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TUSD Board to appoint new trustee to fill vacant seat
Lori Crivelli was elected to the TUSD Board of Trustees in November 2009 and resigned her seat on Dec. 15, 2009. - photo by Photo Contributed
With a conflict of interest forcing newly elected Turlock Unified School District Trustee Lori Crivelli to resign after one meeting, the board must fill the vacant position within 60 days by special election or appointment.
At Tuesday’s TUSD Board meeting, the trustees voted to take the appointment route in seating a new trustee saving the district $56,000 to $96,250 in potential costs, if they had decided to hold a special election.
“Under our current budget restraints, I don’t know if we can justify spending the money for a special election,” said Frank Lima, TUSD board president on Dec. 18.
District administration estimated that it will cost a maximum of $500 for the appointment process.
“I think it is a sin to spend any money, even $500 for the appointment process, when Timm LaVelle did a heck of a job,” said Mark Nab, a Turlock resident who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting.
LaVelle lost his bid for reelection to the school board in the November 2009 election.
Nab wasn’t the only one who voiced support for the appointment for LaVelle.
Turlock resident Tanya Abrams said she thought the person who got the next highest number of votes in the election should be appointed. That person was LaVelle.
“They had their chance in July to turn their papers in if they wanted to be a trustee,” Abrams said. “This position should go to Timm LaVelle.”
Turlock Teachers Association President Julie Shipman agreed with Abrams about the process of the appointment.
“To open up the process to people that didn’t go through the (election) process doesn’t say much about the people that worked hard to get in those seats,” Shipman said.
Through the appointment process, the board can solicit applications for the opening from the community, which is what they decided to do at Tuesday’s meeting. The board legally cannot just appoint the person who got the next highest votes, Lima said.
“I don’t think it would be fair to appoint the person in fourth place when there aren’t many votes between that person and the person in fifth place and sixth place,” said TUSD trustee Bob Weaver.
People who are interested in applying for the open TUSD trustee position must fill out the candidate’s information form along with a letter of intent. The forms must be filed with TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto at the district office located at 1574 E. Canal Dr. in Room 210. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Jan. 21.
The board of trustees will then create a screening committee of three board members who will review each candidate’s information form on Jan. 26 and select the appropriate candidates to interview at a special public meeting to be held at 5 p.m. on Feb. 1.
The newly selected trustee to fill Crivelli’s vacant spot will be appointed at the Feb. 2 TUSD board of trustees meeting. The person appointed will not serve the rest of Crivelli’s term, which was for four years, Lima said. The appointed trustee will serve for about two years until the next general election to give the public the opportunity to vote.
The board is looking for someone that is professional, responsive to the public and respectful, Lima said. The vacant spot is open to the entire public and the board is hoping to see a big turnout.
“We lost a very qualified candidate,” Lima said. “We hope that the person appointed will be just as qualified as Crivelli was for the board.”
Crivelli resigned her position on Dec. 15, 2009, after being sworn into office for her first meeting on Dec. 8.
Her resignation was due to her family’s business relationships that could create a “potential conflict of interest in the future,” Crivelli said in a statement. The main potential conflict of interest was with her husband’s print-screening business.
“After careful consideration, rather than abstaining from some decisions that could appear to be a conflict, I feel it would be in the best interest of Turlock Unified School District and my family if I resign my position as a trustee,” Crivelli said in a statement released in December.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.