After filing to run for Nevada County Superintendent of Schools against incumbent Holly Hermansen, Paul Haas, a reporter and anchor for KNCO talk radio, said he will step away from his on-air presence during the election to protect the radio show from committing any violations with the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC).
Haas filed to run with the county elections office on Friday, and said Monday that he had contemplated running for more than two months before he decided to join the race on the day of the deadline.
“It’s been weighing on me for a while,” Haas told The Union. “I did not want to jeopardize my position at the station, because I do love what I do. But my passion is education.”
Haas added, “I had to weigh all of the factors to make sure I had the support of my peers.”
KNCO Station Manager Tom Fitzsimmons said that Haas will remain a reporter with the station, but to avoid ethical complications, he will have a limited role in radio and on-air operations.
“He’s a news reporter, but he was also one of my anchors. So for the FCC, he can work for the radio station but we have to basically take him off the air,” Fitzsimmons said. “If he was a weather guy and did a two-minute weather report every day, his opponent would then get two minutes of time to talk about anything … because those are the regulations.”
According to Fitzsimmons, Haas will continue to cover city and county events for KNCO’s online news, but he will not be given a byline.
Fitzsimmons added, “We want the community to have an honest race, and an unbiased race, so we don’t want to be perceived as one way or the other.”
Haas said he has the experience for the job and has a specific issue with the current administration.
“I’ve been in education for almost 30 years prior to making the change to KNCO, and I’ve known Holly for many years. We’ve always had a good relationship,” he said.
“But right now, one of my concerns is how money is being spent. We just came through several years of recession, and the county office did a great job of managing money, but it built up quite a large reserve and I’m not seeing that money going back into education related programs.”
Hermansen was appointed Nevada County Superintendent of Schools in 2007, and ran unopposed in 2010. She told The Union that she has met Haas before, and has worked with him on stories he has reported on KNCO.
Hermansen, though, said she has not really given much thought toward Haas’ candidacy, but is very excited with the work she has done over the past seven years.
“There are three particular things that I feel extremely proud of that I feel will provide me with getting through this election,” Hermansen said.
“I have provided solid leadership to the districts in this county, particularly through the economic crisis that we’ve had. Our office has played a large role in assisting schools through that economic crisis. The second thing I am really proud of is that I have developed strong community partnerships that directly benefited schools in this district. I’ve really facilitated a lot of work in that area.”
Hermansen added, “We operate a high-quality program right here in our own county office, we service special education students, foster youth and at-risk students, we also run an alternative education high school. We’ve just been doing some wonderful work here.”
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.