Register, MNPS staff to complete new 'disclosure of interest' forms

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 12:52am

Following questions over Jesse Register’s apparent failure to disclose potential conflicts of interests, the director of schools and other top Metro school administrators plan to fill out and submit new “disclosure of interest” forms to a school board administrator.

“This is a policy we’re proposing in the interest of full disclosure,” Register said as he unveiled the new procedure at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Under the new policy, Register and 20 other executive staff members are to complete and turn in annual disclosures, which ask questions on sources of income, business operations of family members with MNPS, and meals and trips received as a result of employment with the district. In all, the disclosure covers seven areas.

School board members, who file disclosures each year with the Tennessee Ethics Commission, are not subject to the new Metro schools disclosure form.

The policy did not require a school board vote.

The development follows a recent Tennessean report that found Register went two years without filing financial disclosures for 2010 and 2011. When he finally filed the statements late, he still left blank a question regarding gifts, according to the Tennessean story.

The Service Employees International Union Local 205, a critic of Register, followed the report by filing a complaint against Register in March. Democratic state Rep. Gary Moore, who serves as president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, asked Register to resign in a March 28 letter that the lawmaker addressed to the board chair.

On Tuesday, Register said he wasn’t aware Moore had asked him to resign.

Metro’s ethics code, overhauled in 2007, requires Metro officials to submit conflict of interest forms with the Metro Clerk. The procedure that Register’s administration has engineered, however, requires Metro schools administrators disclose statements with the school board.

“This policy mirrors very closely with the policy of Metro government, but it would be reported to the board administrator and filed appropriately,” Register said.

In other business at Tuesday’s school board meeting:

• The school board gave preliminary approval of a proposal to rename Nashville’s East Literature Magnet School to East Nashville Magnet School.

The East Nashville school has carried the name East Literature Magnet School since 1979, but the school is in its second years as a Paideia school. Formal approval of the name-change requires an additional board vote.

• At Tuesday’s board meeting, security members restrained a disgruntled man and escorted him out of the district’s Bransford Avenue building after he started yelling at board members because he said he was unable to hear them speak during deliberation.

The board meeting suspended as security worked to exit the man from the building. The City Paper was unable to catch up with the man during his exit or determine his identity.