OC Board of Education Accused of Illegally Appointing Trustee

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
February 4, 2022 Updated: February 7, 2022

COSTA MESA, Calif.—Tim Shaw rebutted allegations on Feb. 4 from a lawsuit that claimed he was illegally reappointed to his vacant Orange County Board of Education seat in December.

“I was eligible in all respects,” Shaw told The Epoch Times.

The legal challenge filed in Orange County Superior Court on Jan. 28 by Michael Sean Wright, a local resident, argues that Shaw shouldn’t have been reappointed to his former seat on the school board due to state law that says “the local board may not re-appoint to the office the person whose resignation caused the vacancy in the first place,” according to the lawsuit.

Shaw resigned from the board of education in November 2021 after facing another legal challenge accusing him of partaking in a conflict of interest by holding incompatible offices and serving simultaneously on the county board of education and La Habra City Council.

While Shaw didn’t agree to the allegations, he stepped down from his role as a trustee to avoid costly legal fees.

As required by state law, the board of education had to either appoint a new trustee to fill Shaw’s vacant seat within 60 days or hold a special election.

In December 2021, the board reappointed Shaw after interviewing seven eligible candidates to fill the vacancy.

To ensure there would be no further conflict if he were voted to be reappointed, Shaw resigned from the La Habra City Council the morning before his reappointment.

Wright filed the lawsuit earlier this week ordering a judge to issue a special election to fill Shaw’s position.

“Democracy is about the rule of law. I filed this lawsuit to ensure the Orange County Board of Education follows the law,” Wright said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times.

Shaw, whose seat will be up for grabs during the upcoming June 2022 election, states the lawsuit will waste millions in taxpayer money.

“We’re in February already,” Shaw said. “I’m going to be on the ballot anyways. You’re going to try to wedge in a special election between now and June? Do people understand how much that costs for a special election to happen in May, and literally one month later we’re going to have an election all over again.”

Despite the allegations, Shaw is “confident” that the board of education will be well represented in the legal challenge.

The state law argued in the lawsuit doesn’t apply to the board of education, according to Shaw.

The law applies only to the governing body for a city, county, or district—which the board of education doesn’t fall under.

“We are none of those things,” Shaw said. “I think the law is on our side here.”

Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.