San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe may have to vacate her seat following an appellate court ruling yesterday.
An appellate court has ruled against the county’s request that Rowe stay in her seat while it appeals an earlier superior court ruling that voided her appointment.
In September of 2019, Superior Court Judge Janet M. Frangie ordered Rowe’s appointment to the Third District seat be rescinded because it violated the state’s open-meeting law, the Brown Act.
Frangie’s ruling states that supervisors violated the Brown Act by conducting a secret meeting where board members narrowed down a list of potential applicants to James Ramos’ vacant supervisor seat to only 10 who would get interviews.
The county appealed Frangie’s ruling, and a stay was granted on November 26. But that stay was overturned on Wednesday, meaning the Board of Supervisors could have to rescind Rowe’s appointment at their next meeting on January 28.
Michael Gomez Daly is the executive director of I.E. United, the group that sued over Rowe’s appointment.
Daly: “It's validating, it's kind of a vindication. The entire time we've known we were on the right side of the law, and the Superior Court, they agreed that we were on the right side of the law and the county has been spending endless amounts of taxpayer dollars to sideline the process. They were successful in getting a temporary stay but the appellate court gave a strong order saying that the county doesn't have any valid argument, and so they are not granting the stay.”
The county maintains the appointment was legal and transparent, and believes Rowe should remain in her seat while the appellate court decides on the appeal.
County spokesperson David Wert also said the county is looking at “various options to ensure the people of the Third District have representation in county government.”
One option, Wert says, is to appeal the lifting of the stay to the state Supreme Court.
Rowe is running to be elected to the 3rd District seat in this March’s primary.