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State GOP cries foul over e-mail

A Democrat's campaign calendar sent out using the Tigard/Tualatin School District system is labeled partisan politics by GOP

KING CITY - Nick Smith, spokesman for the Oregon House Republicans, took exception this week to an e-mail sent out Oct. 16 to employees of the Tigard/Tualatin School District by a Tigard High School teacher who is also the building representative for the Oregon Education Association (OEA), the union that represents the teachers.

The message sent out by teacher Murray Carlisle listed a calendar of campaign activities for Rep. Larry Galizio running for re-election in House District 35 against the Republican challenger, Shirley Parsons.

Smith was given a copy of the message by someone, possibly another employee of the school district. The 'From' line was edited out, except for the letters 'js' and '@ttsd.k12.or.us' in a copy of the e-mail sent to the Regal Courier by Smith.

Smith claimed Carlisle had used taxpayer funded resources, the school district's in-house e-mail system, to communicate information for one candidate.

According to a school district spokeswoman, it was not an accepted use, but after an investigation it was concluded the teacher had just used the system incorrectly sending information out to employees other than members of the OEA. She said they had talked to the teacher and the problem was straightened out.

'He was not supposed to use the district listserv (the in-house e-mail system),' said Susan Stark-Haydon, spokeswoman for the Tigard/Tualatin School District. However, she added, 'he is allowed to communicate with teachers because they are members of the association (OEA), but it went out over the school listserv that included teachers, secretaries and administrators, so it was beyond just teachers.'

She explained that if the union representative, Carlisle, had set up his own address list of teachers to receive the union activity messages it is permitted, as long as it was after work hours, which is allowed under the district's contract with the OEA.

Stark-Haydon said a district representative talked to Carlisle Oct. 19 telling him he shouldn't have done it the way he did and the district also talked to the OEA telling them that they need to make sure the building representatives know how to use the system for sending union information to teachers.

Stark-Haydon speculated on what Carlisle was trying to do, saying, 'I think he thought he was just doing what he was supposed to be doing passing on information as a union representative.'

The OEA Uniserve consultant, Marty Pavlick said that building representatives are kept informed about campaign activities of candidates the union endorses.

Galizio is supported by the OEA and his campaign sends the OEA updates of campaign activities such as when they are seeking volunteers for canvassing and phone calling of voters in his district.

'The Tigard/Tualatin District and a number of other district have access, bargained in their agreements, to facilities and equipment for association business, and if they are sending an association E-mail to association members we view that as association business,' said Pavlick.

An e-mail with campaign information, including information about campaigns other than Galizio's, was sent out to 'association leaders,' he said. It listed activities around the state from now until the end of the election season. 'It was sent to the president of the Tigard/Tualatin Education Association and where it went from there I probably can't comment on because I don't know,' said Pavlick.

He said it was not information for the general public. But, it was the type of information keeping with the agreement that association members are allowed to use the system for association communications.

Smith, in his e-mail to the Regal Courier, claimed members of the OEA were using the 'publicly-owned e-mail system in Tigard' to support Galizio's campaign.

'Taxpayers in the Tigard School District are paying for political activity,' said Smith, identifying himself as the communications director for Majority 2006, a chief contributor to Parsons' campaign. 'The teachers' union and their members should find a different way to communicate their partisan activities on behalf of Larry Galizio.'