School Board Removes Citizen Oversight Committee Volunteer Chairman, Citing His Opposition to Upcoming Ballot Measure

District cites Quincy Hocutt’s public advocacy against upcoming ballot measure as cause

Published : Friday, September 28, 2018 | 4:57 AM

The Pasadena School Board voted Thursday 5 to 1, with one abstention, to remove the volunteer chairman of a bond spending Citizens Oversight Committee over his public opposition to a ballot measure raising funds for the financially-strapped Pasadena Unified School District.

A Pasadena Unified staff report had recommended removing Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee Chairman Quincy Hocutt based on his public opposition to, and authorship of a ballot argument against, Measure J on the city’s upcoming November ballot.

Measure J calls for one-third of the anticipated $21 million in new annual revenue from a proposed hike Pasadena’s sales to be directed to the Pasadena Unified’s coffers.

“Staff recommends removal of Mr. Hocutt from membership on the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for cause as his actions … clearly show that he is not acting in the best interests of the District or our students,” said the staff report.

“Significantly,” the report continued, “Mr. Hocutt signed the rebuttal as Chair of the COC suggesting endorsement of his comments by the entire COC membership. Mr. Hocutt’s opposition and rebuttal to Measure J is expected to appear on the November 6 ballot pamphlet.

Hocutt said he was “rather rudely” not allowed to address the Board Thursday night before their vote.

The Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee was created to provide independent oversight and advice on the district’s spending of about $350 million in Measure TT bond funding.

Last week, Hocutt refused to sign a resignation letter presented to him by district officials, saying that the letter stated his resignation was for “personal reasons.”

Pasadena Unified Board President Larry Torres then announced that Hocutt had been “removed” from his position as oversight committee chair and thanked him for his service.

But Torres soon acknowledged that no formal action had been taken and that the matter would be brought up at last night’s board meeting.

Pasadena Unified’s staff report prepared for Thursday’s agenda concluded that a Citizens Oversight Committee member may be removed for any reason not specifically prohibited by law.

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