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Clay County Schools yet to begin ethics investigation

the Clay County School Board resumed what appeared to me smooth operations during their regular meeting.
the Clay County School Board resumed what appeared to me smooth operations during their regular meeting.
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Updated: 1/17 12:02 am
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. -- Following months of tension, the Clay County School Board resumed what appeared to me smooth operations during their regular meeting Thursday night.

The tension heated up in October between the school board and Superintendent Charlie Van Zant in late October, when the board voted 3-1 to file an ethics complaint with the state, and asked for a review of actions and money spent by the Superintendent for a teacher history training event.

On Thursday, in the board's first full meeting since November, some expected the fireworks of past meetings to resume, but it appeared that things are now running much smoother in the new year.

Clay County Schools spokesperson Gavin Rollins said "I think there's a new atmosphere," said Gavin Rollins, Public Relations and Spokesman for the Superintendent. "There's a new sense of optimism and hope that we can come together as a county and move forward on behalf of the students."

"It's better," said board member Carol Studdard. "We still have some things to work out but we're committed working for the students."

Action News requested an update on the ethics investigation and learned it has yet to begin.

A board member provided us with a copy of a letter that the ethics commission sent to Charlie Van Zant in November.  The letter says the superintendent is entitled to an attorney to represent him.

We asked if Van Zant has hired anyone but his spokesman Gavin Rollins differed all questions to the ethics commission. 

Studdard believes it's still too early in the process to determine if Van Zant will even need to be represented.

"There are a lot of steps to take place before it gets to a hearing. The end of the letter did indicate that if it should go to a hearing, if it proceeds to that degree, that he would be entitled to legal counsel. The letter did not suggest that he hire an attorney. That's his call, but I think it would be jumping the gun until we see what their initial investigation is filed."

Studdard says the investigation was supposed to begin before the end of 2013, but was delayed due to a backlog in cases. She believes is could begin any day.
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