Stockton: Grand Jury finds three college board trustees in violation of California’s open meetings law

The County Grand Jury has recommended that three members of the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees be censured for violating the Brown Act,the state’s open meetings law. -db

The Record
June 29, 2010
By Jennifer Torres

STOCKTON — Three members of the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees should be censured for violating the state’s open-meetings law, the county grand jury recommended in a report released Monday.

The trustees — identified in the report only as Trustees A, B and C — knowingly participated in a serial meeting, discussing public business outside of public view, in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, the report concludes. Two of the trustees also disclosed confidential information even after fellow board members tried to prevent them from doing so.

In October, Trustee Jennet Stebbins told The Record that several months earlier, she met Trustee Mary Ann Cox — at Cox’s request — at a doughnut shop, where Cox asked for Stebbins’ vote in a bid to oust Delta President Raul Rodriguez. According to Stebbins’ account, Cox told her she already had discussed the matter with trustees Taj Khan and Ted Simas.

Simas, Khan and Cox at the time denied participating in an illegal, secret meeting, and on Monday, Cox said that, based on her training, she does not believe a Brown Act violation occurred.

She said the grand jury report leaves questions. “I really don’t know what all this means yet,” she said. “We don’t know who A, B and C are. … I’m looking forward to finding out.”

Board President Teresa Brown said the board asked the grand jury to identify the members it accused of misconduct. She was disappointed they remained unnamed.

“Until they name them, it casts the same specter over the whole board,” she said. “It makes no sense to me.”
And, she said, without the names, there is no legal foundation for disciplinary action.

“There is no way we can censure them,” Brown said. “There are no Trustees A, B, C. We cannot censure people who are not named.”

Copyright © 2010 San Joaquin Media Group