New recording surfaces from tense Aug. 23 school board meeting

  • By Sharon Salyer
  • Tuesday, September 6, 2011 2:53pm
  • Local News

Moments after a closed-door Everett School Board meeting devolved into a physical altercation Aug. 23, district officials turned on a tape recorder.

The tape documents what became an unusual public meeting featuring board members trading barbs while they waited for police to arrive.

Ea

rlier, the board had objected to member Jessica Olson videotaping what was planned as a closed session to review the performance of Superintendent Gary Cohn. Once that meeting broke down, however, the board members were in open session, and what happened needed to be recorded under the state’s Open Meetings Act.

The school district released the audio recording late last week under a public records request from The Herald. You can listen to it here.

Below is a transcript of the first couple minutes. The entire recording is about 45 minutes long, and it documents school board members filling out police statements.

Gary Cohn: So you’re back in session.

Unknown female board member: … Kinda fun.

Cohn: We want to make sure the front door is open.

Board member Carol Andrews: We’ll make the front page tomorrow.

Board member Jessica Olson: (On the phone to her husband.) I called the police. Come down immediately. Now.

You two are gonna have to lie. Just I hope you know that.

(Olson said this afternoon she was speaking to board members Andrews and Jeff Russell about what happened during the physical confrontation with member Kristie Dutton and Ed Petersen, board president.)

Dutton: It’s really not your prerogative to tell anybody what to do or say.

Olson: I didn’t touch you. You both can’t be …You’re going to have to lie to make this stick. I hope you’ll be able to live with yourself. The problem is you’ll have to make the call on what’s on the video. Do I have it all or not? What are you gonna say?

Dutton: Just admit you’re not cut out to be a school board member.

Olson: You are a lackey and brownnoser. And you take public funding to put in your own pocket through the foundation. (Dutton currently is the executive director of the nonprofit Everett Public Schools Foundation)

Dutton: Ah, that’s not the case.

(Everett police officer arrives)

Dutton: Hello, sir.

Officer: OK…Who all is involved? Whatever I’m here for…

Olson: The three of us. The five us were in the room together without the superintendent.

Officer: OK. The three of us…

Olson: (Interrupts) Quite frankly officer, he wasn’t involved …

Officer: OK. OK. You say the three of us. You and who?

Olson: Petersen. Dutton .

Officer: OK. OK. Let’s everyone calm down and wait for my boss to get here and we’ll sort it out from there. So… I got calls from a couple different people. Who called?

Olson: I called first.

Officer: Who else called? OK. Do we need to get aid up here?

Olson: I got a slight injury.

Officer : Do you need aid to get here?

Olson: No

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