FUSD Superintendent accuses trustee of violating Brown Act and board bylaw

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a tense back and forth Wednesday evening at the Fresno Unified School Board Meeting after Trustee Terry Slatic refused to stop talking.

Several exchanges were made between Slatic and the board president Valerie Davis. Now, Superintendent Bob Nelson is accusing Slatic of violating portions of the Brown Act and a board bylaw.

Slatic tells Action News he chose to use his time during board communications to discuss items with Nelson because he's only been allowed to meet with him once a month compared to twice a month in the past.

Slatic says he feels he's being treated unfairly in a number of ways. He pointed out his time to speak was limited to 20 minutes Wednesday night, something he claims hasn't been enforced in the past.

"It's never been done this way. This was simply done, obviously, to keep me from going on the record with things they don't want to hear about," Slatic said.

Board clerk Keshia Thomas said the time limit is not new.

She called Wednesday's meeting a catastrophe.

"We are truly sorry to our parents, our community members and our people who came to present serious information to the school district," said Thomas.

This is just the latest incident involving Slatic that has made headlines.

A censure on him was just recently removed for an incident in 2019 where he was involved in a physical altercation with Bullard students.

That same year, a Bullard High cheerleader tried to get a restraining order after she said Slatic "threatened" her cheerleading squad.

A judge denied the request saying the evidence didn't meet the necessary standards.

Last year, Pastors Kevin Smith and Elias Loera of Fresno both filed complaints against Trustee Slatic after meeting with him to discuss the school district.

Following Wednesday night's meeting, Thomas says there is the chance that Slatic will be censured again.

"Can the censure be reinstated? Absolutely," said Thomas.

At future meetings, Thomas said board communications will be discussed following business related to schools.

Thomas says that's to minimize the impact on parents and students who attend.

Superintendent Nelson released a statement Thursday afternoon in response to the board meeting.

In it, he accused Slatic of violating sections of the Brown Act and a board bylaw.

"Trustee Major Slatic failed to comply with specific sections of the Brown Act and Board Bylaw 9005, which states that, "Board members shall govern responsibly and hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct," and "Refrain from rude or abusive conduct, personal attacks, or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other Board members, District employees, or members of the public." In accordance with Board Bylaw 9121, the board president shall, "Rule on parliamentary procedure," and when trustee Major Slatic was asked to end his remarks on three different occasions spanning approximately one hour in duration, trustee Major Slatic continued to speak over others, including members of the public, who came to address the board directly during the unscheduled oral communications portion of the public meeting."

Nelson added, "The district takes no responsibility for the content of trustee Major Slatic's remarks or the accuracy of his statements."

According to the superintendent, in the 141 calendar weeks Slatic has been in office, he has had 169 face-to-face, prescheduled meetings with the superintendent, chief of staff, or superintendent's office administrator.

"We are committed to maintaining our focus on our kids and on our commitment to educate them safely and responsibly," Nelson said.
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