Francisco Dominguez resigns from school board

Former GUSD trustee Francisco Dominguez officially resigned from the school board Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Francisco Dominguez, the Gilroy Unified School Board trustee facing two separate investigations by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, submitted his official letter of resignation to GUSD this afternoon.

GUSD Superintendent Debbie Flores, who received the email from Francisco around 1 p.m., described her reaction as “surprised.”

“I was not expecting it today,” she said.

Dominguez came to Gilroy from Oxnard, where he served on the school board from 1996 to July 2006. He was elected to the GUSD school board in 2006 and served as its board president for one year beginning Dec. 10, 2009. In 2010, Dominguez ran for the 28th District State Assembly seat and lost in the primary to Luis Alejo.

Dominguez was elected to his second term as GUSD trustee in 2011. His term would have lasted through 2014.

Flores said she is in the process of notifying GUSD’s six board members of the news.

As Dominguez’s resignation is effective immediately, board members will subsequently decide whether to fill his vacant seat temporarily; wait until the November 2012 elections; or call a special election.

The latter option, however, could be very expensive.

Flores and GUSD President Rhoda Bress said they are not certain of how much a special election will cost.

While filling Dominguez’s seat is something the board members will agendize in a future board meeting, Flores said she could not speculate as to what date this might be.

In addition to allegations publicly levied against Dominguez in May for embezzling more than $50,000 from the local nonprofit South County Collaborative, Dominguez – the sole proprietor of a consulting company called DZ Consulting – is accused of allegedly falsifying parts of invoices totaling more than $37,000. The firm, called Parsons, was hired by the High-Speed Rail Authority to perform community outreach in the South Bay Area.

On Monday, Parsons suspended its contract with Dominguez, who is accused of billing Parsons for community outreach efforts at $120 per hour that some local groups and residents say never happened, as uncovered by a Dispatch investigation.

John Chase, Deputy District Attorney for Santa Clara County, has confirmed the DA’s office is looking into both allegations.

“I’m sorry to see Francisco go from the board. He has been a good board member,” said Flores in a phone call Wednesday afternoon. “In a lot of ways, he has been a leader when it comes to establishing board policy. It will be a loss for our board.”

GUSD President Rhoda Bress will publicly announce the news prior to a GUSD study session, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. this evening at district offices located at 7810 Arroyo Circle.

 

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