El Dorado County Board of Education Searching for New Superintendent

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EL DORADO COUNTY --

The El Dorado County Board of Education has approved a timetable to replace former County School Superintendent Jeremy Meyers who resigned after being arrested twice for drunken driving over a five month period.

Meyers couldn't be removed from his post because it is an elected position. But the board worked out a buyout deal in which Meyers was able to resign and get a $125,000 lump sum payment.

Board President John Lane said it was important for the County Office of Education to move forward after months of uncertainty and what he called "distress" in the community and among the education staff.

While the arrests prompted widespread calls for Meyers' resignation, the details of his compensation package was only recently released.

"That constitutes grand theft ... that's extortion of taxpayers money, and I don't like it," said county resident Karl Schlener, who attended the board meeting.

He said the should be an employee of the board.

"You could fire them, the way it's set up now, you can't do that," Schlener told the board.

But board members said only voters could do away with an elected position, not the board. The board does have the power to set salaries and compensation.

It adopted a fast-track process to select a replacement, who would serve out the two years remaining on Meyers' term. The person chosen would then have to be elected to remain in the post.

Lane said they were not hiring a replacement but appointing a replacement. He said public input in the selection process is crucial.

"I think they want the board to be thoughtful but also be moving forward in a decisive way, and the feedback we've been getting is that the timeline we're using is very good," Lane said.

Applications will be accepted within the week, and interviews will begin the first week in January.

A public meeting will be held Dec. 15 so that individuals and groups can have a hand in developing questions to candidates. The board will also be taking comments online to get more public input.