Shown below are attacks against Director Berg. The outcome of the attacks or Director Berg's responses are included.
https://citizenssupportingsouthkitsapschooldistrict.com/ has, as of January 14, 2022, repurposed itself. The many pages regarding the South Kitsap School District have been removed. Of the remaining eleven subpages at that time, ten were devoted to primarily attacking Director John Berg, and to a lessor extent current Board President Wilson and former Directors Gattenby and Sebren.
While the intent is to criticize an demean the character of Director Berg, the website's graphics, vitriol and overall tone reveals much more about the character of its authors than any of the content itself may say about Director Berg. This is most likely the reason for the website's cowardly anonymity in failing to disclose its authors and backers.
At the April 21, 2021 Board meeting, Director John Berg introduced a motion to appoint two investigating committees to consider possible censure of Director Jeff Daily. The two committees (Gattenby and Sebrin on one, and Berg and Diehl on the other) were to work in parallel. That motion was adopted. This action was in conformity with Board Policy GP-12 which provides for censure of a Board Member and Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th ed.) (RONR), which provides that the first step in a disciplinary procedure is the appointment of an investigating committee (RONR 63:7).
Later in the same meeting, Director Daily accused Director Berg of multiple violations and handed Board President Gattenby an envelope with charges. This was in spite of the fact that RONR 63:11 specifically states that such action is out of order and an investigating committee must instead be appointed.
At the May 5, 2021 meeting, Board President Gattenby, upon the advice of the District's legal counsel, proposed amending the original motion appointing two committees of two board members each, and replace it with a provision for an investigation by the State Risk Pool, the liability insurers for the District. The Board adopted the motion to replace the appointment of investigating committees with "utilize the risk pool asset to look into the matter".
Since no action was taken at either that meeting or the previous one on April 21st to investigate any charges against Director Berg, President Gattenby stated that he would also utilize the risk pool to "look into the matter concerning Director Berg".
At the May 19, 2021 meeting, an executive session was held to consider Director Berg's response to Director Daily's accusations. A full copy of Director Berg's response was included in the executive content of the agenda and was available only to Board members prior to the meeting and not to the general public.
Director Daily choose not to attend the executive session. Following the executive session, the Board adopted the following motion: "After reviewing Director Berg's response to the allegations presented against him at the April 21, 2021 Board meeting by Director Daily, the Board finds that Director Daily's accusations against Director Berg are baseless, without merit, and dilatory, and directs the Board President to expend no more time or effort by himself or others in further investigation of the allegations against Director Berg." That motion had been previously distributed to all Board members the previous day.
It was not out of order or improper for Director Berg to introduce a motion directly related to himself. It is not improper for him to defend himself against charges made against him. Similarly, it is quite normal for a defendant in court of law to move to have charges dismissed. Under RONR 19:7, motions made by a member in response to charges circulated against that member are permissible as questions of Personal Privilege. After making the motion, Director Berg did, however, abstain in the voting on his motion to dismiss the charges, as was also appropriate.
Later in that meeting, Director Daily attempted to also make accusations against Directors Liz Sebrin and Erick Gattenby with similar envelopes delivered to the Board President, as he had done at the April 21st meeting. This time his action was ruled out of order under the previously mentioned RONR 63:11. He declined to take the appropriate action to move to appoint an investigating committee.
Since the action was ruled out of order, no further action need be taken by the Board President. Since the two envelopes need not be opened, their contents were not disclosed on this website until after they were submitted to the King County Superior Court October 4, 2021.
Since final action has been taken on the accusations made against Director Berg, dismissing them and terminating the investigation, Director Berg's response can now be made public under RCW 42.56.280. The actual response is 15 pages, with an additional 55 pages of Exhibits that include Daily's original charges, relevant newspaper articles, transcripts, policies, emails, and the full references to RONR cited above.
The attorney assigned to investigate Director Daily has reported back to the Board. It has been made public and on October 20, 2021, the Board voted to take no further action on the matter.
This will download the entire 70-page document. To see it broken down into segments for easier viewing or download,
go to Daily v. SKSD  and scroll down to the documents listed under 7.0 (7.01, 7.02, 7.03, etc.)
Larry Mann filed a complaint against Director Berg with the Professional Standards Committee of the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). This followed two previous attempts by CSSKS to file the complaints anonymously, which the NAP did not accept. The complaint apparently asked the NAP to strip Director Berg of his Professional Registered Parliamentarian designation because of his alleged misuse of parliamentary procedure at Board meetings. While the complaint included documents and video clips, it failed to specify which of the professional standards Director Berg violated, as requested on the complaint form, and it did not did give sufficient details on its broad accusations.
The NAP maintains strict confidentiality on its ethics process. However, on August 1, 2021, the complaint was dismissed for insufficient evidence and as "frivolous, inconsequential, or as not attaining the required level of proof."
The complaint lists seven alleged violations accompanied by a 742 word discourse on all of the alleged illegal acts committed by Director Berg. Yet, the PDC disregarded all of the statutes cited by Mr. Kimble as being violated and instead asked Director Berg to respond to only two allegations related to statutes not even cited by Mr. Kimble:
While referencing Director Berg's gonads, Mr. Kimble questioned why the PDC charges against Director Berg are not reprinted in full on this website. Since the PDC ignored the bulk of Mr. Kimble's complaint, it will not be posted here. All documents are available online from the PDC by clicking here.
The CSSKS website condemns weaponizing the PDC for political purposes.
On August 18, 2021, the PDC dismissed all charges against Director Berg with separate letters to Mr. Kimble and Director Berg.
The PDC concluded, "Based on these findings, staff has determined that in this instance, Director Berg providing information during a school board meeting about a website created to provide information to the public about candidates for school board positions, does not appear to be a violation of RCW 42.17A.555 warranting further investigation".
In the PDC dismissal of the complaint, the PDC "reminded" Director Berg to "avoid discussing campaign related matters during school board meetings". Mr. Kimble, on his CSSKS website, characterizes this as a warning for first-time violators, noting that first time violators are always given a break by the PDC. Subsequently, Director Berg received the following clarification from the PDC Compliance Officer in an email of August 23, 2021 which stated (with emphasis added):
The case closure letters included a reminder, not a formal written warning. Staff does not have specific criteria for use of the terms "reminder" and "formal written warning" but generally, if staff believes there is evidence a violation may have occurred, but the activity does not warrant further investigation, staff will issue a formal written warning, and the Commission will consider the warning in deciding on further Commission action if there are future violations of PDC laws or rules. When staff does not conclude a formal written warning is warranted, but believes continuation of the activity could lead to a violation, a reminder is issued.
Thus the PDC reminder was clearly not a first time written warning since there was no evidence that a violation occurred.
After further clarification from the PDC, Director Berg revised this website on August 23, 2021 and removed material related to the any current or future campaign for school board positions. He is now free to refer constituents to his website during Board meeting since it is no longer campaign related.
At the October 20, 2021 Board meeting, Director Berg was elected Board President by a vote of 3 to 1 to fill the unexpired term of Eric Gattenby, who had resigned from the Board in September. Director Daily spoke against Director Berg being elected Board President.
Director Diehl questioned whether or not such personally directed remarks were out of order, but the chair (Director Berg as acting president at the time) stated that they normally would be out of order but since the pending question was the election of board president, debate of the candidate's qualifications would be permitted.
(It is interesting to note that when Director Diehl raised her parliamentary inquiry, Director Berg stopped to make sure that Director Daily had concluded his remarks first. This was an application of Robert's Rules to protect Director Daily's rights to not be interrupted when he had the floor.)
The full extent of Director Daily's remarks can be found on the video of the meeting at 2:24:25 into the meeting. Below is a summary of Director Daily's major points, together with Director Berg's responses. In order to avoid contention in the Board meeting, Director Berg did not respond to the remarks at the meeting.
Director Daily stated that Director Berg, at a prior Board meeting, called the police on a parent without first working with the parent's concerns and just shut down the meeting, thus displaying poor leadership skills.
The incident referred to occurred at the September 15, 2021 Board meeting and can be viewed on the video of the meeting at timepoint 0:21:45. Director Berg was presiding in the absence of Director Gattenby. There had been a rally at Bethel and Lund prior to the Board meeting to protest the State's mask mandate and the District's enforcment of it. Similar to the incident last January 6th in the other Washington, those at the rally were encouraged to attend the Board meeting to make their voices heard. That similarity may have contributed to the fears of those at the Board meeting.
All of the visitor seats in the Board room were filled and more chairs were being set up as visitors continued to arrive after the meeting had started.
There were two signs before reaching the outside door instructing visitors that they must be masked to attend the meeting. District security personnel were also on hand in the hallway to remind visitors to mask. Most of the visitors complied.
About twenty minutes into the meeting additional people entered the room unmasked. Director Berg informed them them that under District policy they must be masked or leave the meeting. One of the unmasked individuals who refused to comply approached the Board to protest the mask policy. Director Berg reminded him that this was not the public comment portion of the meeting and asked him to be silent and mask himself or leave the room.
The crowd became very vocal and Director Berg told the individual that if he did not leave the room law enforcement would be summoned. Director Berg recessed the meeting to restore order. The situation did not improve. Superintendent Winter and Director Diehl left the room with the two student board representatives. At that point the board no longer had the required quorum of three directors present to conduct business and Director Berg adjourned the meeting for lack of a quorum.
Director Berg is personally sympathetic with those who oppose mask and vaccine requirements, including members of his immediate family who fall in those categories. Nevertheless, when presiding at a board meeting, he must put his personal feelings aside and enforce District policy. The South Kitsap School District, as does every other school district, has policies that all who enter upon district property must comply with, particularly when students are present. When individuals are upon district property in violation of district policy, they are trespassing and must leave.
The Washington Open Public Meeting act provides for situations in which it becomes necessary to recess or adjourn a meeting when it becomes unruly.
Director Daily is referring to this website, www.skschools.info. Viewers of this website can determine for themselves if the primary purpose of the website is to attack Director Daily, and if so, is it justified.
Director Daily claimed that the website violated numerous ethical, board policies, and laws, but cited none.
The purpose of this website is to inform stakeholders about the workings of the South Kitsap School District and particularly its Board. Since his election to the Board, Director Daily has had a significant influence on the workings of the board, and such influence is reported accurately and without personal attacks, name-calling, photoshopped images of him, nor ridicule. The facts are presented so that they can speak for themselves. Even value-laden adjectives are avoided on this website.
Most comments received about this website are quite positive. Only two people have criticized this website as being biased or inaccurate, and they are both mentioned in the next paragraph. In spite of their repeated accusations of falsehoods on this website, they have failed to even identify, much less prove, any false statements.
Compare this website with that of Citizens Supporting South Kitsap Schools (CSSKS), of which Director Daily and Mr. David Kimble are principals. As of this writing, seven out of the last eight articles on that website have attacked Director Berg, calling him names such as "Our Idiot of the Month", "Cowboy Parliamentarian", "King Crybaby J. Berg", and referring to "John Berg's Stinky Mess". Photoshopped images of Director Berg are presented, together with other offensive images.
This website contains no such attacks.
The document to which Director Daily refers was actually only 70-pages, not 80. (Director Daily's term "manifesto" is what it is called on the abovementioned CSSKS website.) While Director Daily portrays the document as a personal attack on his character, the document was actually Director Berg's reply to the extensive accusations that Director Daily leveled against Director Berg at the April 21, 2021 meeting. The document consists of 15 pages or narrative, addressing the accusations line-by-line, followed by 55 pages of exhibits in support of the narrative.
Director Berg's narrative pointed out what he believed were inaccuracies, contradictions, and inconsistencies in Director Daily's accusations.
The document was distributed to the Board and posted on this website. It was not "sent to everyone in the community" as claimed by Director Daily, unless posting something on a personal website constitutes sending it to everyone in the community.
The lawsuit to which Director Daily refers is Jeffery Daily v. South Kitsap School Board . The Board was sued, not the individual members. There is a legal distinction between suing a board as an entity rather than suing its individual members. Director Daily also stated that there are also personal lawsuits against the directors which they will need to deal with. At that time, there was only the one lawsuit, and there are no lawsuits pending against individual Board members.
Director Daily sued the Board to appeal its July 19, 2021 decision to not adopt his motion to have an outside investigation of two other Board members (Directors Gattenby and Sebren). The Board voted 1 to 3 against his motion, yet Director Daily blames Director Berg for the Board's decision and for Director Daily's own decision to sue the Board.
After the incident at the September 15th Board meeting discussed above, Director Berg, then as acting board president after the resignation of Director Gattenby, felt it best to follow the lead of other districts with similar problems and go back to holding meetings 100% on Zoom.
His primary reason was not the COVID-19 infection rate, but for crowd control and the safety of the participants. The current Board meeting room is not large enough to hold large crowds and simply having enough visitors show up to exceed the legal capacity of the room would force the meeting to shut down. Moving the meetings to the high school auditorium was tried in July, but the logistics made it less practical. The rights to view the meetings and make public comment were retained in the Zoom meetings.
Director Berg initially proposed the agenda for the October 6th meeting as a 100% Zoom meeting. Director Daily protested that decision and a special meeting of the Board was held on October 5th, via Zoom, and the majority decided to have future meeting 100% Zoom until the Board determined otherwise. This was a board decision by majority vote, and not Director Berg imposing his will on the Board.
"In summary, your arrogance, cowardice, desire for political gain, vindictiveness, regardless of what you think, are not the characteristics of any leadership model I am familiar with. Your ethical morals, and integrity basically disgust me. You're sitting there, interpreting Robert's Rules of Order as Robert's Rules of Order for John Berg. Many of those are your interpretations. They can be interpreted and they are written otherwise. So you're not qualified for the job."
Director Daily has claimed that Director's Berg's application of Robert's Rules of Order were Director Berg's own incorrect interpretations. Yet Director Daily has provided no examples of any errors in Director Berg's application of parliamentary rules and has provided none in the past. It should be very simple to point to some specific instance and then cite the appropriate provision in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th ed.) to show where Director Berg was in error.
The CSSKD, through Larry Mann, filed ethical complaints with the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) against Director Berg, echoing Director Daily's claims that Director Berg was mis-applying parliamentary procedure. Those accusations were dismissed by the NAP's Professional Standards Committee.
Director Berg holds the highest credential for parliamentarians granted by the National Association of Parliamentarians, that of Professional Registered Parliamentarian, or PRP. A PRP is also trained, tested, and qualified to serve as a presiding officer. Director Berg has had over fifteen educational articles published in the journals of the National Association of Parliamentarians or the American Institute of Parliamentarians. He has served on the NAP Edit and Review Committee reviewing submitted articles from other parliamentarians for publication in the journal. He has taught workshops at the NAP national training conferences or convention in 2021, 2019 and 2018. He will be presenting a breakout session on Robert's Rules for other school board directors in the state at the Washington State School Directors' Association meeting in November.
He served four years as the president of the Washington State Association of Parliamentarians (WSAP) and has served as parliamentarian for a number of national organizations. Including being president of the WSAP, he has served a total of fourteen years as president of state-wide organizations (some concurrently).
By contrast, Director Daily's understanding and respect of parliamentary procedure is characterized by his criticizing the motion to end debate, one of the basic motions in parliamentary procedure, as "Robert's Rules Hocus Pocus" at the October 6, 2021 Board meeting.
Director Daily objected to the Board's consideration of revised governing policies, stating that it was illegal for the Board to change policies that are the subject of a lawsuit (which he filed). There has been no injunction or restraining order issued against the School Board and the mere filing of a lawsuit does not stop the work of the Board.
The 16-minute discussion can be viewed on the video of the meeting, from 1:50:00 to 2:06:05. Director Daily also threatened additional lawsuits and injunctions against the Board and specifically against Director Berg.
Director Daily first attempted to remove those items from the agenda. After that motion failed, and when the items came up on the agenda, he attacked Director's Berg's involvement in the development of the policies. When Director Berg attempted to describe the development of the policies, Director Daily repeated interrupted him and spoke over him so that Director Berg could not give his explanation. The remainder of the Board declined to restrain Director Daily's interruptions and postponed the matter to the next meeting to end the dispute for then. When they came up on the agenda of the next meeting in November, the Board removed them from the agenda to let the new Board deal with the issues.
Following is a more detailed explanation of the development of the documents considered at the November meeting.
The agenda item was the approval of proposed bylaws for the Board. That proposed document can be found here. The document arose out of the Board's October 8, 2021 workshop with the Aspen Group. Under Aspen Group's Coherent Governance model, the Board has four sets of governing documents, designated as Results, Operational Expectations, Board/Superintendent Relations, and Governance Culture. Previously the Board, with the assistance of the Aspen Group, had revised and adopted Results and Operational Expectations policies, and was working on Board/Superintendent Relations and Governance Culture at the October 8 workshop. There were a number of the previous Board policies, called Governance Policies, that the Aspen Group did not want in the corresponding Governance Culture documents, stating that they should be adopted separately in a document they referred to as bylaws.
In 2020, Directors Diehl and Daily were designated as a Board committee to draft Results and Operational Expectation policies and they used policies from the Racine School District as a model. That work was finished when the Board adopted those revised policies. Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th ed.) (RONR), the Board's parliamentary authority, a special committee ceases to exist when it makes it final report, so no Board action was needed to discharge that committee.
In April, 2021, the Board signed a new contract with the Aspen Group that included revisions of the remaining policies and the October workshop. Director Diehl functioned as the Board's sole contact person with the Aspen group and Director Daily was not involved, although there was no specific Board decision to that effect.
Following the October 8th workshop, the documents worked on were not yet ready for Board approval, including specifically the bylaws. Director Diehl asked Director Berg, then the Board Acting President and later President, to work with her and continue as the Aspen liaison because she was going out of office December 1st. (At the November 3rd meeting, Director Daily stated that he has had no contact with the Aspen Group (at 1:51:30 on the recording).) Directors Diehl and Berg continued to work with the Aspen Group during October to perfect the documents.
The other Board members were not involved in the discussions between Directors Diehl, Berg, and the Aspen Group because any discussion among three or more members of the Board outside a public meeting would violate the Washington State Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). The Aspen Group's Ginger Hopkins responded to Director Berg's email to her with a response to the entire Board. When Director Daily sent a "reply to all" to that email to the Board, a potential violation of the OPMA was triggered. (As Director Berg stated at the November 3 meeting, he had consulted with the District's legal counsel regarding the potential OPMA violation prior to the Board meeting.)
In Director Daily's remarks at the Board meeting, he accused Director Berg of inserting Robert's Rules of Order into the documents. The original documents already had two references to Robert's Rules of Order and Director Berg's version did not change those provisions. The proposed bylaws did include two modifications regarding terms of officers and the debatability of the consent agenda. This restriction on debate (which is common to most boards using a consent agenda) was most likely what Director Daily was referring to in his remarks.
After the debate between Directors Berg and Daily became intense, Director Sebren moved to close debate, which failed on a tie vote. There was then a motion to call for the question. Director Berg explained that calling for the question and closing debate are the same thing (RONR 16:6), but Director Daily disagreed.
Had the motion to close debate been adopted, a vote would then have been taken on the main motion adopting the bylaws. Instead the consideration of the matters was postponed to the next meeting and then dropped from that agenda.
The Board is now left with two of its four sets of board policies conforming to the new Coherent Governance model (Results and Operational Expectations) and the remaining two sets (Governance Process, and Board/Superintendent Relations) under the former governance model. What would have been in the proposed Bylaws was previously covered in Governance Process policies.)
Director Daily disclosed his plan to tie up the Board in litigation for months and "cripple the Board's ability to act" with restraining orders and injunctions. This can be found on the video of the November 17, 2021 Board meeting from 3:45 to 6:42. (See also his second lawsuit against the Board filed February 14, 2022.)
Director Daily stated "Mr. Berg has/is being served papers regarding a personal lawsuit and an injunction that involves his interaction with the Board." He also called for Director Berg's resignation from the Board. (A fuller transcription of his remarks can be found under Meeting Comments.)
As of May 25, 2022, no such papers have been served on Director Berg.
Director Daily has been advised that his attempts to counsel the Board on how to deal with his own lawsuit presents a conflict of interest. Because his lawsuit seeks a reimbursement from the District for his legal costs, he has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the lawsuit. As the plaintiff in the lawsuit, he also sits on the board that is the respondent to his own lawsuit.
Director Daily emailed Board President Wilson with his response to the December 15, 2021 Board Meeting. Director Daily wrote:
This is meant in the spirit of trying to allow you time to adjust to your new position and giving the new board a chance to start new. It is not threatening; just statements of fact which would be a far better thing to use at board meetings instead of past processes or "opinions" with no basis or fact to substantiate.
Director Daily stated " Mr. Berg is being sued for the content of his website as well as other issues." After asking Director Wilson to stop Director Berg from "promoting his website", Director Daily added, "I will respond to it should it happen again."
In referring to the past Board members (Gattenby, Sebren, & Diehl) , Director Daily wrote, " Please remember that they too are being sued for their actions and comments so it is entirely possible that you and perhaps others may be drawn into this mess given the comments last night." and he added, "Sadly, the lawsuits are in motion and have the capability to spill over into this board and members should folks forget this fact."
Director Daily used "lawsuits" in the plural, in spite of there being only the first lawsuit which Director Daily filed against the Board in August 2021. (See also his second suit against the Board filed February 14, 2022,) There has been no follow-up to his November 17, 2021 statement, "Mr. Berg has/is being served papers regarding a personal lawsuit and an injunction .." As of May 25, 2022, there has been no personal lawsuit filed against Director Berg.
In spite of the fact that Board Governance Policy GP-2-E-5 requires that "All board meetings will be conducted in an orderly and business-like manner using the most recent edition of Roberts' Rules of Order Newly Revised as its parliamentary authority, except when such rules are superseded by board bylaws or policies." and Board Governance Policy GP-5 states that the President has the duty to "Chair Board meetings in accordance with law and using the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised", Director Daily cautioned, "I would shy away from Roberts Rules of Order disguised as policy. "
Robert's Rules of Order is not "disguised as policy". The actual Board policy itself requires the use of Robert's Rules of Order.
Director Daily wrote, "My attorney attends the board meetings so if this board continues to listen to bad advice, this board could be drawn into this mess which will not be good for anyone."
As usual, Director closes his email with:
Copyright © 2021, 2022 John R. Berg - All Rights Reserved.