Embattled school board trustee takes leave of absence

12:10 AM, Nov 9, 2013   |    comments
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Embattled Twin Rivers School Board Trustee Cortez Quinn announced he's taking a leave of absence amid allegations of illegal loans and faked DNA tests.

The school board called a special board meeting Thursday to discuss Quinn's arrest. Quinn, 46, faces multiple felony charges for allegedly receiving loans from Sherilyn Chycoski, a school district employee, and failing to report them. Authorities also said he had a child with Chycoski and conspired to fake the paternity test with lab worker Andre Pearson.

Before the board entered its closed session, community members spoke out.

"I'm tired of opening the paper and turning on the T.V. and seeing Mr. Quinn on it," Carolyn Smith said.

"I am here tonight to insist on the resignation or termination of trustee Cortez Quinn," Ross Hendrickx said.

Board members met in a closed session for 2.5 hours. Trustee Michael Baker said Quinn attended the closed session, but recused himself from the discussion. After the meeting reconvened, Quinn made his announcement.

"This is my official notice that I am taking a formal leave of absence for 90 days," Quinn read in a prepared statement. "Due to personal circumstances, my presence on the board would cause undue distraction."

Immediately after Quinn's statement, board members voted to ask him for his resignation at the next board meeting. Even then, Baker said Quinn didn't have to resign.

"The board can't get rid of anybody," Baker said. "We can't terminate anybody."

The only way the state could force Quinn out of office is if he's convicted of a felony. Voters can try to recall Quinn, but it would require the signatures of 15 percent of the registered voters in the school district. With 71,000 voters, that's 10,665 signatures. If enough signatures are gathered, the earliest the recall would go on the ballot would be November of 2014, unless a special election was called.

County elections officials said people have called asking to recall Quinn over the years, but are deterred when they learn how many signatures they need.

"I think he should have just stepped down [Thursday]," community member Debra Cummings said. "Make it easier for all of us."

Quinn had no comment for the media.

Some in the community said they're planning to pack Quinn's court hearing next week and every school board meeting until he resigns.

It's also unknown whether Quinn will continue to get paid during his leave. School district officials said the board votes on each meeting whether the trustee will be compensated for his or her absence.


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