Escondido, CA

Library lawsuit moves forward

A court date of February 22, 2019 has been set for the lawsuit challenging the legality of the Escondido City Council action last year that outsourced the Escondido Public Library to Library Systems & Services (LS&S.)
The Superior Court judge rejected the city of Escondido’s motion to dismiss the case.
Just because there is a court date doesn’t mean that the case couldn’t be decided before that. “There are no factual disagreements,” attorney Alan Geraci, who represents the plaintiffs. “It’s the matter of how you interpret the statute.”
Geraci’s clients, the Save Our Library Coalition, and Roy and Mary Garrett, longtime Escondido residents, claim the city violated the Ed Code in August when it approved of outsourcing the library to LS&S.
The lawsuit states: “This action challenges the City of Escondido’s decision, Resolution 2017-139, through its City Council, on or about October 18, 2017, as void as a matter of law as an ultra vires act. Petitioners claim that the Municipal Library Act requirement, codified at California Education Code § 18910, that its public library shall be managed by a board of library trustees and such lawful management responsibility may not be usurped by Respondent, through its council. A Writ of Mandate is required to order Respondent to comply with the law.”
The lawsuit follows the line of reasoning that the city had every right to award a contract to LS&S if the Library Board of Trustees had voted to take that action, instead of voting to oppose it.
Geraci told The Times-Advocate, “The issue is not if it’s right or wrong to hire LS&S. The issue is that the council usurped the role of the board of trustees. If the board of trustees had decided to hire these guys then we would have a different case. The issue is the process. The board of trustees were reflecting the mood of the community. They voted 5-0 to not award the contract because that’s what they’re community wanted.”

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