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Citrus College Board Member Accused of Living Outside of District

A union president urges the board to take action to remove Gary Woods, who represents Azusa on the Citrus College Board of Trustees.

Gary Woods has served on the Citrus College Board of Trustees representing Azusa since 1982, but a union president alleges that Woods doesn’t even live in Azusa, violating terms of the elected office.

John Fincher, president of the Citrus College Faculty Association, leveled allegations against Woods during Tuesday’s board meeting, claiming that Woods, who long insisted his one-bedroom Azusa apartment is his main place of residence, actually lives in an upscale Sierra Madre home.

Fincher points to California Elections Code, which states that an elected official must be domiciled in his or her district, meaning that residence is the place where habitation is fixed and where that person intends to remain. An elected official may only have one domicile, according to the code.

Representatives of the Community College Association, community college affiliate of the California Teachers Association, contracted an attorney who launched a two-month investigation into the allegations, which Fincher said has long been rumored throughout the 30 years Woods has been on the board.

Investigation information posted on firegarywoods.com shows a grant deed from April 2011 for Gary Woods and Guo Ping Wu for a property in Sierra Madre. Fincher said surveillance cameras show that nearly every morning Woods would leave his Sierra Madre home and return in the evening. Fincher said the investigation was spurred by a former United State Postal Service carrier who said he consistently dropped off mail at Woods’ Azusa residence at 450 N. Soldano Ave. to find a full mailbox that would occasionally be emptied by the owner. 

“We have someone who is not properly elected and not properly domiciled in the district and does not properly represent the people of Azusa,” said Fincher.

He urged the board to investigate the allegations, which he said can lead to the board to initiate an action item for the April 2 meeting to vacate Woods’ position.

Woods, who represents Azusa and portions of Duarte in Area #1, ends his four-year term on Nov. 30. He plans to run for another term in November.

Woods brushed off the allegations as “politics” in the lead up to the November election.

“It has been a split board for a long time,” said Woods, who, along with fellow board member Ed Ortell, has often clashed with the three other board members – most recently over Citrus College President Geraldine Perri’s new contract.

Woods denied that his domicile was in Sierra Madre.

“Of all the properties I own, I have my phone here, I have my mail here and I intend to return here and stay here,” said Woods of his Azusa residence. “I think it meets all of the requirements for a domicile.”

Woods, also an attorney, added that if the board decided to retain legal counsel, he would be ready.

“If they want to take action, I’ll take action against them,” said Woods.

mj March 20, 2013 at 04:49 AM
SERIOUS??? Do you people have no life?
AB March 20, 2013 at 08:31 AM
So, where did the funds come from that paid for the attorney's two month investigation? I'm curious since Citrus College has been hit with such a huge cut in funding that there is money available NOT to pay for additional classes or teachers or scholarships, but evidently enough so that an attorney can be hired. All of this because someone isn't playing nicely with someone else. Get over your petty differences and focus on the students. This is pathetic. Mark Twain said it best, "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards". - Following the Equator; Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar
AB March 20, 2013 at 08:36 AM
Evidently not. I'd like to start a petition, "Stop wasting tax dollars on frivolous attorney fees" Anyone want to sign?
Mikey's Mom March 20, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Wow! Sounds like retaliation due to Woods confronting the board regarding Geraldine's 40k plus pay raise and other unnecessary perks in a bad economy where students and teachers are suffering, layoffs and class reductions. You go Woods! Bring it all out in the open! I could careless where you live. The bigger issue may be the crooks, that feel they deserve more, sitting on the Board. Let's not get distracted by where Woods does or doesn't live, revisit the link included in this article regarding Geraldines pay raise and additional perks. The three of you who voted for this outrageous increase should be removed. Clearly you have lost sight of what the board is truely there for and now insist on wasting more money with legal fees! And really, breaking news?
gilman March 20, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Taxpayer dollars weren't used for the attorney or investigation, those were union dollars. Tax dollars were used to fund the secret compensation package of the President, you know the one which pays her close to $400,000 a year.
Gary Woods March 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I would like to make a few comments relating to the article: 1. John Fincher, the union president, came to the Citrus Board meeting and actually praised Geraldine Perri and recommended that she should receive the Automatic Column Advancements, unused vacation days to be paid rather than lost (amounting to approximately $1,000 per day), the $40,000 moving allowance per year, and the life time health insurance which amounts to approximately $400,000 or more at the end of four years. I thought he was to represent the faculty? 2. Regarding the U.S. Postman, he stated that he worked at the post office from 1983 until 1991 - 30 years ago!! Both my parents were postal workers, and I seriously doubt that in delivering mail to thousands of homes that they would remember delivering to a mail box 30 years ago (the articles stated that the delivery residence was Soldano, but the address he was referring to was on Rockvale). I also wonder why this persons job was terminated after 8 years, and what a postman is doing questioning a customer of the post office, it may even be a violation of a Federal Regulation. 3. Regarding the property in Sierra Madra, if you look at the Grant Deed you will see that I am a minority investment owner of 1/3. The majority owner is the one who lives there with his cousin and her mother.
Gary Woods March 20, 2013 at 11:26 PM
I would like to make a few comments relating to the article: 1. John Fincher, the union president, came to the Citrus Board meeting and actually praised Geraldine Perri and recommended that she should receive the Automatic Column Advancements, unused vacation days to be paid rather than lost (amounting to approximately $1,000 per day), the $40,000 moving allowance per year, and the life time health insurance which amounts to approximately $400,000 or more at the end of four years. I thought he was to represent the faculty? 2. Regarding the U.S. Postman, he stated that he worked at the post office from 1983 until 1991 - 30 years ago!! Both my parents were postal workers, and I seriously doubt that in delivering mail to thousands of homes that they would remember delivering to a mail box 30 years ago (the articles stated that the delivery residence was Soldano, but the address he was referring to was on Rockvale). I also wonder why this persons job was terminated after 8 years, and what a postman is doing questioning a customer of the post office, it may even be a violation of a Federal Regulation. 3. Regarding the property in Sierra Madra, if you look at the Grant Deed you will see that I am a minority investment owner of 1/3. The majority owner is the one who lives there with his cousin and her mother.
doris woods March 21, 2013 at 12:04 AM
GW I would like to make a few comments relating to the article: 1. John Fincher, the union president, came to the Board meeting last summer and made a presentation supporting the Presidents four year compensation package including the Automatic Column Advancement, paid unused vacation days (amounting to approximately $1,000 per day), yearly moving allowance of approximately $40,000, and life time health insurance which amounts to over $400,000 after 4 years. I thought he was to represent the faculty! 2. The article stated that Stephan Cervantes, who worked for the U.S. Post office from 1983 to 1991 stated that he delivered mail to my address - over 30 years ago. The article states that the address was on Soldano; however, the address at that time was on Rockvale. My parents were postal workers, who delivered mail to thousands of customers, and I seriously doubt that they would have remembered a mailbox that they delivered mail to 30 years ago, much less question a customer of the postal service. In fact, that may be a violation of a Federal Regulation. 3. In regard to the property in Sierra Madre, I am a minority investment owner of 1/3 of the property. The majority owner lives on the property, along with his cousin and her mother. 4. In additiion, I am a little insulted that John Fincher feels that Azusa is a low class community and question why I would live there. I have a right to live where I want, and I happen to like living in Azusa - Is that so bad!!
Citric Acid March 21, 2013 at 02:56 AM
John Fincher is a henchman of Perri and does not represent all Citrus College faculty. Last summer, the majority of the Board of Trustees colluded and voted to give Perri a pay rise. This was against the wishes of the the majority of faculty, staff and supervisors. The raise was during budget cuts when classes and student services were being cut.The raise was given while the College closed its Child Development Center and laid off employees who's been at Citrus for 20 - 30 years. How can the President get a pay raise while the rest of the college is suffering? Easy, she can count to three. As long as Montgomery, Rasmussen and Keith goes along with what Perri wants, she gets everything she wants. This was an insensitive and a violation of public trust. The vote was 3-2 and guess who voted against this callous act? Ortell and Woods. Last year, Fincher reported that Ortell was asking for too much technical support and should be investigated for waste of College resources. Fincher then demanded to strip Ortell and Woods of their health benefits and then this week he has breaking news that Woods should step down from the Board because he doesn't live in Azusa. All of this news from Fincher is retaliation and revenge since Ortell and Woods actually voted their conscience. So why is Fincher the attack dog? Fincher and his gang of thugs secured a 2% raise since 2012. Fincher is protected by Perri. He maybe the union President but he only represents Dr. Perri's interest. Shame.
jammer March 21, 2013 at 04:54 AM
If he is proved to be dirty, beyond any doubt, he should not only be terminated, but prosecuted in any and all ways possible.
The Independent sage March 21, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Actually, Fincher is heroic in this thing. 1. Wood's comments above are incorrect. If you go to the Citrus College website - Board minutes - you will find out he never spoke on the issue of Dr. Perri's contract. 2. Look up her contract. She doesn't get anywhere close to $400,000. 3. Tuesday night Woods (along with Ortell) voted to approve the faculty raise. It was 5-0. I wonder who is in bed with whom?
Gone March 21, 2013 at 11:23 PM
GONE Finally sometone has the nerve to say what the majority of the Citrus College community has known since Dr. Woods was elected the first time. When his address was on Rockvale, all of his mail went to the 700 North Lake address in Pasadena even the Board Agendas. They voted in their lifetime medical benefits. No other school employees get that. Montgomery, Keith and Rasmussen made a mistake giving Dr. Perri the raise but I am sure Woods and Ortell voted for it in closed session and then changed to make themselves look good to the community. The ladies give very generously of their tiem and also give financial support to many of the schools' programs. Check the last 30 years and see how much financial support Ortel and Woods have given.
Citric Acid March 22, 2013 at 03:21 AM
To Independent Sage - Your are gravely mistaken. 1. Woods voted his conscience and voted NO to Perri's ridiculous pay raise during time of cutbacks and services to students were being cancelled. Woods issued a personal written statement against the pay raise. Did other board members explain their vote on paper? No. They all hid behind the "media statement" prepared by Perri. 2. Yes, look up her contract. Perri raise is automatic every year for 4 years. She will receive close to $400K at the end of her contract. Plus a housing allowance, car allowance, a discretionary allowance and an option to cash out her vacation! 3. Yes, Ortell and Woods voted to approve the 2% faculty raise. It was a continuum to last year's raise. Perri got 4% yearly automatic plus additional perks. Lastly, Fincher is no hero. Fincher is a tool of Perri. Faculty and staff knows Fincher is only there for Perri's amusement.
Citric Acid March 22, 2013 at 03:38 AM
To Gone - Did you know that Citrus paid a $14,000 fine because they violated the Brown Act? You mentioned that your sure "Woods and Ortell voted for it in closed session and then changed to make themselves look good to the community" is ILLEGAL. They cannot vote and even discuss any Board action in private. That's the law! That's why they got sued and had to admit fault. Ortell and Woods wanted a discussion on the contract in public but Montgomery, Rasmussen and Keith voted to stop the debate and vote to pass the pay raise. The secrecy that happens at Citrus is what sickens a lot of people. If they have nothing to hide just let the public see everything, stop playing favorites and stop hiding information. Leadership starts from the top. Unfortunately, Citrus has failed leaders and they are continuing to weed out the dissenting voices. Let the people of Azusa vote if they want Woods or not but please spare the faculty, staff and students of all this infighting and petty fights. Citrus is in the business of education not muckraking. If Fincher has a case, file a complaint and be done with it. All he does is bark and its making the whole college look bad.
gilman March 22, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Fincher is a lot of things, I am not sure "heroic" is one of them. Certainly if it is proven that the claims against Woods are correct then he will have much more than just being thrown off the board to be worried about. Disappointing to see that apparently everyone has known about Woods not living in the District but said nothing until he voted against the outlandish contract being provided to Perri. You might want to look up not only her contract, but the many amendments, and you will see that her total package is probably a little more than $400,000.00 per year.
gilman March 22, 2013 at 06:03 AM
Dear Gone, I wouldn't worry to much about Ortell and Woods voting themselves lifetime benefits....it is illegal under California law.
V. Reason March 26, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I have a phone there. I get mail there. I own several properties and can live where I want. All statements from Mr. Woods. How many other elected officials - elected to serve the city of Azusa, are also willing to stake their claim of residency as Mr. Woods...over let's say "Azusa is my home." Mr. Woods has mail, a phone, a home, work, pays property taxes and business in Pasadena, CA.....more than he does in Azusa. Just go if you like....it's ok. District 1 can find a leader from its community.
No More Wool May 09, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Hear, hear V. Reason!!

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