A trustee with the Sweetwater Union High School District is expected to miss at least one school board meeting while recovering from injuries sustained in a July 24 car crash, said Sweetwater School Board President Jim Cartmill.
But in the event that trustee John McCann hits a roadblock in his recovery and is forced to miss multiple school board meetings, the six-member school board doesn’t have a contingency plan — at least not yet.
“This is not a situation we need to even deal with yet,” Cartmill said.
The next school board meeting is Aug. 19, which Cartmill said McCann will most likely miss.
Cartmill said it is not uncommon for a board member to miss a board meeting for any reason.
“It is not unusual for a board member to miss a day,” he said.
Cartmill anticipates if rehab goes well with McCann that he will return to his board seat at the Sept. 16 meeting.
“I am confident he will be back for our September meeting,” Cartmill said.
However, a story published on nbcsandiego.com said that McCann suffered memory loss and his recovery could take up to one year.
Manny Rubio, director of grants and communications for the district, said it is “premature” for the board to decide on a course of action should McCann be deemed unfit to sit on the school board.
As a last resort, Cartmill said, the board might turn to its bylaws to decide what to do should McCann suffer a setback and need to be out indefinitely.
“All we have is our board policy,” Cartmill said regarding the school board’s plans.
Bylaw No.2 states the board can fill a vacancy if: “The adjudication pursuant to a quo warranto proceeding declaring that an incumbent is physically or mentally incapacitated due to disease, illness or accident and that there is reasonable cause to believe that the incumbent will not be able to perform the duties of his/her term.”
A quo warranto is a legal proceeding that challenges an individual’s right to hold office or a governmental privilege
Being that McCann was involved in an accident, this bylaw could be the one that applies to him.
However, this bylaw discusses situations to fill a vacancy permanently, there is nothing mentioned about seeking an interim replacement. To fill a permanent vacancy the board can take no action, call for a special election or make a provisional appointment, depending on the number of days remaining on a board member’s term at the time the vacancy occurs.
Cartmill said the board doesn’t have a specific plan in place for an interim replacement.
Rubio said the school board would only fill a vacancy permanently.
“The board would not fill a vacancy on an interim basis,” Rubio said in an e-mail. Rubio added that as of right now the school district and the school board are taking a wait and see approach.
“We are not medical professionals, so we will wait and see what their opinions are on this in the coming days,” he said in the email. “In the meantime, we wish him and the other person involved the best and a full recovery.”