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Wilson sues HCC

It’s a thing with him.

Dave Wilson

Dave Wilson, a District II trustee, is accusing Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, the board’s vice chair, of improperly voting remotely during a September trustee meeting.

Board bylaws say that only trustees present in person can vote, though absent trustees can listen to the proceedings electronically.

Wilson’s lawsuit says the meeting in question took place on Sept. 21. HCC trustees did not meet that day, but at the Sept. 22 meeting, the board was scheduled to elect a secretary for the remainder of 2017, authorize HCC’s chancellor to execute a facilities maintenance contract and define how vendors who violate the board’s ethics code should be disciplined, among other items.

“If the court finds that participating by video chat in the board meetings violates (board bylaws), then the court should declare her vote illegal and void,” his lawsuit reads. “The court should order a recount of each agenda item for the board meeting.”

I have a copy of Wilson’s complaint here. It’s quite short and to the point, so go ahead and read it. I can sum it up as follows:

– In 2010, the HCC Board voted to amend its bylaws to state that only Trustees who attend meetings in person may vote. A Trustee who is not present may view the meeting electronically may not vote, and proxy votes are not allowed.

– Trustee Carolyn Evans-Shabazz was not present for the September 21 meeting, but attended via video conference. She voted on agenda items, over Wilson’s objection, and her votes were counted.

– Wilson wants the court to require the Board to enforce its bylaws, and void all the votes taken on September 21.

And that’s it. What struck me is that Wilson cites no laws in his suit, just the Board bylaws. I agree that Trustees should follow their own rules, but I’m kind of perplexed that a court would consider itself to have the jurisdiction to step in and enforce that. Any attorneys out there want to comment on this? By the way, Wilson never alleges that any of Evans-Shabazz’s votes were decisive, nor that the Board would have lacked a quorum without her. As such, I’m not sure what the point is, beyond the principle involved. Which, much as I deplore Dave Wilson I can kind of understand. Still, the two PTA boards I’ve served on had bylaws, too, but I don’t think it would have occurred to me to file a lawsuit if I’d thought those bylaws were not being followed. Was there no other way to resolve this?

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5 Comments

  1. neither here nor there says:

    I would think that contacting Dave Wilson and asking him if he tried to get the Board to void the votes would be in order.

    If one starts enforcing all those ethic bylaws, maybe we would not have had a Chris Oliver? He voted numerous times on agenda items where he had an interest.

  2. If he did try to get the board to void their vote, that’s a material fact that should be in the complaint. It does say he objected, and they overruled him. That seems to be close enough.

    I’m not saying he’s wrong to try to get the board to follow its bylaws. I’m saying I’ve never seen a lawsuit filed over something like this before, and that it’s not clear to me that a court would consider itself to have jurisdiction. Maybe that was his only viable recourse and the court will hear him out. I truly have no idea. It’s fascinating in a bizarre little way.

  3. Dave Wilson has not been doing a bad job. Sure looks like the old board had some bad apples.

  4. Dee says:

    Don’t we encourage elected officials to participate? Why is he trying to punish one that did? State statues allow video participation which supersedes board bylaws. Besides that only five votes are needed to pass anything and six were cast. Why does he want to silence the voice of this predominantly African American district after sneaking into the seat of another one. Shame on Dave for filing a frivolous lawsuit at taxpayer expense.

  5. John Parker says:

    Waste of time and money. Sounds like Mr. Wilson is being a cry baby for not getting his way. Dr. Carolyn Evans Shabazz must be in his doghouse for not accepting his bribe or pressure to vote his way. Looks like 5 votes were needed and 6 were cast, would not have made a difference if she voted or not. This dude really has some issues. Can we all just get along. smh

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