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Ferndale School Board faces lawsuit claiming open public meetings act violations

Ferndale School District sign outside the administration building on Vista Drive (October 22, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Arthur West has filed a complaint in Whatcom County Superior Court that names the Ferndale School District, the Ferndale School Board and each of the school board directors as defendants in the lawsuit.

According to court records, the complaint is based on what West says are violations of laws from the Washington State’s open public meetings act (OPMA) during meetings held while the board was attempting to appoint a replacement director to the board earlier this year.

West says in the complaint “the defendants knowingly violated the law by failing to provide proper notice of their special meetings of January 24 and February 21, 2023, by acting on matters in special meetings that were not properly noticed of posted, by deliberating in an unlawful closed “recess” meeting on January 24th, by conferring and conducting serial meetings outside the context of an open public meeting, and by serially deliberating and taking final action regarding the selection of a school board member outside of the context of a lawful public meeting.”

West is from Olympia and is well-known for the several lawsuits he has filed as plaintiff against governments, commissions and other entities over recent years. He appears in court pro se, representing himself.

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I think it is obvious that the Board didn’t do their homework on OPMA compliance. It truly was a comedy of errors. I think this is a very strong case. However one never knows how the Courts will rule.

However, I have no position on the complaints against [1 candidate] or her fitness to be a Board member in the event she actually maintains parochial and un-PC beliefs. These are matters the Board and the Ferndale community should decide. This case only seeks to require the process employed. Arthur West (March 16, 2023)

In addition to this case, West is currently involved in 3 other cases including what he referred to as a similar case with the City of Walla Walla. He estimated that he prevails in about 8 out of 10 cases.

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