Harassment Charges and Los Angeles CC Board

July 17, 2017

Los Angeles Community College District trustees are investigating whether one of its members threatened another, the Los Angeles Times reported. The investigation, however, will be private, and the possible punishments are minimal.

“He came right in front of my face … he towered over me, blocked me in” and said he would ruin her politically, trustee Andra Hoffman told the Times about former president Scott Svonkin.

Hoffman put forth a resolution to hold a public hearing on the matter, citing another incident in March and a “pattern of harassment” dating back to 2015. Another board member, Ernest Moreno, however, put forth a motion to create an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter, meaning it wouldn’t be subject to open meetings laws. With Svonkin’s support, the motion passed.

Svonkin called Hoffman’s complaints a “negative and politically charged smear attack” and compared her behavior to President Trump’s.

The investigation could still reach the public. When the ad hoc committee, to be made of two or three members, concludes its work, it will present its findings and recommendation to the board publicly. If four of the seven board members then vote to move forward on Hoffman’s original proposal and the sanctions process, there will be a public hearing. A supermajority of five votes in favor would be necessary to levy any punishment against Svonkin.

According to the Times’s breakdown of the rules, Svonkin’s possible punishments are minimal. Sanctions include reprimand, censure, being removed from an officer position or losing pay. But the financial punishments can only come about when the misconduct in question is related to money. Additionally, Svonkin is no longer board president. This leaves reprimanded or censure.

If things get to that stage, it will be a first for the board, which has never gone through the sanctions process.

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