Sunday, May 14, 2006

Skullduggery

OK.
I'm finally ready to say why I've been so freakingly stressed out regarding politics recently. The flower picture worked for about a day, but I'm deep in the morass of behind closed doors goings-on again. And that makes my head hurt.

In four years we've had three Superintendents. It's not a good track record.

Current Sup has a lot of Comunity support (goes to Rotary Club a lot) but isn't qualified across the board to be the Superintendent. She's great in some areas, not so great in others. One of the areas she's not so great at, which is surprising considering her Community fanbase, is dealing with office staff and upper level administrators.

The Board is hearing all SORTS of rumors from people who have worked in the district for many years but now are looking for lower paying jobs elsewhere. (Note: it's pretty hard to FIND a lower paying job elsewhere. If they were moving up and out, then the rumors wouldn't be such a big deal. But if they take a LOWER salary, then you have to wonder why they have to leave the office with only 24 days to go before school ends.)

Well, it turns out that at least two of the complaints should have immediately sparked an internal investigation the moment they were reported to the Personnel Director. That latest one was three months ago, and the one before that happened in August. Damn. Damn. Damn. And the Board was never told. Not in memo, not in any Personnel Report at any time. So, apparently, our Personnel Director doesn't understand Employment Law nor his responsibility to the Board. Which, you know, triggers an investigation of his office too.

Okay. Moving on.

A Board member received a Transfer Report regarding the budget which she did not understand. Called the Business Office. Director of Business Services says, "I don't recognize the transfers. I didn't do them and no one on my staff did."

Board member asks about transfers in Open Session. Response from all managers above the Director of Business Services, including the Sup: "I don't know what they are. I'll have to ask the Director of Business Services."

Warning bells are ringing. (We denied the transfer request since it was unclear who generated them and what they were. Thank god someone else was paying attention to that Transfer Report. I skimmed it.)

So now legal counsel says we need a forensic audit.

Did I mention that the Director of Business Services is one of the people leaving? No? Yeah. It's very comforting.

Did I mention that we've just had an expulsion overturned (for ALL the right reasons, by the way) and that now the County wants to meet with the Expulsion panel to go over their procedures and evidentiary claims?

(We've go the Chinese system currently which says that once they've progressed up to the Expulsion Hearing then they must be guilty. We just sent back a case where a guy was brought up on charges of selling pot-laced cookies because after an athlete was banned from plaing in a game--sick and tested positive for drugs--he said he ate a cookie being sold by first kid. No expulsion on the athlete, but the cookie seller must be guilty. We have no cookies, and we have no pot. Just the say-so of the athlete. Um. No.)

So the County is preparing a forensic audit team (which means that we're not getting any bites to fill the position of the soon-to-be-vacant Business Director--word is out), the County is sending out a team to audit our Expulsion procedures, and soon we'll be starting an internal investigation in accordance with Employment Law of at least three departments.

How much TNT did you pack in that tunnel?


And did I mention that I got *another* anonymous letter threatening that I would be "reported to the City" and forced out of town unless I mowed my lawn more frequently? I SWEAR! I am not making this shit up.

I lived with this level of stress last year when we were in the process of closing a school--that was so acrimonious that it caused the Superintendent to resign, and a new one to be hired, which sparked a recall campiagn against one of the Board members, which trickled over into the animosity of the recent School Board campaign in November wherein my friend had his signs graffittied. Ultimately we scored a total victory and brought in two additional Board Members who campaigned on Open Government and renewed respect for the employees. I had thought I was done with most of this skullduggery.

But no.

It's Spring, and apparently everyone must lose their minds, their ethics, and their good sense come April.

But, all in all, it's Mother's Day. I downloaded two ebooks from Samhain, I've got the kids parked in front of piles of videos, I've made fresh coffee, and I'm disappearing into some books for a while. R-eeeeee-la-ax.

Go fight the bad guys in the morning.

8 comments:

Avid Reader said...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, Suisan.

Take a breather.

Keishon

Bev (BB) said...

Go hide in your room and read, girl, read.

You know, if I was going into politics, the school board would definitely not be my first choice to begin with and after listening to you for the last few months I think I'd run screaming in the other direction if anyone even mentioned it. (VBG)

Suisan said...

Yeah, I'm not sure why I didn't run for the hills either, except that I thought it was important to get involved in a process where I was interested in the outcome rather than standing on the sidelines, cursing the decision-makers.

Now I'm getting to the point where I don't think the "decision-makers" are any more well-informed than the general public. Which is horribly depressing.

On the other hand, I've talked a lot to City Staffers, and they say the City was just this bad a few years ago, and after wrestling with demons, they managed to get everyone to be more professional.

Question is--do I want to wrestle? I got into this planning to sit around table and talking rationally about the best way to walk forward.

Megan Frampton said...

Oy. That sounds gnarly.

I hope you had a great Mother's Day. And you don't get paid for being on the school board, do you? I mean, besides getting paid in grief and suffering?

Suisan said...

No pay, no personal indemnification. Yay!

Actually, I did have good Mother's Day. But it was hot. Better than rain. Better than rain.

Alyssa said...

And did I mention that I got *another* anonymous letter threatening that I would be "reported to the City" and forced out of town unless I mowed my lawn more frequently?

As if the politics weren't bad enough. Geez.

I was reported to the city for similar "crimes" although no anonymous threatening notes have shown up. Yet.

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