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UPDATE: Saugus district gets OK to move forward with proceedings against Winkler

Posted: February 12, 2014 1:03 p.m.
Updated: February 12, 2014 5:09 p.m.

Stephen Winkler in 2013

 

The state Attorney General’s office has given the Saugus Union School District the green light to move ahead with proceedings that could officially remove Stephen Winkler from the board.

Tuesday’s opinion from the Attorney General clears the way for the district to sue “to determine whether proposed defendant Winkler meets the legal residency requirements for holding the public office of School District Trustee,” the document says.

Saugus district board members voted 4-1 last June to declare Winkler’s seat vacant after evidence emerged that he may live in Sylmar. Residency outside the district would make him ineligible to serve as an elected Saugus board of education member.

Winkler has maintained that he is eligible to hold the seat.

“I’m like an independent merchant fighting a chain store when I’m fighting the school board,” Winkler said Wednesday. “So I don’t have the resources to fight them tooth and fang.”

Winkler said he stopped attending board meetings after the vote to declare his seat vacant because he did not want to create a distraction.

“They don’t want me on the board, and this is the only single issue they can work with to keep me off the board,” Winkler said.

The board has been meeting as a four-member body since Winkler's seat was vacated, said board President Paul De La Cerda.

Saugus district Superintendent Joan Lucid confirmed Wednesday that the district had received the go-ahead for proceedings to determine whether Winkler is eligible to hold a seat on the board.

“It’s only the first step in the legal process, and this completion isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s one more step toward resolution,” Lucid said of the opinion.

District officials hope to begin those proceedings soon, said De La Cerda.

“We’re going to do that as quickly as possible because we want to move this process down the road,” he said.
Lmoney@signalscv.com

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