After the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees voted to censure Trustee Veronica Gallardo last week, she will be restricted from board leadership roles and conference travel for the next year.

The Board of Trustees passed the resolution at Thursday’s meeting with a vote of 6-1, with Gallardo voting against it and Student Trustee Sophia Kofoed abstaining.

The censure resolution outlines several accusations against Gallardo including attempting to micromanage and order interim Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo to do things without the rest of the board’s knowledge, asking Murillo to fire employees who spoke against her at a Carpinteria Unified School District Board meeting, speaking to or addressing Murillo in a “disrespectful manner,” communicating and attempting to direct employees without discussion with Murillo, and missing or being late to 55% of all meetings over the last two years.

Gallardo has been a SBCC trustee since 2012 and her current term ends in 2024.

“She refused to meet with President Kate Parker or President Jonathan Abboud. She did meet with President Haslund and Dr. Murillo in December 2021, but no resolution was raised and her conduct didn’t change,” Trustee Robert Miller said during the meeting. “This action did not have to happen if she had taken the time to meet with one of the board presidents to resolve the issue. She chose not to, leaving us little option but to pursue this censure resolution.”

Miller said that Gallardo was absent from 20 Board of Trustees meetings and was late for 15 additional meetings.

“I note that each of these violations also endangered the college’s accreditation as they also violate accreditation standards,” Miller said. “In my view, a failure to pass the resolution tonight would further endanger the college’s accreditation.”

Gallardo responded by arguing that she did not miss all of these meetings and that other trustees had not tried to address the issue with her.

“A lot of this slander and allegations and all of this coming up is false, and they’re things that I’ve kept to myself as to protect the college,” Gallardo said. “So when I see things written in email that were news to me that are now public information, it’s a lie and it’s not okay.”

She also said that it is a lie that she asked Murillo to fire any employees. 

In emails to Abboud, Murillo wrote that Gallardo had asked her to fire or “take care of” four SBCC employees who spoke against Gallardo in her capacity as a Carpinteria school principal. Gallardo resigned as Aliso Elementary School principal in March 2022, according to the Coastal View News.

The censure resolution also includes about 140 pages of evidence and examples of the accusations, including emails between board members and Murillo. Emails of government employees, including elected officials, are public records.

“I have been accused of lying in this room. I did not lie,” Murillo said at the meeting. “I have been a professional in this system for 20 some odd years and I have never been directed by someone I report to to (fire someone.) I think I handled it very well and to be accused of lying — I’m sorry, I will not let that go.”

Other trustees supported the resolution and expressed their surprise to seeing this behavior from Gallardo.

“To be honest with you, Trustee Gallardo, I genuinely looked forward to working with you because I respect not all but most of your viewpoints, and you do bring a strong sense of understanding as it relates to this historical journey that you have had as a trustee on this board and I respect that,” said Trustee Charlotte Gullap-Moore, who joined the board in December 2022.

“I would say as a new trustee, I was a little bit surprised about some things or how you say it or some things you would say — I was kind of taken back because I’m not used to people acting like that on a board, and I’ve served on many boards. This really could have been avoided.”

The censure resolution restricts Gallardo from board leadership roles, committee membership, and conference travel for the next year.

The censure also requires Gallardo to participate in four webinars on ethics and board roles and responsibilities, and requires her to include the board president, Abboud, in all meetings and emails with the superintendent/president.

“This resolution is not about issue differences with Trustee Gallardo,” Miller said. “It’s not about politics, it’s not about any perceived differences which have no relevance to the work of this board, nor is it about freedom of speech.”

The censure resolution originally required Gallardo to make a public apology to Murillo and the board, but the trustees decided against it, saying a forced apology would be insincere and not useful.

A recording of the July 20 Board of Trustees meeting can be viewed on the college’s website here.