A Los Banos community group this week served a recall notice to John Mueller, a member of the Los Banos Unified School District governing board, the Merced County Registrar of Voters confirmed.
Mueller, 35, was elected to the board as the Area 7 trustee in 2014, beating Ruben Santos by 22 votes, election results show.
The recall notice, served to Mueller on Monday by Baldo Salcido, lists six reasons for the action. The notice claims Mueller refuses to communicate with his Area 7 constituents; it criticizes his approval of a deal to build a new junior high school; is critical that few, if any, local contractors are involved in that school project; it cites poor test scores across the district; it accuses Mueller of condoning nepotism; and criticizes his disruptive behavior during board meetings.
The notice is signed by Salcido and nine others.
Mueller declined to comment on the recall notice.
Anthony Parreira, the school board president, did not know the details of the recall notice other than it had been served.
Salcido said he and other members of the Los Banos Community Advocacy Coalition tried setting up times to talk and meet with Mueller, and eventually he quit responding to or taking calls.
“Instead of addressing all of our concerns, he gets up there and has irrational and disruptive behavior that we don’t understand,” Salcido said. “Why not just address the issues? Why not just talk to us? Why not understand the fact that we have these concerns?”
The group also is critical of Mueller’s approval of a “lease-leaseback” deal the district made with Visalia-based contractor Oral E. Micham Inc. to build a new junior high school. The board voted unanimously in February to approve the deal.
The Fresno Unified School District faces a federal investigation after using the same type of deal to build a middle school. The “lease-leaseback” method allows cash-strapped school districts to avoid the competitive-bidding process and handpick consultants who will front the cost of a project and then be repaid by the district in increments over time.
Mueller has until Monday to respond to the recall notice before the Community Advocacy Coalition can begin the petition process. The coalition would need 25 percent of registered voters in Area 7 to sign the petition, said Barbara Levey, Merced County’s registrar of voters. That equates to about 400 signatures, Levey said.
If the coalition meets certain deadlines in the process, a special election could be ordered by July or August, Levey said. The school board could choose to hold an election by mail if it wishes to reduce costs.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477