Got Conflict? (of interest)

You may be surprised to find that the legal definition of a conflict of interest may differ widely from your ethics.  Come to find out that what one often perceives as a conflict of interest is not a problem from a legal aspect.  School board members are required to declare any interests themselves or family members may have where decisions made as a board would directly benefit them (from a financial perspective mainly).

So try this one on for size.  Of the 230+ school districts state-wide, all but a handful of them participate in a ‘self-insuring’ trust system designed specifically for school districts.  The Arizona Risk-Retention Trust provides each participating school district with coverage for an annual ‘assessment’ that private insurance companies would refer to as a ‘premium’ for coverage.  Clyde Dangerfield, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Risk Management handles the oversight on policies and procedurese that help mitigate and minimize liability risk.  In addition, he is responsible for recommending the types and amounts of coverage the district should carry to insure against loss.

This is all well and good until you learn that ‘The Trust’ as it is referred to internally is managed by a board of several members, and that each of those board members are individuals from various school districts from around the state.  The current board president of ‘The Trust’ is Clyde Dangerfield, our very own ‘CFO’.  So let me get this straight… Gilbert Public Schools pays for insurance to the tune of nearly $2Million annually, and the one recommending that coverage is the same person who sits on the board of the organization that provides the coverage?  Hmm… if that’s not a conflict of interest, I’m afraid to ask what is.

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