Several Lynwood community activists are spearheading an attempt to recall Lynwood schools trustee Willard Hawn Reed for what they say was his part in the resignation of former Supt. Charlie Mae Knight.
Two proponents of the recall attempt, Lee Sampson and the Rev. Charles Floyd, said they are mobilizing teams to collect signatures. Sampson, a candidate in the Nov. 4 City Council election, said Reed was the key person behind Knight’s July 31 resignation. The petition alleges that Reed became a candidate in the March school board election for the “sole purpose (of defaming Knight’s) character in order to have cause to remove her from the position of superintendent.”
The petition, approved for circulation Sept. 4 by the county registrar’s office, also says Reed “has no regard for students or the community of Lynwood,” and that he has conspired with other board members to “destroy both the credibility and educational environment of the school district,” Sampson said.
Reed said in an interview Tuesday that the charges in the recall petition are “totally false. I campaigned for the Lynwood board of education to work for the improvement of education in all the Lynwood schools.” He added that he did not defame or make any derogatory remarks toward Knight.
Knight was suspended with pay June 4 when the board voted 3 to 0 to ask the district’s attorney to reopen an investigation of allegations of misuse of public funds. A previous audit by the county grand jury had cleared Knight of misconduct. Board members Thelma Williams and Joe Battle abstained from voting. Knight resigned July 31 and agreed to drop legal action against the board in exchange for its decision to drop its investigation and buy out the remainder of her contract, which would have run through 1987, for $154,000.
Recall proponents must collect 3,162 signatures, which is 20% of the registered voters in the school district, and file the petition by Jan. 2, 1986, said Alice Rivers, an administrative assistant in the county registrar’s office. If enough signatures are verified, Rivers said, the school board would call a special election.