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MDUSD board to hold special meeting tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 4:55 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Uncategorized.

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a special meeting tonight at 8 pm to discuss settlement agreements with the superintendent and general counsel in closed session and to review candidates for interim superintendent, also in closed session. In open session, the board plans to appoint an interim secretary to the board, designate CFO Bryan Richards to provide digital signatures on payroll warrants effective May 1 until an interim superintendent is in place, and to vote on a contract with a superintendent search firm.

Here is the agenda:

As I have previously mentioned, I will not be able to attend tonight’s meeting and I’m not sure if any other CC Times reporter will attend. However, the public portions of the meeting should be live streamed at And later archived at

Do you think the board should hire a superintendent search firm tonight?

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154 Responses to “MDUSD board to hold special meeting tonight”

  1. Maria Terrones Says:

    Why Should MDUSD pay an Outside AgencY tO Hire A Superintendent? Don’ We Have A HR departmEnt? Can’t Julie Braun Martin Handle It?

  2. g Says:

    Maria; you cannot hire your own boss, although I’m sure she would like to.

  3. Doctor J Says:

    @#1&2 Its much more complicatated than that — these executive search firms already know a lot of the candidates from other jobs they have handled. They do extensive background checks, much more than the district is capable of — remember Chris Nugent ? The problem in hiring Steven Lawrence before, is that he did not have much of a history as supt of a small school district in West Sacramento, Yolo County. That was his first Supt job and he wasn’t there long. I have to say the same as G — I am surprised the district is going to use the same search firm as last time. Berkeley just had 70 candidates. They used a different search firm. Personally, I don’t know if they are better or not. The one on the agenda for tonight recently hired the San Ramon Supt, I believe.

  4. soooo frustrated Says:

    Why is this board meeting being held on Sunday night?

  5. Doctor J Says:

    @SF#4 Cheryl Hansen explained it on the second part of the report out of the closed session. Listen to it.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    I don’t see a livestream, does anyone ?

  7. soooo frustrated Says:

    I don’t either

  8. Vindex Says:

    So glad Rolen is gone. Lawrence was also a necessary dismissal. Step one of one hundred of turning the mdusd around. The first step is always the hardest

  9. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Audio posted for first part – no one stood up for public comment prior to the board going into closed session.

  10. g Says:

    2nd half is on Live Stream.

  11. g Says:

    Go Theresa and team! Bringin’ home the award ribbons in CA! For those who didn’t see it, with seven other daily papers in the ‘large circulation’ catagory, (Las Vegas Review, LA Times, Orange County Register, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and the U-T Register) — the CCTimes took 2nd place for “Excellence in Education Reporting.”

    They were 2nd only to the LA Times. That is quite a feat!

  12. Teacher Says:

    Did board appoint someone for interim?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    What was Lawrence’s career history before he became superintendent in West Sacramento? Was his contract ending in West Sacramento when he was hired by MDUSD?

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: As Dr J said, Lawrence’s frost job as a supt was in Wast Sac, I believe. His contract had one more year on it. But he said he wanted to leave early to take advantage of the opportunity to lead a larger district in MDUSD. Previously, I believe he was a district office administrator in Roseville, after being a principal. So, his rise mirrors many of the promotions we have seen in MDUSD from principal to dist office administrator. In fact, Linda Rondeau, Supt in Pittsburg, us a former MDUSD administrator.
    Also, I agree with Dr. J that it is best not to comment on Rolen’s children in this blog.

  15. Anon Says:

    Heart Tom Barnidge

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have received an extensive email from Trustee Lynne Dennler in response to my request for comment on her votes, which I will post as a separate blog item. Still no word from Trustee Linda Mayo. I hope that she will be willing to publicly state why she backed the superintendent, but agreed with the rest of the new board majority to terminate Rolen’s contract a year early. Every trustee should be accountable for his or her votes, as the board works to rebuild trust and transparency.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Theresa #16, have you had any contact with Hansen about why the separation agreements were not finalized last night? Given the comments from Lawrence and Rolen about the agreements not being finalized, and this being a “mutual separation” one has to wonder what is going on in that regard. A delay in reaching an agreement seems consistent with past roadblocks put up by Lawrence and Rolen in reference to board (and CC Times) requests.

  18. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anonymous: No, I have not had contact with Hansen since last night’s meeting because I am actually on vacation. However, she previously told me that the board was following the contract language for early termination without cause, but there was one more thing trustees might want to include in the agreements. My guess is that whatever they discussed last night now needs to be discussed with the supt and Rolen.

  19. g Says:

    I hope she doesn’t just throw herself on the sharp end of the $ sign. Waste, cover-up and dishonesty has to be stopped, but sometimes it costs money to do that.

    Truth cannot be budgeted–it should be free for the asking.

  20. g Says:

    Poor timing on my last comment. I was referring to Dennler.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Unfortunately, I may not be able to post her comments as quickly as I thought, because I am working with my ipad and I am having trouble copying and pasting large chunks of text. I do not want to re type the entire statement, so I may need to wait until I can use my laptop to copy and paste it. Dennler specifically asked me to quote her comments with fidelity, so I will refrain from paraphrasing what she wrote.

  22. Jim Says:

    @13, 14 — Supe Lawrence (sorry, I just can’t use the “Dr.” honorific for these guys) typifies the career path of many superintendents. After getting the requisite PhD from one of the many School of Education diploma mills, they move rapidly up the ranks of district educrats, often without learning anything about commonly accepted practices in organizational management, finance, budgeting, presentation skills, project management, human resources, etc. Yes, administrators need to understand teaching and how things work at the classroom and site levels, but that is not enough. MDUSD spends around $300 million a year, has well over 3,000 employees, is managing a $300 million capital investment program, and — oh, btw — is responsible for the education of over 30,000 students. This is a major enterprise, and too few superintendents have anything close to the background, training or experience to run it. (McHenry was a sweet guy, but he was similarly deficient. Remember his hire of Gloria Gamblin as CFO? Someone without even an accounting degree whose main experience consisted of watching Oakland Unified sink into bankruptcy? Thank heavens for medical leave, so that we could finally just pay her six-fig salary but at least avoid her mismanagement.)

    Usually, superintendents have spent their entire professional lives in similarly dysfunctional school districts in the bizzaro parallel universe of US public education, where the “best practices” may well be inappropriate, primitive, wildly outdated, or simply non-existent. No wonder that Lawrence was often so puzzled that meetings should have agendas, documents that are discussed should be available first for review, that “capital appreciation bonds” cost a LOT in interest, and that if you treat people dismissively and inequitably, they may end up suing you. People like this shouldn’t be allowed to run a corner fruit stand, but here they are, showing up again and again, running these major publicly-funded monopolies.

  23. Sue Berg Says:

    Jim, #22. Gloria Gamblin was selected through a rigorous day-long process in which she was interviewed by four different panels–a collection of about 20 people (union reps, parents, administrators)–and received the most votes from the group as a whole. A couple of years ago she returned to Oakland, where she works for a well-respected superintendent.

    Gary McHenry deficient? Clearly you never met nor conversed with the man. His education includes a B.A. from UC San Diego, an M.A. from Stanford, and doctoral studies (in organizational management) at USF. He spent 15 years in the Mountain View-Los Altos area as a school counselor, high school vp and principal. He then spent four years as an assistant/area superintendent in Oakland and five as Stockton USD superintendent before coming to MDUSD in 1999. For most of his 10-year tenure in Mt. Diablo (which in itself speaks to his effective leadership), state funding and enrollment were declining, so budget cutting was ongoing. His understanding of school finance helped get the district through that period with a balanced budget. The main thing he couldn’t do was give employees the raises they wanted and deserved, though he did restore teachers’ medical benefits to a degree in 2008.

    I understand from all your comments that you have disdain for public education unless it’s in charter schools and no respect for the people who choose to serve as traditional school and district administrators. I spent most of my career either working in education or covering it as a reporter. I’ve met many many excellent, dedicated, and successful educators–classroom teachers, librarians, assistants; school principals; district administrators (yes, even them); and superintendents.

    I would encourage the half dozen or so of you who regularly post criticisms of the district on this site to get out from behind your computers and visit MDUSD schools and classrooms. You will be impressed by the good work being done there by both staff and students.

  24. Jim Says:

    @23 Sue — I understand you have fond feelings for MDUSD, for whatever reasons. But I did meet Mr. McHenry on more than one occasion. He was a pleasant, professional man who, I repeat, was not up to the task of running the district — for more reasons than I could recount here, although I might start with the principal he left in charge of Northgate, another sweet, earnest person who had no business at all in that position and who was finally sacked when the public and even Dent Center could no longer tolerate her indifference to good administrative practices. (Lawrence deserves credit, which I have accorded him, of finding a vastly superior replacement.)

    I also understand your rhetorical tactic of equating any criticism of our current system of dysfunctional district monopolies as a broadside against “public education”, “teachers”, “dedicated educators”, apple pie, etc. But it simply isn’t true. I know many, many dedicated educators and administrators in districts all over the country, and I admire their work. In fact, after the students, they are some of the most regrettable victims of our current system. They, like the students, deserve better than Lawrence, McHenry, Gamblin and probably many others whom you admire. I’ll leave it to other members of the public to draw their own conclusions about which of us has made the more accurate personnel assessment.

    Finally, I actually spend quite a bit of time working with teachers, and even administrators in both traditional and charter schools. In fact, nothing is more inspiring to me than being in a classroom where a skilled teacher is igniting learning among his/her students. THAT is one of the main reasons why I am so passionate about reforming the disastrous system that, in my view, stifles learning, accountability and professionalism at every turn. This appears to be the very system that you so admire, since you are always so passionate in defending your former employer MDUSD, a prominent poster child, if ever there were one, for American education gone amuck.

    Hmmm…maybe it is not I, but you, who needs to get out more.

  25. Anon Says:

    Jim-Principal McMorris was hired way before Superintendent Lawrence. This is merely a reminder to be careful that you do not give credit where it is most definitely not due.

  26. Sue Berg Says:

    Thank you, Anon, for correcting Jim. Principal McMorris, and the popular interim principal who preceded him, were Gary McHenry recommendations.

    Jim, I would encourage you to go to the district office and read the annual reports produced from 2001-09 for evidence of the district’s improved performance during those years. I would also encourage you to highlight the performances of the admirable educators with whom you work and interact. They deserve to be the topics of conversation rather than your constant complaints about “dysfunctional district monopolies.” Let’s talk about what’s working and how it can be built upon.

  27. Jim Says:

    @25 — I recall that the long-term predecessor was let go prior to Lawrence, then a good interim guy came in, and then Lawrence hired McMorris. If I “misrecall”, then I apologize and stand corrected. I still give Lawrence credit for keeping a good principal in place. That can be as difficult as finding a good one in the first place (which, notably, the district can’t seem to do after years of trying at some other schools).

    I do hope everyone will carefully read Sue’s @23 post above, as it characterizes thinking that is common in traditional public schools — i.e. that inputs and process matter far more than outcomes. McHenry evidently had all the right background and degrees on paper. Maybe he was a good principal. I can certainly imagine that. He seemed to have the patient, professional temperament that can be useful for principals. But he was clearly unequipped to deal with the challenges of MDUSD (a complacent, undemanding board can be “thanked” for his 10-year tenure and the district’s contemporary decline). Maybe it was the classic Peter Principal. As I recall, he went on to serve as Superintendent of Inglewood Unified, at least until it became the 9th district in California’s history to be taken over by the State. It had to be obvious to him that Inglewood would be a BIG challenge, so I assume he took the position because no other school board shared enough of Sue’s high opinion of him to offer him a job.

    In Gamblin’s case, if a “20-person panel” all agreed she was terrific, one has to wonder… In the cv I saw, she didn’t have a CPA or even an accounting degree. In fact, I seem to recall that she had not even completed a bachelor degree. I mean, really, would any organization the size of MDUSD had considered her for such a responsible financial position? Makes one wonder whether any of those “20 people” had a clue what the job entailed. But hey, everyone liked her. What could go wrong?

  28. Guy Moore Says:

    Dr. J: It is perplexing to try to understand why you and others are so negative about the MDEA sponsored Academy Awards. We have been working for months on an awards show to honor great teachers and employees as a way to start the process of looking at our district from a different perspective, a positive perspective. We have many great employees who work very hard every day to serve the needs of our very diverse communities. We need to do much more to recognize teachers, employees, and parent volunteers. Since our district has not done much to recognize anyone, we MDEA stepped up to make it happen.

    By the way, Theresa published in this blog quite awhile ago a link to our multi-page document spelling out what we were attempting to do which included pricing along with our broad based support and mission statements. Not one person responded to this positive news.

    You should be impressed with the make-up of our committee as it includes board members, a retired administrator, retired teacher, current administrator, president of the PTA, teachers, members of MDEA’s executive board.

    We are actually bringing the MDUSD communities together by our actions and yet we get intense criticism without regard to our good work that really does represent positive change for MDUSD and MDEA.

    Approximately seven years ago, the district presented employees with coffee cups made in China that were printed with the district logo and said “I’m appreciated”. Employees opened the box and declared in unison, “the cup is empty”. Many proceeded to return the cup. Over the years we have received business card holders even though most people do not have business cards and the infamous “roach clip”, an alligator clip that could be used to hold a paper one might be typing. All of the recognition items were hollow attempts to show appreciation for teachers, but did the opposite. In the ensuing years our district has spent nothing on teacher/employee recognition with the exception of the annual retirement dinner also held at Centre Concord.

    Guess how much the coffee cups cost? 2,500 employees multiplied by $2.00 = $5,000. That is why the district agreed to co-sponsor our event because it was a better way to recognize everyone. By the way, every presentation I made to any group replied that the Academy Awards is a great and idea long over due. As bills come in the district will spend up to $5,000 from the category of employee recognition. Why is this such a scandal?

    As to pricing, we have a committee that thought it would be great to invite classified employees so we priced the tickets for employees at our anticipated cost of $20. MDEA is taking a huge risk given that the event will cost $20,000 plus, the approximate cost of a high school junior prom.

    We need 400 people to show up and we have a tremendous line up of speakers who believe in the potential of our district. It would be great if more people would figure out ways to make our district better by bringing people together rather than almost exclusively focusing on the negative.

    We really do need your support. The Academy Awards may not be perfect, but it is our 1st year and we really know in our hearts that it is done in the spirit of bringing the community together to make MDUSD a better place for everyone.

  29. Sue Berg Says:

    Many good principals were left in place and other good ones hired during McHenry’s tenure. Many are still there, though some left after the 2009 leadership change, some retired, and some moved to district-level positions. There’s always going to be flux.

    As for a “complacent” Board, if you believe that Dick Allen, Gary Eberhart, Bill Leal, Linda Mayo, and April Treece did not make demands on the superintendent and his staff nor hold him accountable, then you were clearly not paying attention to the district during those years. It was not a noisy Board nor one that called attention to itself. There were no blogs, but the Contra Costa Times was as close a watchdog then as now.

    That was the time of the first Measure C, the Special Education Consent Decree, the adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act, and the dwindling of funding for public education, among other major factors. The district was not in decline when McHenry left. MDUSD, in fact, had a positive reputation within the state’s education network for its innovative programs. Teams of administrators and teachers were invited to present at many curriculum conferences. The Glenbrook-Holbrook-Sun Terrace collaboration that parents and staff liked so much was among the innovations.

    You seem determined to paint MDUSD with a broad brush of incompetence. To what purpose? The leadership change you wanted is afoot. Time for the negativity to stop.

  30. Cheryl M. Says:

    Sue at 28: I thought Rolen was hired during McHenry’s tenure. I don’t recall that we had a general counsel prior to that time. I have no idea what legal services were like before then. Do you fault McHenry at all on that decision?

  31. Anon Says:

    So is the board going to release the names of the candidates for interim superintendent that they are considering? You’ve talked about transparency for a long time now. The community has a right to know who’s in the running. Please release the names of those under consideration.

  32. Anon2 Says:

    Not until the next special board meeting, which has not been scheduled yet.

  33. Teacher Says:

    Thought there was a meeting scheduled for Wednesdy night.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    @Teacher#31 I believe there is and according to the
    Board president, the agenda for the Special Meeting should be posted tomorrow.

  35. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ Jim:

    Your observations are constructive. Thank you for keeping the focus on results and the plain and obvious reality, rather than getting hung up on “process” and edu-speak. Your perspective is refreshing to hear and much needed.

    The book by Lance Izumi ( and movie based on the book ( drive home the points you have made on this blog.

    The movie trailer ( sounds just like the MDUSD parents I talk to, though they’re Orange County, CA parents. This goes to Jim’s point about the U.S. school system bureaucracy that is woefully in need of reform.

    Everyone’s dissatisfied and yet nothing changes, except when competition is introduced, so that underperforming schools are compelled to improve or die.

    Thank you for adding your experienced and well-informed voice to this blog, Jim.

    California schools can and should do better.

  36. Tag-a-long Says:

    I can understand Sue Berg’s wanting to back up the MDUSD old gang; just look at the mother of the Boston Marathon bombers justifying her kids as innocent angels and victims of the press. Everyone has an opinion.
    And shame on you Theresa Harrington and Jim for trying to bring up dirt from the past (that fouls the present). After-all, wouldn’t we all get along better if we didn’t know the truth?
    Let’s just talk about all the good things Lawrence & Rolen did for MDUSD. I couldn’t think of any either. Instead of arguing how much of the $300K salary Lawrence is stealing from the kids, maybe he and Rolen should be cutting a deal with Hansen to reduce their prison sentencing.
    I’m saving my “vote NO for Whitmarsh” signs to add “Dennler & Mayo”!

  37. g Says:

    The illegally offered ‘extra’ funds in the Browne bribery would go a long way to help defray some of the costs of replacing the bad legal counselor(s) and the complicit superintendent.

    Even if the whole thing didn’t stink of multiple Brown Act violations, without an actual law suit the ‘extra’ 6 months of pay was just plain illegal, and both Rolen and Cooksey should have known it.

    What do we pay FFF for if we don’t even read their free advice?

  38. Theresa Harrington Says:

    G: The settlement with Mildred Browne does not appear to be illegal, although it has not yet been ratified by the board. The extra six months of pay was related to the claim Browne filed against the district for damages related to derogatory comments allegedly made about her. Her damages appeared to be medical in nature, but Cooksey redacted that information, so it’s unknown specifically what the district is paying for. As previously mentioned, Browne specifically asked Cooksey not to share the agreement with Rolen, so it does not appear that he was involved with it, although he did respond to my PRA.
    It’s true that the reports out of closed session either we’re not made correctly or correctly recorded in the minutes. It’s also unclear why the Browne matter was listed as “anticipated litigation” instead of an employee release, with her employee number.

  39. vindex Says:

    @35 Wendy Lack. I agree. Introduce competition. Vouchers are the answer. Allow, parents to take their monies to their school of choice. Whether it be private or public.

  40. g Says:

    Theresa, Without even rehashing the scheme that created a new “empty chair” Asst. Supt position to steal from and deceive the public; Browne was under a signed legal obligation that if her contract was terminated by the district, the max she would get was 1/2 of her remaining salary and benefits–not to exceed 9 months. If she terminated the contract, she got nothing. The secret (partial board) agreement to give her more than that violated not only the contract, but stole money and services the public was entitled to.

    Writing up a letter claiming damages, or threatening to sue, is not a claim for damages. **Did she actually file a Tort claim through the judicial system?

    If not, they can’t legally just ‘agree’ to use an additional 3 or 6 or 9 months worth of $$ taxpayer funds to buy her off and cover up any of their own misdeeds.

  41. g Says:

    OR, there’s one other explanation. Based on seeing ‘some’ of the emails, maybe I’ve had the cart before the horse all along in my assumptions. Could it be that Browne, wanting (paid) time off for the ‘lecture circuit’ etc, was actually clever enough to get her cake and eat it too?

    Could it be that:

    Long before the emails Theresa has let us glimpse, AND well before the 4/23/12 contract extensions ever came up, Browne, with 18 months or more left on her contract, actually DID bring suit against one or more people in the district for “mental stress-harassment-civil rights”, etc .

    If that is what occurred, then Whitmarsh’s “milestone” was very likely Browne’s agreement to “negotiate” a settlement that far exceeded her contract.

    Even if that is the case, the cover-up, the cost, and any participation by any board member in those cover-up proceedings is an outrageous offense against the public trust.

  42. g Says:

    AND, did Eberhart’s decision to not run for office again have anything to do with the Browne settlement agreement?

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    G: I did not see any evidence that Browne brought suit against the district. The emails and correspondence suggest she wanted to work through the end of her contract. She asked for a paid leave of absence. It’s unclear why the district didn’t terminate her contract early without cause, as you suggest, which would have been less costly. The only conclusion appears to be that she had some sort of proof to substantiate the alleged derogatory comments and the alleged harm they caused.

  44. g Says:

    Then it appears that you got far-far less than everything on your PRA request and it still looks like an illegal cover-up. Back on 4/2 you said you were working on a story to publish around 4/3.

    Did you ever do that–did I just miss it?

  45. Teacher Says:

    Is there a meeting tomorrow?

  46. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Agenda posted

  47. anon Says:

    Really? They are going to appoint the superintendent of this school districts, not to mention the general counsel, in closed session without, at a minimum, informing us who they are considering. What a joke. For a board who yells “transparency” every chance they can get an audience, they certainly haven’t modeled that behavior. We have a right to comment and advocate on behalf of our children and the board has greatly limited that right by keeping the candidates secret. Just another day in the mt. diablo unified school district.

  48. anon Says:

    Again Giorgio, thank you. This description (and then some!) could be applied at MDUSD, too. I feel strongly that there will be some type of prosecution at some point. The good employees have been chased off by truly unbalanced individuals who might be trying to fulfill emotional needs over professional duty. If an employee won’t support their outrageous behavior such as petulant threats to quit, crying episodes, obtuse or arbitrary decision-making, they will most certainly be targeted. It never occurs to Personnel to ask why long time employees are now leaving or having severe issues with these “managers”. It is NEVER the manager’s fault. Personnel should be outsourced. If they can have an army of brought in professionals, why can’t the employees? I, myself, reported someone from Personnel. It was not Julie B-M or Lois P. but they surely are aware of this situation. There are great people in Personnel, but the Braun-Martin “business plan” has been enforced for too long. The union structure is a HUGE problem there with a complete refusal to do any type of written complaint or legal action, thereby leaving the employees to be mistreated again and again. They have never done a PERB complaint and refuse to expel the worst employees. Management is well-aware of what they will and will not do and this is why you hear about things like Deb Cooksey trying to intimidate the Teamsters reps. The Teamsters have put in a PERB complaint and they don’t even have a member there! I hope they allow employees to leave at will and choose their representation. After all, they took members from an organization that now has a much better reputation. Someone wrote about “Bread and Games” but one translation reads “Bread and Circuses” and it was by someone called Juvenal about the erosion of civic duty. Please hope they give the displaced employees some type of hearing. It would be a good thing for the board to hear what is actually happening. I feel only the Teamsters will facilitate this as the union just stood by while long time good employees were abused.

  49. Anon2 Says:

    Maybe Cooksey will be the interim general counsel? Or one of the independent attorneys hired to advise the board? Sounds like they have an interim sup already selected.

  50. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ Theresa Harrington:

    Will you be attending tonight’s meeting, or are you on vacation this week?

  51. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Wendy, I’m on vacation, but I’m tempted to go. I’ll see what my editor says. If I don’t go, I’ll watch for the livestream or audio.

  52. Wait a Minute Says:

    For all those wanting at leaset the beginning of a thorough cleanup of Stevie Lawrence’s many messes, pray that they hire Michelle Lawrence as interim Supt.

  53. anon Says:

    They gave Rose Lock some additional duties. I pray it won’t be her. She loves to appease people who are looking for real support, but she is a lot of talk and zero action. If they make this appointment without allowing the community to weigh in on their choice, they are the same as the last bunch.

  54. g Says:

    Anon2: Bite your tongue! It seems to me the very worst of the problems in the district reared its ugly head with the hiring of in-house legal. Maybe we should look at that entire process a bit more closely.

    We went from 4-5 outside specialist firms with a legal budget of $500-600K to an entire internal ‘legal’ (and I use the term loosely) department and 9 (yeah, 9) outside firms on contract, with a budget of $1million, and still had to go out of this area to get legal advice that we could be confident wasn’t on the take at some level.

    If we decide to keep someone on staff to ‘direct legal traffic’ to the outside firms, that person should at least have a working knowledge of:
    1) What it means to represent their “one-and-only” Employer–the citizens–via the board;
    2) The basics of the Brown Act;
    3) The basics of parliamentary procedure; and
    4) For pete’s sake they should be proactive in advising the board of new laws (BEFORE the board has a chance to violate them) and finally;
    5) That person should keep their knowledge base up-to-date by spending some time –on their own dime– studying recent legal opinions and decisions on Public law.

  55. anon Says:

    It doesn’t matter if the “new” general counsel advises the board on legal matters because the board president routinely ignores that advice. We only have to go back a few meetings to get to a place where the board’s lawyer repeatedly advised the the board president that the board couldn’t vote on an item on the agenda which was not agendized for action and despite that very clear legal advice that was directly related to the brown act, the board president insisted that a vote could be held.

    In terms of your assertion that the board had to utilize counsel which was not on the “approved list” they only did so after they received repeated advice that what they were doing was not OK. As it turns out, if you keep hiring lawyers and keep asking the same question, sooner or later you will find one who will give you the answer that you want.

    The board is off the rails crazy and they are spending money that could be used to help students, something that they have completely lost sight of. History will not be kind to this board and the actions that they have taken.

  56. g Says:

    And then go back 200 more meetings to find one instance of Rolen lifting his head off the back of his rocking-rocking chair to speak up and advise the board of possible issues. One outburst in an attempt to cover his own ass simply doesn’t cut it. Neither does mumbling and passing notes to Eberhart count.

    As for going off the “approved list” — how is it that the last 4 firms were all paid for ‘services’ prior to ever having a contract brought before the board?

    Jealous much?

  57. anon Says:

    Jealous? Not in the least. Upset that money is being used to fuel personal vendettas rather than for the students in our school district. The funny thing is that the contracts for the general counsel and superintendent both have buyout clauses. In fact, it appears that it will be via the buyout clauses that hansen will finally get rid of both. Why didn’t she just do that in the first place in stead of dragging our district into the mud and spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to prove a point? I’ve never seen a bigger waste of time and money than we are seeing right now. Our schools have needs that are being ignored because hansen has done this to the district. She has been neither visionary or intelligent in her pursuit of personal vengeance. She should be ashamed.

  58. g Says:

    Vendetta? Obviously we disagree. I call it a $20K shovel to clean out what RolenStrangeEberMarsh turned into a $multi-million dollar Dent latrine.

  59. anon Says:

    $20K? I’d say that it’s more like $100k, but maybe Theresa can do a records request and find out all the money spent on legal on all of the initiatives that hansen has been pushing since the board placed her in power. To that you should also ask for an accounting of all staff resources utilized on the same set of initiatives. The only thing that you won’t be able to quantify are the losses our students have realized that are due to the rudderless ship that hansen has set adrift in fast moving waters.

  60. Wait a Minute Says:

    Gee, I wonder who this Anon poster is that keeps criticizing Cheryl Hansen?

    I couldn’t help but notice that they ramped up posting their attacks on Ms Hansen about the same time as the last election and have escalated as the democratic process started that has led to these necessary management changes.

    So who are you Anon: Rolen, Stevie, EberMarsh, Strange, Pederson or another one of their beneficiaries?

  61. Anon Says:

    Whoever Anon is bashing Ms. Hansen…I have never met a women, (or man for that matter), who has more integrity and courage than Ms. Hansen. It is because of her high moral standards and sense of public duty that the tax payers finally caught on to Mr. Lawrence and were exposed. Maybe, finally students will come first! Theresa, you also started digging deeper and utilized your expertise as a journalist, to uncover even more corruption and dishonesty. Maybe having 300 plus community members attending board meetings regularly for a year, while CV was trying to become a charter school played a role too, exposing poor leadership and incompetency. My point is that it takes courage, perseverance, intelligence and true grit to make a stand and follow through with action. Thank you Ms. Hansen!

  62. Doctor J Says:

    No livestream yet.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    There it is.

  64. Teacher Says:

    What time are they expected to report out.?

  65. Anon Says:

    All that talk about transparency and no action. The board is deciding who is going to run this district behind closed doors and all stakeholders are excluded from the process. The board doesn’t give a rip if the community is included or not. Times have never been worse here, that’s for sure.

  66. Doctor J Says:

    I was out of the room for just a minute and all I heard is that the meeting is extended until midnight. Did anyone hear what happened ?

  67. Anon Says:

    Anon 65, I disagree that the Board should involve the public in the selection of an interim superintendent beyond public comment. It is an interim sup, not a four year superintendent. If they involved the public they would never get anyone selected. If you look around at other school districts, they do not involve the public in the selection of an interim sup. Ultimately, the Board selects a new Sup. after an involved process that includes interviews, site visits to the last school district where the candidate worked, meetings with stakeholders such as MDEA, etc. If that kind of selection process occurred with an interim, you would never get around to finding a new sup! Give the Board a break. Quite frankly, they have been working their asses off trying to put new leadership in place, and they do it for free. They even met on a Sunday night. Rarely do you see such a hard-working school board. I believe your criticism is very unwarranted.

  68. Teacher Says:

    Are they back in open session?

  69. Doctor J Says:

    They extended the meeting and went back into closed session.

  70. Teacher Says:

    Without naming interim supe?

  71. Doctor J Says:

    Video part 2 posted. I haven’t seen it yet.

  72. Doctor J Says:

    I knew there was a reason that Linda Mayo missed her Marriott reservation tonight in San Jose for the State PTA convention.

  73. Theresa Harrington Says:

    They extended the meeting until midnight, but Hansen said they may reconvene sooner and would likely come back by 11:45 p.m. at the latest so they could deal with their one open session item as well. I am not at the meeting, but am watching the livestream.

  74. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, you get a couple of front page articles, with massive on-line hits, and think you are entitled to vacation ?? WTH ? You Know I am just teasing you ! IMHO, Linda Mayo and her buddy Lynne Denler want Rose Lock to the the interim Supt which is opposed by Cheryl Hansen and Barbara Oaks because they know Rose, as nice a lady she is, is not a dynamic leader to make changes until a new Supt is hired. But Rose took Linda Mayo and more recently Lynne Dennler on “tours of schools” which is such a waste of time of an Asst Supt. Once again, Mr. Indecisive is Brian Lawrence — we did learn earlier that Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen are on paid administrative leave — they are extorting the Board to get longer payouts. Lets cut them off and make them pay their own lawyers — Linda, if you don’t get this done tonight, you are going to miss more of the PTA party in San Jose.

  75. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like our Concord reporter covered the first portion of the closed session:

    I don’t know if he’s actually there or just reported based on the live stream.

  76. Doctor J Says:

    A plan is now in place. The three big search firms in contention are Leadership Associates, Ray & Associates, and the Costa Group but others are welcome to submit proposals by Monday afternoon. Jane Williams is tne new Interim General Counsel.

  77. Doctor J Says:

    Please, let me introduce Jayne Williams, new interim General Counsel of MDUSD. Impressive resume.

  78. Teacher Says:

    Did they hire interim super?

  79. Teacher Says:

    It might have made sense to have interim superintendent in mind before releasing Cirrent supe. Just saying!

  80. Doctor J Says:

    The candidate for Interim Supt was described last night as an “unrepresented employee candidate”. I am not sure what that means, but wonder if it describes Rose Lock or Julie B-M or Bryan Richards ? I hope not.

  81. Teacher Says:

    #79 should say Current

  82. Anon Says:

    Good to know there are super-mega-qualified folks like Jayne Williams out there. Now can they find another one for the supe position?

  83. vindex Says:

    @82.. excuse my ignorance. How is Jayne Williams qualified? She has been a city attorney.. Not a school district attorney. Different law. Now, she might be incredibly intelligent, but I can’t know that by her resume. Lots of associations on the resume, but you pay a fee and your in. I’m not sold this was a good decision. Thankfully, it is an interim., so we will get a chance to figure that out.

  84. g Says:

    I find it interesting that Jayne Williams is not Meyers Nave’s Education specialist, but rather she is their Ethics and Investigations specialist. Lets hope we get our money’s worth of that specialty over the next 3-4 months, and let’s hope that if there are significant ‘findings’ they are not covered up.

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr J: That’s interesting because Hansen previously told me the board was considering two very well-qualified retired superintendents.

  86. g Says:

    Did Cheryl misspeak regarding the Monday and Wednesday meetings when she said that the Wed meeting would identify “stakeholders and the process” in the search for an interim supt? Her next statement indicated that “before that” on Monday we will meet with an “unrepresented employee designate” where we will “negotiate” a contract for the interim candidate. Huh?

    I believe she meant to indicate they would meet just to work out what that contract should say—but that is not what she said. If we go by what she said, it would indicate that Monday they would actually be negotiating ‘with’ the person they had already chosen—before even identifying the stakeholders or the selection process.

    She then goes on to say a choice will not be finalized until 5/20.

    Very confusing! Hopefully she will straighten that out for us before Monday so that the public may comment on the ‘real’ process.

  87. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#85 Theresa, I guess that is a good follow up question for you to ask Cheryl. “Unrepresented” as in not represented by a lawyer or not a union ? I guess its not too difficult to identify all retired Supts within 50 mile radius who have retired in the last 5 years. The other qualifier would be “well respected”.

  88. g Says:

    And ‘designate’ means ‘chosen’…. So, either someone has been ‘chosen’ or — a ”favorite candidate is getting a first crack at the job and/or establishing perameters before the stakeholders get a say.

  89. Anon Says:

    Vindez @83, I totally agree with you on the fact that Jayne Williams, while well qualified in the representation of cities, has no school law experience. The choice baffles me. For those who are not familiar with the Education Code, it is very voluminous. To be an effective general counsel for a large school district you must have a strong working knowledge of the Education code. To Rolen’s credit, regardless of how you assess his ethics, he was an experienced school law attorney when he came to MDUSD. I think the fact that Ms. Williams (as qualified as she is as a litigator and city attorney) is not experienced in representing K-12 school districts is a critical area of deficit.

  90. anon Says:

    So as I understand it they aren’t going to choose an interim superintendent until May 20? That’s just great. Hansen has been plotting this course since mid-December and she just now realized they needed an interim superintendent? So who is running the District? Hansen? The board? This epitomizes the term epic fail. Nice work board. Great way to destroy the last bits of confidence that your community has placed in your hands. And all the while, the principal at my child’s school is screwing up majorly and is getting zero oversight from the district. Just great guys.

  91. Doctor J Says:

    @Vindex#83&#89 I love this part about Jayne Williams resume: “•Faculty presenter, San Leandro Annual Leadership Academy, “ The Role of the City Attorney and Brown Act Requirements,” 2005 – 2012.” The Brown Act basically operates the same at all levels of local government. Best of all: she has integrity. She will be instrumental in chosing a new General Counsel.

  92. Doctor J Says:

    Here is an overview of Michele Lawrence, retired Supt of Berkeley USD:

  93. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#90 Your child’s principal has no oversight from the district ? Blame Rose Lock and SASS — every principal has an SASS “coach”. Which school and who is the coach ?

  94. Anon Says:

    as of today the district has no superintendent . . .

  95. Doctor J Says:

    @#94 and the district is still operating — so what does that tell you about Steven Lawrence’s importance ?

  96. No American Greetings Says:

    Someone wrote about Steven Lawrence being detached. He sent a third party simple, impersonal “great to work with you” email via his secretary. Detached to the last. They should have emailed back “who am I?” just to befuddle him. Just the same, he has probably had a snout full of “befuddle” by now. Then he supposedly celebrated with the very people whose behavior contributed to his demise. Like a fish out of water with the huddled masses working for him.
    Too late to fire them now, buddy. Have a cookie on your way out.

  97. Jim Says:

    @96 NAG — The people working in MDUSD deserve better leadership. We focus a lot here on the impacts of this train wreck on students and families, but we shouldn’t ignore the committed, hard-working adults whose careers have been diminished by Dent Center dysfunction and years of board incompetence. Clearly, the long-term option is to give everyone more options to get away from these people. But in the meantime, I sincerely hope that MDUSD educators, administrators and staff finally get some decent leaders. Nobody should have to endure this nonsense, year after year.

  98. vindex Says:

    Jim @96.. Couldn’t agree more. The teachers and admin. that I know in the MDUSD are FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s give them the leadership they deserve.

  99. Doctor J Says:

    I think the Academy Awards are in financial trouble: far short of the 400 attendance max. They already reduced the cost to MDUSD employees to $20 which has to be below their cost for the catered dinner. The only speakers are politicians: Keynote Speaker: Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Mr. Rajan is also a former Walnut Creek City Councilman and a graduate of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Education Mark DeSaulnier, State Senator Susan Bonilla, State Assemblyperson Federal Glover, County Supervisor.

  100. Doctor J Says:

    Where are the attached contracts for the terminations of the Supt and General Counsel on Monday’s agenda ?
    Cheryl or Brian, are you going to make them public since they are now on the public agenda ?

  101. Anonymous Says:

    J @97 That ‘s how many (more than she wishes to acknowledge) feel about Mt. Diablo HIgh’s McClatchy who is beating the school into the ground.

  102. g Says:

    Dr. J: Since they didn’t seem to be finished parsing the terms of the separation agreements, I was trying to give them extra time to post Attachments, but time is just about up.

    Also, wasn’t it just at the last meeting that Brian asked JBM to at least publish the Name, and if it’s an outside hire, a small bio of new hires, especially management positions. The board and public should be able to vet new hires. The starting pay grade should be posted too.

  103. Giorgio C. Says:

    Thank you. Yes, the unions are truly part of the problem. Mine even retaliated against me because I was so ticked off about their lack of willingness to defend a whistleblower that I then went after them for violations of the Calif. Corp. Code which resulted in them trying to expel me, but settled for suspending me for “no less than one year.” I went to PERB who reinstated me, telling the scumbags to knock it off. I want to recall the union folks, but honestly, I am too damn tired of this nonsense. I just want to spend quality time with my precious daughter, and my wife. Life is too short for this cr_p. So lob a few good bombs-missles in the most expeditious manner, try to take out as many as you can, and then get back to enjoying life pronto! You deserve it and currently they are robbing you of that.

  104. Fog a Spoon Says:

    Bad choice: Rose Lock. Cubicle Jockey from H – E – double hockey sticks: Bryan Richards. OMG!: Julie Braun Martin. You cannot get Julie Braun Martin or Bryan Richards to do their jobs now and neither is qualified even on an interim basis. Bryan has shown what a little power will do and has not been able to clean up his own fiscal department. We were actually shocked they are letting him, right in the middle of the laptop denials, sign any checks without supervision. Rose Lock will do what she is doing now: _________fill in the blank because we don’t know, either. The schools just scream “I don’t care” because all the resources and attention have been grabbed by the Dent. I believe what #48 writes is true: these managers are putting their personal or emotional needs ahead of their jobs. Wasn’t it Richards voracious grab to get control of poor Mildred Browne’s budget the start of the problems? Some classrooms are in desperate need of an inspection. Rose Lock needs to consult a fire marshal to outline some safety standards. They have become extensions of home with loads of personal items, coffee makers, microwaves, refrigerators, coolers, furniture, pets, “bedroom” pillows, unsecured shelving. Some cases border, in my opinion, on animal abuse with poor creatures left to temperature variations, no mental stimulation or company over long weekends. Not nice and a poor example. Exit paths are blocked. Specimen jars with highly flammable fluids (non-science classrooms) on shelving that is unsecured and would likely topple in an earthquake. These chemicals would cause burns or breathing difficulties and would require hazmat cleaning. Some rooms smell like old coffee or food, walls plastered with only personal or political agenda items; nothing relative to the subjects. There is way too much “stuff” on the walls and almost no board area to write. I agree that making the students aware, getting them to think, and having healthy debates is essential but around voting time some passionate people may have over-politicized their lessons. How can the students concentrate? I see no reason why coffee cannot be made in the kitchen area and wonder about these dirty refrigerators and mold, asthma, bugs, mice, rats. Anyone can take a hand wipe and clean the blackened areas on the doors or switches. Excepting emergencies, no person engaged in a lesson, teacher or student, needs to be on a cell phone. Do not have a policy and then refuse to enforce it. Sitting on a cell phone while you are being paid to teach is not ok. It is not ok to do wrong because you believe you are higher up the food chain. Dent. Sorry to go on but the DRESS CODE needs to be enforced. Make the parents get involved by leaving work to take their student home to change into appropriate clothing. Instead we get “well, don’t you have a tee shirt or something you can give them?” Let us educate and let the parents get them dressed! We need a clean-up and de-clutter so our kids don’t have to sit in these messes. I propose a management cut and furlough program to cover the cost. Rose Lock has just tried to stay out of the way and that is not leadership.

  105. Giorgio C. Says:

    Regarding comment #103, obviously I didn’t mean “bombs” or “missiles” in the literal sense. These days, some nut job will take what I said literally.

  106. Vindex Says:

    Dr. J… agreed. The awards are a great thought, poorly pulled off. What other organization charges its own members to attend an awards ceremony for themselves????????? Also, frankly I feel like the event has been hijacked by politicians running for office instead of speakers that teachers care to hear from. For example: a parent of a former student, a fellow teacher, a beloved principal. Susan Bonilla??? Really? When I started seeing politicians headlining the event, my family and I decided not to attend.

  107. anon Says:

    I can’t believe what I just read. They have placed rolen on paid leave, meaning he is still being paid, and they are going to they are going to vote to pay another lawyer $390k/year or $130k/4 months. For what? Doesn’t the district have an associate general counsel that could have handled things for 4 months while the search went on to find a new general counsel, assuming we even need that position. There is probably a reason that they haven’t placed the separation agreements for the general counsel and superintendent on the agenda so we can read them. They are probably afraid that the community will go nuts that the board is just throwing money out the windows while our children languish for a lack of resources. I want to say that again, the general counsel is still being paid and they are going to vote to add another counsel to the payroll for an amazing $390k/year. She will be the highest paid person in the district. That should be a front page above the fold headline. Theresa, here’s your chance for stardom.

  108. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Vindex: Organizations such as the Peninsula Press Club also charge award recipients to come to dinners to accept their awards.

  109. Annie V.P. CSEA Says:

    #103 Not all Unions are the same we give our members all the due process there is to give. If the District is having issues with one of my members there is a meeting and if the member is not performing the job duties that are required or just not going to work we try and straighten it out and when the meeting is over I have a talk with my member alone and get it straight that you are paid to do a job,so you need to do it or you can/will be fired and I don’t want to be down here again with this same problem. I’ve only had to have those conversations a few times. I believe people pay dues for a reason and that is to get service when they call. There has been a lot of work this year. This District needs to have lessons on adult bullying. They have meetings every week that would be a good lesson. It’s hard to believe how bad some people are treated. I can also be a junk yard dog when it comes to protecting my members.

  110. anon Says:

    McClatchy and co. are quite good at getting their way by whatever means, including bullying.

  111. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The newly revised strategic plan stresses the idea that everyone should be treated with respect in the district. Also, Trustee Brian Lawrence said he wants MDUSD to be THE district of choice for parents and employees. Now that the superintendent is gone, who is responsible for coming up with an action plan for implementing districtwide respect? And what are the consequences when it doesn’t happen?

    I attended an Education Writers seminar over the past few days that included one session on teacher turnover. The way to keep teachers (and other staff), speakers said, is to treat people with respect, recognize them for their good work and build a supportive team that works collaboratively together toward a common vision. Strong leadership is also important, they said.

  112. Giorgio C. Says:

    My apologies, Annie. I meant to say “some” unions are part of the problem. I know some unions, such as AFSCME, have a good reputation, that it is my understanding they do not pull such nonsense. I am definitely NOT antiunion, but I do have my complaints about some.

  113. Doctor J Says:

    So Theresa, why aren’t the Separation Agreements attached to the agenda if there is to be “transparency”?

  114. g Says:

    With this last batch of layoffs/turnovers the ALJ refused to allow them to skip over 4 teachers with more seniority in favor of less experienced staff. Three are from Meadow Homes and one Shore Acres.

    Were they trying to get rid of lower performers? Were they trying to get rid of higher pay? Were they just picking favorites?

    Whatever their reasons–they obviously didn’t go after it in the right way.

  115. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 107, excellent point. Why 130K for 4 months? That is considerably more than general counsel was paid. I doubt Jayne Williams makes $390k a year as a partner at a public law firm. Between the two salaries, too much money is being paid out. Ouch.

  116. Really? Says:

    What is ALJ?

  117. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Administrative Law Judge.

  118. Doctor J Says:

    Why all the secrecy all of a sudden ?

  119. g Says:

    I suspect they are just beginning to glimpse how deep the cesspool –how high the dirty laundry –how many they would need to fire to clean it all up –how little control they actually have –how many leave the board room giving each other high five’s for BSing the board and getting by with it, again.

  120. Curious Says:

    G May 4 @ 9:04,
    What are you referring to when you speak of passing over the 4 with more seniority? What is the back story?

  121. anon4 Says:

    Many incidents to report at the school level, but intimidated staff fear retribution.

  122. g Says:

    It’s on tomorrow’s agenda, with attachment. If they had given a really valid reason why they wanted to keep newer teachers, versus older, instead of blaming it on who actually relied on their BCLAD knowledge most recently, I wouldn’t question it. It’s likely the ALJ would prefer honesty too.

  123. Teacher Says:

    Anyone have any idea who new SASS coach will be?

  124. anon Says:

    Interesting, Loreen Joseph has resigned.

  125. Doctor J Says:

    @#123 GUILTY.

  126. Teacher Says:

    Guilty of what?

  127. g Says:

    Maybe Guilty is a who, not a what….

  128. Teacher Says:

    Re 125. If you know, why not share? Thought you were fighting for transparency !

  129. C.S. Says:

    #119 G: Best Comment Ever. So True. “Under Investigation” means “we are doing nothing about it”. They hide behind “confidentiality” when the last thing they do is respect confidentiality. How long do these Personnel “investigations” take? How many months do the taxpayers have to pay employees to be out on PAID administrative leave while some nebulous “investigation” goes on and on? Why not hire an attorney? The rolodex is full of ‘em. Because they are hemorrhaging taxpayer dollars putting people on paid administrative leave, I propose anything over 1 week be approved by the board. These “investigations” produce nothing and give away undeserved funds. The Personnel staff should be investigated over these “given” benefits and submit a full report of their “investigations” to the board. Why the board? Because these people are NOT to be trusted and do not respect or conserve taxpayer dollars. It is a shame they have to be babysat, but they do. Now the attorney is involved in every little issue and is nothing more than a Personnel adjunct. These Dent staffers should not have unfettered access to the districts’ attorneys and should actually have to request a consult so the board can see how little they resolve. Let them go to Oakland or wherever. Pros: Screen door marks on backside of departing employees AND we can sell our gently worn “I SURVIVED” tee shirts to Oakland employees in about two years. Cons: I guess the cons would be gone.

  130. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: It’s my understanding that Joseph will work for County Supt. Joe Ovick now, as well as the county Board of Education. That board is used to VERY detailed minutes.

  131. Brian Lawrence Says:

    Several items are missing from the agenda items for tonight’s meeting and I’ve contacted staff about them. The contract with Myers Nave and the bio for the new SASS administrator need to be posted.

    Minutes for a couple of the meetings this year have been added to the website. I will ask about the timeline for adding the others, but we will get them on there.

  132. anon Says:

    What experience does Jayne Williams have running transportation and maintenance and operations? Those departments have been problem areas for a while. Bringing in someone with no experience in those areas is a recipe for disaster.

    I just noticed that they are also hiring another lawyer for 3 months to make up for placing the current general counsel on paid leave. There is just no limit to how much this board is willing to spend on proving a point. All this spending while at the same time tonight they are laying off 87 teachers? This is really headed in the wrong direction.

    I encourage the board to vote against these proposals and instead utilize the current associate general counsel to handle things until the end of the school year. Spending money on all of these attorneys is just a waste of tax payer dollars and should not be tolerated in today’s financially constrained environment.

    Overall I’m shocked at how much money this board is willing to spend and how few documents are attached to the agenda so that we have an opportunity to participate in the process. Who is the new SASS administrator? Where is their resume for our review?

  133. g Says:

    Brian; One fairly small request that I think you could get the board to agree on– Up until late 2009 the Fiscal Warrant reports were available with ‘word search’ capability. Since early 2010, even though they are presented in the same manner, it seems ‘word search’ has been disabled.

    I am no computer expert so I have no idea what it takes, but would you please request Richards to ‘unlock’ word search?

    To the board it may sometimes feel more like punishment than help, but several of us do research that could be beneficial to the board and allay your need to read through 70-80 pages of warrants every month (I’m sure you do that–right?). Several million dollars change hands every month, and then without question get approved.

    Someone should occasionally ask to see an invoice. You help us, we help you. Good deal all around.

  134. g Says:

    Anon @132: Talk about hot air! You ask: “What experience does Jayne Williams have running transportation and maintenance and operations? Those departments have been problem areas for a while. Bringing in someone with no experience in those areas is a recipe for disaster.”

    What, we should hire an attorney that had the experience in transportation and maintenance and operations that rockin’ Rolen had? HA!

  135. anon Says:

    G, your comments are proof positive that you have no interest in doing what’s best for students as we move forward. No matter how bad things get, all you care about is the general counsel and superintendent are gone. Unfortunately that will not resolve all the issues and at this rate, is not likely to resolve any of the issues. Is there a place for constructive, balanced discussion about how we can rebuild this district?

  136. g Says:

    And anon, you fail to notice that the entire agreement with Myers Nave is for “on call – as needed” for legal work. Nowhere does it say Jayne Williams will be heading up Transportation, M&O or anything that has now fallen in the hands of Cooksey (until the board decides just who should really be head of those departments). The fees for Myers Nave on-call assistance are capped, but not bottom based. We all hope they never have to be paid that full amount.

    The new hire assistant for Cooksey has been a “free” volunteer working at Dent for four months. It is not unreasonable to put her on payroll for three months to help with negotiations and contracts—so that Cooksey and the board will need less on-call assistance from Williams.

    You are almost correct in one regard, though. I wanted nothing more than to get Rolen out of there –except– even more, I wanted to get Eberhart and Whitmarsh out of there. Lawrence, I have always contended, could have been salvaged if the other three rotten apples were not there. His downfall was failing to read the writing on the wall.

  137. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Anon 132/135 – where was all your indignation about money’s spent in the district the last few years of the Solar panels project / Measure C 2010 free-4-all instead of on the students? Are you new to the district? Just wondering since you appear to be trying to call out G and Dr J more than being genuinely concerned about how this district has been run into the ground by Strange, Everhart, Whitmarsh, Rolen and Lawrence; along with their hangers-on with their hands held out taking taxpayer $$$ that belong in the classrooms for students and teachers.

  138. anon Says:

    G and HFO,

    Read a bit. Learn a bit about whats going on prior to commenting. here is what is on the agenda for the hiring of Jayne Williams:

    Attached is the contract for legal services to be provided by Jayne Williams and Myers Nave. Ms. Williams will serve as the District’s Interim General Counsel from May 7, 2013 – September 9, 2013. The scope of her work and that of Myers Nave will include, but not be limited to, providing services 5 days a week to the District, attending Board and Council meetings, addressing risk management and contract issues, overseeing litigation with an eye toward eliminating or substantially reducing litigation costs, managing the legal office, overseeing The Maintenance and Operations and the Transportation Departments, and conducting an thorough needs analysis of the procedures of the General Counsel’s Office to determine whether better efficiencies can be had.

    Ask around regarding how much the solar program is pumping into the general fund every month before you make the mistake of saying that the solar program doesn’t help kids. You really have no clue what you are talking about. Theresa could use this forum to help inform rather than helping to confuse, but that doesn’t appear to be one of her precepts.

  139. Doctor J Says:

    “Rocking Rolen”?LOL. I wonder, based on his ex-wife’s “book review” how many MDUSD women he “knew” in the biblical sense, and wonder how many “settlements” for sexual harassment he paid out without disclosing them ? Time for the ladies to step forward.

  140. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: At the last CBOC meeting, several people asked to see proof that the solar project is generating the promised savings. Tim Cody was unable to provide hard data, but he said he thought it was and he would get back to them on that. If the district can provide such proof, I will be happy to report it. It is definitely not my intention to confuse anyone. But, Pete Pedersen is gone now, so it’s up to Cody to back up the numbers Pedersen presented when he sold the board on the solar project.

  141. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Anon 138 – you make far too many assumptions about what other people know or don’t know, whether they are “informed”, whether other people are involved in the district and to what level their involvement.

    Not a real smart way to engage others, if that’s what you really are trying to do.

  142. anon Says:

    Great attitudes.

  143. anon Says:

    That took about 30 seconds to find. It looks like the solar program is producing savings which is available to our schools.

  144. anon Says:

    You have to click on each school and then on the solar icon and this is what comes up. It looks like its the total savings district wide.

  145. Theresa Harrington Says:

    What, specifically, are you linking to? The problem with the Measure C website is that it doesn’t allow users to link to specific pages or reports. Where are the hard numbers that show the savings are being realized?

  146. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It would be great if SunPower or Tim Cody could do a presentation to the CBOC and/or board to explain this in more detail, including a side-by-side comparison of savings initially estimated and actual savings.

  147. g Says:

    I have no doubt solar is saving on electricity costs. I also have no doubt that electricity generated while not being used cannot be “banked” beyond the capacity of batteries to store it and if adequate batteries even existed they would cost more than they would save. If there is an agreement for PG&E to buy electricity during periods of excess production, I have not seen it. When PG&E rebates have been exhausted–that’s that.

    Because ‘they’ decided to deflect saved utility costs away from bond debt payments, electricity savings will help support the General Fund. We will wait to see how that benefits the kids and classrooms versus the payroll of redundant management positions.

    So, hopefully, there may be some small benefit to today’s students. That is good. I hope they learn all there is to learn, because they (and their kids) will need very good jobs to replace all those solar panels and inverters over the next 15 years AND make the balloon payments due on all of the bonds in 20-25-30 years.

  148. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
    Here’s video from a CTA SF press conference today marking its 150th birthday, celebrating Teacher Appreciation week and the launch of a new ad campaign featuring teachers:

  149. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I notice that Mildred Browne’s retirement is being approved tonight, yet the settlement agreement is not being ratified:

    Also, it looks like the new SASS appointment is to replace Hellena Postrk, who is also retiring.

  150. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I also don’t understand how the district can claim that the creation of the new administrator for disproportionality and equity has “no fiscal impact,” when 15 percent of the funds to pay for it had to be “reallocated”:

    What were they reallocated from? Surely, the loss of 15 percent of its budget is causing a fiscal impact somewhere. Before the district was identified as being significantly disproportionate, this was the warning that Mildred Browne kept sounding. She said this WOULD result in a significant impact. Now, the district would have us believe that this diversion of 15 percent of funds is being easily absorbed. How?

  151. Theresa Harrington Says:

    There are also plenty more lease-leasebacks on the consent agenda:

  152. Teacher Says:

    Any chance of starting new blog topic so we don’t have to scroll down so far? TH…are you covering tonight’s meeting?

  153. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, sorry, I’ll do that.

  154. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the new post:

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