On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the San Bernardino Appellate Court lifted a stay on the lower court ruling that Dawn Rowe’s appointment by the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors was a Brown Act violation.
According to County Public Information Officer David Wert, this puts the court's September 2019 ruling in effect, compelling the Board of Supervisors to rescind Rowe's appointment. This action can only be taken during a board meeting, and the board is not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 28.
Rowe's service as a supervisor remains uninterrupted.
According to Wert, the county is considering appealing the lifting of the stay. The county does not what to leave the office vacant, Wert said.
Should Rowe be removed from office, the appointment for a District 3 supervisor will go to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office.
"The county’s goals are ensuring representation for the more than 400,000 people who live in the Third District, ensuring the County’s ability to conduct the public’s business by having a full five-member Board of Supervisors, and preserving the right of the people through their county charter to have locally appointed representation in the event of a vacancy," Wert stated.
IE United filed its lawsuit in January 2019 protesting the Board of Supervisor’s process for appointing a supervisor from a candidate pool of more than 50 applicants. James Ramos vacated the seat in December 2018 when he was elected to State Assembly.
The term expires first week of December 2020, and voters will have their first opportunity to make a decision on the county representative in the March primary. Should a candidate earn more than 50 percent of the vote they can take office. If a candidate does not earn a 50-plus percentage the final election will be held in November with the elected candidate taking office in December.
IE United Executive Director Michael Gomez Daly responded to the ruling: “We are happy that the courts again have sided with transparency and the rule of law. For too long have we allowed local elected officials to do their work and forget they are accountable to us, their constituents.”