Candidate Says CVSan Didn’t Follow Law in Appointment | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:36



The Castro Valley Sanitary District will discuss the December appointment of Melody Appleton at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday at its headquarters, 21040 Marshall Street.



By Robert Souza

Attorney Kenneth Owen is charging the Castro Valley Sanitary District with several missteps when it appointed Melody Appleton to fill a seat on its board of directors in December. The seat became vacant with the death of longtime director Harry Francis.


Owen was one of the four finalists vying for the open board position. He said the district made a significant error in the selection process by not complying with a California law known as the Brown Act.


That act, which covers such districts, states that meetings of public bodies must be open and public, that actions may not be secret, and action taken in violation of open meetings laws may be voided.


The Sanitary District, which originally had 13 candidates for the position, held two meetings and two sets of interviews before appointing Appleton.


In his Dec. 17 letter to Sanitary District General Manager Roland Williams, Owen complained that the district did not give proper public notice of the meetings, that no formal motion was made among directors to appoint Appleton, and that the directorial voting process was not held in public.


CVSan’s Williams said the district staff is reviewing the issue and stands by the actions taken preceding the appointment. He said proper posting requirements were met, that the board officially voted on the item, and that although ballots were tallied on his computer outside the boardroom, the official announcement was made in public.


“Overall it was a very fair and open process,” Williams said. “There needs to be no public process for an appointment, but the board wanted it to be open to the community.”


“I think it all turned into a big mess and it should not be like that,” said Owen. “I was there and the process was not followed according to government code.”


Owen has a 30-day period that began Jan. 17 to decide whether to sue the district to have it remedy the situation.


Williams told the Forum the item will be discussed in depth by the board during their next regular meeting on Feb. 5.




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