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Board meets tonight to discuss Dobbins case

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Update: The committee didn’t come to any decisions tonight. At around 6:30, Greg Hodge announced there would be nothing to report until Wednesday, when the full school board meets at 6 p.m.

A Special Committee on Possible Censure of a Governing Board Member meets at 6 p.m. tonight at the central office as part of an inquiry into the relationship of fellow school board member, Chris Dobbins, and a 17-year-old former student.

The three board members on the committee – who were selected last Friday by the board president David Kakishiba — are Alice Spearman, Noel Gallo and Greg Hodge.

According to Friday’s board minutes, Dobbins objected to Spearman’s placement on the committee because of some of the things she had said against him in the past. Gallo has also said Dobbins should step down.

Dobbins and the former student have said their friendship was innocent, and police decided there was no basis for criminal charges. The school board is expected to release a report of its own internal investigation, based on the committee’s findings.

The agenda says a fact-finding report might be adopted tonight, but that seems pretty quick, since the committee was just formed last Friday. Kakishiba said he wasn’t sure what the outcome of tonight’s meeting will be.

There is also a 6 p.m. special board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, but Kakishiba said it was possible that would be postponed.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • sara

    Based on this story it sounds like two biased board members and only one non-biased member will be able to come up with a good verdict and shed some light on what has already been investigated and cleared by the police.

    What a joke!

  • Jim Mordecai

    The premise of the Brown Act is that the institutions of the public do not get to pick and chose what information they will share with the public.

    I believe I have detected a violation of the Brown Act by the Board. There was no basis for holding in executive session Monday’s meeting of the subcommittee of three board members to assembly a report regarding the possible censure of Board Member Dobbins.

    The Brown Act states reasons to hold executive session but does not cover assembling a report. Discussing litigation unconnected to Board Member Dobbins’ possible censure clearly had no place in Monday’s meeting, was not under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction and was an obvious ploy to hide from public view the process of discussing Board Member Dobbins’ possible censure.

    The Board has employed censorship in its censureship effort. It has made a mess of a messy situation wereas there was wisdom in just letting go of the issue. And, the Board has put itself at risk of an unnecessary lawsuit. A future Board meeting on this subject may well be a subject covered under the Brown Act for executive session if the Board must discuss a litigation arising out of its actions in this matter. Then the Board’s pursuit of this matter would not just be a joke but an ironic joke.

  • Jim Mordecai

    My assertion that the Board violated the Brown Act in the Dobbins matter was just plain
    wrong. I misinterpreted the basis for the Board sub-committee going into closed
    session.

    The Board may have made mistakes in use of closed session agenda postings but not the
    mistake that I believed. I had thought they were using discussion of the Scott-George
    litigation for closed sessions and they were not. They were consulting with legal counsel
    to discuss possibility of a Dobbins litigation against the district. That is a situation
    authorizing closed session under the Brown Act.