Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shoveling smoke and talking by the hour.

The following is an excerpt from the District's legal counsel. They seem to be under the impression that I suggested Gary Noble was violating state law. Gary Noble is serving on the school board for the Edmonds School District and should be held to the standard of school board policies. Unfortunately, these lawyers didn't see a need to cite state law to save Bruce Williams.

Mr. Zandberg questions ESD Board member Gary Noble’s decision to vote in favor of constructing a new Lynnwood High School [That is not true, I question whether he actually deliberated.], and alleges that the vote was cast to “curry favor” [not my quote] with his wife, Kay Noble, a current Lynnwood High School teacher. He further demands that Mr. Noble “step down” from his position “at once” due to this alleged conflict of interest.

ESD’s position on the issue is that Mr. Noble does not sit on the Board in violation of any ESD policy. [Their position on Bruce Williams was also contrary to Board Policy.] Indeed, ESD Policy 1260 specifically exempts the alleged conflict of interest raised by Mr. Zandberg. That policy provides that no spouse of a Board Member shall have any interest in any contract to which the District is a party except to the limited extent authorized by law. [Why are you citing the second portion of the sentence? It is irrelevant. The first portion disqualifies him.] Under RCW 42.23.030, which lists exceptions to prohibited interests in municipal contracts, there is no conflict in the situation raised by Mr. Zandberg if the spouse of the school board member was employed by the District before the School Board member took office [" member of the Board, or any spouse or dependent relative of such member, shall receive or accept any compensation or reward for services rendered to the District..."], and the compensation received by the spouse is commensurate with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the EEA and the District. Mrs. Noble was hired by ESD on September 12, 1990, and Mr. Noble was elected to the School Board in November 2003. He took the Oath of Office on December 16, 2003. [Let's not revisit unfortunate events.] Further, Mrs. Noble is compensated pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement pertaining to teachers at Lynnwood High School. Because the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Noble falls squarely within an exception under Washington State law, ESD Policy 1260 also encompasses the exception [Please revise the policy, so next time you can be right.], and there is no impropriety with Mr. Noble’s continuation as a Board Member [That will be a decision for the voters].

Please feel free to contact me or my associate Sarah Mack with any questions.

Very truly yours,

Duncan Fobes

11 comments: said...

Imagine such a Board Policy:

"You cannot be a member of the Board if you are stupid or ugly."

Why spend so much time and money trying to prove the applicant is not ugly when stupidity is irrefutable?

I am not saying Gary Noble is stupid or ugly, I am just making a point.

The first portion of Board Policy 1260 sinks Gary Noble's case.

Anonymous said...

A board of directors (use of lower case intentional) that cannot follow its own policy, needs to be replaced with honest individuals, interested in serving the Public Trust. They would make the best use of every public dollar intrusted to them for the education of district children, not for paying inflated salaries to incompetent (and possibly criminal) managers, department directors, and superintendants. Never mind paying the cost of lawyers to try and defend their actions.

I truly believe the voters of this School District can, and will, make the right decision by cleaning house and begin building a new Edmonds School District, from the top down.

Anonymous said...

"It is the policy of the Edmonds School District that no member of the Board, or any spouse or dependent relative of such member, shall receive or accept any compensation or reward for services rendered to the District"

People! ISN'T THIS CLEAR ENOUGH?? Do we really need lawyers to read ENGLISH???

Anonymous said...

Of course, the next line of questioning should be what sort of special treatment is Mrs. Noble getting since her husband decides when her boss gets a raise.

Nick: Have you taken any steps to protect Mrs. Noble from the consequences of not doing her job effectively? God is watching.

Anonymous said...

It appears legal counsel is playing a shell game between board policy and state law. The policy was deliberately adopted to be above and beyond state law.

In keeping with the Board's failing grade, it appears their counsel couldn't pass the science section of the WASL. They cannot tell the difference between an apple or an orange.

Anonymous said...

Tough for me to focus my energy at the school level, where it should be. Administration must be a bit out of whack with all the distractions as well. Would it not be a better choice, just not to lie to your employees in the first place? These situations seldom come to an end with just one lie. Very difficult to stop that train once it gets rollin'. And for those of you who would like me to be specific.... Please keep reading the blog, and I will do my best to provide detailed lies. Anonymity is my only line of defense. Seems to be a monumental task for the district to provide proper documentation in regards to anything. They like to communicate in person or via cellphone, so they can later manipulate conversations. Countless people, including myself, are waiting for Email responses from administration, who are in what I would call "Ignore Mode". They don't like being held to hard copies. So seldom is there a paper trail. Why get attorneys involved? Simple, no paper trail. No recourse for employees. More time to manipulate the few facts put on the table. More time to save a Supervisors position. I assure you, I have alot at stake, and a big heart to protect my investment. I will not roll over!!! And to you supervisors who go home giggling, just here for a paycheck, and not giving my child everything you've got, your days are numbered. Everything good and bad comes to an end. Nothing is forever. You are part of cycle or rotation here in the district, and there are plenty of good people in the district that will succeed in speeding up that rotation. said...

The imaginary Board Policy should have been:

"You cannot be a member of the Board if you are a snake or a pig."

Marital status is a material fact. Being stupid or ugly is matter of opinion.

Gary Noble IS married to a member of District staff and therefore in violation of Board Policy 1260.

Anonymous said...

Seems pretty clear to me. Cough up your position Gary. Show a little class. There is time enough to do the right thing. The "High Road" is the one you volunteer to walk on.
Thank You

Anonymous said...

And the board policy makes sense.

Imagine if Kay were unhappy with an administrator or decision made at Lynnwood High School. Do you think her husband's position will influence a change in the administrator's decision or even performance review? Of course it will, and it has already happened! LHS's office staff and administrators have to tolerate additional scrutiny and second guessing because Gary discussed his wife's unhappiness and asked the assistant superintendent responsible for LHS to do something about it.

This is but one example to support the inclusion of board policy prohibiting spouses or dependents of board members from being employed by the district. Apparently their predecessors agreed!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lawyers were just confused about the size of shovel they needed.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of the laws being written by the powerful to protect the institution. You think the EEOC protects people against discrimination? Only the stupid employer gets caught by them. The law says that only incidents from the previous 300 days (from the time of reporting-and you have a limited number of days to report)can enter into a determination of discrimination. The net effect of that law is that the informed employer can discriminate against you because of protected class (age, disability, etc.) once every 300 days and there's nothing the EEOC can do. The people protected by such a regulation are those already in power.

And if we need to re-interpret the law (or board policy) for the preservation of the powerful, we can do that.

This is not a local issue. This is an issue that runs right up through city, county, state and federal governments. Who or what is the government supposed be for? Who is supposed to benefit from government actions? Do we protect the powerful from the weak or the weak from the powerful? This is also not a new argument, either; Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams covered the same ground 225 years ago. Romney, Obama, McCain, Clinton, and all the rest are still arguing about it.

Can we give them an answer? Ya think?