Because there were two candidates for three spots for the William S. Hart Union High School District, the governing board must appoint a third member, according to the state’s Education Code.
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The appointment process is mandated by Education Code 5328, said Hart district Superintendent Rob Challinor, explaining the district had no choice in the matter.
“We have been working with the Division of Business Advisory Services out of (the Los Angeles County Office of Education), pretty much ongoing since (Paul Strickland) tendered his resignation to make sure we followed procedure,” Challinor said.
The code also dictates that the appointment will be for a full four-year term.
It was a situation without much precedent in California school district governing boards, as there were no candidates who sought the office Fall was seeking, and the timing of the resignation left the school board without any options regarding Fall’s replacement.
Fall resigned one week after the county’s filing deadline for candidates, but the election had already been cancelled because there were no challengers for the three incumbents.
Chris Fall was appointed to the governing board in June to replace the seat vacated by Paul Strickland, who resigned at the end of May in order to pursue a career opportunity in Florida.
Fall was scheduled to be appointed to a second term on the Hart district’s governing board at the district’s December organizational meeting, because there were no candidates who declared opposition to the three incumbents, which also included Joe Messina and Robert Jensen.
However, Fall formally resigned Aug. 16 from his current appointment to Strickland’s seat, citing a potential conflict of interest with a waste-disposal contract.
Fall was a consultant for a company that had a contract up for bid before the board, which would have represented a 10-99 conflict of interest for Fall.
Fall disclosed his association with Republic Services on a Form 700 on a form signed July 25, which was submitted to the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder’s Office on Aug. 7.
The filing deadline for candidates passed on Aug. 9 at 5 p.m.
On Sept. 25, Fall let the governing board know he will not serve his second term on the governing board.
That same day, the District Attorney’s Office sent a letter
The Hart district is now seeking candidates for its governing board, whom will be interviewed during public session at the board’s Oct. 16 meeting.
The applicants will be notified in writing the week before of their scheduled interview time and be provided interview guidelines, instructions and interview questions.
The board plans to add questions to ascertain whether a potential conflict of interest exists to the interview process.
This appointee will take the oath of office at the Organizational Board Meeting on Dec. 11, and hold the position for the four-year term,. according to a statement from the district.
Messina and Jensen will also be sworn in for another term at that time.
The school district’s governing board agenda initially cited Education Code 5093 in a justification for the appointment, which involves a term for which there is four months remaining.
The move saves the district from having to spend several hundred thousand of dollars, which is the cost of a special election.
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Source: Santa Clarita News