Grand jury recommends replacing the president on the “dysfunctional” school board | News – Bakersfield, California
A Kern County Grand Jury report released Thursday said the Fairfax school district is ruled by an “school board at risk”.
The report shows a committee with a majority that is “permitted, divided and dysfunctional”.[s] Minority bullying. The cost of legal services last year could “overwhelm the school district budget and raise funds that are not used for directing student education,” he said.
The report makes a number of recommendations to the Board to correct the ship, including the sacking of current President Palmer Morland and the retraining of another member by June 30th.
“This removes the main cause of board malfunction,” the report said.
The grand jury report subjects the Fairfax board of directors to thorough scrutiny by staff, parents, and the entire community of what it considers to be misuse and abuse of district funds. This is the latest version of the saga that I’ve seen.
According to the report, Morland committed non-professional acts that lacked “courtesy, dignity and respect.” However, due to time constraints, the report was put on hold before the indictment began, and the grand jury authorized officers to be removed in order to remove it.
“If the actions of the board members continue, future large juries can consider this process,” the report said.
The grand jury report names Morland only a “board member”.
Mr Morand spoke about Thursday’s grand jury report and even the idea of leaving the presidency. He said everyone on the board felt they needed to turn to that position.
“I think it’s a very good instruction on what the board should do and what they can do,” he said. “I think this is a good roadmap with recommendations. I don’t think you can do anything wrong. “
The Fairfax School District is a 2,700 school district in southeast Bakersfield. The report says the community is following a recall campaign against Mooland and two other board members, Alma Rios and Jose Luis Tapia, who normally vote with him. Also note that Board members are exposed to complaints from the Fair Political Practice Commission.
The report begins the board’s story with a complaint in May 2020 alleging that Morand created a hostile work environment for employees in the district. The board hired an independent company to produce a 110-page report with a 440-page exhibit. The total cost, according to the report, was $ 40,000.
The report-based conviction decision was unsuccessful at a board meeting on December 15 by two to two votes. Tapia banned longtime CEO Javier Moreno in the November elections and voted with Rios to break the bill. Then they voted with Morland and made him president.
Since then, board member Victoria Coronel has repeatedly asked during the public session to put the blame resolution on the agenda for board discussions, but to no avail.
The grand jury’s report stood on their side, recommending that the board return by September 1 for conviction and “complete the process and resolve complaints against board members”.
Morland denied these claims, saying he was open to a forum in which to defend himself.
“I never had a chance to mention anything in debt,” he said.
Another email sent to the entire board for additional comments was not returned.
Kristina Budy, Vice President of the Kern Fairfax Teachers Association, was also pleased that the grand jury re-accused the board of directors.
“We have endured this ongoing harassment for too long,” she wrote in a statement. “Malfunctions that interfere with the educational process of the students we serve. We look forward to the rapid elimination of individuals. “
The report criticized the way the board conducts its business, instructing members to immediately stop bullying other members, and requiring members to be trained in accordance with the requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act. There are. “
According to the report, the board of directors may have violated state law that requires authorities to conduct public affairs in public.
“If board members vote on the agenda without discussion and prevent others from inquiring and / or discussing the purpose of the action, a closed door or an external plan / discussion will take place prior to the meeting. I generally suspect it was, ”the report reads.
The grand jury was particularly keen to hire an outside attorney, Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost, in January. It did this by overcoming the minority board and community opposition. Moland did not allow any discussion on this point.
“The board members contacted outside law firms and negotiated contracts without the approval or knowledge of the entire board,” the report said.
The grand jury received a total of $ 11,206 invoices from Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost for 42.4 hours of legal advice in January and February. According to the report, the bill is designed to protect Morland from criticism and revise the bill to release an investigative report that has already been processed by the district’s legal advisor, the school’s legal department. I made an impression.
The grand jury outlines 12 recommendations. One is to ensure that the board members are currently resident within the district boundaries before the next board meeting. Another asked a board member to reveal contact information. He also recommended that the board of directors be trained intensively and that they withdraw to settle disputes.
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