Investigator deems allegations valid against AUSD Trustee Vinson who failed to be interviewed

Debra Vinson. From a 2014 Herald file photo.

By Allen Payton

A two-month investigation by an outside consultant into accusations by two Antioch Unified School District employees against Board Vice President Debra Vinson of bullying, intimidation and unethical conduct, concluded that they were valid.

According to the Executive Summary by Deborah Maddux of the Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation, the accusations were made in a letter dated February 21, 2017 regarding an incident involving Vinson and two unnamed staff members over an intra-district transfer, which was witnessed and corroborated by other staff members.

The investigator made multiple attempts between March 28 and June 1 to contact Vinson but was unsuccessful in getting a face to face interview with her, which delayed the completion of the report. Vinson responded by phone and email a few times.

“Despite extensive efforts to provide her with an opportunity to provide her perspective, by her actions, she declined to do so,” Maddux wrote regarding Vinson.

Vinson finally scheduled an interview for May 25 but according to Maddux, when she called in Vinson for the first time informed Maddux that she had retained legal counsel and wanted her attorney to participate in the interview. That interview with Vinson and her attorney never happened.

Finally, Maddux completed her investigation, without Vinson providing her side of the story. D. Vinson Investigation Exec Summary

The Findings Summary by the investigator is as follows:

“First, the versions of the interactions provided by the witnesses were consistent, credible and corroborating.

Second, despite every opportunity to do so, Trustee Vinson did not provide any information to the contrary.

Third, Trustee Vinson’s conduct in this investigation tended to support the overall allegation that she considers herself not bound by policies and processes. This is troubling for someone serving as a Trustee. Trustee Vinson was asked to participate in this process, which is required by policy, but she did not do so.”

The conclusions of the investigation are as follows:

“Trustee Vinson engaged in intimidating conduct toward two District employees.

Trustee Vinson improperly attempted to exercise administrative responsibility and commanded the services of two school employees.

Trustee Vinson used her position to pressure two District employees into making a decision that was contrary to Board policy.” (See pages 7 and 8 of the Executive Summary for the complete Findings Summary).

The accusations against Vinson are in addition to those that are the basis for a third recall effort against her. The first two efforts began, last year.

“This is the first time this information was public,” said Board President Walter Ruehlig who was the first to receive the Executive Summary from the investigator, according to District staff.

When reached for comment and asked to respond to both the allegations in the investigation, as well as the accusation of not participating in the investigative process, Vinson said “I have not yet read the Executive Summary. But, I received in the Board packet a copy of the Findings on the 11th. I have not had the chance to review the Findings. I will definitely give a response as soon as I do.”

Vinson is up for re-election in November 2018

The Executive Summary is dated June 13, but was just released this week as part of the agenda packet for the next Antioch School Board meeting on Wednesday, August 23. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the District Offices at 510 G Street in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown.


the attachments to this post:

D. Vinson Investigation Exec Summary
D. Vinson Investigation Exec Summary

7 Comments to “Investigator deems allegations valid against AUSD Trustee Vinson who failed to be interviewed”

  1. Rjb says:

    Ha! Another unethical politician exposed for their blatant disregard of rules, policies, and conduct. Vinson and Belle are perfect examples of what’s wrong with Antioch.

  2. Marty Fernandez says:

    It certainly shows the arrogance she so clearly displays at all times.

  3. Renee Sparks says:

    Why hasn’t she been disciplined and or fired?

  4. Lorraine says:

    Vinson needs to resign before anymore embarrassment slaps her in the face. She’s being very arrogant thinking she can get by without following regulations. Hopefully if she does not resivn, she won’t succeed in a re election attempt.

  5. Marty Fernandez says:

    I don’t think you can fire an elected official. There are other remedies much more difficult. We need to be far more cautious who we are electing in Antioch. We do a very poor job selecting people.

  6. Sherra says:

    Vinson needs to be forced to resign. I was absolutely horrified to hear her berate and talk down to people the way she did. That absolutely is not a servant’s attitude. I commend the people who were berated having the guts to confront her and not let this issue go. Again, she must be forced to resign. Watch closely those that back her. Birds of a feather flock together.

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