The San Bernardino County school board has voted to let one of its members, Gil Navarro, stay on at least until the state attorney general gives an opinion on whether he can legally serve on both the school board and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District board.

The decision came after a determination by county lawyers that he can't.

Navarro, a school board member since 2006, was elected in a November to a seat on the water board that he took Jan. 8.

In December, County Counsel Jean-Rene Basle drew from a previous attorney general's opinion that representing a water district and school district could lead to a "significant clash of duties and loyalties," for instance because the water district sets wholesale prices that retail water agencies then pass on to school districts.

Even a potential future significant clash means the first office must be resigned, according to the attorney general's website.

But the school board voted 4-0 on Monday - with Navarro abstaining - to ask the attorney general whether the offices were compatible.

"This is a legal matter that needs to be resolved, and the proper channel is to go through the attorney general," board President Bette Harrison said in a statement from the county superintendent's office.

Navarro said he supported that decision, although he expected a backlog of cases in the Attorney General's Office would mean it would take a year and a half to get an opinion, which he said would have to be followed by a lawsuit.


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"I have no problem with the process other than it's a waste of taxpayer dollars," Navarro said.

Navarro's school board seat, which represents schools in San Bernardino and Rialto, is up for election in November 2014.

Navarro's school board pay was $18,369 for the 2011-12 year, including health and welfare, according to county schools spokeswoman Christine McGrew.

The water district pay is $385 per day, with a 10-day limit for each month, according to general manager Doug Headrick.

This report has been corrected to indicate the vote was 4-0, with Navarro abstaining.


Contact Ryan via email, by phone at 909-386-3916, or on Twitter @sbcitynow.