Trustee Drayer retires from board


Perla Lara

Trustee John Paul Drayer particiapates at his final board meeting on Wednesday, April 5. His retirement will take effect on Wednesday, April 19.

Board of Trustee member John Paul Drayer calls his recent resignation “an act of protest, and a vote of no confidence against the current board.”

Drayer officially announced his retirement from the board, and his teaching position of 30 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, on Friday, March 24.

According to Cerritos College President Dr. Jose Fierro, the announcement came after Drayer made the decision to spend more time with his family, and taking care of the businesses his father left behind after his death in October 2014.

In a news release put out by the college, Drayer said, “I will be taking care of our family businesses and closing probate so that my family and I can finish the grieving process over the loss of my father.”

In addition to finishing the healing process for his family, Drayer also mentioned that there were many outside and board related factors that influenced his decision to vacate his positions.

An influence he mentioned was the death of Renee Bloch, performing arts promotion specialist at Cerritos College, whose death occurred on Feb. 2.

He said, “I’m also very upset that my friend Renee Bloch died. That affected me too, in my decision, she died of suicide. I’m still in shock about that.”

In regard to the board he said, “The board has become very negative and making my family sick from the stress.”

He continued saying that he does not want to be a part of the board anymore because he doesn’t agree with it and believes, “It’s a good time to leave.”

Drayer also suggested there may be financial improprieties within the board and that there should be a “county, state, federal and accreditation investigation” regarding the board’s leadership and majority for the past two years, specifically having questions regarding a credit card account.

He has said he has not been allowed to see any specifics.

He didn’t elaborate any further and gave no specifics as to what, or whose credit card it was.

He continued with accusing the board of violating his rights per policy section BP 2200 saying that he, “was attacked in open session for being white/Hispanic.”

The basis for his claims he states is because of his background, being that he is a gay white/Hispanic male of different economic background making him an “easy target.”

During the first board meeting, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, Drayer was involved in a verbal confrontation with Trustee Marisa Perez.

At which time Perez stated allegations of harassment by Drayer, no specifics were mentioned.

He then denied the allegations and later said, “I am saddened. This harassment has continued to me, [sexual] harassment in the community because of this campaign of hatred.”

“They are being negative on a personal level.” he said, “ I was wronged.”

He insist that the board violated his first, fifth and sixth amendment rights.

“[The board] did not give me a copy of the ethics complaint in a reasonable amount of time. They did not cite the board policies– I was railroaded– once they did give it to me one board member [on the committee] had already walked out. I was not given a fair hearing.”

Drayer added that this could happen to other and that the board has no respect for constitutional rights, “especially if your gay.”

He finished saying that his family is happy that he is leaving and that he can’t juggle everything in regard to the board, family matters and educational duties.

His retirement from the LAUSD will take effect on Tuesday, April 11 and from the board on Tuesday, April 19.

Drayer was appointed to the board after his predecessor, Bob Epple, died in 2012 and then was re-elected to the position in Nov. 2014. He is also the first openly gay member to have served on the board for Cerritos College.

Drayer represented Trustee Area three which includes the city of Cerritos, Bellflower, Downey and South Gate.

Student Trustee Karen Patron stated that she was sad to see Drayer go, but could understand why he is doing so.

“From my understanding his father had passed away recently and he was given the duty to take over the family business,” she said. “Drayer was trying to fulfill his duties as an educator, business owner and board member all at the same time– which can be very time consuming.”

She continued to say that she very happy to see him put his family first, but now the board will have to make big decision at the next meeting taking place on Wednesday, April 5 on how the fill the postion.

The board is now tasked to finding a replacement to serve out the rest of his term, which is to end Nov. 2018.

According to Dr. Fierro, the board will have to either run a special election, or open the spot up to the public and have applicants submit resumes to fill the position.

“If [the board decides] to appoint,” Dr. Fierro said, “the position [will be advertised] widely in [Area 3.”]

He continued to explain the appointment process, saying that the board will then have to create a rubric to grade the applicants during the interview process. The interviews will take place in the open session portion of the meetings, and once complete the board will vote on the replacement.

The board will have 60 days to appoint another member, otherwise the district superintendent will call for a special election on behalf of the board.

“Obviously, bringing someone new into the board is a change in the dynamics” Dr. Fierro said. “I work for the board as a whole I’m okay with anyone that comes in and will build up the camaraderie as a whole– we will do the best we can.”

In his news release, Drayer also said, “I’m looking forward to spending more time with family, friends, and to traveling to Hawaii, New Zealand and parts of the Southern Hemisphere that I haven’t seen. I want to explore and study new things.”

However, he states, “I ask for a boycott from the LGBTQ community, don’t go to Cerritos College until this is resolved.”