Napa Valley Updates

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gordon and School Board Exonerated Again: File Officially Closed

Executive Director of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, Roman G. Porter rejected ex-Trustee Jim Haslip’s claim that former School Superintendent Alan Gordon violated provisions of the Political Reform Act. For the 2nd time in a month, the FPPC has rejected, in writing, Mr. Haslip’s claims of wrong doing by the former Superintendent. The letter was dated August 25, 2009,

Director Porter wrote, “In response to the complaint you submitted regarding the above-referenced person (Alan Gordon), please be advised that the Fair Political Practices Commission has closed its file.”

“…After review of your complaint, the Commission has found no violations of the Act. Under the Act, a public official may participate in a decision when the salary or benefits in question are for all of the government agency’s employees who are in the same job classification or position (Section 82030 (b)(2); Regulation 18705.5 (b).)”

Twice Mr. Haslip has accused Mr. Gordon of wrong doing. (In the first instance he included his former colleagues on the School Board and the new Superintendent Robert Haley). Potential witnesses to Mr. Haslip's original complaint were three other recall leaders, Kevin Alfaro, Jeanne De Vincenzi, and Katherine Zelazny.

Twice the FPPC has rejected his claims as unfounded.

In other words, recall leaders have unjustly accused an innocent man and innocent school Board members—subjecting them to abuse and ridicule in their community.

In a letter dated July 24th the FPPC exonerated Gordon and the board by rejecting that original claim.

When his first claim was rejected the St. Helena Star reported:

Haslip said his original complaint was flawed because he prepared it himself instead of consulting with attorneys who understand the various government codes. He said he plans to submit an amended complaint very soon.”

The Star also reported on August 7th,

“The FPPC complaint is just one of the fronts in the war between recall supporters and school officials. Recall supporters also want to file a lawsuit in Napa Superior Court …..Haslip said that in the meantime he’ll ask the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to investigate Gordon’s retirement benefits. He said he’ll also send a complaint to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing urging them to revoke Gordon and Haley’s teaching credentials “based on alleged illegal activity.”

One wonders how much this personal vendetta is costing tax payers in time and money—to say nothing of sullying a fine man’s name and the volunteer members of the board.

The recall members on their web site answered the first rejection with the following explanation:

Unfortunately, there was a technical problem with the filed complaint (the incorrect Government Code Section was referenced) and it will have to be resubmitted.

Rest assured, we will resubmit it next week and this error will not in any way impact our position...the SHUSD school board has NOT been exonerated.”

A technical error? A technical problem? According to Mr. Porter’s letter: “The file has been closed….the Commission has found no violations of the Act.”

No violations of the Act. If that is not exoneration, what is?