Sunday, June 20, 2010

Maybe we'll learn the truth about Del Mar USD

A bouquet — the Clearing the Black Cloud award — to Sharon McClain
By Logan Jenkins
San Diego Union-Tribune
June 20, 2010

...A bouquet — the Clearing the Black Cloud award — to Sharon McClain, the fired superintendent of the Del Mar Union School District, for putting her purse where her mouth is and filing a claim against the board members and the attorney who she says done her wrong.

This first step toward a full-fledged lawsuit lays out McClain’s belief that three board members — Katherine White, Annette Easton and Doug Perkins — acted in concert with attorney terminate McClain for cause when, in her view, there was no reasonable cause.

Without prejudging the legal merits of McClain’s claim, this much can be said for certain: The public has not been informed specifically what awful thing(s) McClain was supposed to have done to merit summary firing right before the spring break.

To remove a permanent stain upon her reputation — and, it should be noted, recover the severance she was entitled to if she’d been fired without cause — McClain, 65, is trying to force the board to lay out the charges against her so she can rebut them. She wants her good name back.

To be sure, there’s a political aspect to McClain’s action.

In November, two of the three trustees named in the claim — White and Easton — will be up for re-election.

If the incumbents run, the election will be at least in part a referendum on McClain’s belief that she was fired by a micromanaging board majority that failed to respect the role of the superintendent as the district’s CEO.

With a fresh crop of trustees on the board, a quick settlement with McClain might be likely. If, however, the board majority survives the election, the prospects aren’t so good for McClain.

The last thing she wants is a drawn-out legal war of attrition that could, in the end, drain her purse.

In the end, McClain’s shot across the bow could be more about the ballot box than a jury box.

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