SDOG Sues Poway Unified School District, Three Board Members for Open-Meeting Violations in Hiring New Superintendent

Today San Diegans for Open Government sued Poway Unified School District and three members of its governing board for violating the state’s open-meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, in hiring Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps as the new superintendent last month.

Following the City of Bell corruption scandal several years back, the state legislature amended the Brown Act to limit what a local agency’s governing body could do privately, at meetings from which members of the public and the press are excluded, when hiring high-level officials and setting their compensation.

PUSD and three of its board members are accused of secretly agreeing on the terms of employment for the new superintendent, including her compensation, and using intermediaries to reach a final agreement with her before giving the public an opportunity to comment on the agreement.  According to the lawsuit, more than one press release announcing the new appointment was created before PUSD’s governing board ever held a scheduled vote on the appointment, and one of these press releases was written by the new superintendent herself.

You can read the lawsuit here: PUSD_Complaint.

Update: On August 21, SDOG filed its opposition to the defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion.  You can read that opposition here: SDOG Anti-SLAPP_Opp_Compressed.