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UPDATE: Chris Fall to give up Hart district board seat

Posted: September 25, 2013 6:14 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2013 1:13 p.m.

Chris Fall has decided to give up his claim to a seat on the Hart district board, ending a saga that began in August with Fall’s resignation from the board over a potential conflict of interest.

“I think I have to take a pass at this point in my life,” he told The Signal Wednesday.

As a result of Fall’s decision, the district will move forward with an appointment process to fill the vacant seat on the board.

Fall was originally appointed to the board on June 5 to fill the board seat of Paul Strickland, who had departed in May to take a consulting job in Florida.

But Fall resigned that seat about two months later on Aug. 16, citing potential conflict of interest concerns stemming from his consulting agreement with Consolidated Disposal Service, a company that provides waste and recycling services to the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Fall’s resignation came after he had already filed to run for election to a full, four-year board term in November, and also came after the deadline to file to run in that election had already passed.

Because of that, Fall was deemed to be elected to his seat, according to district officials.

Fall’s potential conflict of interest fell under section 1090 of the California Government Code, which bars elected officials from taking part in contract discussions they may have a financial interest in.

Because of the way the code is written, it may not have been enough for Fall to simply abstain from voting on the item, according to the California Attorney General’s office, because his membership on the board could be a conflict of interest even if he was not involved in the contract process.

Fall said Wednesday he had decided to give up his seat to avoid any potential conflicts as a result of his arrangement with Consolidated Disposal Service, which recently was awarded a new contract with the Hart district.

Fall said the timing of his resignation was not planned out ahead of time.

“I could not control somebody else filing papers to run, and I wish they had,” he said. “But I think the people who didn’t must have felt the district was in good hands.”

As to what the future holds, Fall said he will continue to look for ways to give back to the community.

“I would say that any opportunity I have to serve I would keep open,” he said. “I feel truly blessed being part of the city of Santa Clarita and this community and what it has to offer.”

Under a timeline approved Wednesday night, those interested in applying to fill Fall’s seat would have to do so by Oct. 8, with interviews of applicants to take place on Oct. 16.

Current board members would then vote on whom to appoint on Oct. 16.

Whoever is appointed to the board will serve a full, four-year term just as if he or she had been elected, according to district Superintendent Rob Challinor, and would take a position on the board on Dec. 11.

Challinor said particular attention will be paid to helping applicants determine any potential conflicts of interest, or conflicts that may arise in the future.

Challinor also took time to praise Fall for his dedication to serving the district during his brief time on the board.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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