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March 10, 2010 > City Manager may run for school board

City Manager may run for school board

By Simon Wong

Hayward's City Manager Greg Jones announced on March 3 that he might consider throwing his hat into the ring in the November 2010 election for a seat on Hayward Unified School District's (HUSD) School Board.

Following Sara Gonzales' resignation on February 22, the four remaining board members are searching for someone to complete Gonzales' unexpired term. In November, three seats will be available. Paul Frumkin III (president) and Sheila Sims (board member) and Gonzales' immediate replacement will have completed their terms and will either step down or seek re-election.

"I've considered the matter for about six months. There is a connection between what the city is trying to accomplish and how the school district and schools affect that. What happens in the schools, including failures, impacts the quality of life in our city. Students are the primary focus but another big issue is that when a child moves to another school district, the whole family leaves Hayward. Consequently, we lose future leaders," explained Jones.

"We see a lack of people running for Council. We see a lack of people running for school board. We're losing our leaders. As a Rotarian and a Hayward Chamber of Commerce board member, I see an erosion of our leadership. People vote by leaving the city.

"That's why I began to think about the matter and grew increasingly passionate about the need for radical change. Incremental change in government does not work. Change is held back by inertia. The public sector cannot afford to waste scarce resources by continuing with an unsuccessful policy in the hope that it will eventually become successful. A clean break, with a direct move from A to Z, is essential," he added pragmatically.

Jones has sought an opinion on state law and conflicts of interest from the California Attorney General as to whether it is possible to remain in post as City Manager and serve on the HUSD school board simultaneously. The City of Hayward and HUSD are separate jurisdictions. There is also a professional code of ethics that will be examined to avoid violation.

"If it is not possible to hold both positions, I shall have to decide either to resign as City Manager and run for school board or remain with the city and not seek election to the school board. I'm waiting for all sorts of information so that I can evaluate all the options," he explained.

"I wouldn't have announced publicly that issues in the school district are important to me if I didn't feel I was leaning in that direction but I must also weigh the consequences of any actions, so that whatever my decision, it is made with a clear conscience," concluded Jones.

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