Finding: # 1 Evidence shows three or more Directors met privately on at least one occasion to conduct District business without a posted agenda.
The November 2014 election resulted in three new Directors being seated. California Government Code §54950 (Brown Act) prohibits a quorum (three or more Directors) from meeting to conduct District business without a properly posted agenda.
- Directors are permitted to meet individually with District staff to discuss District business • District staff is available to educate Directors and provide information about District business
A layman’s explanation of what may have led to the Grand Jury’s finding:
To completely understand the very first incident resulting in a violation of the Brown Act, one must consider the method and manner in which the peaceful transfer of governmental responsibility shift from the outgoing (election losers) board members and the incoming (election winners).
Traditionally in the United States, when an election is held it is very important in our society to show a peaceful transition of power whether it be the president, governor or small town politics.
In the case of the RCSD the transition takes place on the 2nd Tuesday of December (in this case it should have taken place on December 9, 2014). During the transition (swearing in) ceremony the outgoing Board calls the meeting to order and then those who lost the election rise and step down from the Dias and the newly elected members take their seat up on the Dias and are then sworn in by the Board secretary. Contrary to recognized past practice established over time, MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker were sworn in five days earlier on December 5, 2014 at the Chamber of Commerce by the Chamber President. There will be more discussion on this issue in the next section covering Finding # 2.
Now that I have established the background, let’s examine a series of events that took place on or around December 5, 2014 (before the actual swearing in date). The Grand Jury considered evidence in the form of emails and private communications between the newly elected board members, wherein the newly elected board members actually discussed and took action against Mr. Steve Perez that resulting in his dismissal prior to the first officially sanctioned RCSD Board Meeting on December 12, 2014.
In the Grand Jury’s view it is very important to keep this nationwide tradition that every elected body demonstrates a public display of a peaceful transition of power. While, MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker responded to the Kern County Grand Jury, “we started a new tradition”; the reply by the (majority of) the board to Finding # 1, was a basic disagreement with a response stating that the report is unclear as to the date & time of participants and therefore the board cannot respond to it as stated. [Editor’s note] Please make a mental note of Olaf’s approach to “New Traditions”, later on in the document (page 134, you will read about the manner in which he refers to the street address at which he lives.
In layman’s terms, the board refused to do the mental calendar check based upon the facts provided below and acknowledge that the signed agenda notes clearly indicate some form of collusion between the three new members that took place sometime during the week prior to those agenda notes being signed.
From this writer’s perspective, this simple act of choosing not to follow social norms in indicative of the lack of respect that Mr. Morrison “Ed” MacKay, Mr. Olaf Landsgaard, and Mr. Dennis Shingledecker have for the traditions surrounding the office to which they were elected.
The fact that these three men acted of their own accord, without the full board being present indicates that they decided to set a new standard of normalcy for the RCSD. From the very beginning they have been determined to do run things according to their agenda.
At the time, there was much speculation that the three of them had met since the election to confer about implementing their agenda; Mr. Landsgaard was asked by the “The Valley Press” immediately after the election on how his lawsuit would affect his work with RCSD General Manager, Mr. Steve Perez. Mr. Landsgaard said, “Steve is a smart man and he should know what he needs to do next and he needs to go.” Besides this cited reference, there were many references that Steve Perez would be fired. The references all took place after the election and prior to the decided transition date of December 5, 2014.
Additional details to support the Grand Jury’s Finding:
Evidence found by the Kern County Grand Jury is that on December 5, 2014 around 5:30PM the RCSD, Board Secretary, Ms. Lizzette Guerrero received an email from Ed MacKay with an agenda dated for Monday December 8, 2014 that was signed by MacKay, Landsgaard and Shingledecker. On the agenda, they had listed the intent to fire General Manager Perez and RCSD Attorney, Mr. John Gibson (see Findings # 7 and # 22 for more information).
On December 7, 2014 Olaf Landsgaard sent an agenda to Lizzette for December 10, 2014 that the three of them had written up and signed. Steve Perez was not listed as General Manager, instead it was RCSD Assistant General Manager, Mr. John Houghton and the agenda only asked for his report. Again, I remind you this was done after a legal posting of the regular board meeting by RCSD staff on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 2:30PM.
Let the evidence speak for itself.
1.) MacKay, Landsgaard and Shingledecker met together on December 5, 2014 to discuss and draft their own agenda that included action items to fire both the General Manager & the Attorney.
2.) Sometime over this weekend, perhaps the same day, they met together to write up another agenda for December 10, 2014 and on this agenda they omitted Steve Perez as General Manager.
3.) Because the agenda they wrote for December 10, 2014 (with Steve Perez no longer listed as General Manager) demonstrated that the three of them had already come to a decision to fire Steve Perez on Monday, December 8, 2014 (see Images 5-8, below).
4.) On December 8, 2014 they fired Attorney, John Gibson with no discussion, a simple motion, and vote.
5.) The fact that BOTH of these agendas (and the language they used) clearly showed that the [agendas] were written and signed by the newly elected Board members (MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker) and the omission of Steve Perez and John Gibson on the December 10, 2014 agenda showed that the three of them decided during their illegal meeting(s) to take action to fire both Perez and Gibson.
6.) On August 26, 2015, Direct Byron Glennan addressed the public at a Regular RCSD Board Meeting. He proceeded to present a letter address to the Kern County Grand Jury concerning his disagreement with the RCSD “Official” Response as previously file (see Image 9, below).
This single act of Mr. Glennan brings hope to the general public in Rosamond that justice can prevail. With this single act, Byron lends credibility to the Grand Jury’s Findings and separates himself from the Ed, Olaf and Dennis Alliance.
Images 5 - 8: Agenda signed by MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker (Prior to the actual meeting).
Image 9: Response from Byron Glennan to Kern County Grand Jury concerning Finding #1.
====================== Finding # 1 states: “Evidence shows three or more Directors met privately on at least one occasion to conduct District business without a posted agenda.”
The RCSD’s official response to Finding # 1: “The Board is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of this finding and on that basis disagrees with this finding. The Board notes that the Report is unclear as to the date, time and participants relating to the alleged improper conduct.”
To read the next section click here: The Midnight Writings: Finding 2 – “Breaking Tradition”