Leadership posts filled at school board, City Council, but not without a few gripes

Grant picked again for president over Arkin; Thorne named vice mayor over Sullivan

Leadership positions were filled last week by both the City Council and the Pleasanton school board, but not without a bit of angst.

School board member Valerie Arkin's bid to become president of the board in 2010 in a nomination made by fellow trustee Jamie Hintzke was rejected by board members Chris Grant, Pat Kernan and Jim Ott. Instead, they chose Grant to serve a second term as president, with Kernan as clerk, as Arkin and Hintzke voted against the nomination.

Across First Street, the City Council had its own dispute after Mayor Jennifer Hosterman appointed Councilman Jerry Thorne to serve as vice mayor in the coming year. That riled Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who wanted Councilman Matt Sullivan to have the assignment, following what McGovern said has been a tradition of rotating the vice mayor's position "so that we all have the chance to serve our community."

In the end, the Thorne appointment was approved in a 4-1 vote, with McGovern voting against it. Sullivan, who on a rotational basis would have been next in line for the post, voted to support Thorne.

"I'm voting in favor because I know that Jerry (Thorne) would do a good job as a vice mayor," Sullivan said. "I will say that I did send the mayor and city manager emails requesting that I be appointed because it was my turn. I did not receive any communication back from the mayor, but I won't hold that against Jerry."

Hosterman said that she has been appointed to serve on three more and "very important" committees that will require more meetings outside of Pleasanton each month. She explained that Thorne, who is retired, is in the city most of the time and can fill in for her as needed whereas Sullivan works in San Francisco and has less time to help her out during the daytime hours.

"So to that end, I've asked Councilman Thorne to serve as vice mayor for the coming year, and he has agreed," Hosterman added. "I agree with Councilwoman McGovern that it's very important to allow everyone serving on the council to have their turn, and everyone now has."

McGovern insisted, however, that the rotation system be honored and followed. When Hosterman again said that she needed a vice mayor who would be in Pleasanton most days, McGovern retorted, "Well, how about me? I'm here most days, too."

At the Pleasanton school board meeting, the debate over who should serve as president next year was more contentious.

Board member Jamie Hintzke said fellow trustee Valerie Arkin, who was elected to the school board in November 2008, has the experience and time to devote to the demands of the board president's office.

"The reason I chose Valerie is because we work well together, she really does have the time to talk to people in the community, she gets back to people when they call, she meets with them for coffee, she is in Pleasanton all the time, every day," Hintzke said.

Board members agreed that two major issues facing the school district next year -- another looming budget shortfall and the June retirement of Supt. John Casey and the hiring of his replacement this spring -- will require even a greater time commitment from the board president in 2010.

Arkin said she has the time, is the one board member who doesn't have a job outside the home, and "so I would have time during the transition to work with Dr. Casey in transitioning to a new superintendent."

But the other three board members disagreed.

"I want Chris (Grant) to stay on as president," board member Jim Ott said. "This is not a popularity contest. It's really about who we think can be president during this time that can do the best job right now. We have many issues, including the transition and the budget."

Added board member Pat Kernan: "I think it's important right now as we are going through a superintendent search that we have some consistency," he said. "Chris has done a good job. I just don't think Valerie is ready in my opinion, but I would definitely support her for board clerk."

Under questioning by other board members, Grant said he would be honored to serve a second term and that he would continue to make whatever time available that will be needed to participate in meetings about the 2010-11 budget in the coming months as well as for all meetings and discussions related to the search for a new superintendent.

"We are looking at a very difficult year ahead," Grant said. "We are going to face again a most difficult budgetary situation as well as the responsibility of introducing a new superintendent to the district. I'd be happy to have the opportunity to stay on as president one more year. I think I have the time and certainly the ability to do that."

In his motion to select Grant as board president again, Ott also recommended Arkin for the clerk's position, but she declined.

Kernan was chosen clerk, a position that usually leads to being named board president in the following year. That means that if Kernan, whose term expires this year, seeks re-election to the board and wins, it's likely that he would become president of the school board in 2011.

-Emily West, Jeb Bing contributed to this story.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Gary Schwaegerle
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

Congratulations to All of You - For Serving Our Community with Compassion as You do.

Keep up the Good Work! Happy Holidays & Prosperous New Year - Gary Schwaegerle

Like this comment
Posted by Sandra
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

The school board is run by a bunch of sexist pigs. Pat Kernan made the same quote about Kris Weaver "not being ready" when she was nominated for President while she was on the board. Once again, 3-2 vote with the men retaining control. Having somebody hold the position of president for two years is a slap in the face of the others who the voters had confidence in and voted into office.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm

now sandy...tis the season to be jolly...please...give it another try...civility never hurts...



Like this comment
Posted by Sandra
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm

How is this...

The school board is run by a bunch of scrooges. They are ruining the holiday season for many in the school board and also for the teachers and staff as they all know that the board will be having a hard time in working out touch issues with the Grinch in charge ("The presidency; it's mine, all mine").

Girl to mom: "Mommy, why did Santa leave presents for Tommy and not me?"
Mom: "Santa did not think you were ready for Chrismas yet. Plus we all know that men rule, just like on the school board, so as a girl you need to prepare yourself for disappointment in life as many men do not think girls can be good leaders. This is a real life experience."

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm

much much much, don't we all feel happier...hmmmmmm?

Yup, pretty is as pretty does...n'est pas?

Tip of the day: you may want to consider rearranging the words " we all know that men rule", or is it more than you want to consider in 2009?

cheers...Cholo, HOORAY!

Like this comment
Posted by No way we should re-elect Kernan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2009 at 7:37 pm

According to the article, the clerk (which is now Kernan) is likely to be board president next. Pleasanton: wake up, Kernan DOES NOT live in Pleasanton full time anymore. Please do not vote for him, let's re-elect someone younger, with new ideas, someone who lives in Pleasanton, someone who will not think anything wrong with having a woman as board president. After all, Valerie has an MBA.... what educational qualifications does Chris have? Valerie also has the time to really look into things, and more importantly, she does not just do what Casey says. She asks the hard questions, Chris seems a "yes" man imo.

Like this comment
Posted by I mean...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm

let's elect someone younger, with new ideas, someone who lives in Pleasanton

Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Parkside
on Dec 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm

The mayor does not have time for her job she was elected to so she wants a vice-mayor that is retired and always in town to do her job? This happens every time she studies for the bar exam. She must be taking the bar exam for the 9th or 10th time now. Not sure why she wants to be a lawyer. Seems to me we have enough lawyers in politics; that is why things are so messed up now.

Like this comment
Posted by lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I agree.
And Larry,
after that ice skating rink fiasco, I am making sure to look twice at all incumbents. Hosterman needs to go.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Chris Grant said he wants to be Board President again because had fun as Board President. The rest of us didn't have fun listening to his painfully long speech's while he kept the public to 3 minutes at the podium.

The three trustees that would not support Arkin as Board President are an embarrassment.

Hopefuly Kernan will not disrespect this community again by running for school board as a nonresident.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum
By Chandrama Anderson | 3 comments | 2,527 views

Castlewood members considering offer from Bay Club
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 603 views