Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Squeezing out a good one.

Constructively terminating honest and competent employees

The Offense:
a. As a resident of Edmonds and a real estate agent, I naturally became irritated by my City being sued for not buying more than half of a public school site. While I was an employee for the District, I am a resident of Edmonds and I am a licensed real estate agent and within my rights to express an opinion in the Edmonds Beacon. I did not state that I was writing on behalf of the Edmonds School District.
Here is the letter.
Here is the response from the District.

b. At the same time I was expressing my opinion in the smallest newspaper in the region, a co-worker of the same classification was expressing his opinion in the Herald and Enterprise on two totally different - though more inflammatory - topics.
Here is the Herald letter.
Here is the Enterprise letter.
The District's support of author.

c. I was continuing to defend public property against neighboring residents and their delinquent children, dumping large quantities of oil on public land, cutting down trees and digging deep trenches for unauthorized vehicular racing.
Here is the email to the County Sheriff.

Impartial Hearing:
I was called into a meeting where the outcome, in typical fashion, was already decided without regard for reason or evidence.
Here is the invitation.

I was directed to not prepare any communication on behalf of the District without supervisorial review.
Here is the Letter of Direction.
Here is my response.

Here is the impact on emergency response.

Attempt at Compliance:
I attempted many times to obtain approval for communication but my supervisor continually refused or "played dumb". My supervisor's supervisor also refused to review my attempts to communicate and "reiterated" the terms of the letter of direction.
Here is a sample.

Here is another.

I continually expressed concern about being gagged and that it was inappropriate use of public funds to have an employee unable to do his work and have supervisors waste time reviewing mundane communications.
Here is my response.

I was invited to another meeting where we were to discuss what was and what was not subject to review by my supervisors. The meeting was apparently not intended to define intent with regard to communication but to determine what the state auditors knew of real estate transactions. The meeting focused only on what I felt about the Old Woodway Elementary transaction and if I thought it was handled properly. I was reminded that I had warned Marla Miller, more than a month before the deal was struck, that she was poised to give away millions of dollars.
Here is my original email.

Essentially, I was unable to perform the work I was hired to do. I could choose to stay with the District and continue to receive a paycheck without actually working (gift of public funds), or I could immediately acknowledge that I am no longer able to do the job I was hired to do and confirm that I was constructively terminated. I could have gone on vacation for three months, but it would have required me to lie and lead people to believe that I was coming back to the District when a productive job was no longer available. I was not going to steal money from the public or lie for a paycheck and I believe that no employer can force an employee to do so.

On June 7, 2007, a full four days before my planned last day of availability for the District, my voicemail, email and access to my assigned hard drive were terminated - rendering June 11, 2007 a day of volunteer service.
Here is the exchange of email.

Financial Impact:
Honesty costs more than $8,000.00 in salary, benefits and retirement contributions, due to the loss of accumulated vacation days. The loss of a great career in education has yet to be quantified.

The District continues to spend public funds on legal fees.


Anonymous said...

The brutality of a bully is inversely proportionate to their intelligence. I don't know how people in your school district cope with such tyranny.

Good luck with everything. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

This earnest effort to discover truth, dispel rumor and highlight inadequacy must eventually help peel away the existing lack of accountability and reveal a core of dishonesty that seems to have insinuated itself into aspects of the District's identity of the last few years.

This District is rife with lawsuits, grievances, discrimination and tax dollars wasted on unqualified and inept administration.

Let us hope that this brave move becomes a rallying cry to initiate (at least) recognition that some major changes in District personnel and philosophy must now become a necessity.

Anonymous said...

Your dismissal is a combination of hubris and ignorance of whistle blower laws. (In simpler terms for the Edmonds School District management that means arrogance and stupidity.) It is obvious they lack intellect and resulted into bullying you which is clearly against the law. I wonder how their behavior translates to the overall culture to the District’s staff and ultimately its students? How effective is their anti-bullying policy in the classroom? Or are they too busy on their own campaigns to care?

Anonymous said...

You should have not lost accumulated vacation days. Check with payroll (Laura Lewis) for clarification.

Anonymous said...

Mark, a wrong left turn out of Laura Lewis' cubicle could land you in the department of "Conflict of Interest."

Anonymous said...

On the subject of whistle blowing, I found it to be somewhat challenging when I went that route with the district. I confided in somebody who I thought had within them, the right stuff to take a stand, and make a positive change in our system. I was wronger than wrong, and I paid dearly. The only satisfaction I ended up with, was witnessing middle management trip over themselves, while they lied to coverup their lies. The outcome though ends up being that I will have to choose a different course to do good for all involved in the school district. Trust becomes something a bit different as well. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

I find it a bit odd as a resident and taxpayer in the district, that the district has resource enough to pay Grace, a "Seneca" type salary, to go after somebody who lives in the district.
With 5 million in budget cuts staring us in the face this next school year and beyond, why is Marla using low enrollment as a plausible gig? IF THAT IS TRUE, lets make the number of superintendents proportionate. Do we really need to employ more than the Seattle school district?

Anonymous said...

In addition to the July 8th blogger...I don't understand what you mean by (department of conflict of interest). To qualify as having interest, she would have to be present. So there has never been any of that since she has been on board. I do however see an abundance of conflict. No shortage there. Lets begin with the not showing up thing, and then we can later move on and and talk about actually documenting and properly filling out your HR 100s to reflect the roughly 50 to 60 sick days that she has been out so far this year. Not including vacation. I hate to have to clarify that, but it is a must.
Bad enough there is no regard, no courtesy and no respect for your coworkers. Not only are the Eddie Haskell excuses poor, but how is she able to face us on the few days she is here. Absolutely no shame. Then we all have to smile back, knowing that she does not even document her time. This is just amazing to me. No integrity either. Everyone here has known this for years and it just continues. So clearly there are others involved, to accept this, and consider it normal. One special day off every month, and we all know what day that is. Everyone else finds a way to deal with that special day....Not her. I think the last straw for me was the Hawaii vacation. The three weeks was not enough of a break for her. What could have happened over there to need an additional four weeks off? We all cover for you, and get nothing in return. No effort of any kind. This must be how you treat others on the outside. Where is your heart? Do you have one? I normally like to forgive as a practice in my life, but I struggle badly with this one. Please leave us all alone. I am speaking out, because others are not going to be so delicate. I want some kind of normalcy back in my position. Accountability means the world to me. Please don't steal from a school district any longer. Thank You. I would like to be referred to as "A Little Bitter"

Anonymous said...

Thank You for coming forward. It is a long time coming. It would be great if this could be the beginning of constructive change.

Anonymous said...

Hey thats enough of that. Be nice to her, if you can catch up to her. Kitty, kitty, kitty.

Anonymous said...

So your saying that someone is not turning in time. I would like to know who this person is please.Can you tell me where this person works? The people would like to know if the Edmonds School District knows about this.I pay taxes in this district.

ESD15.org said...

Answering the question should be done with tact. "In my humble opinion, and I could be wrong because it was only my observation..."

I wouldn't want to incur any legal expenses that would be attributed to the maintenance of this site.


Anonymous said...

So what would be a fair inquiry to all that time taken? By the way everyone, it's part time. This full time business is just too much for the..... Nevermind. Pathetic! We would not want to stress her out right away. She is such a valuable resource. Will you let me quickly glance at my personnel file without fingering it? I promise I'll hurry. You can pick up some extra HR 100s in the print shop. I just know your in a rush to make good on all your time this year. In the meantime, be careful not to comment around coworkers about departments that you know nothing about. Buhbye!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

To July 16th.... I really don't know if it would be okay to identify her on this site. Plenty of clues though, throughout. So if you would, just ask around. What is important to me is that she knows who we are all making reference to. I have no problem if you need another clue or two. She has worked for many school districts, and always finds her ''significant other'' employment in that current district.The number of districts does indeed correspond. How special!!!

Anonymous said...

Something has crossed my mind. Is the "conflict of interest girl" out at this time, to catch up to the calendars that are being kept on her? What a scam HR Has Going!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Returning to the July 5 post: The students are well aware of the behaviors of the administration. While teaching an anti-bullying lesson, a student stopped to ask "Is someone bullying you, Mr. X? I'll bet it's Mr. Y." Correct, but now what is Mr. X supposed to say in response while maintaining a "professional attitude?" How can the staff teach students to not bully when they are themselves being bullied?

Besides, when confronted with their behavior, the administrative line (vetted by many lawyers, I'm sure) is "That's just YOUR perspective." This first, denegrates and demeans the whistleblower; second, attempts to shirk the administrator's responsibility for their own behavior (it's your problem not their's), and third, it creates a claim of plausible deniability (clouding the line between your truth and their lies).

It's a game and they are playing it well because the general public will have a hard time ascribing such poor behaviors and motives to the people who are supposed to be entrusted with the education of their children. Or they just don't care to be bothered.

And since when did the media daylight something like this without vetting it through their own attorneys first? They've got their backsides to cover, too. They can't go off publishing or airing a he said/she said kind of story if it could affect their stock price. Being the first on the scene of a fire is one thing, but being first to dig in the mud of the metaphorical contaminated Admin site is something completely different.

Anonymous said...

We put our financial loss at $800,000. Loss to the students? Priceless.