I am the vice-chairman of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee for the city of Costa Mesa. We have made, seconded, and voted on many motions during the 14 months we have existed. Some of those motions required amending or re-stating due to the language used by the maker. Motions are part of conducting the people’s business and in the case of the school district budget, involve a huge sum of money.
On August 26, the school board held their regularly scheduled meeting, at which time they unanimously approved the budget for 2104-15, after a motion made by Trustee Judy Franco. (Trustee Walt Davenport was absent)
But there is a problem. I was sitting in the audience at the time and distinctly remember having a moment of self-doubt. Was I the only person in the room who heard the board approve an invalid motion?
If you watch the video recording of the meeting, you will see and hear something that may indicate that the motion and the votes are invalid. At 1:30:13, Franco said, “… I want to move that we approve the budget as presented for 1914-15.” Her motion was followed immediately by a second, and it passed unanimously.
In case you missed it, Franco’s motion did not promote the passage of the 2014-15 budget, it requested the approval of the budget from 1914-15, a hundred years ago.
Why didn’t anyone say anything? There are only two choices:
1. I was the only person who heard the invalid motion
2. I was not the only person who heard it, but for whatever reason, anyone else who heard it chose to remain silent
The important question now is whether the school district is operating within established guidelines which dictate – and I am going strictly from memory here – that the budget must be approved and in place by Sept. 10.
Is the district operating illegally? That is for an expert to determine.
Here is what I do know: If nothing else, the sloppy motion on August 26, its second, and its unanimous passage support the twin characteristics of the board I have stated for years: complacency and indifference.