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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: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=407.

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 http://www.livestream.com/mtdiablounifiedschooldistrict/ And later archived at  http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Pages/boe-sam.aspx.

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

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  • Anonymous

    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.

  • g

    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.

  • Giorgio C.

    @48Anon,
    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.

  • Fog a Spoon

    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.

  • Giorgio C.

    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.

  • Vindex

    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.

  • anon

    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.

  • Theresa Harrington

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

  • http://yahoo Annie V.P. CSEA

    #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.

  • anon

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

  • Theresa Harrington

    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.

  • Giorgio C.

    @#109,
    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.

  • Doctor J

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

  • g

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Really?

    What is ALJ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Administrative Law Judge.

  • Doctor J

    Why all the secrecy all of a sudden ?

  • g

    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.

  • Curious

    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?

  • anon4

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

  • g

    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.

  • Teacher

    Anyone have any idea who new SASS coach will be?

  • anon

    Interesting, Loreen Joseph has resigned.

  • Doctor J

    @#123 GUILTY.

  • Teacher

    Guilty of what?

  • g

    Maybe Guilty is a who, not a what….

  • Teacher

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

  • C.S.

    #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.

  • Theresa Harrington

    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.

  • Brian Lawrence

    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.

  • anon

    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?

  • g

    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.

  • g

    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!

  • anon

    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?

  • g

    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.

  • Hell Freezing Over

    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.

  • anon

    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.

  • Doctor J

    “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.

  • Theresa Harrington

    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.

  • Hell Freezing Over

    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.

  • anon

    Great attitudes.

  • anon

    http://mdusdmeasurec.org/

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

  • anon

    http://169.199.90.240/kiosk/sequoiael/

    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.

  • Theresa Harrington

    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?

  • Theresa Harrington

    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.

  • g

    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.

  • Theresa Harrington

    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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QcoK5yiS7M

  • Theresa Harrington

    I notice that Mildred Browne’s retirement is being approved tonight, yet the settlement agreement is not being ratified: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/e5a0223a-f8b9-4b3b-b922-fa6eeca1b50a.pdf

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

  • Theresa Harrington

    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”: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/com/print_item.aspx?itemId=6708

    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?