East Valley Institute of Technology Superintendent Chad Wilson may have survived an indictment, but a twist in the law is preventing him from doing his job.
Wilson, 49, who was indicted on charges stemming from his tenure at Apache Junction schools superintendent, lost his fingerprint clearance card when he was arraigned in Pinal County on theft and misuse of public monies charges.
As a result, he can’t be on EVIT’s campuses. Kevin Koelbel, legal services advisor for EVIT, said the theft charge specifically prompted the state Department of Public Safety to suspend Wilson’s clearance card.
“It’s a requirement of his contract that he have one,’’ Koelbel said. “He can’t do his job without it. It’s a condition of his job.’’
The issue forced Wilson to go on vacation until his appeal is heard by the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting.
“We are all operating under the assumption that it will be re-instated,’’ Koelbel said – in part because the EVIT governing board has removed Wilson from handling the district’s finances, arranging for an administrator from a Tucson vo-tech school to handle that job.
Stefan Swiat, spokesman for state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, said that Wilson’s card is invalid but that his certification as an educator is intact.
Swait said the state Board of Education has the authority to remove Wilson’s certification after conducting a hearing, but he is not aware of any state action against Wilson. “It means to me that he is in a sort of limbo,’’ Swiat said.
Wilson's lawyer said the fingerprint board was to consider the appeal last Friday and that the EVIT board recommended the card be reinstated.
Attorney Mark Kokanovich added, "We respect the process and we are convinced he is innocent. He has an unblemished record."
Wilson was hired as an assistant superintendent during the administration of longtime EVIT Superintendent Sally Downey, but he ended up replacing her, first as interim superintendent after Downey’s ouster and later as full-time superintendent.
The allegations against Wilson center on $133,223 in payments to Apache Junction administrators during a five-year period, from 2012 to 2016.
Those payments were not authorized by the Apache Junction Governing Board, according to an Arizona Auditor General’s Office report.
The $126,000 in “performance payments’’ went to 11 to 15 administrators, while another $3,880 was spent on “professional development instruction,’’ and $2,550 was spent on paying three administrators to attend athletic events on Friday nights.
Wilson himself received $480 in unauthorized payments, according to the Auditor General’s report.
Despite the indictment and the case pending in Pinal County Superior Court, the EVIT board voted to retain Wilson but put additional financial safeguards in place.