Kern County Grand Jury Recommends President’s Removal from ‘Dysfunctional’ School Board

A Kern County Grand Jury report has recommended the removal of Fairfax School Board President Palmer Moland for a lack of professionalism that it says has contributed to major dysfunction on the board.

The report describes a “school board in crisis” where colleagues routinely bully one another. The report also said the board appears to have violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, has failed to allow public comments at meetings, and has violated its own ethics laws. Board members need to be “schooled” on open meetings requirements, according to the report.

The Grand Jury expressed particular concern about the hiring of an outside law firm in January — a controversial decision which took place without discussion.

Hours after the Grand Jury issued its recommendations, the board voted to hire a new LA-based law firm. The meeting was emotionally charged, with attendees yelling “shame on you” at some members of the board. 

The removal of Moland was just one of a dozen recommendations from the Grand Jury. Despite the scathing review, the Bakersfield Californian reports that Moland was “upbeat” in his response to the recommendations.

“I think it’s a really good directive of what the board should work on and can do,” he said. “I think it’s a good road map with the recommendations. I don’t think you can go wrong.”