Hart District Board Appointee Resigns To Avoid Possible Conflict Of Interest
Chris Fall, who was appointed in June to fill the Hart district governing board seat vacated by Paul Strickland, resigned Friday.
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William S. Hart Union High School board President Joe Messina announced the resignation, which Fall did voluntarily to avoid a possible conflict of interest regarding proposals that would be submitted to the board. The resignation is effective immediately.
When Fall saw that a company he works with, in a consulting capacity, had a contract that expired and would seek proposals for renewal at an upcoming board meeting, he approached district staff.
Staffers then contacted the district's legal counsel to find out what the proper course of action was.
In December 2012, Fall sold his waste and recycling company Advantage Disposal to Consolidated Services LLC. Consolidated's contract with the district expires in October.
"They came back with three options," Fall said. "The first option was that, as a a consultant to (Consolidated Disposal Services) that I could advise them, 'You can't bid on this contract,'" Fall said. "The second one was that I could walk away from the consulting job. The last one was that if I could resign, and if I was going to do that, I had to do it quickly (before the contract was in front of the board).
"Having to take this choice is unfortunate, but it also protects all of the stakeholders in my life," Fall said, meaning his family.
Messina said he regretted losing Fall, who proved himself a valuable member of the board in the short time he was on it. The Hart district oversees about 23,000 students as the governing body for the Santa Clarita Valley's junior highs and high schools.
"I'm really sorry that we're going to lose (Fall). He was involved with the district, and that's what makes a good trustee," Messina said. "But being the man of integrity that he is, he really didn't want anyone thinking that there was any chance of him doing something wrong or shady here, so he's going to resign."
A statement from the district describes the issue as a "Section 1090 conflict of interest.”
"The resignation details the possible conflict as pertaining to his consulting agreement with Consolidated Disposal Services, which has had a five-year contractual relationship with the district for waste and recycling services, which expires on Oct. 3," according to a statement from the district.
It is anticipated that Consolidated Disposal Services will submit a new proposal for waste and recycling services.
Fall, who's also on the Parks and Recreation Commission, also plans to continue to work with the community and for the company LED Lighting and Design, which he started.
"I can tell you from my short time as a board member, I have a great appreciation for the staff, teachers, administration and the board members for what they do on a daily basis," Fall said.
He said he also didn't want to rule out running again in the future, should his role as a consultant no longer be an issue.
The board is expected to announce its procedure for a new nomination shortly, Messina said. There's not enough time to get the seat on the ballot for an election in November.
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