Thursday, April 24, 2008

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Last year the State Auditor released a report that didn't even scratch the surface of unethical behavior at the Edmonds School District. In part, the evidence didn't make it through all of their various agents and offices in time to be fully incorporated into a final report. This year is different.

The State Auditor's office has full knowledge of everything promulgated by the blog. Entries were forwarded to the State Auditor and the State Auditor has actively engaged in conversations with blog staff on a wide range of topics. There is no reason to conclude that the State Auditor is not aware of what is going on. The question is, will they do anything about it?

If the State Auditor's response is favorable for District leadership and a determination is made that nothing improper has happened, then clearly the State Auditor has done their homework and studied the potential impact of delivering such news. They have decided that the potential damage caused to a community in having to root out criminal conduct outweighs the conduct itself. Such a conclusion would be alarming. It would be a state agency determining what is best for local government.

If the State Auditor's report is favorable for the taxpayer, the Board will have to act or be replaced. No one wants a spineless board of bobbleheads actively endorsing anything requested by pilfering staff. School boards should actually deliberate and never accept everything at face value.

In the coming weeks, the State Auditor's report will be released. It will be interesting to see how they view facts. In light of the recent mess with the Port of Seattle, I don't envision a scenario that allows for petty theft to go unnoticed. Petty criminals hone their talent and eventually bilk the public out of fortunes in public funds. Piano Scams lead to grossly-inflated purchases for contaminated property.

Fortunately, through the beauty of IP addresses, blog staff can actively demonstrate when the State Auditor's Office accessed the blog, what entries they read, how long they spent reading those entries and when they left the blog site. The blog's ducks are in a row. The question is whether the State Auditor's Office will start shooting the ducks we've kindly lined up for them.


Anonymous said...

Just shoot the duck and let's have dinner.

Anonymous said...

Marla hired herself into a position of control as Executive Director of Business Services from her previous position in Human Resources. Since that move she has had one of the highest turnovers of any department. She oversaw a staff member who may have embezzled as much as 3/4 of a million dollars. She disappeared for several months claiming some mysterious ailment while collecting leave pay, only returning when she felt her position was being threatened. She hired an unqualified and complete incompetent to "supervise". She hired a payroll manager who saw her salary increase $40,000.00 a year with continually reducing work hours. She lost one of the best enrollment predictors in the State. She lost a superior property manager and replaced him with a mannequin. She lost perhaps up to 5 million dollars on bad real estate transactions. She floated District funds to a friend using pianos as a front to help him avoid bankruptcy. She is so incredibly poor at personnel relations she must be now seen as the sole inspiration for this blog, and the bulk of comments relate to her and many of her poor decisions. The department supervisor now works 4-6 hours a week and (we are told) is only collecting half of his $100,000.00 per year salary. We don't know whether the latter portion of this statement is true, though. Her payroll supervisor works half days and collects almost as much salary. Her property manager collects even more but acts as though he's retired.

Can anyone intelligently argue even remotely convincingly that Marla's tenure with the District has been a success? Would anyone owning a business continue to keep this person on the payroll?

At the most recent School Board meeting the Board passed to indemnify both Marla and Brian. This is probably only a public statement being made, again in response to the work done by Mark and this blog, that the Board is willing to sacrifice taxpayer money in their firm belief that both of these people are completely honest and competent. I believe that if your are an administrator in the District it is assumed and inferred that you are protected legally from civil lawsuit by the District. If you are a prof tech or office personnel staff member you are completely on your own, thereby no really being an important member or representative of the District. It makes little sense that when we compensate these people so much to begin with that they are also guaranteed legal protection at taxpayer expense. What the Board should be doing is distancing themselves from both of these huge liabilities and investigating all allegations. Blind allegiance due to Marla's imposing will may, at least in a logical world, cost them all their positions.