Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

October 30, 2012
A vote in error? Twin Rivers Unified reconsiders law firm choice

By Melody Gutierrez
mgutierrez@sacbee.com

Twin Rivers Unified School District trustees called a special board meeting for Wednesday to reconsider the law firm the board recently voted to hire.

The board voted Saturday to sever ties with its current law firm Timothy M. Cary and Associates and hire Meyers Nave, a firm with more than 80 attorneys in six offices statewide.

However, trustees said the 4-3 vote for Meyers Nave may have been in error, prompting Wednesday's 5 p.m. board meeting at the district's office, 5115 Dudley Blvd., Bay A, McClellan.

Trustee Bob Bastian said he meant to vote for Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost at Saturday's meeting and was told he could not reconsider his vote once it was made. Trustees Linda Fowler, Walter Garcia Kawamoto and Rebecca Sandoval also voted for Meyers Nave. Trustees John Dexter, Cortez Quinn and Michael Baker voted no.

Bastian said he did not realize he was voting for Meyers Nave during Saturday's board meeting and asked that the motion be reconsidered.

"There were several aspects that were confusing," Bastian said. "I did ask for reconsideration and I was told I couldn't do that by our legal counsel."

A board agenda for Wednesday's meeting says that conclusion may have been incorrect and the "process is therefore considered potentially tainted or subject to dispute."

Bastian said he would like to hear more testimony about the firms and that he is unsure how he will vote Wednesday.

He said the vote on which law firm will represent Twin Rivers is an important decision given the school district's legal fees.

Twin Rivers Unified paid $2.6 million in legal fees to Cary's firm between January and July. Cary's firm has been routinely behind in submitting billings, a Bee review of invoices showed.

Twin Rivers spokeswoman Zenobia Gerald said the school district has not received any billings from Cary's firm since July.

Twin Rivers has been fighting multiple lawsuits since its creation in 2007.

In a statement, Cary said his firm withdrew its proposal to be Twin Rivers' general counsel during the Oct. 16 school board meeting.

"Having served the board since its inception, we wish the board and, most importantly, the students, families and employees in the district the very best," Cary said in a statement.

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About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

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