Monday, March 23, 2015

From the archives: California Attorney General disagrees with law firm hired by Grossmont-Cuyamaca College

Maura Larkins' note: A few months ago I depublished about 400 posts, and I'm gradually republishing them. I'm working to censor certain allegations against Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law firm while continuing to make information available about the actions of public officials.

Why did Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College fire non-voting student trustee Rick Walker from his job as a web analyst for the college?  The reason they gave was that he had a conflict of interest if he was employed at the same time that he sat on the board. But he didn’t even vote! All he could do was talk?

Who was it who really had a conflict of interest?

Clearly, the board wanted to silence him.

The California Attorney General issued an opinion that there was no conflict of interest.

Leonel Sanchez of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote on Sept. 11, 2007, "A spokesman for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office said he was not aware of student trustees at other colleges being told they could not serve on governing boards while working for their districts."

Rick Walker took down his website in or about December of 2007, right after I was sued for defamation by the lawyers for GCCCD.

The "Rethinking"

Nothing much happened when GCCCD trustee Deanna Weeks "rethought" an issue. [Update: Ms. Weeks decided not to run for reelection after several embarrassing episodes when scrutiny of her actions became too uncomfortable.]

October 4, 2007
The "rethinking" allegedly done by GCCCD trustees regarding their firing of non-voting student trustee Rick Walker apparently resulted in no new insights. Certainly, it resulted in no new actions. The board decided to ignore the opinion of the California Attorney General.

Rick Walker succeeded in making GCCC officials at least go through the motions of reevaluating their actions in the light of a California Attorney General legal opinion that contradicts the opinion of Stutz law firm attorney Jack Sleeth.

If GCCCD board members stay true to form, the "reexamination" will result in no action at all.

What they should do, of course, is pay damages to Rick Walker for wrongfully harming him. Especially when they harmed the college by punishing a student trustee for bringing up issues that needed to be addressed for the good of the college.

Leonel Sanchez is doing a great job covering the story for the San Diego Union Tribune.

Here's his September 19, 2007 report:

"The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will again review the issue of whether a student trustee can serve on the district's governing board while holding a job in the district.

"The last time the district looked at the conflict-of-interest issue, it led to the firing of former Grossmont College student trustee Rick Walker, who was let go from his job as a Web analyst in December 2005.

"Walker, speaking to the board last night, repeated his claim that he was unjustly fired...

"District officials said Walker was fired after district lawyer Jack Sleeth reviewed state education code and concluded that student trustees should not be allowed to be district employees...

"“You will ultimately find out what the law is if somebody will bring some litigation on this,” Sleeth said.

"Walker has threatened to take legal action. State Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, requested the legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office at his request.

"Trustee Bill Garrett said he found the attorney general's opinion “persuasive” and proposed changing the district's policy to reflect that opinion. No action was taken on his proposal..."

Leonel Sanchez: (619) 542-4568;

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