Sutter County supervisor could be fired from his teaching job after alleged misconduct

Sutter County Supervisor Jim Whiteaker could be fired as a high school teacher after being accused of inappropriate misconduct during an incident with students.

Whiteaker, 52, was placed on leave in mid-January from his job as a physical education teacher at Yuba City High School, according to the Yuba City Unified School District.

He also represents District 4 on the Sutter County Board of Supervisors.

“The board gave direction to staff to bring a statement of charges for the termination of a certificated employee at the next regular board meeting on Feb. 13,” said Jonathon Brunson, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Yuba City Unified School District, in an email following a closed board meeting Tuesday night.

The district, which has still not identified Whiteaker as the teacher, released a statement Jan. 22 saying that a Yuba City High School teacher had been placed on leave following an allegation of inappropriate conduct “when intervening in an interaction between two students on campus.” It said the district would investigate the matter and had referred the allegation to other local law enforcement agencies.

The statement said employee privacy laws preclude the district from providing additional information or discussing the case in detail.

Whiteaker referred questions to his Marysville-based attorney, Roberto Marquez.

The attorney confirmed that Whiteaker is on administrative leave while the school board considers whether to end his employment.

The school board held special meetings over two days last week that included a closed session on employee discipline or termination and public comment.

The next school board meeting is scheduled Feb. 13; an agenda is not yet available.

“His position is that he did nothing that would justify any kind of termination,” Marquez said. “He would be looking forward to vindication when he gets to exercise his due process.”

Marquez would not expand on the allegations against Whiteaker, saying they are so new that attorneys for the county supervisor haven’t seen the investigative report.

The case was forwarded to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office which, citing a potential conflict of interest, sent investigative reports to the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office for review.

A spokeswoman for the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that prosecutors there would review the documents, but said any decision to file a complaint would still be up to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office.

According to Whiteaker’s profile on the Sutter County website, he is a lifelong resident of Sutter County and a 1983 graduate of Yuba City High School. It states that he is a teacher and former varsity basketball coach at the high school.

Whiteaker was elected to the county Board of Supervisors in November 2002. Sutter County supervisors receive annual salaries of $34,471 plus benefits.

The Sutter County Board of Supervisors released a statement through spokesman Chuck Smith: “Sutter County Board of Supervisors is aware of the Yuba City Unified School District Board of Trustees action taken at its Jan. 30, 2018 meeting. Since the School District’s administrative process is not complete, County Board of Supervisors has no further comment.”

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert