Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lompoc School District violates Brown Act to hire personnel manager

"I held them in high regard until today." I know how Sue Schuyler feels. I could have said the same thing about Patrick Judd, Cheryl Cox, Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez and Larry Cunningham at one time.

It's amazing how people will surrender their ethics and honesty to get a tiny bit of power. It's all the more shocking when it's such a TINY bit of power.

Lompoc: Ex-school board members accuse board of violating Brown Act

First Amendment Coalition
June 23, 2009

Two ex-members of the Lompoc Unified School District school board say that the council majority acted precipitously in a June 2008 by a motion to hire a particular candidate for interim personnel director. The action contributed to board turmoil and a series of charges and denials among board members past and present. -DB

The Lompoc Record
June 23, 2009
By Bo Poertner

During a closed meeting of the Lompoc Unified School District Board of Education in June 2008, two of the members expected only to discuss the possible hiring of an interim personnel director.

Instead, former board members Bob Campbell and Ken Ostini said, they were surprised by the suddenness of a motion to hire Marilyn Corey, who had been interim personnel director in 2002, and the existence of a proposed contract to pay Corey $500 per day.

The actions of the board majority — Sue Schuyler, Anne Bossert and Kris Andrews — were highly inappropriate and perhaps violated California’s open meetings law, according to Campbell and Ostini, both of whom declined to seek re-election in November.

Andrews, Schuyler and Bossert deny that they violated the Brown Act and are reacting strongly to the accusation.

Although Corey wasn’t hired for that position, the discussion at the meeting a year ago threw the board into a tailspin, symptomatic perhaps of the turmoil it has been engulfed in for the past couple of years as it has made deep, painful budget cuts and controversial personnel moves.

It quickly became apparent, Campbell said, that the board majority had been discussing personnel moves privately and reaching a majority consensus outside of a board meeting — a clear violation of the Brown Act.

The board had not advertised to fill the position being vacated by Personnel Director Ragan Fife, and other options had not been discussed, he said.

One of those options, Campbell said, was a suggestion from Superintendent Frank Lynch that Lynch, Fife and Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Tanya Opfermann share the personnel director’s responsibilities temporarily to save money.

“I was just kind of stunned,” Campbell said. “I remember saying, ‘Now, wait a minute here. We’re getting way ahead of things here.’”

Ostini said he was shocked as well.

“I was very surprised that all of a sudden, boom, it just sort of hit us,” he said. “This is the first I’ve seen this contract and we’re getting ready to approve this, and we’ve been sitting here five minutes?”

“The damage that these three school board members have done in the last 18 months will take years to repair, or to heal,” Campbell said. “It’s just no way to operate.”

Andrews, Schuyler and Bossert have a much different interpretation of events.

“Nothing was set in advance. Nothing was agreed to. There is no pattern of collusion, no agreement, no nothing,” Andrews said.

“We would have never done something like this,” Schuyler added. “I’m really disappointed in these two men. I held them in high regard until today...

No comments: