OPEN MEETINGS — An attorney for the Garden Grove Unified School District has issued a letter advising
the board that trustee Lan Quoc Nguyen did not violate the
public-meetings law when he had brief discussions with two fellow trustees about who would nominate whom for board offices, minutes before the start of a regular board meeting last
month, reports Deepa Bharath in the Orange County Register. But a critical blogger takes the attorney's letter apart.
The inquiry began
when trustee Kim-Oanh Nguyen-Lam alleged that Lan Nguyen and trustees
Bob Harden and George West made a deal among themselves to nominate
each other for the ceremonial positions of president and vice president.
stormed out of a Jan. 5 school board meeting saying she wouldn't come back
until the issue was resolved.
Ronald D. Wenkart explained in his letter to the school board that Nguyen's
separate conversations with Harden and West, as was alleged, did not constitute
a violation of the Brown Act. He said the law "does not prohibit a board
member from engaging in separate conversations or communications outside of a
meeting with another board member."
said the attorney's explanation clearly shows that he did not violate any
said today that she is satisfied with Wenkart's explanation. "I
guess it's a legal technicality," she said.
issue of "public trust and integrity" among board members is still in
question, she said.
Nguyen's behavior of making these deals before a board meeting is still not
appropriate," she said. "I wanted to draw the public's attention to
the issue and I think I was successful in doing that."
said she has never been appointed to the two ceremonial posts in the six years
she has served on the board.
The link to the “blogger” who “takes the attorney’s letter apart” appears to be incorrect, as it’s just a second link to the original document.
But the letter is so patently absurd – one does not have to be an attorney to understand the plain-language of the Brown Act’s relevant sections. Any claim that it’s “open to interpretation” or a confusing “legal technicality” is disingenuous and a bit offensive to anyone of at least average intelligence.
Thanks for pointing out the link problem, Eleanor. Its been corrected.