The Santa Clara County Board of Education (SCCBOE) will meet tomorrow to decide whether to sanction trustee Craig Mann for violating the Board’s code of ethics. The move stems from several biting e-mails Mann fired off last May.
On July 14, Leon Beauchman, who serves with Mann on the Board, wrote a letter rebuking Mann’s “shameful” conduct for sending a series of emails to County Superintendent of Schools Chuck Weis. Mann CC’ed county staff, community leaders and the media.
The incident followed Weis’s hiring of a new Chief Business Officer. Mann was apparently unhappy about the superintendent’s choice of Ann Jones for the job, and sent a series of increasingly inflammatory and racially pointed e-mails.
In the emails in question (which are attached to Beauchman’s letter), Mann scolds Weis because he did not choose an African American or Hispanic individual for the position. He claims the board is engaging in “Jim Crow” hiring practices, that Weis’s hires are limited to those in “Chuck’s image” and that “The ‘No Coloreds’ sign needs to come down from the COE drinking fountain.”
“Never have a seen a board member take deliberate action to embarrass and insult a member of the governing team like Mr. Mann has done,” reads Beauchman’s rebuke letter. “The messages were increasingly insulting and eventually included a message suggesting that the Superintendent and the County Office of Education were promoting racist practices.”
After the Board announced they would be considering sanctions, Mann (who is up for re-election in November) produced a letter of apology for his actions.
Beauchman was apparently unimpressed. “I found the apology lacking,” his rebuke letter concludes.
The board will decide on whether or not to officially sanction Mann at its meeting tomorrow evening.
This isn’t the first time Mann has been embroiled in a headline-making controversy. In the early 2000s he worked as chief of staff for former San Jose City Councilmember Terry Gregory. The councilman resigned in disgrace over revelations of booze, food and sports ticket perks he accepted while in office — but not before he fired Mann.
During Mann’s years on the SCCBOE, he led the sacking of popular former Superintendent Colleen Wilcox over harassment accusations. He was in the news again in 2004, when a civil grand jury found that Mann and other school staff had used district-issued credit cards inappropriately during his three terms on the East Side Union High School District board.