(Please see corrected wording in paragraph six.)
In an opinion piece appearing on a local news website last week, the president of the embattled Altadena Library District Board of Trustees acknowledged mistakes were made by the board in failing to follow provisions of the state open meeting law, but wrote the law provides “room for corrections and cures.”
Further, wrote Betsy Kahn, who was appointed to the five-member board in March and selected by fellow members as its president in April, said none of the alleged violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act were “driven by ill intent.”
When contacted by the Pasadena Weekly last week about the violations, Kahn responded, “The Altadena Library District bylaws direct board members to refer all media inquiries to the library director.”
Most of the alleged violations revolve around the board’s dealings with Library District Director Mindy Kittay, who went on sick leave from January to May, at which time she was placed on paid administrative leave.
Kittay’s attorney, Dale Gronemeier, alleges in court documents that the board violated the Brown Act 83 times, mostly in chain emails related to Kittay or actions being considered by the board.
Sussy Nemer, senior field deputy to Supervisor Kathryn Barger. said Barger would recommend the matter to the civil grand jury. “Additionally, we will be referring these allegations to the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division. They have the ability to investigate Brown Act and other possible violations as well as other issues related to elected individuals or bodies,” Nemer wrote to activist Rene Amy, who requested the grand jury investigation.
In her column, Kahn criticized Gronemeier for “conducting a very negative public relations campaign” against the board.
After taking over as president in April, “we began steadily inching toward a resolution that will allow the district to move forward into a positive future and begin a necessary season of healing,” Kahn wrote. “I want to reassure the residents of Altadena and our neighboring communities that although we may have our differences among ourselves, our current board takes its responsibilities extremely seriously and is working hard to right our ship.”