HAYWARD — City Manager Greg Jones announced Wednesday that he plans to pursue one of three Hayward school board seats that will be available in November's election.
Jones said he's inquired with the state Attorney General's Office to see if it would be a conflict of interest to hold both posts, but has not received a ruling. He does not believe there would be a conflict.
"There could be occasions, regarding specific items where the city is providing a service to the schools, but it seems to me that I could recuse myself from a vote," he said.
School board President Paul Frumkin, who works for outgoing Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele, said that because the city and school district are separate entities, Jones holding both jobs should not pose a problem. But the fact that some people could perceive a conflict could cause problems, Frumkin said.
"That's something that will have to be addressed," he said. "Legally, there may be no conflict, but the public's perception, because of who you are and your role in the decision-making process, could be different."
Jones said that if state officials see a conflict, he will have to make a "tough decision" what to drop — the bid for the board or his current job, with a base pay of about $180,000.
"From my perspective, schools are the most important issue we have in the community," he said.
"We can do all the great work for the city, but if we don't improve schools, we keep losing families and losing future leaders of the community."
Jones said the city is "headed in the right direction," but he's been hearing a lot of concern regarding the state of the school district.
"People are voting with their feet on the school issue," he said. "To have a healthy community, we've got to have healthy schools, and that's going to require more new leadership."
Last month, Sarah Gonzales retired from her post on the school board. In addition to her seat, Frumkin and Sheila Sims will be up for re-election.
Jones would be joined in the race by Councilwoman Anna May, whose term expires this year. He said they may run as a slate, and are looking for a third person to join them.
"We are like-minded about what needs to happen with our schools," he said.