BISMARCK -- A complaint filed against Jacqueline Hoffarth, a Grand Forks School Board member and former UND professor, has been dismissed.
An administrative official with the North Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners confirmed Wednesday that the complaint was dismissed during Tuesday’s meeting.
Hoffarth’s name was originally listed on the board’s agenda, but was later removed and replaced by the word “EXEMPT” in an updated version of the agenda filed Tuesday morning.
Hoffarth’s name was also listed under the renewals section of the agenda. The board did not take action on the renewal applications, according to the board administrator.
A call to Hoffarth by a Forum News Service reporter was not answered Tuesday afternoon. No voicemail was available.
The Herald was not able to access records related to Hoffarth’s case last week, but was since sent the documents following the dismissal.
The Legislature passed a law last year allowing the board to make complaints exempt from the public record prior to disciplinary action, if it so chooses.
Assistant Attorney General David Schaibley, who provides the board with legal counsel, said the Board of Social Work Examiners may choose to keep details of a complaint from the public to protect the reputation of a practitioner who may be falsely accused of wrongdoing. The board may also want to gather more information on a complaint before it makes the details public, Schaibley said.
“There might be a lull in information,” Schaibley said. “The public might not get to know what happened on these unnamed complaints until [the board] decides to make a motion.”
Any disciplinary action taken by the board against a practicing social worker must be done publicly.
Schaibley estimated that fewer than half of the existing state boards have the ability to enter executive session to discuss exempt records.
Another social worker with UND ties also was on the board’s agenda Tuesday.
Andrew Quinn, who no longer works at UND, signed a settlement agreement Monday that revokes his license to practice social work in the state. The board accepted Quinn’s offer Tuesday, about nine months after it first offered the settlement.
Complaints filed against Quinn claimed he was in a relationship with students on two separate incidents.