San Bernardino County will ask the state’s highest court to let Supervisor Dawn Rowe remain on the board while it appeals a superior court judge’s ruling that her appointment was “null and void” and must be rescinded. The county plans to file a petition with the California Supreme Court after an appellate court denied its request to let Rowe stay while the appeal moves forward.

Dawn Rowe

The county is appealing a judge’s ruling that said the process used to fill the 3rd District supervisor’s seat violated the state’s open-meeting law. The judge also ordered that the appointment be rescinded, giving Gov. Gavin Newsom a chance to pick a new supervisor.

I.E. United, the political advocacy group that sued over the appointment, said the appellate court’s ruling is clear. “She is no longer supervisor,” it said. “She is not supposed to be sitting in any official capacity at all.” 

The county’s position is that Rowe is still supervisor until the board rescinds her appointment, which could happen at its next meeting, January 28, at the earliest.

The appellate court’s decision comes two months before the March 3 election, in which Rowe is running for the 3rd district seat against five other candidates. If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in March, he or she would win. If none gets more than 50 percent, there would be a November runoff between the top two candidates. If the governor appoints someone to the seat, the appointee would serve until the winning candidate is sworn in in December.

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