Friday, April 18, 2008

Join Rotary and be immune from budget cuts.

When you operate a small time blog with limited resources and limited staff, people frequently throw you a bone. Here is a bone of significance.

A real estate agent in Lynnwood encountered me at a clock hour seminar. He was aware that I had left the Edmonds School District, not because some sort of official announcement went out, but because he saw my former job posted on the District's website. What's more surprising is that he applied for the position. I told him that it was not possible that he applied because I had copies of both applications at home. I told him that he probably had the wrong fax number. He was absolutely sure that he applied and he described the inside of the ESC and the person with whom he left the application.

I smiled and went back into the conference room. Perhaps his application went into the substitute custodian pile. Accidents happen after all.

Then I received a tip from the blog's tip line. Someone, that prefers to remain anonymous, reports that the person who was eventually hired to become the new Planning and Property Management Specialist is married to a member of Rotary Daybreakers. No big deal there, except the president of Rotary Daybreakers at the time was Marla Miller, Assistant Superintendent of the Edmonds School District.

In reviewing the two applications, I quickly noticed that the person hired as the Planning and Property Management Specialist came in second out of two rather sad and woefully under-qualified candidates. The real estate agent was not the other applicant.

It seems surprising that during a time in the real estate market when sales are down and agents are scrambling to make a living, that a position, specifically-tailored for someone with real estate experience, didn't attract more applications. Or did it?

Given the overwhelming evidence of misconduct and preferential treatment in hiring practices at the District, I am starting to believe that applications were likely diverted to give the Rotarian's wife a distinct advantage.

Added to this is the fact that during a period of budget cuts, the Planning and Property Management Clericalist (a position single-handedly downgraded by the occupant) is not even under consideration for adjustment or elimination. It also seems unfortunate that clerical staff in Maintenance will be eliminated to accommodate a budget crisis while an overpaid clerical position is left untouched.

What is also clear, from exchanges on the blog, is the inability of this new clericalist to perform any of the duties assigned to the position. The person having to pick up most of the workload left unattended is the Director of Facilities Operations and others in the department. This constitutes clear and irrefutable proof that the position has yet to be effectively filled. What better argument is there for eliminating the position?

Sadly, what makes the Clericalist immune from the budget axe is her connectivity to Rotary Daybreakers. I suspect if you assemble the entire Facilities Operations department in a single room, you wouldn't get a single argument for saving this drain on public funds.

For the clerical staff in Maintenance facing unemployment - I recommend that you immediately contact Rotary Daybreakers in Edmonds and become a member. This would be the best way to ensure that your deeply needed services will continue without interuption. Contact the blog and I will even pay your dues for the year, that is, if Marla lets you in.


Anonymous said...

Your real estate associates employment application must have gotten into the same box as the "piano mans" canceled checks by mistake.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of items that have been lost. What ever happened to the all important key audit? All ESC staff were sent several emails months ago to have our District keys at the ready so she can come to our desks and "look" at the numbers, verify our existance and record the number(s) for security purposes. Apparently she did not deam the ESC staff trustworthy enough to forward our key numbers in an email. Rumor has it someone from the print shop created a spreadsheet for her; but apparently eventhough Technology tried to teach her Excel many times, she just doesn't get it. So, there the spreadsheet sits lost in the cobwebs of her computer.

Anonymous said...

It is so very sad how public agencies attract this sort of problem. It only takes a single rotten apple to destroy the reputation of apples everywhere.

This Marla character is a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

I feel another (corrected) public records request coming. Maybe you should send it DIRECTLY to the lawyer and even mention the name of the "missing" candidate. said...

There will be a time and place for this issue to surface. I will provide details later.

Anonymous said...

Superior Court Judge Position #13

Michael W. Hall for Judge Campaign
201 Fourth Avenue N., #202
Edmonds WA 98020

As a longtime Snohomish County resident, general practice attorney, mediator and Judge Pro Tem for Edmonds Municipal and Thurston County Superior Courts, I pledge to respect and uphold the Constitution of the United States, the State of Washington and the office of Superior Court Judge. I would be honored to have your vote.

I am running for Snohomish County Judge, as I was fortunate to obtain a significant percentage of the vote in my last judicial race (when Judge French was appointed to the bench). My experience as a general practice attorney and Judge Pro Tem has provided me with a well rounded legal background.

My community service includes: ...Edmonds Rotary....

I wonder what he thinks of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hall lost.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people that lost their positions are because Marla doesn't like them. It should be the positions and work that those positions do that need to be looked at not who is in the position at this time. Can this work be handled a different way or eliminated all together? Are their areas where the same work is being done by two or more different positions? The district always uses the budget cut times to get rid of those that someone does not like. They just can't handle working one on one with these employees and resolve issues NO they wait and hit when it makes it look necessary. Ask who is going to do the work and will it stay within the correct bargaining group. Union employees will have some help thru their contract, non union SORRY your on your own! said...

I am beginning to suspect that business practices at the District may be deemed acceptable by a silent and overwhelming majority.

Rats come out at night to consume the fruits of our labor while we sleep. I fear our community was slipped a Mickey and will be sleeping like a corpse until something more earth-shattering tears them away from their televisions.

As concerned members of the public, we must use our voices to awaken our sleepy neighbors before the rats start dining on our children.

Anonymous said...

Mark, You have often said that you were willing to spend $ (ours or yours) to get your message out. What's stopping you from doing a mailing to the district voters with the words " - the truth about ESD" on it? Or taking out a full-page ad in the Beacon? said...

Maybe a public interest story on the front page of the Beacon. I will inquire. Thank you.

Have you considered applying for our Director of Community Relations position?

Anonymous said...

Let's ask one of the two law firms monitoring this blog on the District's behalf.

Anonymous said...

We must be careful about Marla deciding who goes and who stays. Positions should not be cut because of who has the most seniority. It should be because the position is not needed. As in the Tech Dept. a person is cut because another person has more seniority and so this person is taking on the cut persons position. Excuse me but you cut a job because the position is not needed. We don't move employees where every Marla wants using seniority as a reason. Marla making the decisions on who goes and who stays in dept. is NOT right! Seniority in this instance does not count! said...

There have been law firms from as far away as Japan and Romania visiting this blog.

Anonymous said...

You must be new to the blog. Marla will decide who goes and who stays. Do not be surprised if the District makes decisions that are contrary to appropriate business practices or violate common sense.

Friends of management will remain. No regard will be shown for what makes sense. Dead weight will be promoted.

First offense: closing libraries. Deys fixin ta scair off dem buk-totin hoolyginz.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Remember, it was the nation's librarians who stood up to the Patriot Act. These librarians are truly scary people; they are a threat to every administrator.

Hey! How about a "no trespass" order against the District's librarians? That'll solve your cash flow problem; if they can't go to work, you don't have to pay them.

Arigato Gozaimasu

Anonymous said...

District addressing budget challenges
Opportunities for public input scheduled

Please note: The below message is from Marla Miller, assistant superintendent of business and operations

Dear parents, guardians, and community members,

We join districts across Washington State in facing a significant challenge in balancing our 2008-09 General Fund budget. Due primarily to the Legislative decision to increase compensation without fully funding the cost, we currently estimate a $3 million to $3.27 million deficit in expenditures compared with revenues for next year. (Statewide, the deficit due only to compensation costs for all school districts is estimated by OSPI to be $94.3 million.)

School districts are ethically and legally required to adopt balanced budgets, and we are now in the process of determining how to reduce expenditures to match revenues for 2008-09. At last night’s board meeting, we presented details on the anticipated changes in overall expenditures and revenues, and a list of the potential budget reductions being considered to balance the budget.

The information presented to the board has been posted to the District’s website, as well as other budget information, and you may see it by clicking on the following link:

In addition, you are welcome to provide feedback in any of a number of ways:

* E-mail your comments and suggestions to

* Participate in upcoming meetings scheduled to provide an opportunity for input (see below)

Timelines for input and decisions

The board will hold a study session with the Budget Advisory Council on Tuesday, April 29th at 6:00 p.m. to review and discuss the budget information in more detail.

Community meetings have also been scheduled to share information and gather feedback:

* Tuesday, May 27th – 7:00 p.m. at Lynnwood High School

* Thursday, May 29th – 7:00 p.m. at Edmonds Woodway High School

* Wednesday, June 4th – Noon at the Educational Services Center

The first reading of the proposed budget is scheduled for the regular board meeting on July 8th, and the second reading/final adoption is scheduled for the board meeting on August 12th. Both meetings are at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room at the ESC.

In summary

We know the proposed reductions represent heartache for individual employees and families, for programs and departments that work hard to provide quality services to students and staff, and for all of the recipients of the services that have been provided in the past. The list of potential reductions has not been generated lightly – each line represents long discussions and a very difficult decision over how to best meet the funding shortfall we face within the parameters we have to provide the highest quality educational program we can, maintain our legal obligations, provide safe and clean schools, and meet community expectations.

Please let me know of any suggestions, alternatives, or concerns you have that should be considered as we move to a final recommendation. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration of the challenges we face.

Thank you,
Marla Miller
Assist Superintendent, Business and Operations

Anonymous said...

At the board meeting last night Marla showed no expression, she does not care who goes as long as she remains and keeps getting her pay check! Screw everyone else must be her motto!

Anonymous said...

It is truly madness that we are seemingly powerless to prevent Marla from making these decisions over people's jobs. She should not be in this position and her track record of decisions indicates she is not qualified to be doing this.