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Fall awaiting legal opinion before making decision on Hart board seat

Posted: September 13, 2013 6:37 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2013 6:37 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - A former Hart district board member who recently resigned due to a potential conflict of interest said Friday he is examining whether he might be able to return to the board.

Former William S. Hart Union High School District board member Chris Fall told The Signal Friday he is seeking legal advice on whether the potential conflict that forced his departure from the board last month has been resolved.

“My desire to serve the community and assist the district is unwavering,” he said.

Fall resigned from the Hart district board in August, citing a potential conflict stemming from his consulting relationship with Consolidated Disposal Service, a company that is contracted to provide waste and recycling services to the Hart district.

That company received a three-year contract earlier this week for the same services.

The potential conflict fell under section 1090 of the California Government Code, which bars elected or appointed officials from taking part in contract discussions that they may have a financial interest in.

Should such a circumstance arise, according to the California Attorney General’s office, the board either can’t make a decision on the issue or the board member has to resign. A few narrow exceptions exist.

Fall resigned Aug. 16. But the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office regards Fall as still holding his seat, despite the resignation.

Before he resigned, Fall filed paperwork to run for his seat in the November election. Because no one stepped up to challenge the incumbents running for re-election, the county canceled the election on Aug. 14.

In doing so, the county deemed the three declared candidates — Fall, board member Bob Jensen and board President Joe Messina — to be elected.

It now falls to Fall to decide whether he wants to reclaim his position on the board or renounce his claim to the seat.

“Until I can get legal clarity on a number of questions that I have as it relates to any potential conflict of interest, I can’t make a decision right now,” Fall said Friday.

Should he make the decision to give up his claim to the seat, the Hart district would have to begin the process of appointing a new board member.

It would be the second time the Hart district has had to fill a vacancy in the past few months. Fall himself was appointed to the board on June 5 to replace former board member Paul Strickland, who resigned effective May 1.
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