11/13/2013 02:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

LAUSD Board President Richard Vladovic Escapes Censure For Alleged Sexual Harassment, Bullying

The first-ever effort to censure a Los Angeles Unified board member failed Tuesday when members declined to formally reprimand President Richard Vladovic for alleged sexual harassment and bullying of two district employees.

Board member Tamar Galatzan sought the censure after the workers filed formal complaints against Vladovic, who was a longtime administrator and superintendent in the South Bay before he was elected to represent the area in 2007.

Galatzan's resolution called on the board to censure Vladovic "for conduct that has brought dishonor to himself, the School Board, and the Los Angeles Unified School District." It also requested that the district create a hotline so district employees could anonymously report bullying, harassment or other behavior contributing to a hostile work environment.

However, her motion wasn't "seconded" by any other board member and thus never came to a vote. Board member Monica Garcia, who frequently votes with Galatzan on controversial issues, left the meeting early and wasn't present when the item came up.

Vladovic has declared himself innocent of harassment or intimidation, saying through a spokesman that the allegations contained in the two complaints "never happened."

About a dozen parents wearing T-shirts reading, "We Love Dr. V," sat in the audience, including Beatriz Centeno, a mother of four from Wilmington who preferred to focus on the good Vladovic has done for LAUSD and his work on behalf of parents.

"I think it was politics -- to give a bad image of him," Centeno said. "I want to concentrate on education and leave all the politics."

After the measure failed, Vladovic briefly left the room and was mobbed by supporters.

The complaints against Vladovic surfaced last summer during an investigation into the handling of sexual-abuse allegations levied against a teacher at a school in his district.

Copies of the complaints with the employees' names redacted were released to the Daily News and other media outlets under a Public Records Act request.

However, Lily Nunez, who had worked as a secretary to Vladovic and is now Superintendent John Deasy's executive assistant, told the Daily News that she was the female employee who filed a six-page sexual-harassment complaint. The document details eight incidents in which she said Vladovic made sexually inappropriate remarks, told offensive jokes and used a sexual slur to describe a gay coworker.

Nunez said investigators found her complaint "had merit" but could not be pursued because the alleged incidents occurred more than a decade ago.

A male employee who accused Vladvoc of harassment and retaliation has not been publicly identified.

The board met privately for four hours on Oct. 8 to review the complaints and a three-month investigation into the allegations.

When the board emerged from that closed-door meeting, Vladovic acknowledged that he had shouted at employees in the past and apologized for violating the board's "civility code." He said he had undergone counseling to help him deal with anger issues.

Galatzan's office received several letters of support, including one from the California chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"Given the pattern of allegations against Dr. Vladovic, the board has an obligation to act and make it clear that the harassment of employees and abuse of women will not be tolerated by LAUSD."

All board members received a letter from Judith Perez, president of the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, lauding Vladovic's "positive contributions" to the district and noting that he had apologized for his past actions. ___



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