Archive for the ‘Contra Costa County’ Category

Contra Costa voters re-elect Sheriff Livingston, DA Becton, Assessor Kramer

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Results for the Contra Costa DA and Sheriff’s races as of early Wednesday, June 8, 2022, showing Becton and Livingston winning. Source: CoCoVote.us

One billionaire Soros-backed progressive DA wins, two other progressive DA’s lose in the state Tuesday night; in County Clerk’s race it’s Connelly vs. Gordon; Pleasant Hill Councilman Carlson, BART Director Allen leading in 4th Supe District race; only 18% turnout; ballots mailed by election day can still be received until next Tuesday

Sheriff Livingston checks the voting results at the DSA Election Night Watch Party Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Photo: Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

Following an election season filled with attacks, accusations and over $1 million spent in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s race, the incumbents, Sheriff David Livingston and DA Diana Becton, along with County Assessor Gus Kramer were each re-elected by wide margins, Tuesday night. They were the only countywide incumbents facing challengers, this year in an election that only saw a 17.95% voter turnout, so far. Incumbent county Treasurer-Tax Collector Russell Watts, Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell and County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey were re-elected without facing opposition.

In the only other contested countywide race, for County Clerk-Recorder, Kristin Connelly will face former Community College Board Trustee Vicki Gordon in a November run-off. In the races for county supervisor, District 1 incumbent, John Gioia was re-elected easily beating his opponent, Hulan Barnett, Jr. 15,018 votes to 2,800, and in District 4, Pleasant Hill Councilman Ken Carlson who and BART Board Director Debora Allen are leading. Allen was trailing Concord Councilwoman Carlyn Obringer by 211 votes until late in the evening, when she pulled into second place by 389 votes. Carlson is leading Allen by 569 votes. The top two candidates will face off in the November run-off.

Sheriff Livingston and Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox with former Martinez Councilman Mike Menesini and another supporter at the DSA Election Night Watch Party, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Photo: Allen D. Payton

When reached for comment Allen said, “I’m not declaring victory at this point because there are still ballots to count.”

In the biggest battle in the county, Becton was re-elected to her second, full, four-year term beating Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox, a 37-year prosecutor, by 56% to 44% with 63,147 votes against 49,599 for Knox. Becton was the beneficiary of $1 million spent by an independent expenditure committee campaign supporting her and opposing Knox, with the majority of funds contributed by out-of-state billionaire George Soros. (See related articles here and here)

The same night a Soros-backed, progressive district attorney was re-elected in Contra Costa, another progressive D.A. in San Francisco, Chesa Boudin was recalled by voters in that city and county who had enough with his policies. Becton and Boudin have been part of the Prosecutors Alliance of California, along with L.A. County D.A. George Gascon who is also facing a possible recall, and San Joaquin County D.A. Tori Verber Salazar, who was losing for re-election according to the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters website as of Wednesday.

In the other hard fought countywide race, Livingston was re-elected to his fourth term as sheriff beating Richmond Police Officer Ben Therriault by an even wider margin, 61.2% to 38.8% with 67,906 votes to 43,125 for the challenger.

Attempts to reach Livingston and Becton for comment about their victories were unsuccessful prior to publication time.

County Assessor Kramer eased to another victory for his eighth term, beating his only opponent Floy Andrews by 57.6% to 42.4% with 63,164 votes to 46,456 for the challenger.

When reached for comment Kramer said, “I am on bended knee thanking the voters for seeing through the garbage in the East Bay Times, having faith in me and re-electing me for another four years. The citizens have spoken, the people for whom I serve. This is not a victory for me but for the property owners in the county.”

Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer celebrates his re-election with supporters at the DSA Election Night Watch Party, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Photo: Allen D. Payton

Livingston, Knox and Kramer attended the Election Night Watch Party at the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association Hall in Martinez, waiting for the updates and speaking with their supporters.

In the Clerk-Recorder’s race, Connelly is in first place with 34,049 votes, Gordon is in second with 24,152 votes and is ahead of Pinole Councilman Devin Murphy by 3,781 votes.

Asked for a comment on the election results Gordon said, “The first thing I want to say is to thank all my supporters, people who donated and walked. I want to thank everyone for their support, it was grassroots effort. My husband and family were also amazing.”

“I am honored to move on to November,” she added.

The countywide Measure G which continues the $2 per car fee to pay for picking up abandoned vehicles and required a two-thirds vote is passing with 68.7% of the vote, with 79,126 in favor to 35,978 opposed.

The only other measure on the ballot was in Martinez. Measure F, also requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, is barely failing with 65.9%. If passed, the measure would add a $79 annual parcel tax for the next 30 years to preserve open space and a ridgeline, allowing the City of Martinez to purchase the 297-acre Alhambra Highlands.

The Contra Costa Elections Division can still receive ballots that were mailed by Tuesday for up to seven days after the election, according to executive secretary, Melissa Hickok, who said she read it straight from the Secretary of State’s website. They have up to 28 days to certify the election.

This year, voters who went to the polls didn’t put their own ballots into the counting machines, as has been done in the past.

“Contra Costa County has returned to a central count, instead of having hundreds of counters at all the polling places, we bring all the ballots back and run them through the high-speed scanners at the Elections Office,” Hickok explained.

That resulted in updates of the results on election night to take longer than in the past.

The next update is expected this Friday, June 10 at 5:00 p.m. For more information visit CoCoVote.us.

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Billionaire Soros, special interests dump $1 million into Contra Costa DA’s race to support Becton, defeat Knox

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

From pages 1 and 3 of the CA Justice & Public Safety PAC 496 report dated May 28, 2022, showing the $489,200 spent against Knox and $652,000 contributed by Soros. Source: Netfile.com

Including $510,000 more in attack ads against Knox; Soros contributes $652,000

“This money will not drown out the voices of the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of local donors who have worked tirelessly side-by-side with me over the past 11 months to spread our campaign’s message…” – Deputy D.A. Mary Knox

By Allen D. Payton

The Washington, D.C.-based PAC funded by billionaire George Soros has received just over $1 million to help re-elect incumbent Contra Costa D.A. Diana Becton and defeat her challenger, Deputy D.A. Mary Knox. According to two campaign finance reports on Netfile.com submitted by the California Justice & Public Safety PAC date May 28, Soros contributed $652,000, the Smart Justice California Action Fund contributed $300,000 and M. Quinn Delaney of Piedmont contributed $50,000.

According to their website, Smart Justice California is “an alliance of donors and funders…helping to change the belief that prosecutors must be incarceration-driven by engaging voters and establishing a statewide candidate pipeline of justice reform champions.”

The report lists Delaney as retired. But according to the organization’s website, she “is the Founder and Board Chair of Akonadi Foundation, which supports the development of powerful social change movements to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society. The Foundation funds primarily in Oakland with a focus on ending the criminalization of people of color.”

6/2/22 UPDATE & CORRECTION: That brings the total received by the PAC to $1,002,000 in the race, so far. (See related article)

It was previously reported that the $1 million in contributions was in addition to over $400,000 previously spent according to the PAC’s Form 496 reports dated May 14 for a total of more than $1.4 million in contributions. However, according to Alex Navarro-Mckay of New York-based Berlin Rosen campaigns said, “when the $400,000 was spent the PAC was incurring liabilities.” Asked when the ads started running, he responded, “right around there. May 13 or 14.”

That means the PAC spent over $400,000 on negative, digital attack ads against Knox before the funds were received on May 17, 26 and 27. Most media companies require political campaigns to pay in advance.

Of the latest amount received, almost $500,000 was spent on negative attack ads against Knox and another $10,050 was spent for digital ads against her. The PAC only spent $34,900 on digital ads to support Becton.

In response to those contributions and expenditures to defeat her, Knox released the following statement:

“An out-of-state billionaire along with special interest groups have now dropped an unprecedented $1M to defeat my campaign and influence voters for District Attorney in this local election.  Contra Costa voters will determine the outcome of this election and the future of public safety in Contra Costa County. This money will not drown out the voices of the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of local donors who have worked tirelessly side-by-side with me over the past 11 months to spread our campaign’s message,” said. “I have served this community for 37 years as a prosecutor. The bottom line is this, people in our community want to feel safe in their neighborhoods. Every day I talk to voters who are frustrated with D.A. Becton and want to see their District Attorney focused on public safety and crime reduction.”

As previously reported, Becton was asked if it is good to have so much out-of-county and out-of-state funds spent to influence an election in Contra Costa County, but she did not respond. Becton was also the beneficiary of spending by Soros during her first election campaign in 2018. (See related article)

Knox has served as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office for 37 years and has extensive trial experience. Knox has earned the endorsement of every law enforcement agency in the County, as well as state and local organizations such as the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, PORAC, the California Narcotics Officers Association and the California Gang Investigators Association. Mary has advanced social justice while preventing crime in Contra Costa County.  She brought anti-bias training to the District Attorney’s Office and has fought to end discrimination against women in the Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office.

Knox and Becton are the only candidates running for election as District Attorney.  Since this election will be won by a simple majority, the election of the next District Attorney of Contra Costa County will be determined by the votes cast on June 7, 2022.

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Mental health treatment module opens at Martinez Detention Facility

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Photos: CCCSheriff

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

A new module for inmates who have mental illnesses has opened at the Martinez Detention Facility. This follows an 18-month remodel of a module which previously held 52 inmates. Now, it will house only 24 inmates who have mental illnesses. They will be supervised 24/7 by county health staff in addition to deputy sheriffs. The cells are all single-occupancy and include 5 cells for acute cases. There are also two private medical evaluation suites in the module.

“I am proud of this new module which is part of the jail modernization we planned many years ago,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “Now, inmates who have mental illnesses will have a dedicated housing unit where they will receive mental health treatment, programming, and services, in addition to healthcare.

Photos: CCCSheriff

The new module has incorporated the latest technology and best practices for detention facilities. This includes state of the art software for managing the module, furnishings that will help prevent suicides and a design that allows for greater observation of the inmates. The new module also uses a biophilic design to create a calm environment, reduce stress, and is more conducive to therapy.

“This new module sets the standard for these types of detention facilities,” said Livingston. “This reflects the commitment of the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and Contra Costa County in serving the needs of inmates who are living with mental health issues.”

 

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Contra Costa DA Becton holds private meeting in her office with Antioch Mayor Thorpe three days after his DUI arrest

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and Antioch Mayor Thorpe.

While DA’s office investigating incident; city attorney or interim city manager may have been present; topic of discussion not revealed

By Allen D. Payton

Three days after Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was arrested for DUI and while the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office was investigating the incident, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, he held a private meeting with D.A. Diana Becton in her office in Martinez, according to reports of what was seen on her visitor sign-in log. Neither Becton, her staff nor Thorpe will say what the meeting was about or if anyone else, such as the city attorney or interim city manager, was in the room with them. Becton is running for re-election in the June Primary and Thorpe is facing possible recall. (See related article)

A Public Records Act request for a copy of the visitor sign-in log for Becton’s office for that day was emailed on Friday, March 25 at 3:55 p.m. to Assistant D.A. Simon O’Connell and Becton’s Executive Assistant Bobbi Mauler.

Questions for Becton About Meeting Go Unanswered

In addition, questions for Becton about the meeting were included in that email asking, “What was the purpose of that meeting? What was discussed? Did it have anything to do with Thorpe’s arrest for DUI by the CHP last Saturday morning? Was anyone else in the meeting with you two?”

It was then shared with Becton and her staff, “according to the CHP PIO you will not allow that department to release Thorpe’s complete arrest report showing the reason the officer pulled him over or what his blood alcohol content was when he was tested at the CHP office in Martinez.”

She was then asked, “was it appropriate for you to have such a meeting – even if his arrest was not a topic of conversation – when his arrest is under investigation by your department?”

At 4:09 p.m., that day O’Connell issued a press release about the investigation of the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments for possible “crimes of moral turpitude”. (See related article)

Questions for Thorpe Go Unanswered

In an email on Friday, March 25, Thorpe was asked, “What was the purpose of that meeting? When did you first schedule the meeting with the DA? What was discussed?  Did it have anything to do with your arrest for DUI by the CHP last Saturday morning? Was anyone else in the meeting with you two?”

He was then told, “according to the CHP PIO the DA’s office will not allow the CHP to release your complete arrest report showing the reason the officer pulled you over or what your blood alcohol content was when you were tested at the CHP office in Martinez.”

Thorpe was also asked, “was it appropriate for you to have such a meeting – even if your arrest was not a topic of conversation – while your arrest is under investigation by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office? Were you seeking favorable treatment from the DA in dealing with your arrest? Might it give the appearance that you were seeking a favor from the DA who is up for election, this year and while you are facing possible recall?”

He was then asked if instead, was the meeting in regard to the press release issued by the DA’s office received, that day and if he had filed a complaint about that the allegations against the Antioch Police officers with the DA’s office during that meeting.

Thorpe did not respond as of Wednesday, March 30 at 5:00 p.m.

DA Refuses to Confirm Meeting, Claims Privilege in Not Releasing Visitor Log, Won’t Reveal Topic of Discussion or If Anyone else Present

In response to the PRA request to the D.A.’s office for a copy of the visitor log, Assistant D.A. Simon O’Connell wrote in a letter on Tuesday, March 29, “Records that contain information protected by the deliberative process privilege and the official information privilege, are exempt from disclosure. (Gov. Code, section 6254(a), (k); Evid Code, section 1040; Rogers v. Superior Court (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 469.) In accordance case precedent, the release of visitor logs would inihibit the free and candid exchange of ideas necessary to the decision-making process. (Times Mirror Co (1988) 53 Cal.3. 1325.) There is a compelling public interest in enabling public agencies to evaluate and candidly communicate in confidence. Public disclosure of such information interferes with the District Attorney’s Office ability to meaningfully deliberate and perform core functions. For these reasons, the public interest in nondisclosure of this information clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

In response, additional questions were sent Tuesday afternoon to both O’Connell and Mauler, including, “Confirming that a meeting was held by the DA in her office with an elected official who is currently under investigation for a DUI arrest just three days prior is not of public interest? Is the visitor log a public document? If not, what’s the purpose of having one? Can you please at least confirm if a meeting was held by DA Becton in her office with Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and if anyone else was in the meeting with them, and if so, who that was?”

No response was received as of Wednesday, March 30 at 5:00 p.m.

Mayor Pro Tem Barbanica Says He Should Have Been in Meeting Instead of Thorpe

When reached for comment about the meeting, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica said, “I don’t know anything about the meeting. But if there was one and if it was regarding the investigation of the Antioch Police Department and the mayor had asked for me to go in his place, I would have and I should have been there instead. I did not receive any calls about it.”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Contra Costa Public Defender wants names of Antioch, Pittsburg officers under investigation by DA

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

McDonnell issues statement about investigation, wants to conduct own review of cases; Becton hasn’t responded

By Allen D. Payton

In a letter to Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton on Monday, Contra Costa Public Defender Ellen McDonnell asked for the names of the Antioch and Pittsburg Police officers who are the subjects of an investigation into possible crimes of moral turpitude. The DA’s office announced last Friday the investigation which began last Wednesday and “a review of both active and closed cases involving these officers…to evaluate whether those cases are now compromised.” (See related article)

McDonnell is also asking for all the current, pending cases the involving the officers so her office can conduct a separate review. As of 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, McDonnell said she had not received a response from Becton.

“To date, I have not been provided with any information about what this investigation of the officers is about,” McDonnell later shared.

Following is the letter:

“March 28, 2022

Diana Becton

Office of the District Attorney

900 Ward Street

Martinez, CA 94553

Dear Diana,

In light of the recent media disclosures regarding conduct involving moral turpitude on the part of officers from Pittsburg and Antioch Police Departments, I am requesting that you identify all officers from those departments currently under investigation by your office. We believe that such a disclosure is mandated by the United States Constitution, XIVth Amendment, Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83 & progeny, and California case law.

I am also asking that you identify all cases currently pending that include any of the involved officers, as well as all previous cases involving those officers. Please provide us with a list of such cases in which the client is or was represented by the Office of the Public Defender or the Office of the Alternate Defender.

While we understand from your press release that you intend to conduct an internal review of affected cases, we respectfully request that you identify those officers so that we can conduct our own review according to our own practices.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation with this matter. If you have any questions about this request, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Ellen McDonnell

Public Defender Contra Costa County”

————————–

According to supreme.justia.com, in the case McDonnell cited, the court found, “The government’s withholding of evidence that is material to the determination of either guilt or punishment of a criminal defendant violates the defendant’s constitutional right to due process.”

McDonnell Issues Statement About Investigation

The Public Defender issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

“I am deeply concerned about these revelations.  Our office first heard about this investigation when the District Attorney’s Office issued a press release on March 25th.  We immediately requested that the names of any involved officers be released to our office so that we could begin the process of reviewing impacted cases and determining what role these officers played in any arrests or convictions.  Timely transparency is necessary to ensure due process of law and the fair administration of justice for our community and for those impacted by our criminal legal system, some of whom may be currently incarcerated based on the word of these officers.

This investigation into the conduct of officers from both the Pittsburg and Antioch Police Departments will potentially impact many hundreds of cases.  This includes not only current cases where these officers are witnesses, but also previous arrests and convictions involving these officers.  It is important to determine whether these officers were under investigation and suspected of committing crimes of moral turpitude while they continued to remain on the force and continued to arrest individuals, to author police reports, and to testify as witnesses in criminal court.”

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Contra Costa Elections office to test Dominion Voting Systems equipment for accuracy Friday, March 25

Thursday, March 24th, 2022

Dominion’s ImageCast X equipment. From company brochure.

Public test of Vote-by-Mail counting equipment

The April 5, 2022 Special Election for the California Assembly District 11 office is underway in California. The Contra Costa County Elections Division will perform the county’s official logic and accuracy testing on central ballot counting and processing equipment at 10:00 am Friday, March 25, 2022 at the Elections Office, located at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez and the public is invited to observe.

According to Helen Nolan, Assistant Registrar, “Contra Costa County purchased its ballot counting and processing equipment from Dominion Voting Systems. We originally purchased this ballot tabulation system in March 2018 and will be conducting our 11th election with the system in April using the Dominion Democracy Suite 5.10a.  Brand names used in the system include Dell, Canon, InoTec, OKI, AValue, and HP.” (See related article)

Logic and accuracy testing is a standard pre-election procedure. The test will confirm that all central count equipment is in working order and functioning properly. A set of test ballots will be run through each scanner to ensure they are properly programmed and operating as expected.

Visitors are asked to check-in at the Elections lobby.  For more information, call 925-335-7800.

 

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Assemblywoman Bauer-Kahan, Supervisor Burgis introduce bill targeting illegal dumping

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Supervisor Diane Burgis stand in front of a truck with nine yards of garbage illegally dumped on roads in the county during press conference in Antioch on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

AB 2374 increases fines, adds teeth to state law on illegal dumping 

At a press conference today, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Antioch, Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (AD16-D-Orinda), District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, the bill’s sponsor, and local county leaders announced the introduction of AB 2374. Entitled “Crimes against public health and safety: illegal dumping”, the bill was introduced in response to the rampant illegal dumping plaguing communities across California.

“The illegal dumping of trash, furniture, mattresses, appliances, and toxic materials is out of control in both our rural and urban areas – it isn’t just unsightly, it is putting the health of our communities and environment at risk,” said Bauer-Kahan. “Every Californian deserves the right to live in clean, garbage-free neighborhoods.”

“We started this out when we were trying to figure out how to handle it. That’s when we learned of the multiple agencies each responding,” said Burgis. “We formed a Think Tank of agencies in the county, plus East Bay Regional Park and our garbage haulers. And it’s expensive.”

“What people were doing was instead of taking it to the landfill or transfer station, they were just dumping it on the side of the road,” she stated. Pointing to the truck filled with items picked up along East County roads that was at the press conference Burgis said, “That’s nine yards, but they usually pick up 15 yards of large and small items in East County, each week.”

This bill builds upon previous legislative efforts of Bauer-Kahan and Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in 2019. These efforts provided funding to the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa to establish a pilot program for additional enforcement of illegal dumping laws in both counties. This program has been successful, but more tools in the arsenal to fight illegal dumping are necessary. Policies like increased enforcement, street lighting, and cameras throughout the East Bay region have also helped, however, California still lacks sufficient penalties to deter people from this harmful behavior.

AB 2374 raises fines on illegal dumping of commercial quantities up to $5,000 upon first conviction, up to $10,000 on a second conviction, and up to $20,000 on third or subsequent conviction. Additionally, this bill will give judges discretion to require the convicted to pay for the removal of their illegal dumping, suspend the business license of any individual convicted of dumping waste connected to their business, and allow for that person’s name and name of the business to be publicly displayed as convicted of illegal dumping.

“We want everyone to be doing the right thing, but there’s a limit to what we can do to educate and incentivize good behavior,” said Burgis. “It’s important for the public to understand that dumping has an impact on the quality of our drinking water, and that it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. I applaud Bauer-Kahan for her efforts to empower us with the tools we need at the local level to start getting greater control of this problem.”

Contra Costa County District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, who also serves on the County’s Illegal Dumping Ad Hoc Committee, added, “Residents deserve beautiful land and clean neighborhoods to live and work in. We want to be sure that everyone, including commercial businesses, hear loud and clear that they cannot illegally dump in our community without hefty fines, hence the need for this legislation.”

“Illegal dumping is a plague on our entire state – impacting our most urban, suburban, and rural communities. In a pilot project in my Supervisorial District alone we’ve removed nearly 1,200 tons of trash from our streets. This legislation provides needed enforcement authority to combat illegal dumping and blight in our neighborhoods, while alleviating the unfair burden of clean up from residents and local businesses,” said Alameda County Supervisor and Board Vice President Nate Miley.

“By upping the fines and providing tools for the courts to publicly hold violators accountable for committing these acts, we disincentivize actors and create public knowledge on who not to work with,” Bauer-Kahan added. “I want to thank Contra Costa County for bringing this bill idea to my attention and look forward to getting it implemented statewide.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Embattled chancellor of Contra Costa Community College District resigns

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Reece was placed on paid administrative leave earlier this month for the second time in six months, only in position since Nov. 2020

Board promotes Executive Vice Chancellor to Interim Chancellor through June 2024 with $357,714 starting annual base salary

Two other administrators still on paid leave since last year

By Timothy Leong, 4CD Public Information Officer

Former 4CD Chancellor Dr. Bryan Reece. Source: 4CD

At their February 16, 2022, meeting, the Governing Board (Board) of the Contra Costa Community College District accepted the resignation of Dr. Bryan Reece, effective February 11, 2022. He began working for the District as the ninth permanent chancellor on November 1, 2020.

Reece was placed on paid administrative leave by a unanimous vote of the board during a closed session meeting earlier this month. It was the second time the board had done so, the first time occurring in September on a split vote of 3-0-1 with Area 5 Trustee Fernando Sandoval voting to abstain as he was attending the meeting via Zoom. (See related articles here and here)

In an email to faculty and staff, Jeffrey Michels, president of the United Faculty, wrote about the board’s decision to place Reece on paid leave for a second time.

“In the words of the Yankees’ Yogi Berra, ‘it’s like déjà vu all over again.’ Last week, with no public explanation besides citing ‘personnel matters,’ the District Governing Board voted unanimously to place Bryan Reece on ‘paid administrative leave,’ and they named Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology Mojdeh Mehdizadeh acting chancellor.”

“Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on managers who don’t report to work certainly seems like a waste, but as we have noted in the past, these decisions are hard to evaluate since most of the facts are kept private,” Michels added

Mojdeh Mezhdizadeh. Photo: 4CD

He was also referring to two other senior administrators that are on paid administrative leave, placed there by Reece last year, Executive Vice Chancellor of Administration Eugene Huff and Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Dio Shipp. (See related article)

“The Governing Board and Dr. Reece have mutually decided to part ways,” said Governing Board President Dr. Judy E. Walters. “We thank Dr. Reece for his service to the District and wish him well as he relocates to Southern California to spend more time with his family.”

The Governing Board also approved a contract with Executive Vice Chancellor, Education and Technology, Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, to become the Interim Chancellor for the period of February 16, 2022, through June 30, 2024, at a starting annual base salary of $357,714. With more than 30 years of experience at the District, mostly in executive leadership roles, the Governing Board is confident Mojdeh provides the steady and stable leadership needed to help advance the District’s mission and vision.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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