Hill blasts lawmakers over hearing rules

Jan 2, 2014 The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A Wyoming legislative committee plans a three-day hearing next week on Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill's administration of the state education department.

The Legislature's Select Investigative Committee is eyeing the work Hill did before the Legislature removed the elected official in early 2013 from overseeing the agency. Hill has denied any wrongdoing.

Hill has remained in office after losing authority over the agency due to a new law enacted last winter by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead. An administrator appointed by the governor now oversees the department.

Hill, also a Republican, is challenging the constitutionality of the law and a decision is pending from the Wyoming Supreme Court on her lawsuit to overturn it.

Advocates of the law say it was necessary because Hill was delaying and hindering education reform efforts and doing a poor job of running the department.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette, said the committee will meet Monday through Wednesday in Cheyenne. It's seeking information about the handling of federal funds and personnel issues during Hill's tenure.

"We just want to find out what happened and follow the legislative process for that," Lubnau said. "This isn't adversarial. We're just asking people what happened."

Lubnau said discussion of possible impeachment proceedings against Hill would only come after all the evidence has been heard. At this point, the panel's work is focusing on fact-finding, he said.

The hearing will also cover topics including budgeting and administrative activities; state involvement with Fremont County School District 38; and the department's response to legislative directives.

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