NORWALK – Things came to a head at Wednesday’s Cerritos Board of Trustee’s meeting as board member John Paul Drayer was censured for alleged unethical behavior and violation of board policy.
[See video from the meeting here; skip to the 59 minute, 45 second mark]
Drayer’s censure comes after the investigation of an ad hoc committee into complaints made by Trustee Bob Arthur and Drayer against one another.
Arthur’s complaint, submitted to Board President Dr. Shin Liu on March 2, claimed that Drayer had violated two items of board policy, specifically:
1. Promoting a healthy, working relationship with the President/ Superintendent and his or her staff by sharing all concerns, complaints and recommendations, as appropriate, with other Board members and the President/ Superintendent, as the Brown Act allows
2. Recognizing that contacts with the media are primarily handled by the Superintendent/President and/or Board President.
Drayer’s complaint, however, could be seen as much more personal, as his called for an ad hoc committee to be set up in order to investigate the ethics of the “bullying” of Board Member Arthur to the other board members.
Drayer’s first complaint, however, did not provide any facts relating to specific conduct that supported the allegation of “bullying” by Arthur, nor did it make reference to which provision(s) of Board Policy Drayer believed was violated by Arthur.
Investigation into Drayer’s complaint unearthed a wealth of paranoia-ridden opinion, including his avoidance of an in-person interview with the investigator due to his belief that the investigator would be biased against him.
Drayer apparently made several eye-raising claims during his telephonic interview, including the comment that he was “convinced” that the board, and specifically Arthur, were “out to get him.” Drayer also claimed that he was disliked by Arthur and other board members because they were “homophobic Republicans.”
According to the report, Drayer also claimed that Arthur intended to and had already engaged in threatening and harassing behavior, that Arthur was intent on “psychologically tormenting me,” and later on in the report, that “Trustee Arthur wants to kill him.”
Drayer also added during the interview that he has now been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety due to his service on the board.
However, during a meeting with the Ad Hoc Committee, Drayer admitted to the activity presented in Arthur’s complaint.
At the investigation’s conclusion, the ad hoc committee found Arthur’s claims to be sustained by fact, however did not find the same in Drayer’s accusations, leading to the call for Drayer’s censure at Wednesday’s meeting.
Drayer read a prepared statement, saying in part, “…upon further reflection I have a better understanding of how board policies work…I want to move forward from this incident and look forward to more healing, more unity, and a healthier working relationship with all board members...,” before making a quick exit.
There was a brief discussion between board members on whether Drayer should be reprimanded or censured, as the original suggestion by the committee called for reprimand. However, several called for censure, which despite practically being the same as reprimand, is commonly perceived as a “higher level of disapproval of the conduct involved.”
“While this may be the first official complaint, this is not an issue that is new to him,” said Trustee Marissa Perez. “I have had multiple conversations and meetings with him, specifically on the issue that he as an individual trustee, and any of us individual trustees are not the primary contact between the media and the College Board; he’s done this multiple times…”
The vote to censure passed with a majority vote, with Trustee Dr. Sandra Salazar being the sole vote against, and Student Trustee Karen Patron abstaining
Drayer is currently planning to run for Bellflower City Council.