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Signal Photos

 

UPDATE: Chris Fall, newest Hart board member, resigns

Posted: August 16, 2013 1:28 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2013 2:46 p.m.

Chris Fall. Signal photo by Luke Money.

 

SANTA CLARITA - Citing conflict of interest concerns, the newest Hart district board member resigned his board seat Friday, two months after being appointed.

Chris Fall, who was appointed to the William S. Hart Union High School District board in June to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Paul Strickland, said his resignation is effective immediately.

“It’s something I did not foresee,” Fall said Friday of the potential conflict of interest. “I wish I had, because then I would not have put myself through the appointment process.”

Fall said he chose to depart after seeking legal advice about a potential conflict of interest pertaining to his consulting agreement with Consolidated Disposal Services, a company that is contracted to provide waste and recycling services for the Hart district.

That contract expires Oct. 3, but it is anticipated that the company will submit a new proposal to continue providing those services, according to a news release from the Hart district.

Fall said he was contacted by Consolidated Disposal Services to consult on the proposal in early August, at which point he became aware of the relationship between the company and the district.

Fall sold his waste and recycling company to Consolidated Disposal Services in December 2012, prior to his appointment to the board. He has since served as a consultant for the company.

After seeking legal advice on the matter, three options presented themselves.

The first option was Fall telling the company not to bid on a contract with the Hart district, something he says would not be a good option for the company or him.

The second option was for Fall to resign his consulting job, which he said would not be good for his family.

“It’s just this situation where I had to choose what was best for really everybody involved and this was it,” Fall said of his resignation.

Fall said he also received legal advice indicating he would not able to recuse himself on the issue, since it presented a potential violation under Section 1090 of the California Government Code.

That section reads, in part, “Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members.”

And according to the California Attorney General’s Office, Fall’s membership on the board could present a conflict regardless of whether he was involved in the contract process or not.

“If a member of a multi-member body with contracting power has a financial interest in a contract, section 1090 generally provides that the contract cannot be made even if the member has disqualified himself or herself from actually participating in the contract,” reads a post on the code on the Attorney General’s website.

Fall had filed paperwork with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office to seek election to the board in November. He could stand for election as an incumbent.

He and two other incumbents were the only candidates to file papers for the three seats on the November ballot.

The district is still examining the impact of the resignation, spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said Friday.

“This is all just a whirlwind for us as well,” Pinsker said. “We’re working to find out how to properly follow up with this resignation.”

Pinsker said the district is checking with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office for legal guidance on how to fill Fall’s seat.

Pinsker also said the district is disappointed that Fall had to resign.

“We hate to lose Chris; he proved to be knowledgeable and jumped right in very quickly,” Pinsker said. “He was doing a great job.”

Fall, who is also a member of the Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission, said he will continue to look for ways to give back to the community.

“I love this town and I’m grateful for the opportunities this community has given me,” Fall said. “I’m not done with my community work; there’s still more for me to accomplish.”

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter @LukeMMoney

 

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