A bumpy reorganization for Sequoia district board


The board of the Sequoia Union High School District reorganized on Dec. 9. Alan Sarver was elected board president, Carrie DuBois, vice president, and Chris Thomsen, clerk.

For all three officer positions on the five-member board, the vote was 4-0-1, with Ms. DuBois abstaining in protest over the process used to conduct the elections.

Protest explained

Asked after the meeting to explain why she abstained, Ms. DuBois replied via email.

She said she was surprised when departing president Allen Weiner asked for nominations for 2016 president and Mr. Thomsen proposed a slate: Ms. DuBois as clerk, himself as vice president and Mr. Sarver as president, the idea being that Mr. Sarver and Mr. Thomsen could each hold the presidency before their terms were up in 2017, Mr. Thomsen said.

Mr. Thomsen's slate of nominations did not find support on the board, and Mr. Weiner suggested going with one candidate at a time.

Mr. Sarver, after being elected president, nominated Ms. DuBois for vice president and she was elected.

In her two runs for a seat on the board, Ms. DuBois, a resident of San Carlos, led the field of three candidates, by nearly 3 percentage points in the 2011 election and by 4.25 points in 2015.

In her first term, Ms. DuBois had been clerk twice -- in 2012 and 2013 -- and held no office at all for the rest of that term, according to district records.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sarver, a Belmont resident, had already held the offices of vice president and president, in 2011 and 2012, and Mr. Thomsen, a resident of Menlo Park, had done likewise in 2012 and 2013.

Mr. Weiner, a Menlo Park resident who joined the board in 2012, had been vice president in 2013, and president in both 2014 and 2015.

Mr. Weiner ran third in the November 2015 election, behind newcomer and Redwood City resident Georgia Jack, now serving her first term.

The privileges that come with the office of president include setting agendas with staff, and having the last word during discussions. Members are otherwise equal and are often elected to board offices on a rotation so that each member has a chance to lead.

Mr. Thomsen's nomination of a slate "came as a surprise to me, and that is when I decided to protest," Ms. DuBois said.

She regularly objects to the methods by which the Sequoia board governs itself. At a half-day board retreat scheduled for Jan. 23, at Ms. DuBois' urging, governance will be a discussion topic, as will steps for implementing the district's strategic plan.

"When people are skipped over it is petty, and I don't think it reflects the type of modeling we want to show our children," she said in an email. "It reflects a board that doesn't respect each other and does not work well together. I am horrified by this practice and I want it to change."

"I don't care about serving as president, but I don't want individual board members shut out of leadership," she said. "I'm advocating for this to improve our governance process and to lay the groundwork for future board members."

Ms. DuBois said that at the end of the Dec. 9 meeting, she gave Mr. Weiner a gift for his two-year hitch as president. "This is another new custom that I hope the board adopts," she said.


Like this comment
Posted by Calypso41
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2015 at 1:21 pm

From ESL to the rest of the schools, there is a great deal of nepotism. Everyone's husband, wife, children are hired. Disappointing to learn this.

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