Napa Valley Updates

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices commission reviewed accusations by former School Board Member Jim Haslip that Superintendent Allan Gordon and School Board members violated the Political Reform Act (Government Code Sections 8100-91014).

The complaint was signed by Haslip on July 15, 2009.

Mr. Haslip alleged that (these are his words in his own handwriting) "Allan Gordon developed, negotiated, and executed a retirement incentive for teachers (PARS) and then took it himself."

...Further, new superintendent, Robert Haley, promised and given the superintendency, aided in the development of the PARS retirement program and materially benefitted when Gordon took, elevating his positon without a search or hiring process.

Further, 3 board of Trustees, Cynthia Warren, Cynthia Lane, and Ines DeLuna, offically voted to include Gordon in the PARS program AFTER a community group, Citizens for Quality Education, pointed out the legal violations in writing and in oral testimonat at a Public Board Meeting.

Mr. Haslip's complaint was "witnessed" by three other recall leaders, Kevin Alfaro, Jeanne De Vincenzi, and Katherine Zelazny. The complaint was filed under penalty of perjury.

Mr. Haslip alleged that these were also violations of California Government Code 1090.

In a letter dated July 24, 2009, the FPPC responded: "However a review by staff determined that this complaint does not allege a violation of the Political Reform Act (Government Code Sections 81000-91014) and, therefore, is not under the jurisdiction of the Fair Political Practices Commission."

The letter was signed by Roman G. Porter Executive Director.

The FPPC directed Mr. Haslip to take up questions regarding the California Government Code 1090 with the D.A. The D.A. is currently winding up its investigations regarding the accusations that there was a conflict of interest in former Superintendent Alan Gordon acting as an agent for the board in assembling the retirement packages for teachers and administrators, in which he ultimately took part and was legally and ethically entitled to.

Mr. Haslip, a former member of the St. Helena School board, resigned last May. Though he consistently voted in concert with the other four board members, and was an especially strong supporter of new Superintendent Rob Hailey, he resigned when he felt he couldn't get enough board members to join him in voting for a search for a new Superintendent. Apparently, he felt a three to two vote was not sufficient to register his displeasure.

Interestingly, Mr. Haslip was originally opposed to an outside search and stated so publicly.

According to an article in the Star he changed his mind after perceiving that certain members of the community did indeed want one.

Rather than registering his change of mind with a dissenting vote, he abruptly resigned, forcing the Board to call for a special election in November to replace him. County Registrar, John Tuteur has estimated that the special "Mail In" election will cost the District an additional $30,000 to $35,000.

In an unprecedented act which defies description, after resigning from the Board, Mr. Haslip has become a leader of the recall and has been going door to door gathering signatures. He is allegedly telling voters that there was a conflict of interest and a violation of the Political Reform Act.

We now know the answer to at least one of those questions.

In another odd twist, Kevin Alfaro, one of the recall organizers has filed to fill Mr. Haslip's spot on the School Board. Mr. Alfaro (by his own admission in a mass e-mail) had sued the School District and lost. One of Mr. Alfaro's complaints is that the School District has spent too much money on legal fees.

Mr. Alfaro has recently filed another claim against the District. So far no one has addressed what will be the consequences (should he be elected) of a new School Board Member who is challengeing his own school district in court.