Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 • Former superintendent must seek another remedy

The former superintendent of the Westwood Unified School District and Westwood Charter School will have to seek a remedy before an administrative law judge to settle his dispute with his former employer.

Henry Bietz, the former superintendent, filed a complaint against the WUSD Oct. 20, 2010 alleging the district failed to honor his employment contract and also failed to provide funding for his legal representation as he defended himself against criminal charges filed by the California Attorney General.

In a short, two-page ruling issued Monday, Jan. 3, Lassen County Superior Court Judge Donald Sokol granted a request for judicial notice by the school districts regarding the AB 139 audit conducted by the Fiscal Crisis Management Team, Westwood Unified School District Policy 2121 and the criminal case against Bietz that was heard in the local court.

Sokol also found FCMAT is an independent state agency that “can conduct a legal audit and in such audit found plaintiff may not simultaneously serve as superintendent for both the district and the charter school. Therefore, pursuant to Westwood Unified School District policy 2121, the plaintiff’s sole remedy is before an administrative law judge and the demurrer to the complaint is sustained without leave to amend.

In his complaint before the superior court, Bietz alleges he “performed all, or substantially all, of his obligations” pursuant to his employment contract; that the WUSD terminated his employment “two years prior to its expiration without justification;” and as a result, Bietz has “suffered damages consisting of loss of his salary and compensation including retirement benefits, damages to his income earning ability, damages to his professional and personal reputation and has suffered significant emotional distress … ”

Bietz also alleged the school district had an obligation to indemnify him in the subsequent criminal trial, and as a result he has “incurred attorneys’ fees and has suffered significant emotional distress.”