Political emails sent by 4J employee stir controversy as Election Day nears

Eugene 4J asked Waggoner to retract her email and to send an apology -- and she did.

Posted: May 17, 2021 2:48 PM
Updated: May 18, 2021 7:49 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Concerns have been raised regarding the current 4J school board election after district officials told KEZI political messaging was sent out Thursday to classified district staff in support of three school board candidates. The email list is composed of half of the staff in the district.

Sheila Waggoner, who sent the messages, is the president of a local classified union -- Oregon School Employees Association Eugene Chapter 1. Eugene School District 4J asked Waggoner to retract her email and to send an apology, and she did.

Her email reads: “It appears I may have sent the previous email to the wrong list and I apologize for the error,” Waggoner wrote. “Public employees should avoid using public email systems for any election-related communications and I'll be more careful about that in the future.”

Chief of Staff Kerry Delf said the emails were sent during the work day using the district’s email addresses.

“Public employees may not participate in political activity on work time or using public resources,” Delf said. “That is a standard. That is the law. It's the district's policy, and it's something that staff are reminded of periodically.”

According to the district, this was reported to the secretary of state office’s Elections Division.

“We want to make sure that people are engaging in political activity only on their own time, using their own resources -- and not using public time, resources and access to the email system,” Delf said. “So that's something that should not be done, and we expect to see that not happen again.”

The email expressed support for three board candidates -- Laural O’Rourke who is running against Harry Sanger, Maya Rabasa who is running against Dakota James Boulette and Tom Di Liberto who is running against Judy Newman and Bryan Costa.

KEZI reached out to Waggoner but has not heard back.

Election Day is tomorrow, and ballots are due by 8 p.m. Stay with KEZI 9 News for the latest.

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