Friday, May 22, 2009

Wearing a kilt doesn't make you a Scotsman.

Nick Brossoit has decided to make a shift in how many pigs eat from the same golden trough. For some reason, several years ago, it was decided that Marla Miller and Debby Carter should become assistant superintendents. Someone must have asked these two employees if they deserved more money and then believed their explanation. Worse still is that such a decision was made while the District already had too many assistant superintendents.

Knowing the District the way I do, I would be willing to bet my collection of smurfs that Marla and Debby will have their titles changed but retain their swollen salaries. They each earn slightly less than the Governor of the State of Washington at $140,000.00 a year plus an additional third for benefits. Keeping in mind that these salary figures are from a records request in 2008 and they have likely received a number of upward adjustments since that time.

Question 1: How is it a budget reduction to move unchanged salaries around? Sure, we might count the reduction in the Superintendent's Staff column, but what are the real impacts to wherever these salaries are moving?

Question 2: If salaries have changed downward, why did the District feel the need to pay more than the positions required? The Board allowed these adjustments to occur and there must have been a compelling argument made to dazzle away the public wallet.

Question 3: Would this be a theft of public funds by the employee or a gift of public funds from the Board? The job of Executive Director never changed in the last several years but somehow the Board managed to approve this ridiculous shift in public resources in a direction that was never warranted. Only when hard times come around does the party, at the public expense, come to an end.

Question 4: How does this differ from the practice of hiring friends and family members into positions for which they are utterly unqualified? The blog has already received countless complaints of shameful hiring practices and we have relayed many of them on the blog. Debby Carter seems to be hiring staff with the same disregard for public resources as Marla Miller has for student enrollment projections.

Since the arrival of challenging budget years are inevitable, the District decided to hire anyone and everyone as temporary placeholders. When times get tough, they have a long list of potential cuts, all of whom have varying degrees of personal relationships with management. If they have to be cut, it was good while it lasted. Zero accountability and free money until economic conditions change.

The same can be said for enrollment forecasting. While the Board has been adopting Capital Facilities Plans since 2002 that show nothing but shrinking enrollment, they still allowed staffing to swell and programs to grow when they really should have been contracting. That is the purpose of a Capital Facilities Plan. Time and energy go into the production of the document and the Board merely glances through it while looking to Marla Miller for a recommendation.

The manner of management must change in Edmonds. It does nothing for anyone to have change forced upon us. The result is a few poorly structured "community input meetings" where no real input is wanted by any of the presenters. As was mentioned by a member of the audience at the last gathering, there are a lot of people in this community that have more education and intelligence than our current band of district managers and this community is entitled to at least a moderate degree of honesty from these public servants.

Imagine if Boeing built planes to the standards maintained by this school board. Worse still, imagine if such a company was denied the opportunity to fail and received an endless stream of revenue from the government.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Smurfs? Really? You are full of surprises.