He removed himself from discussions on budget items related to special education assistants in 2009 because of his daughter's employment with the district.
Ewen also has immediate family working for the district.
After Cook's declaration in 2009, Ewen denied he was in a conflict of interest, but later removed himself from budget discussions after getting a legal opinion on the matter.
Ewen told The Record Wednesday that he would no longer have an issue
with with ing conflict upcom-budgets
because his son has enough seniority that his job wouldn't be in question.
"The only issue we (him and Campbell) would remove ourselves for ... is if there was an issue around teacher bargaining," he said.
As for Cook's concerns, Ewen said he would
have considered voting for Cook had he called Ewen and told him he was interested in being vice-chair.
Ewen said he had no idea Cook wanted the role until he was nominated Tuesday night.
"I had one trustee phone me and say, 'I would like to be vice-chair of the board.' Nobody else phoned me," Ewen said, referring to Campbell.
"Now, I must admit I didn't phone anybody either," Ewen said, and added that he normally does that. "I didn't do that this year because I made assumptions. Turned out the assumptions were correct, but in the past I phoned up all seven trustees, (and) I've said 'I'd like your support. I want to be chair.'"
"This is a political arena; if you want to get votes, it's often a good idea to talk to people about why it would be a good idea," he said.
Cook has never expressed interest in the position, Ewen said.
"In looking at it in retrospect, it might have been interesting to hear from him on why," Ewen said. "I talked to Ms. Campbell about why she wanted to be, and she had some fairly clear reasons."
In retrospect, Ewen said it might have been best for the two candidates to state their reasons for wanting to be vice-chair.
"We haven't ever done that," he said.
Ewen said he has talked to Cook on the phone.
They spoke earlier in the week and Cook hadn't mentioned a plan to run for vice-chair, Ewen said.
"It's a little late now, but it would have been an interesting discussion to have," Ewen said, referring to talking about a bipartisan approach.
"I'm not saying I would have done something different, but I would have considered something different, but not having that choice I make the decision I make," he said.
Campbell told The Record that there has been too much focus on conflict of interest and not enough on other pressing education issues.
"I think sometimes it's easy to repeat an old narrative over and over again around conflict of interest," she said. "I want the message from the board to be more
than just that, and that seems to get a lot of play. It (conflict) is an important issue, and that's why there is language in the School Act around it, and it's clear.
Campbell said she wants there to be a "broad" representation of what the board focuses on.
"I think our message needs to be the board represents many issues, and we're there to see that we tackle the deficit, that we build these three new schools, and that they're quality schools," Campbell said. "There are educational issues we need to keep at the forefront.
. And not to be mired in all this talk about conflict of interest."
As for her new role, Campbell, a first-term trustee, said she is excited about it.
"My understanding is the chair and the vice-chair are there to manage the meetings in a neutral manner," she added.
Meanwhile, trustee David Phelan, also a teacher, was re-elected to the British Columbia School Trustees Association, and Campbell is the alternate.
Mortensen is on the B.C. Public Schools Employers Asso- ciation, and trustee Lisa Graham is the alternate.