It looks like Michael Rives is in the hot seat right now. The spotlight has been on him since the November election, when he won seats on the Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board and the Antelope Valley Community College Board.
He serves as a trustee on the AVCC Board and Antelope Valley Healthcare District director on the AV Healthcare District Board.
When he was first elected to both Boards, there was scuttlebutt about whether he’d be able to serve on them at the same time. It seems that some are not happy with the fact that he’s been doing just that and claim that it violates Government Code section 1099, which prohibits any person from “simultaneously hold[ing] two public offices that are incompatible …” That is according to a letter penned in December, by Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, to Rives, in which he claims that he and Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer are concerned about him serving simultaneously on both Boards.
Perhaps there is genuine concern on Parris’s part in terms of Rives being able to serve on two Boards without a significant clash of duties or loyalties. However, there might actually be another reason he’s determined get Rives off a Board — specifically the Hospital Board — and it involves Dr. Abdullah Farrukh.
Farrukh, chairman of the AV Healthcare District Board of Directors, sent a letter dated Jan. 28, to Lancaster City Attorney Allison Burns stating the Healthcare District provided its support and approval for the city to move forward with the quo warranto lawsuit, according to letter. That means Rives can either resign voluntarily, or face a special form of legal action used to resolve a dispute over whether someone has the legal right to hold the public office he occupies.
Here’s the interesting tidbit involving Farrukh: He won reelection in the Nov. 3 election. Parris contributed $4,469 to his campaign for a billboard, according to Farrukh’s campaign documents.
But wait, there’s more. Rives ran against Parris’s son Rutger Parris, for the seat on the College Board. Perhaps it’s a bit of payback?
Regardless, it would appear Rex Parris and Farrukh are working together to rid themselves of Rives. The question is: Why? Is it because they truly care about his loyalty and ability to serve on two Boards? If that was the case, why not allow him to choose from which Board he’d resign? Why are they trying to force him off the Healthcare Board?
We all know Antelope Valley Hospital has some major issues. The death of a patient under their watch and a mix-up of bodies at a morgue, immediately come to mind and occurred in the recent past. We can only imagine what else has happened that we haven’t heard of yet. Add to that, the fact that no one from the Board, nor the hospital CEO had an explanation for any of it and it raises many red flags about how business is being conducted at that hospital, as well as the quality of care.
Perhaps they are more afraid of what Rives would reveal — especially if he has no special interests or allegiances to anyone in the City of Lancaster or on the Hospital Board.
The end result will be interesting. Rives will likely end up off the Hospital Board and it’ll be even more interesting to see who replaces him.