STANWOOD — Stanwood-Camano School Board member Al Schreiber has broken his silence to defend his public backing of a candidate who had dropped out of November’s election.
Schreiber responded last week to a complaint filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission. He addressed some allegations but left unanswered why he actively promoted the candidacy of Keith Pappas, who pulled out of the race for an open School Board seat in July.
District parent Melissa O’Neill filed the PDC complaint Nov. 2, a few days after she and other parents alleged that Schreiber had sent emails and distributed post cards encouraging support for Pappas. Parents suspect Schreiber hoped that if Pappas won, he would not take office and give the board a chance to appoint its own pick.
Schreiber has since stepped down from his position as board president but continues to serve as a board member. He had previously been silent about the parents’ allegations.
Schreiber has not responded to Daily Herald requests for comment.
One allegation was that he passed out candidate endorsement cards at Stanwood High School’s homecoming parade. In his response to the PDC, Schreiber said he didn’t attend the event. He also said an endorsement email he sent to a large group of people accidentally included a school district email address.
“When I caught this error, I immediately reported the accidental email to the district and self‐reported this to the PDC,” Schreiber said in the PDC response. “Scott at the PDC after researching it said it was not an issue.”
He also said that the version of the email included in the PDC complaint had been doctored to include the district’s logo.
“They may want you to believe that this was a mass mailing to all teachers and staff but in reality, only to one teacher, only by accident,” he wrote.
But it’s not the email or the cards that district parents are most worried about.
“Most of us are even more bothered by the ethical situation and his refusal to recognize it,” O’Neill said.
At a late-October meeting, Superintendent Jean Shumate recommended parents reach out to the PDC for a third-party review of the situation. At the time, the parents thought the commission would address what they regard as an ethical question — why Schreiber backed Pappas in the first place. When they filed the complaint, they realized the PDC’s focus would be more narrow, O’Neill said. Among other things, the commission oversees campaign finances and lobbying, including any use of public resources.
“We’re trying to find some other avenues for reporting and having him reviewed in the ethics area,” she said.
Kim Bradford, communications manager at the Public Disclosure Commission, said the complaint against Schreiber is under initial review.
Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.