10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
SAN BERNARDINO - A proposed policy could enable San Bernardino school trustees to crack down on fellow board members who cross ethical lines.
The San Bernardino City Unified School District board of education is expected to give a final vote Tuesday night on a censure policy and procedure created to allow the panel to reprimand fellow board members who violate the law or the board's bylaws.
The trustees voted last week 6-1 in favor of a first reading of the policy.
Board member Louise Ayala voted no.
Ayala was out of town Wednesday and couldn't be reached for comment.
Several other board members didn't return phone calls.
Board Vice President Danny Tillman said the district has never had a censure policy.
Tillman, who was first elected in 1995, said he did not recall a time in his tenure when a member called for censure.
However, the board needs to have the power to act if ethical issues arise, he said.
"If a board member is going out and doing things that are inappropriate and the rest of the board recognizes that it's obvious and overt, the board is going to be able to act on that," Tillman said.
Under the proposed policy, censure is described as a formal resolution of the board of education to officially reprimand one of its members for a serious breach of policy or the law.
The procedure would involve a formal hearing request submitted to the district superintendent in writing.
The original policy called for at least two members to make the request, but Tillman asked that it be changed to at least three to ensure fairness.
"It should never be used as a tool if things are not severe," he said.
The policy calls for the board to determine if the allegations merit further investigation, a public hearing or no action.
If an investigation is deemed necessary, the board president would appoint a separate ad hoc committee.
The board first discussed adding a censure policy at an October meeting when Superintendent Arturo Delgado recounted an alleged confrontation between an unnamed school administrator and an unidentified board member.
The board asked the superintendent to research existing censure policies that the district could use as a model.
"It's real important that we represent ourselves and our employees in a professional, moral and ethical way," board member Marlin Brown said at the meeting.
Reach Melanie C. Johnson at 909-806-3069 or mjohnson@PE.com