The minutes of the Aug. 4 special board meeting, which the board approved last week, show that President Ken Dauber called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. and subsequently adjourned into closed session. When the board reconvened at 4:34 p.m., Dauber announced that the board had voted 4-0, with Jesse Ladomirak absent, to terminate general counsel Komey Vishakan's employment without cause. The meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.
Vishakan had held the position ever since it was created in 2018. The board at the time decided to create an in-house general counsel role in an attempt to improve legal compliance and reduce costs. She reported directly to the board, with a dotted line relationship to the superintendent.
Neither Dauber nor Vishakan responded to a request to comment for this article.
The minutes from the special meeting note that Superintendent Don Austin was present, as well as an attorney from DWK, an outside law firm with which the district contracts. Vishakan was not in attendance.
Roughly a day's notice was given ahead of the Aug. 4 special meeting, and no members of the public asked to address the board about the closed session, according to the minutes.
Under the terms of the law governing public meetings in California, known as the Brown Act, publicly elected bodies like school boards are restricted from discussing or making decisions outside of official meetings. A majority of board members generally can't "discuss, deliberate, or take action" on anything within its jurisdiction outside of a public meeting, including through intermediaries.
Prior to the four-minute closed session on Aug. 4, the last time the board formally met was at a regularly scheduled meeting on June 21.
At the meeting before that, held on June 7, the board met in closed session to discuss the performance of the general counsel and superintendent, but no action was reported about either employee when the board reconvened into open session. It is unknown how much time was spent discussing Vishakan because there were other items on the agenda for the closed session, which lasted roughly an hour.
That came after a May 24 board meeting, when the board met in closed session to discuss the performance of seven top administrators. Six were given "satisfactory performance evaluations," while no result was reported for Vishakan.
Vishakan told the Weekly last month that the board failed to give her any evaluation this year, despite it being called for in her contract.
In a statement at the time, Vishakan said she had "been a patient but persistent advocate for reform."
"Sometimes advocating for change does not make everyone equally happy," Vishakan said.
While board members haven't said why they let Vishakan go, they held a discussion at last week's meeting about the future of the general counsel position. Board members supported retaining a head lawyer but expressed openness to the possibility of contracting with an outside firm to provide the attorney. Some board members also wanted to get greater clarity on the position's reporting structure.