The year-long saga of Hesperia Unified School District police chief Mike Graham and his very public battles with members of the school board and Superintendent Mark McKinney will continue into the new year.


More than two dozen people showed up at HUSD offices on Dec. 27 to witness what was expected to be days of termination hearings for the chief, which had been made public at his request. But shortly after the meeting began, the board members in attendance announced that the hearing would have to wait until some time in January.


Graham, board president Chris Bentley and McKinney had been taking public shots at one another since early in 2011 before Graham was suspended on Aug. 2.


The dispute first went public at a March board meeting, when Graham accused McKinney of preventing the police department from investigating student government accounting irregularities at Sultana High School as a criminal investigation back in 2009. A private investigator's report released in May supported their assertion but disagreed that cuts to the department were being made in retaliation.


The chief requested that his termination hearing be held in public. But only three board members Bentley, Niccole Childs and Eric Swanson were in attendance Dec. 27. Missing members Hardy Black and Anthony Riley had blasted the proceeding in a letter published in that day's edition of the Hesperia Star.


"Superintendent McKinney contends the hearing cannot be pushed to January to allow all board members to attend at an hour that the general public can attend," the letter reads in part. "Why the obvious effort to limit board members as well as the public from hearing and seeing for ourselves the evidence against our police chief that warrants his termination?"


Black and Riley have been vocal supporters of Graham and have hinted at dissatisfaction with McKinney since at least fall 2010.


Shortly after opening the meeting, Bentley, Childs and Swanson retired to behind closed doors, emerging 90 minutes later to announce the hearing wasn't going to happen.


"As you have seen, we do not have two board members here today," Bentley said. "Although we have a quorum, and are authorized to move forward, we feel the importance of the meeting is such that we're (delaying) this meeting until January."


He was greeted by grumbles from the audience. One audience member challenged him, saying the delay was "obscene."


"Nope," Bentley replied.


"I literally didn't know that was in there," Bentley said of the Black and Riley letter later. "Hardy and Riley should be there for it. (But) if they decide not to show up again, that is absolutely no guarantee that we won't go forward."


No new date for Graham's hearing had been set as of press time. The Hesperia Unified School District is closed through Sunday.