Process. It may be one of the dullest words in the English language, right after infrastructure. It brings to mind tedium, rote action, red tape, an endless assembly line and all the unglamorous but absolutely essential things you must do to get from Point A to Point B.
Still, processes are incredibly important to ensure things are done right. You wouldn’t want your plane’s mechanic to ignore the correct process of rebuilding a jet engine. If you disregard the process needed to put together an Ikea chest of drawers, you’ll get an unstable, unworkable pile of pressed wood.
Elected bodies also have to be particularly careful to follow established procedures to make decisions on behalf of the many constituents they represent.
The Twin Rivers Unified School District Board of Trustees found out this truth the hard way this week as it faces the possibility that the board’s newest appointee, Sonja Cameron, may be removed through a special election.
We criticized the board last month for not following the very clear process it set to find and appoint a replacement for Cortez Quinn in Area 5 after he pleaded no contest to a felony in October. The board members truncated the process by one meeting – the last, and most important, one during which they planned to make the final choice from 13 applicants.
We can understand why the board believed Cameron was a natural choice and just went ahead and appointed her early; she has more than three decades of experience in public education and is a co-founder and executive for the Rio Linda-based Pacific Charter Institute.
But it had set out a plan and announced it to the public. Trustees should have honored every step – even if it seemed silly or unnecessary.
The Democratic Party of Sacramento County has used the breach as the reason to lead a petition drive to force a special election to fill the Area 5 seat. If the signatures on the petitions turned in this week are deemed qualified, it could cost the district between $113,040 and $708,570, depending on whether the special election is held districtwide or just for Area 5 voters.
We didn’t think an election was necessary to fill this spot, and still don’t think so. The board was capable of assessing and appointing a fill-in until the next regularly scheduled election in 2016 but apparently wasn’t capable of following its own process.
Too bad. It may seem ridiculous at times, but following all the steps protects from disaster down the line.