Wednesday, February 8, 2017
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Commissioner/Director Virginia Chang-Kiraly hit with CA Attorney General in quo warranto Request to Remove her From Office
Half Moon Bay— On Wednesday February 8th local activist John Ullom served paperwork on Virginia Chang‐Kiraly formally challenging the legality of her dual‐holding of two San Mateo County Special District Offices. Chang‐Kiraly is a Director on the Menlo Park Fire District Board, and is also a Commissioner on the San Mateo County Harbor District Board. Ullom contends in his filings that these are incompatible offices, and the numerous factual citations contained therein support this argument.
Numerous complaints were made by local individuals over the course of the past year in an attempt to get the San Mateo County District Attorney to pursue the conflict of interest to no avail. As a result Ullom decided to take the bull by the horns and file what is called a quo warranto action. Quo warranto means “by what authority” and is the formal procedure used in California for challenging the legal right of any person to hold an office. The action begins by serving the individual officeholder and then serving the Attorney General with the same pleadings, asking the Attorney General to allow the “Relator” (Ullom in this case) to sue on “behalf of the People of the State of California.”
As described in the Memorandum of Points and Authorities filed by Ullom, Chang‐Kiraly has no less than six separate conflicts which past Attorney’s General have found to be in violation of the relevant State Codes that prohibit someone from holding incompatible offices. Chang‐Kiraly has fifteen days to respond to the filling before the Attorney General will be permitted to rule on the request. If the case does go to trial and Ullom prevails then Chang‐Kiraly will be removed from the Menlo Park Fire District Board seat as this was the first office she entered and the statute requires forfeiture of the first office entered into.
Alternatively Chang‐Kiraly could resign either position at this time and bring a halt to the proceedings as they can only go forward if the officeholder continues to hold two offices simultaneously.
John Ullom is a local government transparency and oversight activist and has been advocating for transparency and the rule of law in local governmental agencies in San Mateo County for the last 8 years.