Householder selectively invokes rules to pull item for vote on her removal as Antioch School Board president from meeting agenda, for second time

The AUSD’s attorney, Lou Lozano, bottom right, speaks during the meeting, Wednesday night, Sept. 22, 2021. Video screenshot.

District’s attorney who said, “I wasn’t at the meeting” argues in support, citing Robert’s Rules of Order

“I don’t want just you, making that decision” – Trustee Rocha, regarding removing the item from the agenda

Also, unilaterally removes the one item from closed session

Board agrees to hire a parliamentarian for meetings – even though Householder, as Antioch City Clerk serves as the council’s parliamentarian

Rocha calls for censuring Householder

School district staff announce 97.5% vote of no confidence in Householder

This is uncomfortable” – VP Lewis

By Allen Payton

During the Antioch School Board meeting Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, before the regular open session began, a closed session was to be held to discuss one item entitled, “Student Discipline or Other Confidential Student Matter: Interdistrict Transfer Permit”. However, Board President Ellie Householder unilaterally removed it from the agenda, cancelling the closed session, which according to the agenda was scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. (See meeting agenda)

“There was a request that this item be pulled for tonight,” Householder explained. “So, I’m going to pull it and we are going to have a separate meeting to discuss that matter. So, we won’t have any items for closed session.”

“I did just want to have it on the record that I did not consult with the superintendent in the development of this agenda,” she continued. “So, a way that we can, you know, continue tonight, and discuss everything on this agenda, I just want to get a consensus from my colleagues, are we OK with this agenda. Because that is in essence what is done by the board president, before the meeting,

All four other trustees agreed to the agenda – which included item 12B, the vote on Householder’s removal as board president.

“Apologies for this false start, here,” Householder said.

“I believe you’re going to have to have a motion and a second in order to remove that from the, just so it’s clean, the closed session item,” Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

“I don’t have to,” Householder responded. So, if there is a motion, that’s fine. But I was requested by the individual that this is regarding to have this item removed. So, we’re not going to discuss it.”

An attempt to ask Anello why Householder didn’t receive a draft agenda for her review before the final version was sent out was unsuccessful before publication time.

Open Session Householder Unilaterally Removes Item for Vote on Her Removal as Board President

Then, at the beginning of the open session that began at the regular time of 7:00 p.m., Householder again, unilaterally removed the item for a vote on her removal as board president, invoking the same Robert’s Rules of Order she has violated during recent meetings. This time it was placed on the agenda by Trustee Mary Rocha and Area 5 Trustee Gary Hack.

“Because our board follows Robert’s Rules of Order, folks on a losing side of a motion cannot bring back a motion for reconsideration,” Householder explained as reason for her action.

Rocha responded, “I’ve gone through the proper channels and put it on the agenda as I was told. It’s not a reconsideration it’s a renewing.”

“Thank you for that information, Trustee Rocha. “If you recall the motion was made and because you were on the losing side you can’t bring it back for reconsideration.”

“It’s not for reconsideration, ma’am,” Rocha shot back. “It’s renewing, which is a different way of looking at it, which it can be heard.”

“I would agree with you,” Hack said.

“I will pose this question to our attorney. It is because we are a board that’s dictated by Robert’s Rules of Order,” Householder said. “I’ve never heard of this…

The district’s attorney, Lou Lozano said, “I wasn’t at that meeting. If there was a motion and if that motion failed, under Robert’s Rules of Order, reconsideration is done when a member on the winning side of the motion asks for reconsideration of the motion. I understand you operate under Robert’s Rules of Order. It’s up to the board to waive those or not. It would take someone on the winning side of the motion to bring that back.”

Rocha continued to argue her point that it was a “renewal of main motion.”

“It’s up to the board if they want to waive Robert’s Rules of Order,” Lozano said. “It would take a member on the winning side of the vote. It’s up to the board. If the board chooses to say we want to hear this motion…it’s really up to the board to decide to hear it.

Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez said, “That’s pretty clear to me in following Robert’s Rules of Order. Mr. Lozano brings a very good point.”

“I can’t believe you’re letting this go,” Rocha said as Householder tried to move on to the flag salute. “I have a right to have a motion on the table. I’m sorry I’m not dropping it. I’d rather that you look at your own book and find out.”

Board Vice President and Area 3 Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis was the only member to not comment about the matter.

ANALYSIS: During their last regular meeting on Wed., Sept. 8, Householder unilaterally removed the same item on a vote to remove her as board president from the agenda, claiming she didn’t approve it to be there, which was later proven false. She then unilaterally moved the public comments for that agenda item to the general public comments for items not on the agenda, at the beginning of the meeting. Once that occurred, the item and any motion, discussion or vote on it was moot. Yet, when the time for that item arrived, Rocha was allowed to make a motion, seconded by Hack and Householder allowed a vote on it, which failed 2-3. Yet, again, the motion and vote were moot. Therefore, having the same item placed on the agenda for the Sept. 22nd meeting was not a reconsideration of the previous motion and vote, but a new one.

Had the district’s attorney, Mr. Lozano, reviewed the video of the Sept. 8th meeting to be fully informed before participating, tonight, he most likely would have given the same advice. However, as Lozano said during the meeting, he was asked at the last minute, to participate by Householder, which is why he was dressed so casually. So, instead, while it would have been correct in a usual situation of a motion, the advice he offered was standard information from Robert’s Rules of Order and not specific to this unusual situation.  (See related article)

Householder Unilaterally Moves Agenda Item 12B Comments to End of Meeting

Following agenda item 12A, Householder was going to allow the public comments for the item 12B, which would have been a vote on her removal as board president. However, since she’d already removed it from the meeting agenda, for the second regular meeting in a row, Householder unilaterally moved the public comments for that agenda item, to item 20 for the general public comments for items not on the agenda, at the end of the meeting.

Rocha Tries Again for Vote to Remove Householder as Board President

Rocha then continued her effort for a vote to remove Householder as board president.

“Madame Chair, 12B is still the same one that I had put down for removal of board chair. Actually, Board Member Hack also brought this item up,” Rocha stated. “Again, this is a different motion than the motion, before. It’s a renewing motion not a reconsideration motion. So, I don’t believe you can remove it. Unless you want to ask the rest of the board members to renew it, then I have no choice, but to accept what the board members wanted to do.”

“Alright, so moving on. Section 7 district reports, we don’t have any this evening…” Householder said.

“I’m asking for a motion, Madame Chair,” Rocha said, interrupting her.

“You can make a motion,” said Householder.

“I’m asking for a motion for the board members that are against this motion,” Rocha said. “So, I’m saying it should be placed on there because it’s a renewing one, not a reconsideration.”

“I hear your comment, noted,” Householder said. “My suggestion would be to talk offline with any one of us. But right now, I mean…”

“If you want a motion, OK, I’ll place the motion, in place and that is to remove you as chair,” Rocha stated. “That’s my motion. I just need a second.”

“The thing is, though, Trustee Rocha, that’s not valid because you already made that motion, last time,” Householder said. “So, if there’s a motion to reconsider of myself…”

“It’s not reconsider, it’s renewing,” Rocha repeated.

“But that’s not a valid motion, so I can’t recognize it. I understand, I’ve fully noted what you said,” Householder repeated. “So, I have to insist we move on with our agenda. So, Section 7…”

“Well, Madame Chair, you can’t remove it without the rest of the board agreeing to remove it,” Rocha stated. “You did not take action.”

“Trustee Rocha, I did take action,” Householder replied.

“No, you didn’t. You didn’t take the vote,” Rocha said.

“Trustee Rocha, I’m not going to argue with you,” Householder said.

“I’m just trying to tell you, it wasn’t voted on,” Rocha said.

“OK, I’m noting your concerns,” Householder responded. “But I’m telling you that it was voted on at the last…”

“There was no vote, when it was taken earlier,” Rocha repeated.

“That’s not a valid motion that you can make, legally, per Robert’s Rules of Order,” Householder stated. “So, I cannot recognize it.”

“Renewing is,” Rocha said.

“I cannot. We just had our attorney on here, Trustee Rocha that said…” Householder said.

“It was reconsideration, but not renewing,” Rocha responded. “So, I want the board to take action. Either they want it on the board (she meant agenda) or they don’t want it. I don’t want just you making that decision.”

“Trustee Rocha, I appreciate your concerns,” Householder said. “So, Section 7 District Reports…”

“You did not take action, Madame Chair, you did not take action,” Rocha repeated. “So, that item is still on the agenda.”

Householder continued with the meeting agenda.

Other Matters

The board members discussed holding in-person meetings, again. They’ll make their decision at their October meeting.

Agree to Hire Parliamentarian

In other board action, they then discussed and approved hiring a parliamentarian, which was placed on the agenda by Anello.

“Thank you for introducing that, Superintendent Anello,” Householder said, then public comments were read, all in support of the proposal.

“I think this is a great idea. My only direction that I would provide, is it’s someone…who hasn’t been to our prior meetings, so we have a fresh start,” said Householder, who as Antioch City Clerk is the parliamentarian to the city council.

“I think it’s a healthy addition,” Lewis said. “I think the challenge will be to ensure that person is neutral. I’m a big process guy. I don’t make decisions willy nilly…around emotions. All of my decisions are based around logic and reason. Again, I think disagreement is healthy and I think a parliamentarian can add to that.”

“Both you and I are in agreement with that,” Householder said.

“I think it’s healthy. It would be good to have someone tell us,” Rocha said. “I think it’s also good for us to know what the rules are.”

“I’m absolutely in support of this,” Hernandez said. “We all have to be in agreement with who the person is. Just want to make sure we’re all working together as a board and all on the same page about things like that.”

Hack said, “I would agree it’s 5-0. Absolutely.”

“Is this a paid person?” Rocha asked.

“If we’re going to bring someone in, a contract would be brought before the board,” said Deputy Superintendent Jessica Romeo.

“Hopefully, we can have a contract on the agenda in October,” Householder said.

Future Agenda Items

Under Future Agenda Items Rocha called for a vote to censure Householder on the next meeting agenda.

“At this time, I’d like to bring forward a censureship of Trustee Householder and the need for Vice President Lewis to bring it forward, so the chair does not remove it,” Rocha said.

Public Comments

There were still 140 pages of public comments remaining to be read at the end of the meeting.

“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to make it all the way to the end,” Householder said, suggesting reading comments for 30 minutes and then taking a break. “We’ll decide that later.”

Many of the public comments were against forcing students in the district to wear masks. See all those read during general public comments, here:

Comments for 9.22.2021 RBOE – Part 1   Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021    Two More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

Additional Comments for 6B 9.22.2021    Additional Comments for Items 12A, 12B, and 12C

School District Staff Announce Vote of No Confidence

During the public comments, one was submitted and read from the three school district staff groups, the faculty, classified and management employees, announcing their vote of no confidence in Householder by 97.5% with only 15 staff members voting no. (See related article and article with further details to be posted on this website, later)

Rocha Makes One More Attempt

During the Reports/Comments from Board Members section of the agenda, Rocha tried again to have a vote on removing Householder as board president.

“Madam Chair, point of order. Trustee Hack and myself, placed on the agenda, as required, a motion to remove board chair, Ellie Householder. I have this book, right in front of me, that says Robert’s Rules of Order. It shows you that on chapter 10, section 38, page 85…the renewal of the motion.”

Householder attempted to stop Rocha saying, “We’ve already discussed this” but Rocha continued to speak.

“So, I’m reading to you, Robert’s Rules of Order makes it easy to reintroduce a defeated motion at a future meeting,” Rocha stated. “This is called renewing the motion. So, all members have to do is request the motion to be placed on the agenda, which I have done the proper way. And so, I am ordering, at least call for the motion. I need a second. I think we should take action and then bury it.”

“Any other reports?” Householder asked, trying to move forward with the agenda.

“I need a second on this motion,” Rocha continued. “I’m calling for the motion.”

“Trustee Rocha, we’re not going to back and forth. This is an illegal motion,” Householder said. “Is there other reports?”

“No, it isn’t. I just read to you it’s a renewing motion,” Rocha responded. “So, it was placed officially, the way you wanted it.”

Householder continued to speak and try to get Rocha to stop.

“I’m not giving it up,” Rocha said. “I need a second, so we can clear this item.”

“Trustee Rocha, please, for, please,” Householder exclaimed.

“I need a second,” Rocha repeated.

“Trustee Rocha, this is an illegal motion,” Householder repeated.

“I gave you a second,” Hack said, simultaneously.

“OK. Mr. Hack just gave me a second. I’m calling for the motion to be called,” Rocha said. “Call for the motion to be done.”

“But there are other reports,” Householder then said.

“I’m calling for the motion,” Rocha repeated.

“You’re not the board president,” Householder stated. “Are there other reports?”

“But you are, and you have the right to do what I’m asking you for,” Rocha responded. “I’m asking for you…”

Raising her voice, Householder asked, “Trustee Rocha, are you calling for a motion to reconsider my judgement as board chair?”

“I’m calling for the motion for the renewal of the motion I had placed on the agenda,” Rocha responded. “I just want it voted on, so we can clear it and it’s out of the area.”

“Trustee Rocha, you’re out of order,” Householder said speaking over her fellow trustee. “You’re out of order.”

“I’m not out of order,” Rocha shot back. “I have a second on a motion. So, I’m calling for the motion.”

“Do we have any other reports or comments?” Householder asked.

“Again, you’ve misused your power,” said Rocha.

Householder moved on, again asking for any reports or comments from other trustees.

Lewis Finally Speaks Out, Apologizes for Missing Monday’s Meeting

“I have something,” Lewis said, weighing in on the matter for the first time. “You know, I think in terms of being mature about this whole situation, I think a deeper conversation is needed. We are a policy developing board. If the goal is, or if the conversation revolves around justifications for actions against a particular board member, I think that’s a healthy conversation, at some point to have. However, that conversation has not happened, and we haven’t laid out criteria for which that request should happen. I think we should have that conversation.”

“I myself, as a…trained administrator, I’m all about protocol, I’m not about emotion. I’m not about any of that stuff,” he continued. “Any decision I make, any action I take is process oriented. So, you know, I think that is a healthy conversation that should happen.”

“Obviously…as vice president I don’t have the power to put something on the board (agenda),” Lewis stated. “I did recognize your comment, earlier, Trustee Rocha, and I’ll make sure that conversation happens. But I think that’s a conversation we need to have in terms of like, OK, if there are actions taken by a board member, or if there are some things that happen by a board member, how do we move forward as a board? You know. I think those conversations should happen. Those should be clearly defined. It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, you know, this person made a decision I don’t like, so now I want to get rid of them.’ I don’t think that’s healthy. It sets a precedence that’s unhealthy for the board moving forward. That’s my opinion about that.”

“Now, I apologize to the board and to the public for not being here, last night,” he stated. “I had some personal matters I had to attend to. I won’t go into detail about it. I made a statement about why I wasn’t here. They were personal matters I had to attend to and that’s that.”

“We need a rebalancing, and I don’t know if that requires sort of a consultant to come in,” Lewis continued. “If this is the level of conversation that we’re having amongst ourselves, what message or what tone are we setting for our teachers as well as our students? The students and the public are watching us. Regardless of what side of this conversation you’re on, the students and the public are watching us. This is uncomfortable. And I don’t mean to reprimand. I’m not speaking down to anybody. It’s uncomfortable. So, I’m going to leave it there.”

Householder Returns to Rocha’s Motion

Householder then said about the motion to remove her as board president, “so, just for clarity to address your point, Dr. Lewis, yourself, Trustee Hernandez or me can bring back, what Trustee Rocha is requesting, per what our attorney said to us at the beginning and said to us, last night.”

Rocha could be seen shaking her head, wagging her finger, showing her copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and speaking, but couldn’t be heard by those watching, to which Householder said, “OK, Trustee Rocha.”

“Our attorney told us, last night in our discussion, as well as at the beginning of this meeting, that those are the only three people that can bring this discussion back,” Householder continued. “I’m trying to be as open to hearing. I believe discussion is great, too. That’s why I asked Trustee Rocha, is she making a motion to appeal my decision. Because then we can have a discussion about it. But frankly, I cannot allow illegal discussion to continue to happen. Because that is one of my very explicitly, enumerated duties as board president to ensure that our board bylaws are followed, adhered to, and by making illegal motions they’re not.”

“I’m trying to tell you how to make the motion so that we can continue the conversation on and that’s ignored,” she continued. “I can’t do anything about that. We’re all individuals.”

“So, with that I really must insist that if this is about the motion on the table and if we, whatever,” Householder said stopping abruptly.

She then recognized Lewis, who shared “some positive things happening in the community.”

“I’m looking forward to a time we can overcome our differences. It’s clear there’s division, here and I think we need to find a way to get past that and work together as a board, work together with the superintendent,” Hernandez said. “Because we’re here to serve the students and the longer that we spend our time having these back and forths, it’s going to keep us away from doing what we need to do to be serving these students.”

“That’s why I came on here,” he continued. “I didn’t come on here to do any of these little political things that are going on. I care about the students and that’s what I’m here for. So, I just hope that we can all, like take a moment to really dig into our own selves and get to work for these students and realize there’s a much bigger thing, here at stake, which is the education our students get every day.”

He then recognized Lewis for “a massive promotion” at work in Alameda County.

“I’d love to see this board continue to focus on positive things and not things that are going to divide us,” Hernandez added.

Use of Force Policy

Lewis asked Anello, “how close are we to getting the conversation going, again about the contract for the use of force? Are we two weeks out or 14 days, something like that?”

“It’s been 14 days. So, we’re definitely working on it,” Anello responded.

“OK. Alright,” Lewis responded.

The meeting ended at 12:35 a.m.

Check back later for any updates to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Additional Comments for Items 12A, 12B, and 12C
Additional Comments for Items 12A, 12B, and 12C

Additional Comments for 6B 9.22.2021
Additional Comments for 6B 9.22.2021

Two More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021
Two More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021
More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021
Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

Comments for 9.22.2021 RBOE - Part 1
Comments for 9.22.2021 RBOE – Part 1

AUSD BOE mtg 09-22-21

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