School board candidate’s county job presents conflict

When Michelle Bradley, a candidate for the Wicomico County Board of Education, was hired as Executive Director of the county’s Local Management Board, the question of conflict of interest arose.

Michelle Bradley

Can Bradley, who heads the organization, formed to “implement and maintain an efficient system of services for children, adolescents and families,” also serve on the Board of Education, thereby receiving two salaries from the county?

Bradley, who announced her school board candidacy early this year saying she has taught and is a proponent of Universal Pre-Kindergarten, couldn’t be reached for comment this week.

Wicomico County Attorney Paul Wilber told the Salisbury Independent that county statute allows her name to remain on the ballot — as long as she doesn’t campaign.

“She has to suspend all political activity,” Wilbur said. “She is on the ballot but she needs to quit campaigning. She could get an opinion from the (county) Ethics Board as the final word, but that’s my opinion.”

Bradley’s opponent in the Nov. 6 election is incumbent Allen Brown, a retired Wicomico schools Assistant Superintendent.

If she wins a seat on the school board, she can continue in her paid position and recuse herself if a conflict occurred between the board of education and Local Management Board, Wilber said.

Bradley, who lives in Hebron, filed for a seat on the seven-member school board representing majority-minority District 1. The nonpartisan election is Nov. 6.

Serving on the Board of Education is “something I’ve always been interested in,” Bradley said after filing last spring.

She’s concerned about the school system’s bullying policy because she said many students don’t know where to get a form to report bullying.

“There’s a lack of communication between getting it from the administration to the students. That could be worked on a little bit,” she said.

Bradley, 46, said if she’s elected, “it is going to be a huge learning curve.”

“This will be the first fully elected school board. If it’s fully elected for the first time, if everyone is new, there is going to be a learning curve,” she said.

She and her husband, Shawn Bradley, have a daughter who attends Mardela High School.

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