JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The president of the Jefferson County School Board has filed an ethics complaint against himself. Ken Witt is one of three school board members at the center of a recall election.

Parents gathered signatures to recall Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk.

The three are conservatives who took control of the board in 2013, hired a new superintendent, and proposed changes to curriculum that led to accusations of censorship.

Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk (credit: CBS)

Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk (credit: CBS)

Witt claimed those behind the recall are lying about the Jeffco School Board’s behavior behind closed doors. He is asking the Independent Ethics Commission to investigate him to see if board members violated Sunshine laws during open meetings.

Sunshine laws make meetings, records, votes, deliberations and other official actions available for public observation, participation and/or inspection.

“Yes, this is ridiculous. An elected official filing an ethics complaint against himself? But sadly, this empty, ridiculous accusation requires an equally ridiculous action to shed light on the truth,” said Witt in a news conference Wednesday morning.

Jeffco School Board President Ken Witt (credit: CBS)

Jeffco School Board President Ken Witt (credit: CBS)

The opposition, Jeffco United for Action called Witt’s news conference a political stunt and said the board’s hiring of an outside attorney was made public by another school board the day before the Jeffco School Board even voted on it, which proves it was a done deal.

“So the real issue is that politics has taken over the Jeffco School Board and it’s time for politics to get out of our schoolhouses. That is what this recall is really about and that is why the parents went out and collected twice the required signatures because Jeffco is tired of political stunts like what happened here today,” said Jeffco United for Action spokeswoman Lynea Hansen.

The group also said the Independent Ethics Commission doesn’t have jurisdiction.
While the commission hasn’t yet seen Witt’s letter requesting review, they tell CBS4 that it is true; they have not had jurisdiction over school boards since 2009.
In addition, the commission says it leaves issues surrounding open meetings laws to the courts.

Recall ballots will be mailed next week to all voters in Jefferson County.