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Monday, March 12, 2012

Crisis At Oversight Committee: Resignations

Another Resignation Mars Citizens' Oversight Committee 

At the February Measure J Citizens' Oversight Committee, Emeryville resident Matt Johnson told colleagues that he will not seek an additional term on the Committee and he indicated later that its job of overseeing how the Measure J bond funding is implemented has become "extremely difficult".  He said the School District had engaged in "tremendous overreach" with the Center of Community Life, the fiscal shepherding of which is the primary function of the Oversight Committee.  Mr Johnson's action adds to two colleagues, including Committee Chairman Brian Carver's resignation last week, making the third Oversight Committee member resignation since September.

Mr Johnson told the Tattler he joined the Committee (replacing Shirley Enomoto who had resigned in protest last September) over financial concerns as the School District spends Measure J bond money to build the Center of Community Life.  He suggested that criticism of the Center of Community Life is being pushed down on the Committee, presumably by staff, positing "The structure of the Committee biases against criticism."

Mr Johnson noted the Committee seemed to be finally getting up to speed on the role of overseeing the School District after a year of "chaotic disorganization".  He pointed out that certain subcommittees, especially the Finance Subcommittee, set up by the Oversight Committee were starting to effectively function but had the rug pulled out from them by Schools Superintendent Debbra Lindo.  Ms Lindo moved to "restart" the finance committee unilaterally albeit as a new iteration according to Mr Johnson, an action he called "disappointing".

Former Oversight Committee member Johnson expressed concern that the Committee be allowed to be effective at the job of overseeing even as he leaves.  He warned any replacement that the job requires a lot of work, up to six meetings a month including subcommittee meetings and School Board meetings, if an Oversight Committee member wants to effectively oversee the School District.

The Citizens' Oversight Committee is mandated by the State of California to help ensure the School District spends public bond money as it should and it's supposed to add a level of transparency and democracy to public funds disbursement.

Matt Johnson is on the HOA Board of Directors at Emery Bay Village where he has lived since 2003. He has no children.


  1. The mission of the committee was mixed. You can't be an advocate and a critic at the same time. The only way such a committee can be effective is independent of staff. There are a couple of issues which need exploration. How can the district afford to operate the new facility..? The other issue appears to be the K-12 school, and leaving Anna yates alone. What is the right way to determine if there is community and parent support for the concept..? If the community didn't agree, would that matter..?

  2. I think there will be more resignations coming along.

  3. What does this post have to do with Mars?