Former school board candidate Cindy Rose has filed an ethics complaint against Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban.
The complaint is based on two topics: whether Alban’s work with a superintendents’ organization conflicts with her local loyalty and whether an award Rose’s son received was politicized.
Rose, who finished fourth in a race for three board seats last month, has frequently criticized Alban for other reasons and called on her to resign.
Rose’s complaint will be considered by the school board’s ethics panel, a seven-member appointed body. The panel will report its finding to the school board, along with a recommendation.
Alban did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday afternoon. Frederick County Board of Education President Brad Young declined to comment.
Rose calls into question Alban’s membership with a professional association called Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland, or PSSAM. All 24 of Maryland’s local superintendents are members. Alban is a past president.
PSSAM opposed a proposed state law named for Rose’s son, Ben, who is disabled. Ben’s Rule would have exempted students with disabilities from state standardized testing. A state House of Delegates committee did not vote on the bill in the 2016 session.
“There is a severe and direct conflict of interest between the desires of PSSAM and Alban with the parents of Frederick and the mission of FCPS to partner with the parents to educate and protect its students,” Rose wrote in her complaint.
She referred to the piece of the Frederick County Board of Education’s ethics policy that states that an official cannot hold any other “employment relationship” that “would impair the impartiality or independence of judgment of the official.”
Rose wrote that this is happening with Alban and PSSAM. Rose’s complaint said PSSAM does not employ Alban, but the school system covers her dues.
Rose also alleged that Alban “hijacked” and politicized an awards event at Ben’s school, Rock Creek School, which is for students with severe disabilities.
The award Ben was getting is common among Frederick County’s schools, for students who exhibit positive behavior. Ben’s teacher nominated him “for advocacy” related to Ben’s Rule.
Rose invited Gov. Larry Hogan and David Brinkley, Maryland’s secretary of budget and management and a former state senator representing Frederick County, to the ceremony “to get an in-person understanding of ... special needs children,” she wrote in her complaint.
Rose accused Alban of taking over the event from behind the scenes, inviting other elected Frederick County officials, and manipulating the purpose.
But school district spokesman Michael Doerrer said in an interview that he invited other guests, such as County Executive Jan Gardner and Frederick County’s General Assembly delegation. Alban had no part in planning the event, Doerrer said.
He said elected officials coming to honor a student was “great” and he and Rock Creek staff members wanted to ensure that many were invited.
“Alban selectively added ‘her’ preferred guests, while excluding others; such as the entirety of the County Council, including several who are personal family friends,” Rose wrote.
Doerrer said he mistakenly did not invite council members.