Pasadena School Board President Announces Citizens Oversight Committee Chair Has Been “Removed”

Published : Wednesday, September 19, 2018 | 5:56 AM

School Board Chair Larry Torres at left, former Pasadena Unified Citizens' Oversight Committee Chair Quincy Hocutt at right.

[Updated] The tempestuous relationship between the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education and the Measure TT Citizens’ Oversight Committee hit another pothole Tuesday with the announcement by President Larry Torres that Committee Chair Quincy Hocutt has been removed from his position.

Torres said in a statement that “Mr. Hocutt’s strong feelings regarding decisions made by staff and approved by the Board hindered the COC’s ability to work as a cohesive group and engage in productive discussions.”

Hocutt told Pasadena Now he was asked to meet with Torres on Tuesday afternoon.

“At that meeting I was asked to resign for ‘personal reasons’ and refused to do so,” Hocutt said.

Hocutt said that the Citizens’ Oversight Committee has a State-Constitution-granted independent oversight responsibility for the $350 million expenditure of Measure TT bond funds for school construction and that in exercising that responsibility “we do render opinions on various aspects related to these expenditures.”

But, Hocutt said, the Committee has always supported the position that the Board of Education has final citizen-elected authority over school matters.

The Committee consists of nine to 15 members, who are appointed by the Board of Education and are drawn from community members.

The Committee also “reviews expenditures proposed by the Facilities Department, makes recommendations to the Board for their approval or disapproval, monitors the progress of construction projects, reviews the annual independent financial and performance audits, and submits an annual report to the Board.”

It remains unclear as to the process by which Hocutt was removed. The Committee’s bylaws say that “the Board may remove any Committee member for cause.” The Board’s last public meeting was held on August 23.

Three School Board members were contacted by Pasadena Now for comments upon the Hocutt removal. Although one acknowledged the request, none responded before publication time Wednesday morning.

Torres said in his statement that he appreciates “the fine work that many of the members offered to assist the district. The checks and balances that oversight provides and the objective review of audits and reports is important both to our community and to me as board president and is valued by our staff. We thank Mr. Hocutt for his service and wish him well.”

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