Saturday, April 25, 2009

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

For the many of our readers that have been emailing me nearly every day asking after my health and well-being, I appreciate your concern. Rest assured, I am working on a number of issues related to this blog and will be back to work shortly. During the hiatus, I have been blessed with volumes of records from current district staff and still have more than 5,000 pages of documents to review that I acquired last year.

My heart goes out to the many district employees with careers hanging in the balance. While it is true that our state is experiencing many significant budget woes, the current economic crisis was clearly evident to whomever possessed the fortitude to look somewhere other than at their own feet. Our District is tacking through innumerable catastrophes and they have seven blind bobbleheads at the helm.

I did manage to drive by the ESC on Friday. As reports had indicated, there was a district employee in an orange vest, sitting in the sun, reading a book. The District exists for educational purposes and at least the parking lot monitor was reading.


Anonymous said...

I find it pathetic that the have the "Property Manager" out in an orange vest trying to keep college students parking in the ESD parking lot.

I also find it pathetic that she is sent to school to learn how to use computer software.

I find it pathetic that her job isn't on the chopping block and that teachers, para educators and custodial staffs are targeted instead.

Shame on you Marla Miller. Your passion is for your ego and not for the work that needs to be done at the District.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mark, for letting your readers know you are well and still kicking! What is the purpose of the person in the orange vest in the ESD parking lot? Perhaps this person is disguised as Marla's personal BODY GUARD! (She probably needs one with her antics).

taxpayers $ in the toilet said...

You're all wrong! There are twin dynamos. The one policing the east side of the building isn't much of a reader. West end girl does all the reading. Can't quite fit the compact into the parking stall though, but we can't have it all,right? So let me get this straight, ECC students can't read a sign, so ESD #15 is responsible for the illiterates that have already gone through our system? You want a good stimulus package, just start towing those FN cars without warning. Think about what could be generated with an act like that. And if Marla has a friend at Paulsons, we all win.

Anonymous said...

Having light duty (L&I) people keeping our park lot free of college kids seems like a good idea. Eventally the light duty employees have no other job skills so they can't be assigned to other duties. I think the idea of sitting in a lawn chair reading is totally ridiculous and looks really bad to our community members and tax payers. Whomever made this bad decision should be fired from the district. The district is going to Hell in a hand basket.

Anonymous said...

Marla has no friends, at Paulson's or otherwise. She has people that use her access to public funds for their own benefit. Just because they are smiling while screwing us, doesn't make them friendly.

Anonymous said...

As of today the back lot girl is getting paid to sleep while sitting in her poorly parked car. This is a travesty. What kind of crap is this? At least stay awake for your income sweety!

MR. SHORTY said...

Lets NOT forget the guy/rent a COP with the white bike helmet at SLH riding his bike around for $70,000 a yr. He must be someone's boy toy. Thats a lot of money for a boy toy riding his bike around OLD EDMONDS WOODWAY HIGH SCHOOL for $70,00 a yr.

winkin blinkin and nod off said...

Hey Mark, reading can't be all that good for the brain if it makes us sleepy. And why risk falling asleep when Starbucks is less than 4000 feet from that stall? And if you walk it would waste more taxpayers money. This is such a shame.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right, Mark. Even when the district is laying off people, Marla will always find a way to take pressure off her friends.

Kathie Alfstad said...

In response to the comments posted: #1. I am not a "Property Manager". #2. I am not Marla's personal body guard. #3. I am indeed an informed member of the district staff and therefore qualified to monitor a parking lot. #4. The reason I park as I do is that in case it starts raining, I can sit in my car and still see the incoming vehicles. #5. I'm sure it would give you a big thrill to have me tow a college student's vehicle but I find a kind reprimand gets faster results. I can't think of any reason the district would profit from towing a student's vehicle. #6. As to having the job skills to fulfill any assigned duty, I have no doubt I could easily fill your position (check your spelling...and it's not a lawn chair) but I chose to work with the people I love the best and are non-judgmental; that would be our district's special needs children. I'm sorry if you think I look ridiculous, it's not my choice to be here. #7. I don't personally know the "rent-a-cop" at SLH but I do know the bus drivers with that route and one of them commented "Thank God he's there monitoring the campus. He makes us feel safe, not only us but the special needs and home schooled children that share the campus with the SLH kids. He is constantly riding his bike from one end of the campus to the other, catching them in the woods smoking, drinking, throwing glass bottles onto the stairs and sidewalks, doing drugs, etc. Do you think he could do that on foot or in a car,....could you?"
And finally, although I have been in treatment for over 6 months for a back injury, I've only been on light duty for 2 weeks. I'll most likely continue to be a "body guard" for another 6 weeks, so after you've parked your car in an available space, feel free to stop by. This "dynamo" welcomes the opportunity to answer any questions you may have. Have a nice day!
P.S. I'm the reader at the EAST end. said...

I am sorry to hear of your back injury and hope that these comments have not been disrespectful. People are just swimming in frustration and as long as the District's "leadership" model doesn't change, there is no hope for staff or the taxpayer.

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

After standing on the corner of the back lot for 4 days with a bad back from driving school bus for over 11 years, I found I was just as effective from the car if I was seen. Ergo I intentionally pulled my car forward and it obviously worked because you all saw me! The greater percentage of College students quit pulling in. Those that did got their license numbers recorded so they would in deed be towed in the future. After 4 hours outside I went to another assigmnent but first I was required to take a 30 minute lunch break. Yes sweety I did recline my seat, but not on your dime.

Kathie Alfstad said...

Thank you for your concern but the comments were disrespectful and quite hurtful. I understand the frustration of my fellow employees as I have had a few encounters with the District's "leadership?" and found it lacking in every situation. But just remember "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I got no problem with him doing his job. The white helmet bike ride should NOT get paid $70,000 per yr.The edmonds school district might as well go get MR. Armstrong for that pay. We got teachers getting laid off.

I don't care that you sit in some car and watch people park and read. To keep busy you should have a board with numbers on it. So the edmonds school district could have Valet parking.
That might make some money for the people losing there jobs. So if you want to talk. First think!

Don't you think we can use that money in better places?

Anonymous said...

I am saddened that felt it necessary to apologize to the "East End" girl. We, the taxpayers of the district, do not owe this person a job. I don't know how this person injured her back but light duty could include her continuing to work with special needs children. She could conduct assessments, help the teachers plan lessons for next year, or help evaluate students for teachers--why sit in a parking lot? This type of light duty steals funds from students, especially special needs students. If the poster had any character, she would have made the suggestion of a more relevant light duty for herself to the district. I would think sitting outside in a car or on a chair is more stressful than sitting in a classroom where she could sit when necessary and get up to walk around when necessary. These jobs make no sense.

As far as college students parking in district spaces, yes, they should be towed. Obviously the "kind reprimand" has not been effective as the district finds it necessary to have two taxpayer funded employees out guarding the lots.

Please enlighten me with the skills you deem you possess to monitor the parking lot.

You park incorrectly because it might rain? Doesn't the district give you rain gear? Won't you get wet when you go to give the college student a "kind reprimand"?

Who cares if you sit in a lawn chair or any other type of chair? Why is this relevant?

Is this the employee who was caught sleeping in her car? Isn't that an offense results in immediate dismissal? Can you imagine a doctor or dentist falling asleep while you are under a procedure? How about a plumber who decides to take a nap and charges his naptime to you? How about an air traffic controller who decides to take a nap? The examples can go on and on, but in no other "industry" is sleeping on the job permissible. I'm not even sure reading a book while on the clock is permissible.

In regards to the bike riding security guard--I don't believe this poster talked to the bus drivers. The woods where she claims students are found smoking and drinking are in front of the school on the slope of the hill. The driveway that the buses travel is in back of the school. The driveway passes the woods to get on the road but I find it hard to believe students smoking interfere with buses.

The point other posters were making is that he is paid $70,000 a year--not that he rides a bike. This poster makes a rude comment about other posters' spelling, yet she misses the point of the posts. I would suggest she has her reading comprehension assessed.

And yes, he could do his job just as effectively on foot, and it would be less of a liability to the district since the slope of the hill is hindered by roots, rocks and mud. But the district only knows how to manage by crisis, so we the taxpayers can wait until this guy gets injured and we will foot his bill for the rest of his life.

I found the apology to an employee, who drinks the district kool-aid daily, unnecessary, as unnecessary as her comment that she works with "non-judgmental" people. Everyone I have come into contact with at ESD, including this poster, is highly defensive and judgmental. I wonder why? said...

For the record, I was sorry to hear of the back injury. No one should suffer the pain of spinal issues (or poor human resource management for that matter).

Hoping comments are not disrespectful does not mean that I disagree with the comments, I am just hopeful that everyone can start looking at matters objectively. The District has been making some real bad decisions and clearly the trend continues.

Kathie Alfstad said...

Oh for God's sake, lighten up! By hiding behind "anonymous", you show you're the type that tends to incite others so you won't have to "do battle" yourself. Use your real name, I won't stalk or attack you. If you are so bitter with the district, leave! We've all found fault with the district, but some of us have moved on and let go.
I have been a bus driver for 17 years so I hardly think HR would place me in any kind of classroom setting. Although it wasn't my chosen profession (I was a legal secretary with the City of Seattle), I found this position to fit in perfectly with starting a family and moving to this area.
In your ignorance you assume we have a choice in deciding which light duty we'll take. If I would have refused this position, I would have been denied my L&I benefits which cover my treatments for 2 herniated, bulging discs resulting in nerve compression as a direct consequence of driving "mature" buses over numerous potholes and speed bumps daily.
No, I was not the person sleeping as I'm only there for 4 hours and do not get a 1/2 hr. lunch.

My best friend is the driver that does the SLH route and I resent the implication that I was lying when I said I talked to a driver. You are naive if you think smoking is the only thing that interferes with education over at SLH. I'm amazed that you haven't noticed that the entire SLH campus is surrounded by woods.
I also am a taxpayer and you're right, the district doesn't owe me a job but neither do they owe you one. I trained for it and had to pass numerous state, physical and district tests to get the licenses I needed, a college degree means nothing for this position. I would have given up trying if I hadn't wanted to work with children as much as I did and still have time to raise my own.
No, the district does not provide raingear.
Yummy, Kool-Aid, I haven't had that since I was a kid. Odd, that I'm truly frightened to be working around someone as bitter as you.

goof ball said...

I'm a teacher that wants that $ 70,000 a yr - - to watch kids smoke and drink. I think I could do a better job.

Anonymous said...

@ ESD15: I am not faulting you for feeling bad for Kathy. Back injuries are horrible and the effects, even after surgery, last a life time. My comment about your apology was that I believe the previous posters are correct in questioning the jobs of parking lot monitior when so many valuable employees are in danger of being laid off in the district.

@ Kathy:
Anonymous here--the one I believe you are calling bitter.

For the record, I neither work nor have I ever implied that I work for the district. I am not sure how you inferred this erroneous fact. I have "no dog" in this fight, other than being a parent of children who attend schools in the district.

You are a taxpayer but you are paid with taxpayer dollars. I am not.

As far as SLH goes, I never said "smoking is the only thing that interferes with education". I very clearly wrote that I doubt students smoking in the woods interferes with the school buses.

I spent one and a half years at that campus years ago. I know which woods the students smoke, drink, or do drugs. This campus is fenced in, or was, and the only woods easily accessible to students are the ones in front. Nevertheless, let's say for argument's sake, you are right. The school buses are unhindered by these woods, or anyone doing whatever in them.

You explain your back injury as an accumulated stress issue. I know this is painful, however in your response you prove three of my points:
1. The $70,000/year bike rider can expect the same type of injury as you in future years. The paths in the woods are not for bike riding 5-6 hours a day, 5 days a week. This employee's L&I benefits are going to be expensive and this is repugnant since the district could have avoided the issue.
2. I think with the severe injury that you are suffering with calls into question your vocational rehabilitation specialist, your doctor, and your L & I claims manager's judgment in allowing ESD HR assigning you to this work. The light duty you are performing is dangerous for your previous injury. For example, what if you have to suddenly get out of your vehicle and chase down a college student driver? This could cause you to reinjure yourself. There are many more examples. Also, the stress of having to sit for any length of time should be excrutiating for you--I'm surprised you can walk after sitting for any length of time.
3. The district not providing you rain gear might be a violation of L & I regulations. You may want to ask your claims manager about this.

I asked if you were the one who this poster was referring to:
" Anonymous said...
As of today the back lot girl is getting paid to sleep while sitting in her poorly parked car. This is a travesty. What kind of crap is this? At least stay awake for your income sweety!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:02:00 PM"

On your original post you stated:

"#4. The reason I park as I do is that in case it starts raining, I can sit in my car and still see the incoming vehicles."

And then later you responded:
"After standing on the corner of the back lot for 4 days with a bad back from driving school bus for over 11 years, I found I was just as effective from the car if I was seen. Ergo I intentionally pulled my car forward and it obviously worked because you all saw me!"

I hope, for your sake, that your injury is affecting your better judgment. You are, not knowingly, admitting to sleeping on the job: you never deny the allegation until my post appeared. In your response to me, you stated:
"No, I was not the person sleeping as I'm only there for 4 hours and do not get a 1/2 hr. lunch."

This is not much of a defense. This doesn't prove you were not sleeping and you state previously that all the posters had seen you parked incorrectly. You also invite posters to stop by to chat--this doesn't show any work ethic and weakens your defense. I will give the benefit of the doubt that you were not sleeping.

My suggestion to you is to stop posting while you are so emotional. You are just attacking posters for the wrong reasons, using words with highly negative connotations, such as "bitter" and "ignorant", and using a demeaning tone, such as making fun of typos, and implying posters are uncaring, mean individuals. They are not. Remember, you are burning bridges with people who may prove beneficial to you in the future.

Try to understand the other posters' anger--some may have jobs in jeopardy, some may have children who will be directly affected by the cuts, and some may be elderly who are taxpayers living on a fixed income.

I never said anything about a college degree. I actually do not believe you need a college degree for most positions in elementary education. If ESD HR really cared about you, they would know your passion is with working with special needs children. A very noble and commendable ideal. I know of other school districts who have hired non-college graduates to work in classrooms of kindergarteners, first graders, and special needs children. They do not teach but assist the teacher in many activities. ESD HR needs to be more creative in their approach to assigning light duty jobs so that the injured worker still feels his or her work is valuable.

Lastly, I am not ignorant and naive for the reasons you stated, but I am ignorant as to the relationship between bus drivers and the district. I am probably wrong, but I thought bus drivers were hired by a bus company contracted by the district. If anyone knows for sure, please post the answer. If I am correct, then why is the district offering any employment to the injured employees of an independent company?

Anonymous said...

Why are we wasting time over a bus driver that works the ESC parking lot. zzzzzzzzzzz! ZZZZZ! zzzzzzzz! dreaming I'm in a hollywood movie. "WAR" Please, go get lost in the woods with the kids. We got bigger fish to fry. You keep on talking you might be upper management material. Look Marla and Nick you got someone here for HR. This one can write and talk like you two can only dream of. Hey honey just having fun with you and your friend. "The Parking Peoples Union". PPU! slogan. We sit look, read and sleep, because we can.

Kathie said...

OK,OK I give up. I agree we have "bigger fish" to fry. I'm just as concerned as other posters about the waste in this district and believe me, I do see it at Transportation. Thank someone we have a new director.
The girl in the back lot is now back to work and that was her post, not mine.
The District does not contract with an independent service but that is a future possibility and if you care about the children of this district, pray that they don't go independent. They are less qualified than we are and are not background checked.
You sound like a very intelligent person so I'll let you do the posting from now on. And if it sounds like I'm trying to make amends, I back is killing me and has made me a nasty person!

Richard Reuther said...

We're still here, too, Mark.

Chill, People. There can be so many explanations for any given action by management. Perhaps they have no more imagination than to require light duty patroling the parking lot. Perhaps they think it will cause light duty to leave (a bullying tactic).

Back injuries are nothing to mess with. I drove KC Metro for 20 years and spent time in some very poor seats until the injuries (mine, too) and the lawsuits piled up so deep that they finally spent the money on decent driver's seats. Pound wise; prevention is the key.

Stay focused on management and their poor choices, folks. Don't yammer at the victims of poor management.

Anonymous said...

our district bus drivers are hired by the district and we pay and own the buses they drive. They are district employees and belong to the teamsters union. said...

Thank you, Richard. We all need to remain focused on the real issue... Poor Management.

The only real way to correct the problem with poor management is to elect board members that will not tolerate stupidity and backroom deals that financial assault the taxpayer and enrich Marla's special friends.

Anonymous said...

Thru the eyes of Linda H

So Cynthia Nelson is at it again. First the copiers, print shop services and now the outgoing US mail contracted out. Where was draft 5 when the decision was made to move the dollars out of her budget and put it into other depts.? She said she only mails maybe 10 letters a year. Most departments mail thousands of items a year and they were'nt ask how the new plan would effect them. This plan needs to be replanned and involve people who know and care. I understand the budget cuts but this plan is down right stupid!

tricky nick said...

Every step of this "US mail round up" has been a work of art from some very simple minded people. And NO, the workers have no input on this issue. Since Nick does not read the blog, and rarely responds to anonymous, I won't waste too much time in asking what happened to the whole "we need everyones input" song and dance. That is also one fat lie.