloria Sneed walked out.

“I refuse to be yelled at anymore,” Sneed said following the meeting. “I refuse to be bullied into changing my opinion.”

Sneed said staying for the vote would not have changed the outcome.

“So why should I stay?” she said. “I do want to say to all the people that have commented about my treatment in open session … it is way worse in closed session.”

The three remaining board members proceeded to take action after Sneed’s exit.

Marvin Wilson made a motion to nominate Jenn Broadbent as Smith’s replacement on the board. The motion was seconded by Etta Meek. Wilson, Meek and Christine Killen voted yes.

Broadbent and Smith have a history as they, alongside Ricky King, formed a group called the McKinney School Recovery Inc. and sued the Lincoln County School Board in 2020 over the closure of the elementary school.

Smith later resigned from being a director of McKinney School Recovery Inc.

The group alleged the board failed to act in good faith with due regard for public interest and the children affected.

The Franklin County Circuit Court disagreed and found that the board was within its power and authority to close the school and did so “in good faith and upon a just and reasonable basis with regard to the public interest and children affected.”

The Lincoln County School District spent $10,000 of taxpayer funds to defend the lawsuit, while insurance covered the rest.

Broadbent is also partly responsible for new protocols being put in place at Lincoln County School Board meetings in 2020 after a confrontation  after a meeting required police presence.

According to eyewitnesses’ affidavits – two of which were written and signed by current board members Killen and Sneed – Jason Elliot, Kevin Carrier and Broadbent were yelling at former board member Ricky Lane as he left the building and followed him to his truck. The trio circled Lane, according to the affidavits, preventing him from getting into his truck. As the scene became aggressive, the police were called and the three left the premises.

No charges were filed as the incident did not take place with police present.

Police were asked to attend the following board meeting and a new directive was issued prohibiting loitering in the parking lot at the conclusion of meetings.

The current school board hired the Kentucky School Board Association to help with the District 3 replacement timeline and process. A representative from KSBA was present during the allegedly contentious executive session Friday.

Broadbent will serve as the District 3 representative until an election is held in November.