I have received email and calls to the tip line about how Marla felt she was qualified to run the operations side of the District, because her brothers were in construction. My eyebrows still pop upward when I hear or read such a justification for her position.
Having reviewed her resume, I am a little bewildered as to why she didn't include her brother's professions among her qualifications. It certainly wouldn't have hurt her chances of getting hired at the District. By now we all know it isn't a matter of what you know, but who you know. Or, apparently what your brother's might know.
I am wondering if these brothers in construction had more influence over current district management than I may have originally surmised. Perhaps little Marla had to evolve into a cunning, manipulative scheme artist to survive in her household. Maybe it is through a honed set of skills in deception that led to a life of duping the public for personal enrichment. Maybe there is a deeper problem here that would require the involvement of mental health practitioners.
With all due respect, the recent piano scam has revealed a number of things;
1. It is possible for a con artist to lose track of their scheme. While it is clear that Marla sought to enrich someone with whom she had developed a personal relationship, she back-peddled when things started to feel uncomfortable. By throwing $39,000.00 at her new friend, she had hoped to avoid the consequences of poor choices.
2. While I originally thought that Arnie Tucker was just looking for a one time gift of public funds and befriended Marla in an effort to secure a hand out, I have since backed away from that concept. I think Arnie was interested in the long game. I think he was interested in dining at the District's expense for years and years. I suspect that Arnie was looking to have these lease schemes rolled out every year.
3. Manny's involvement seems like every bit of the character people have been claiming that he is. When an unsavory aroma wafts from Marla's direction, Manny stands at the ready to fan the fumes and make excuses. He is loyal and knows who butters his bread. Clearly a patsy. A fall guy.
4. Tam was a bit of a surprise. I am quite convinced that he was swimming with sharks and probably got in over his head. No doubt there was an opportunity to provide pianos to school kids and I suspect Tam was interested in the outcome. He was probably fixated on the outcome and deferred any qualms about process to Marla. After all, if the head of business and operations claims there is nothing immoral about the piano scam, why would a music man step in the way?
5. The board remains every bit of the cast of clowns they have always been. Far more impressed with the seats they sit in than any sense of obligation to perform their assigned tasks to the best of their abilities. I remain convinced that each of these "bored" members have out-lived their recommended shelf life and they need to step aside and make room for people who hold public servants accountable. We need people on the board that are not afraid to speak up or ask real questions. At this stage, it would be far better to have a board of crazed lunatics than five useless do-nothings. Perhaps people might start showing up at meetings to watch the excitement.
6. The superintendent, like his five puppet masters, doesn't understand the financial impact of rushing forward with bad ideas. He continues to cook up new and interesting ways to present himself to the public while our district is consumed with fire from his kitchen. Sure, we can talk about how students can improve their academic performance by throwing a few dollars at new programs, but wouldn't it be more prudent to prevent the millions and millions of dollars from being handed out to Marla's friends?
Editorial: Is it a violation of attorney client privilege if I reveal that Brian Harding thinks Jerry Lutz of Perkins Coie is an as#hole?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
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I remember one day when Manny came to our faculty meeting and laid down the law about how to handle money. We absolutely were not to keep any cash from students in our classrooms overnight. (like from magazine sales) He was very clear that everyone had to follow the rules or the auditors could cause us trouble and we'd be on our own to explain. Well, I certainly knew the last part was true, "When you've got trouble, don't expect the school district to back you up. You're on your own."
And why should teachers be handling money in the first place? Why don't we have enough money so that the students don't have to "beg" for money from District taxpayers? What does the money from magazine drive or cookie dough sales go? 5th grade overnight ecology field trip? If the administration demands "authentic" learning opportunities, then there should be money for it. Qualify for state or national "Science Olympiad," "We the People" or History Day? Why do we have to have car washes to raise the money? "Build character" of the students? Show them there is no free lunch?
We have a Marla Sue Miller. Graduated May 1, 1977 with a double major in Public School Music, English.
Well, we've come a long way, Baby.
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