Stockton Unified administrators dispute Brown’s Law violation claims
At odds with San Joaquin County Schools Superintendent Troy Brown, the Stockton Unified School District Board of Trustees did not recognize former Superintendent John Ramirez Jr.’s “superintendent emeritus” position as a use.
“It is disappointing that the SUSD Board of Directors refuses to admit that it violated the Brown Law,” Brown said in a statement. “The board ultimately approved (to) continue to refer to the Ramirez agreement as a resignation agreement only. The agreement is clearly also an employment contract.
At the Sept. 13 meeting of Stockton’s unified board of directors, the board voted 5-2 — directors Maria Mendez and AngelAnn Flores voted no — in open session to ‘reaffirm’ Ramirez’s separation agreement with USD. The agreement stipulates the “employment of Ramirez as Superintendent Emeritus,” to serve and report directly to the Board, provide transition assistance, and be assigned duties by the Chairman of the Board with a full salary of $285,000 plus benefits for one year.
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Stockton Unified attorney Dr. Jack Lipton reiterated that Ramirez’s separation agreement was not an employment agreement. He said there was no transition work between SUSD and Ramirez.
“Setting these missteps aside, my August 31, 2022 letter to the SUSD Board of Directors on this matter has largely accomplished the primary purpose of ensuring that the public’s business is conducted in public,” Brown said in a statement. press release dated September 15. “It is important that the SUSD Board of Directors seek additional training on the Brown Law.”
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Brown’s Aug. 31 letter said the SUSD board ‘violated important public rights’ when it took ‘unlawful actions’ when it hired Ramirez behind closed doors at a meeting board meeting on June 9. California law prohibits calling special meetings to discuss executive compensation. The board also failed to verbally report Ramirez’s June 9 new hire in full, as required by law.
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Brown asked the SUSD board to reverse the June 9 action to employ Ramirez as “superintendent emeritus.” The letter said that if the board chooses to take further action to employ Ramirez, it must do so at a regular board meeting and make the oral report required for a final decision on compensation.
While the actions of the Stockton Unified board on Sept. 13 did not reflect all of Brown’s demands or views, they still technically have 30 days to adhere to the demands of Brown’s “heal and fix” letter. Brown of August 31. San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar previously said she will be keeping tabs on the board’s actions during the 30-day period.
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Ramirez resigned June 9 after just over a year as superintendent, citing he needed to care for his elderly parents. Less than a month after he left, the San Joaquin County grand jury released a scathing report showing financial mismanagement, poor business practices and a lack of transparency at Stockton Unified.
Ramirez was placed “on leave” from his role as superintendent emeritus after he was arrested Aug. 25 for driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level of 0.225%. Upon news of his arrest, Stockton Unified released a statement saying Ramirez no longer worked as a superintendent, had no contact with students or employees, and was no longer on any school grounds. The district did not respond to any additional questions about his employment status.
Record reporter Ben Irwin covers Stockton and San Joaquin county government. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @B1rwin. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.