Armas’ Connections Becoming a Political Football

Opponents of Hayward School Trustee Jesus Armas appear to be circling in the distance over the belief the former city manager and recently-appointed board member is reaping the benefits of nepotism.

As Eric Kurhi reported in the Daily Review last week, the fractured Hayward Board of Trustees broke out in some parliamentary fisticuffs more reminiscent of Thailand than B Street. Outgoing Board President Paul Frumkin summoned the police to escort School Trustee Luis Reynoso from the city hall chambers after the two exchanged angry words on the dais. At issue is Reynoso’s argument that Armas, who is running for the re-election, is running afoul of state laws against nepotism. His wife works for the school district and, according to the Review, his two children were employed as tutors this summer. School district lawyers say Armas is not in violation of the law since his appointment came long after his wife’s employment, but the seeds of the legal argument against Armas has been coalescing.

Thursday’s verbal altercation appeared to make clear an odd exchange just a day before by a Hayward resident during the public comment period of Tuesday’s city council meeting . The speaker posed a question to City Manager Fran David regarding the city’s rules against nepotism; without reference to Armas. After confusion as to whether the speaker could follow-up with a question to David’s answer, she said the city took the issue “very seriously” and monitored all situations as they arose. Seemingly content with the answer against nepotism, the speaker returned to his seat. The next night the issue blew up at the school district.

Armas’ time as city manager is typically regarded as a success by many in Hayward and his influence in many arenas around city government is well-known. After his appointment last March, Armas is seeking to retain the two-year seat on the board against Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Annette Walker.