Nearly two months after turning himself in to authorities on charges of pilfering $30,000 of bond campaign money, Franklin-McKinley School District trustee John Lindner, 55, remains on the board. That makes it more than a little awkward for at least a couple of his colleagues, trustees Rudy Rodriguez and Omar Torres. While recognizing Lindner’s right to due process, Torres and Rodriguez say they’d like to see him step down if only to restore the public’s trust in the district and avoid the prospect of undermining future bond campaigns. “I think he should resign,” Torres says, “absolutely.” Rodriguez, however, was the first and only one until this week to publicly call for Lindner’s resignation, which he did at the first board meeting after news broke of the allegations. “Inside of me, I kind of cringe when we have a vote on a budget or money issue,” Rodriguez says. “I mean, we voted to censure him, but that’s really all we can do because he’s an elected official.” Trustees Thanh Tran and George Sanchez made no such demand in recent board sessions and did not respond to Fly’s requests for comment by press time. Of course, without a conviction, Lindner remains legally innocent. But Rodriguez’s and Torres’ plea for Lindner to give up his seat is gaining some support from constituents. A Change.org petition imploring Lindner to call it quits was launched this past Monday. Though it got off to a slow start—with only a dozen electronic signatures by press time Tuesday—the author, Jaime Escalante, plans to make a big publicity boost in the days leading up to Lindner’s next court hearing on Feb. 20. When reached by phone on Tuesday, Lindner declined to comment and referred questions to his attorney, Christopher Schumb, who took a message and then never called back. So it’s unclear whether Lindner plans to weather the storm from his perch on the board, or to bow out and let his colleagues appoint someone to finish out the rest of his term.
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