The Attorney General’s Office is looking at a Saugus Union School District request in regard to their June 18 move to vacate the seat of Stephen Winkler.
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“We received a communication from the Attorney General’s Office, through our legal counsel, that (the office) has assigned an investigator,” said SUSD board President Judy Umeck.
“They gave us no timeline,” she added.
SUSD officials vacated the seat, and were then told by officials from the Los Angeles County Office of Education that they must initiate quo warranto proceedings with the Attorney General’s Office.
Winkler, meanwhile, claims that he has lived, received mail and maintained a registered voting address at a Rio Prado address in Valencia.
Quo warranto is a legal proceeding by which a person is formally removed from a public office.
“The attorney general’s role is to review a party’s request to file a quo warranto application, and either approve or decline to approve that request,” said Becca MacLaren, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office. “If a request is approved, the party may go forward with quo warranto proceedings, subject the Attorney General’s continuing supervision.”
Since the board voted 4-1, with Winkler as the lone opposition, to vacate his seat, Winkler has not showed up to a district meeting, and has not contacted any of the board members.
Winkler’s spot was vacated after an investigation conducted by an SUSD committee that produced a report from a private investigator who claimed he observed Winkler maintaining a residence outside of district boundaries in Sylmar, which is a violation of the state’s Education Code.
Winkler said he has elected not to show up to meetings since his seat was vacated because he didn’t want to distract from board business.
“I think it’d be a disruptive influence in the sense that if I showed up at the meeting, then everybody in the audience would whisper and gossip and, after I left, the agenda would not be the thing in peoples’ minds,” Winkler said. “And the agenda is too important for me to distract them.”
Winkler shared documents such as a voided check and his voter registration with the Attorney General’s Office and the district’s legal counsel, but he is awaiting word on their response.
“The board’s opinion is that we followed the letter of the law according to Education Code,” Umeck said, after hearing from the county that the quo warranto proceedings must be initiated.
“We trust our legal counsel’s opinion, as they have cited what little examples there are there that absolutely validate our actions,” she said. “We want to be cooperative with all concerns.”
The school district sought the counsel of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo for the proceedings and the ouster of Winkler.
An investigation initiated by the Saugus Union School District came to the conclusion that Winkler had a residence outside of district boundaries, which is a violation of the state’s Education Code.
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Source: Santa Clarita News