This month, Judge James C. Chalfant of the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted the City of Lancaster’s complaint in quo warranto against Michael Rives with regard to his dual positions as Board Member for both the Antelope Valley (AV) Community College District as well as for the Antelope Valley Healthcare District.
In the November 2020 elections, Rives was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Antelope Valley Community College District, as well as the Board of Directors for the Healthcare District.
Immediately following this election, Lancaster’s ayor and city council expressed their concerns over an official holding both offices simultaneously. In an effort to ensure the best interests for those affected in these districts, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and the city council directed the city attorney to pursue the quo warranto action against Rives by seeking leave from the California Attorney General to file the action. The Attorney General agreed with the city’s concerns and authorized the city to file suit on July 15, 2021.
“We expected Mr. Rives to do the right thing, but he refused. We couldn’t stand by and let this injustice slide,” said Parris. “We needed to ensure that these entities could operate comfortably knowing that their individual boards had the best interest of the community and the organization at the forefront of any decision making.”
The Healthcare District and the College District provide services in the same geographic area, and the two districts enter into contracts for mutual programs. With Rives in dual positions of power, both entities have reportedly been hindered in making progress between the two districts. The Healthcare District has refrained from proposing additional programs or contracts between the Healthcare and College Districts due to Rives’ position on both boards.
A quo warranto is used to challenge a person’s right to hold a public or corporate office, requiring them to demonstrate their eligibility to hold multiple, competing elected roles. The quo warranto process examines whether a public official is serving in two incompatible offices. It does not examine or determine a person’s performance in their role.
The court determined that Rives’ simultaneously holding the offices of Board Member for both the AV Community College District as well as for the Healthcare District violated the Government Code and, therefore, he has forfeited his seat on the Healthcare District board.