Ethics Probe into COD Trustee Ruben Perez Continues

ruben-perez

Trustee Rubén AríAztlán Pérez

PALM DESERT — As to some of the charges against College of the Desert Area 1 Trustee Rubén AríAztlán Pérez, a subcommittee determined that even if the allegations were true, they did not fall within the scope of Board Policy 2715, the Board’s ethics policy, and therefore, the Board did not have jurisdiction to investigate such charges.

That is what Chair Bonnie Stefan told fellow Trustees at the regular monthly board meeting on Friday.

“As a reminder, in or about January 2023, I received complaints from four individuals alleging that Trustee Perez engaged in certain conduct, which if true, could potentially violate provisions of Board Policy 2715,” Stefan began.

Pursuant to the procedures set forth in Administrative Procedure 2715, she appointed a subcommittee, consisting of herself and Trustee Ron Oden, to review and investigate the charges against Trustee Perez, with their ultimate responsibility under AP 2715 to bring back a recommendation to the full Board based on the investigation findings.

“Once we formed the subcommittee, Trustee Oden and I worked with the District’s legal counsel to review the written complaints against Trustee Perez,” Stefan said.  “As to some of the charges against Trustee Perez, the subcommittee determined that even if the allegations were true, they did not fall within the scope of Board Policy 2715, and therefore, the Board did not have jurisdiction under Administrative Procedure 2715 to investigate such charges.”

As to other charges, the District retained the services of a third-party neutral attorney investigator from Vandermyden Makus Law Corporation, to:

  • Conduct intake interviews with the Complainants as to certain charges, because the subcommittee could not determine based on the written complaints alone whether the charges fell within the scope of Board Policy 2715.
  • Investigate certain charges that clearly fell within the scope of Board Policy 2715.  

Ultimately, after Rose conducted his initial intake meetings with the Complainants, the subcommittee determined that certain charges, even if true, were too vague to constitute violations of Board Policy 2715.  As for other charges, the subcommittee directed Rose to make factual findings regarding those charges.

The subcommittee recently received notice that Rose has made his factual findings.  Stefan said she and Oden intend to review the factual findings over the next couple of weeks.

“Once we review the factual findings, the subcommittee will assess whether in our opinion any of the factual findings support a determination that Trustee Perez violated provisions of Board Policy 2715 and make a recommendation to the Board as to any next steps, pursuant to Administrative Procedure 2715,” Stefan said.

There was no discussion and no one commented.

Joel Kinnamon, who represents Trustee Area 4 on the College of the Desert Board of Trustees, has filed a complaint on behalf of district constituents and himself asking Board Chair Bonnie Stefan to place an item on the next board meeting to start a censure process against Pérez for his violations that occurred on the board’s dais, and other more recent actions that he believes, violated board policies.

Pérez made the questionable comments during the December board meeting when new and returning trustees were sworn in.

The subcommittee intends to relay the investigation findings and make a recommendation to the full Board during the February regular Board meeting.”

 

 

 

Image Sources

  • ruben-perez: COD
  • Code of Ethicx: Shutterstock