When a reader contacted me Sunday night informing me that the Sweetwater Union High School District had cancelled its Monday board meeting I thought it odd. Typically government agencies must publicly announce the cancellation of a meeting 24 hours in advance. Ever the optimist and benefit-of-the-doubt kind of guy (no, really!) I figured district officials and their advisors knew what they were doing.
Monday morning I received an announcement explaining that because board president Jim Cartmill had a medical condition and pending surgery on Wednesday the meeting was postponed. It was also suggested the district wanted to address its ongoing labor issues with local teachers before convening a meeting.
Odd, I thought, the board has met with only three members before — most notably with Cartmill, John McCann and Bertha Lopez when Pearl Quiñones was out of town. If three works for the Holy Spirit it should work for a school board.
On Monday McCann told a reporter he’d been informed that morning the meeting was cancelled. He also said he was unhappy about it and that a meeting could still be held with three members, presumably Lopez, Quiñones and him.
Lopez and Quiñones would later that day show up to district headquarters looking for a meeting and there were reports that even McCann made a cameo. So, with three board members in town and available, a meeting could have occurred.
But a notice of adjournment signed by Cartmill, posted on the district’s website and dated March 18 — one day after the meeting was supposed to have occurred — stated “due to the fact that no members will be present, the Regular Board Meeting of the Board of Trustees ... will not be held and is hereby adjourned sine die.”
I felt my eye twitch. But there were members present! I raged mentally. There were witnesses. And how can you cancel a meeting after it already didn’t happen? That’s like saying the Broncos will lose the Super Bowl the day after they got smashed in the championship game! Aaaaugh!
Then my attention turned to those two Latin words: sine die. In essence the phrase means without a set date, indefinite. So the next school board meeting will take place, ah, whenever. Sometime in the future. We’ll see.
Of course now that Quiñones has pleaded guilty to a felony and misdemeanor and may have to resign her seat on the board, that means the next board meeting — whenever that may be — will have only three board members available. That is, of course, if Cartmill and Lopez who are the last two current board members in a corruption case don’t plead guilty and are required to resign before then. If they do have to quit then who knows what will happen? I’m sure we’re all dying to know. Sine die we will.