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Clarifying role of ‘caretaker’ for LaMotte’s school board seat

LA School Report | February 7, 2014

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Appoint-Elect-ConversationBubblesThe LA Unified school board on Tuesday is expected to approve a list of proposed responsibilities and job qualifications for a temporary, non-voting board member to fill the seat of Marguerite LaMotte, who died in December.

The recommendations grew out of a meeting this week chaired by Steve Zimmer, the most vocal school board member to support installing an interim appointment. A document (see below) lists 20 responsibilities and five qualifications he devised as well as the timeline for filling the seat.

If his proposal is approved, an interim would be identified and voted into place by the board’s March 4 meeting. As a caretaker, the new member would have no ability to cast a binding vote nor the right to attend closed sessions without permission from the board.

The timeline lays out the process leading to a selection, starting with the launch of a special website on Feb. 18 where nominations can be made. Once selected, the board’s new colleague will serve only through the June 3 special election — or an Aug. 12 runoff if necessary — which puts a fully enfranchised member in the seat to complete the LaMotte term, ending in mid-2015.

The board voted last month to call a special election, rather than make an appointment. Nonetheless, board members have argued that an interim appointee should be selected, an idea that was shot down by legal counsel as impossible. Zimmer’s plan represents a compromise.

While Zimmer tells LA School Report that his proposal has been cleared by LAUSD general counsel, a lively discussion at the February 11 board meeting (see agenda here) is expected, especially with two lawyers, Monica Ratliff and Tamar Galatzan, on the board.

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