- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Washoe County School Trustee Dave Aiazzi says he has been diagnosed with leukemia and will resign from the school board by the end of September in a move he says is unrelated to the board’s recent ouster and subsequent reinstatement of the school district superintendent.

The former Reno city councilman admits he’s frustrated by the way the dispute with Superintendent Pedro Martinez was handled but insists the public uproar that ensued is not the reason he’s leaving.

Some had called for Aiazzi and other trustees to resign, and others launched recall positions to try to vote them out.

“Before all of this … happened, I was diagnosed,” Aiazzi told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Thursday (https://tinyurl.com/otp8c62 ).

“My wife and I thought that I should be concentrating more on family stuff for a while and get out of public life. But this (Martinez debacle) sort of cements that decision,” he said.

Aiazzi said he was diagnosed with leukemia about five days before the board decided in a closed meeting to relieve Martinez of his duties on July 22. He said he already had planned to step down by the end of the year, but now will leave by the end of August or September.

Under state law, the school board must vote in a public meeting to fill the vacancy. Aiazzi said he’s not sure whether he will stay long enough to participate in selecting his replacement.

Martinez, former deputy superintendent of Clark County schools in Las Vegas who earlier served as an assistant superintendent in Chicago, has filed a lawsuit accusing the board of violating the state’s open-meetings law. He says they fired him illegally in a dispute over whether he is a certified public accountant, which he says he is.

Aiazzi said he hopes his decision to step down will help take the pressure off of his fellow board members. He doesn’t believe any trustee should be subject to a recall effort.

“The most frustrating thing for me is to have people up there saying (trustees) didn’t care about the kids,” Aiazzi said.

Martinez said in a statement he wanted to join all members of the school district in sending his”thoughts and best wishes” to Aiazzi and his family.

“I am truly sorry to hear the news about Trustee Dave Aiazzi’s diagnosis. I have always appreciated his commitment to public service. He has spent many years advocating for our community and the arts programs that make this such a wonderful place to live,” he said.

Aiazzi first was elected to the school board in 2012. He also served for 16 years on the Reno City Council. His wife of 40 years, DeLores Aiazzi, ran unsuccessfully for Reno mayor this year.

Aiazzi said his cancer prognosis is good, but will include some rigorous treatment.

“It’s a pretty good prognosis,” he said. “Nothing imminent is on the horizon.”

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com

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