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Fairfax School District Board to discuss Grand Jury report during meeting Thursday

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Posted at 11:19 AM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 14:23:08-04

The Fairfax School District Board of Trustees is set to discuss the recent Grand Jury report, calling out the board for "bullying", during the board meeting Thursday.

According to the Board of Trustees meeting agenda, the board will review the recommendations made by the report as well as review the censure of Board President Palmer Moland.

According to the censure, on Aug. 5 and Aug. 17 of 2020, the district received two complaints from employees alleging inappropriate, harassing and abusive conduct toward them and other classified employees by Trustee Moland.

The district hired an independent attorney investigator to determine if there was truth to the allegations. According to the censure, the investigator found substantial evidence that Moland engaged in abusive, or bullying, conduct toward classified employees.

The Grand Jury report said that in December of 2020, the board voted 2 to 2, with one abstention, against the censure. The Grand Jury report said no discussion was allowed.

The Grand Jury report recommended the following:

  • The Board should organize a retreat to provide extensive training and hire a conflict resolution specialist to build communication skills, hopefully building trust among Board Members. These team building activities should be completed before October 1, 2021.
  • The Board should consult Schools Legal regarding The Brown Act, ethics training, and conflicts of interest. All Board Members must be re-trained on proper behavior and subsequent actions as a Board Member by October 1, 2021.
  • By September 1, 2021, the Board should review, follow, and/or update all current Board Bylaws, and conduct Board Meetings using Robert’s Rule of Order allowing for complete discussion before a vote is taken.
  • The Board should immediately work on methods for conducting meetings that allow for easier public access.
  • Starting immediately, the public should be allowed adequate time to express their concerns in open session at all Board Meetings and be respectfully addressed by the Board.
  • In accordance with California Election Code, the Board should verify that Board Members are current residents within the District boundaries before the next Board Meeting.
  • By September 1, 2021, the Board should complete the process and close the complaints against the Board Member.
  • The Board should immediately ensure that all Board Member’s contact information is readily available to the public.
  • The Board should immediately cease and desist bullying during meetings, allow for discussion and questions prior to the vote, and stop the practice of forcing Members to vote without having complete information.
  • The Board should examine the funds spent on legal services, justify the need for multiple law firms, and report their findings to the public on or before the Regular Board Meeting in August 2021.
  • By June 30, 2021, the Board should hold a town hall meeting, where public concerns can be addressed.
  • The Board should remove the current President of the Board and train another Board Member to become President by June 30, 2021. This will eliminate a major contributor to the dysfunction of the Board.

Before the release of the Grand Jury report, public comments at the district board meetings were often directed at Moland and the allegations of bullying and abuse. Since the release, those comments have continued, calling for Moland to resign.

At the board meeting on Monday night, Moland put forward a motion to terminate the public's privilege of addressing the board. The motion was approved with a 3 to 2 vote.

The regularly scheduled board meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m.