Hayward School Board President Admits They May Have Broken The Brown Act

HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD | The quickly assembled special meeting last Tuesday called by the Hayward school board to discuss the contract of its interim superintendent may have been illegal.

“I do think we violated the Brown Act,” said Hayward school board president William McGee early Thursday morning following the unanimous approval of a 1-year, $229,500 contract for interim superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs.

Not only may the events leading up to the Tuesday special meeting have broken the state sunshine laws, but also the discussions inside the closed session meeting.

According to the Brown Act and the board’s own bylaws, special meetings may be called only by the board’s president. A majority of the board can also vote to hold such a meeting, but only during the course of previous regularly scheduled session. In this case, according to documents seen by The Citizen, the meeting was called by board member Lisa Brunner through its clerk. Subsequently, board members John Taylor and Annette Walker consented to the meeting. Under these circumstances, Brunner, in effect, called the meeting using the sole powers of the board president.

Furthermore, the Brown Act explicitly prohibits using special meetings for the business of discussion superintendent contracts, salary schedules and fringe benefits. It was previously reported the board indeed discussed the terms of Dobbs’ salary and agreed on a specific salary range. Terms of relocation expenses for Dobbs, who currently lives in the San Diego area, were also discussed during Tuesday’s closed session.

During Wednesday’s hearing to approve Dobbs’ contract, board member Dr. Luis Reynoso referenced the potential impropriety of the special meeting, saying with a tinge of dramatic exasperation, “We’re lawless.”

The reasoning behind disallowing elected officials from discussing contracts in special closed session is to protect the public from board members and council officials perceived to be negotiating in secret with taxpayers money.

The potential of violating the Brown Act, comes on the heels of an array of peculiar actions by certain board members, the business community, teachers union and Dobbs, himself. According to a source familiar with the events leading to Tuesday’s special meeting, Brunner reportedly first called the meeting last Friday during the late afternoon. It is believed the impetus for her action was an email from Dobbs unequivocally  pulling out of consideration for the interim superintendent position. In the message, Dobbs claimed he was being harassed and deemed the potential work environment in Hayward too poisonous for him to succeed.

However, his reluctance to be considered for the job, according to sources, was never discussed by the board and by Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, his contract was unanimously approved.

Shane Bond contributed to this article.

39 thoughts on “Hayward School Board President Admits They May Have Broken The Brown Act

  1. @ 8:48..it's not Benson's fault you don't know how to use the internets OF COURSE HUSD accepts online applications, moron.


  2. The HUSD board hires who ever they want to hire too without any credentials or experience for the sup job and pay them a ton of money.

    I say fire all of HUSD!


  3. Has anyone noticed that all the classified vacancies at HUSD do not accept online applications? No record of applicants Benson hires whomever she wants to hire.


  4. I have been in Hayward for over 35 years and the Daily Review has NEVER gone against the BEAST or the PIGS as people are referencing the guilty players. Sorry, but the daily review is not worth more than the paper in my bird cage. That daily rag has never done anything to clean up this area of corrupt politics. The latest example is how Daily Review remained silent on the Jesus Armas Maribel Heredia affair. Daily Review to clean up Brown Act? Please!


  5. I believe that most Brown act cases are brought and won by the media. the Daily Review has won them. How about EBCitizen? If the media doesn't care enough to act, let's face it we have lost before getting out of the gate.


  6. To 11:50pm: You are sadly mistaken if you think that by President McGee's admission this BOE will clean up their act. He knew that Dr. Reynoso was going to put the violation(s) on the formal record and he didn't want to appear to be siding with the 3 members who committed the violations. It is unfortunate but true that those of us who seek legal actions by our elected officials have no voice or advocate when it comes to holding these officials accountable.


  7. Nothing in HUSD or city of Hayward will change until we stop feding the BEAST and the PIGS.
    As Dr. Reynoso said “WE'RE LAWLESS”. Finally we get a politician that tells it like it is.

    I like that quote EBcitizen. Did he really said it like that way you are writing or was there more? I need to see that video.

    Prediction: Ebcitizen will help change the east bay politics for the better!


  8. As someone noted above, the FPPC does not handle Brown Act violations. I'll say it again, the FPPC does not handle Brown Act violations. If you really want guidance on how to pursue it try Californians Aware. It's a non-profit, but it is really great to work with them when dealing with Brown Act violations of this type. They know it inside and out. The thing is that the President admitted the violation, which I applaud. It means that they at least recognize there was an issue and will work to not have it happen in future, which is what you want. If there was action taken then you want them to have a do over voiding the first action and redoing the thing properly. If you pursue a case without the DA taking it on, which I agree is so very unlikely, it is very expensive. A successful Brown Act violation legal case of this type would ask for concessions like having a recording of all closed sessions of that body for the foreseeable future in order to make sure that the rules are followed, but that's only for repeat offenders.

    I agree with the person who noted that Brown Act violations are a big deal and they happen so often in Alameda County…you have no idea. The public needs to realize that Brown Act violations are warning signs that someone is doing something illegal (unless they call it out like the Pres did, which means it was just misguided). Brown Act violations are much more important to follow and be concerned about than sex scandals and bagging on someone because of the salary they make.


  9. First, someone needs to file a complaint with the FPPC. There likely would not be any fine, but having a negative response from the FPPC makes these board members look bad and quite a big piece of information for any challenger to use against them during re-election.

    In response to Reynoso's vote. He told us he did so to maintain his right to bring the decision back up for discussion at a later date. Only the majority can do so. If he voted no, he would have been the only vote in the minority.


  10. They took no action at the illegal meeting so there would be nothing to void as far as a vote was concerned. Reynoso would have to explain his vote there could be a number of reasons for voting yes. Only he can explain his rationale.


  11. I am confused about the Brown Act.

    1. What is the penalty for violation?

    2. How can the prosecutor not prosecute when the board president says “yes we did violate the act.”

    3. Does that invalidate the actions taken by the board?


  12. I am confused here cause why did Reynoso vote for Dobbs after so much bitchin in the meeting and stil voting for Dobs


  13. HUSD's Board of Education has been violating the Brown Act for so long I have stopped counting. While we in the community may think it is a big deal, the powers that be, the DA and the Grand Jury, don't seem to care. Without legal help for those of us who believe in the Open Meeting Act, there will be no changes. They are, as Dr. Reynoso said, “Lawless”.


  14. I agree that is the BEAST and the PIGS tha run the HUSD BOARD but also the CITY COUNCIL.



  15. Violation of the brown act is a big deal. Thanks for bringing this to light. We need to make sure it doesn't happen again.
    How can Hayward, the school district with the worst schools, have all of these clowns on school board?


  16. Dear Fellow Hayward Citizens,

    Bringing Stand Dobs back is all bout putting money on a select few and keeping those few employed in HUSD…

    As mentioned above:
    The BEAST = Teachers union
    The PIGS = Hayward Chamber of Commerce and Rotary AND OTHER HUSD employees and business owners

    We just need to find out who on the school board was put in by the BEAST and the PIGS.

    And those are driving HUSD

    These people support Stan Dobs because:

    Rick hart will again make another $50,000 by pitching the next bond to Hayward from HUSD.

    Brian Schott as President/CEO at AdMail Express, Inc and Rotary President will make another $100,000 by sending out mail to HUSD voters for the next Bond or parcel tax.

    Mercedes Faraj will continue to make $120,000 from HUSD for providing support.

    Dasy Bates will not get fired from HUSD and instead will get promoted in special ed for providing support.

    … and the lists of people making money by fighting for Stan Dobbs for HUSD sup goes on..who knows how deep this is..???

    Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus for the BEAST and the PIGS of HUSD


  17. Nothing changes in HUSD. The faces may change but the systemic corruption continues from the school board to the district administration and the HEA union beast. The children continue to lose!


  18. If their attorney told them to have the special meeting to talk about the $229K then the HUSD has corrupt or dumb attorneys.


  19. Over all of the years of changing superintendents, budget shortfalls, poor testing, and the massive achievement gap, the one constant has been HEA leadership. I say HEA leadership because I view HEA leadership as a self serving beast that has no resemblance to it's membership. HEA leadership is part of an old guard in Hayward as much as the chamber, Demos, Fire Department etc.

    Since it's existence HEA leadership has been comprised of overwhelmingly white men and women even as the district's teaching corps has diversified and so has it's student make-up. Anyone who has tried to challenge the status quo has been excommunicated. Bilingual educators years ago stood up to the union and ask around as to what happened to them. For years and years HEA had a husband and wife on the HEA board until Kathy Crummy passed away!! A husband and wife!

    HEA does not value teachers with advanced credentials that can better serve our students, they value only straight seniority. Students and families be damned.

    HEA implores the names of students and families and preys on their trust of teachers when it suits them politically and economically. HEA did not support the school bond that brought new schools to thousands of kids and gave them a shot at 21st century settings on par with kids in other districts. This would have benefitted their teachers as well. Wanna know why? No money for in their pockets. Speaking of lining their pockets, remember the teacher strike?

    HEA marched their their membership out to picket and strike for two weeks of lost wages and and then accepted the SAME contract they rejected two weeks earlier. Not to worry, guess what rank and file, Faraj, Crummy, Walsh all got paid for those weeks while you lost money.

    I believe the teaching profession is vital to the success of any society and teachers should be very well compensated. However, like any job their are responsibilities and levels of professionalism that have to be met on a regular basis. HEA rejects this, they protect the worst teachers. HEA wants to take the stance that they are the conduit to the students, that they know them best; yet will take no share of the blame for the achievement gap.

    HEA in its mode of operation has to continue to create a boogeyman of the district to keep the membership on their side. Hayward will not be able to attract a talented superintendent as long as the HEA leadership of Walsh and Faraj are around. Any sustained, systemic, educational change requires cooperation from all. HEA benefits from the chaos and instability as they are not challenged. This also plays out at the school site level. Teachers are always asking for better principals. When a member of HEA steps to become a principal, a job that at includes holding teachers accountable they become public enemy No. 1. They eat their own. Again, instability allows for free reign of teachers.

    You can change all the school boards, superintendents, and district staff you want, but as long as HEA leadership is around–not a damn thing will improve for kids.


  20. I too love this blog. We have the San Diego Voice but your is more entertaining because your politics are more crooked. Thank you for taking Dobbs back from us.


  21. Does anyone know if Dr. Commander Stan Data Dobbs has any financial training? He loves his nick/titles does he not? as I sadi before.
    I am a retired San Diegan living in San Diego. I am jovially reading this blog and I want to thank the school board in Hayward for taking Stan Dobbs off our hands. Can you please make him start working today rather than to wait until July 1st?

    Stan Dobbs had to issue a letter of apology because his numbers were not correct in school finances. I hope your community knows what they are getting. Here in San Diego we are now stuck with billions of unnecessary debt with the bonds.

    So Stan Dobbs will bring the same senseless debt to Hayward. Does he know what he is doing? Are his financial data correct when he makes financial decisions?


  22. The FPPC is not the place to go for violations of the Brown Act. The first place to go is to the Alameda County District Attorney; but they will do nothing about Brown Act violations, claiming that they have limited resources and staff. The next place to go is to the Alameda County Grand Jury. Many in this community have sent copious amounts of material to the Grand Jury regarding Brown Act violations and other questionable actions by this and former Boards of Education. They don't seem to rise to the level that the Grand Jury will investigate. So HUSD just continues to violate the law(s) knowing full well that their won't be any legal action. Unless someone has a lot of money to pay a lawyer to take the case(s) nothing will change. Maybe someone knows how to get the ACLU to step in.


  23. The BEAST and the PIGS are all behind this appointment of Dobs.

    The BEAST = Teachers union
    The PIGS = Hayward Chamber of Commerce and Rotary

    We just need to find out who on the school board was put in by the BEAST and the PIGS.

    And those are driving HUSD


  24. No way? The board and the district alway operate within the law. Even I can't keep a straight face. What's gonna happen now? Right…. NOTHING !!


  25. Thank you for this article. It may sound wonky to many, but that is because the electorate has such a limited understanding of the reasons behind laws like the Brown Act. This act is the one that keeps our elected officials from doing our business and using our money behind closed doors where we can't see them. I see it being done in many ways not only by HUSD, but by HARD and the City of Hayward. They don't necessarily do it because they want to be secretive either. Sometimes they are just being ill advised by their attorney's. I would suggest they all review the Brown Act and that we all do too and start confronting them when they cross the line. I might add that the media could do a better job too!

    Transparency helps keep corruption out of government. It puts power into the hands of the people.


  26. So what? HUSD's Board of Education does not have to follow our “stinkin laws”. Just ask them


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