Thursday, November 29, 2007

Open letter to the editor, Aiken Standard

Aiken County's "... trusted local news source".

The truth about your new superintendent is;

She and her cronies in the good ole boys club in the APS, over the period of the last few years, have deliberately and methodically excepted themselves from honest accountability to any meaningful standard of competence or conduct, even the law.

Should anyone in Aiken County care to pursue the issue, the truth of the allegation is easily proved.

Ask Beth Everitt to show you any evidence that board members and administrators are honestly accountable to any standards of conduct and competence, at all.

In what ever she shows you, look for proof that a complaint against an administrator or board member will receive a principled resolution; an impartial resolution based upon agreed upon principles,
and free of undo influence.

She will show you none, because their isn't any.

The record of the leadership of the APS is one of excepting themselves from accountability, even to the law.

They are absolutely damned by their record.
That is why their record is kept secret from stakeholders, even in violation of open government laws.

Your school board president has suggested that local bloggers who are writing the truth about the APS, are illegitimate.

Ms. Sanders is apparently confused by the fact that she is reading the truth only on the blogs and not in the local papers; the Journal and the Tribune.

The decision by the Journal and the Trib, not to investigate or report upon an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, is a decision that they will not explain, defend, or even acknowledge.

The only fact that is substantially proved by their decision, is the fact that they have betrayed the interests of their stakeholder readers.

That fact, does not make blogs "illegitimate" because they are then alone in writing the truth.

This is about the message, it is not about the messenger.

Ms. Sanders would do well to stop worrying about the "legitimacy" of the complainant, and more about the legitimacy of the complaint.

She would do well to start asking a few hard questions of Beth Everitt.

Aiken County hoodwinked by APS Board?

Local news outlets in Aiken County reveal that they received recommendations from the APS Board in support of Beth Everitt.

According to WJBF TV in South Carolina (link)
"Her entire board stated ..."

According to the Aiken Standard (link) "... she ... has gotten strong endorsements from ... the Albuquerque School Board president."

The APS school board is required by law to do yearly evaluations of the APS superintendent. They have not complied with the law.

Instead, they apparently wrote individual letters of recommendation; letters which I suppose cannot be gotten under the Inspection of Public Records Act, because they are covered by APS' "personnel protections."

If the board had done its required evaluation, it would have been subject to public scrutiny. Board members would have been held accountable for what they wrote.

They didn't, and they aren't.

This is the modus operandi of passing a lemon.

Again, according to the Aiken Standard, (link) Aiken School Board Chair Dr. Christine "Sanders indicated she was familiar with blogs in Albuquerque that criticized Everitt and compares them to unsigned "talkback" comments that shouldn't be legitimized.

Readers please note that Sanders did not, and can not
identify even a single "illegitimacy" on this blog.

She will come to regret her flippant disregard of a blog that has yet to be challenged on a single allegation or statement of fact in the previous one thousand four hundred and fiftysix posts.

Now that Beth Everitt's ass no longer needs to be covered

do you suppose that Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg will do her job; review the evidence that was given to her nearly a year ago, and determine if the leadership of the APS and the BCSO violated the law when they did unwarranted criminal background checks on BCSO computers?

Ms. Brandenburg has indicated that she is simply too busy to review the results of already completed investigations.

She is not too busy to encourage her radio show listeners to call her at work to clear up their boggle on recipe ingredients. (link)

It is high time for the District Attorney to end the ongoing cover up of the public corruption and criminal conspiracy in the leadership of the APS (police dept).

Beth Everitt has found a new job.
Her oversight failures no longer need to be kept secret.

It is time for District Attorney Brandenburg
to defend the public interest; the job she to which
she was elected.

Or will she continue the cover up for Darren White's benefit in his run for congress?

"You don't kick people when they are down"

(everybody's mother)

It would do little good at this point to review the many reasons why Beth Everitt's resignation was sought by the APS school board. Suffice it to say, she was asked for her resignation for good reasons.

But listening to the board bidding farewell last night,
you'd have to wonder why they didn't instead,
offer her a lifetime assignment.

Before her resignation, the board had complained about the "leadership vacuum" that lead to the scandals in the police department, maintenance and operations, finances and elsewhere. Last night they had nothing but praise for her "leadership".

Despite the fact that Everitt's "leadership" team was more responsible than she, for the myriad of problems than wrack the leadership of the APS, they are now described as extremely talented leaders ready to "hitting the ground running" and "never miss a step".

They didn't need to kick her when she is down,
but that doesn't make it OK to fabricate untruths.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
(everybody's mother)

It would have been far more honest of the board
to have said nothing at all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Beth Everitt will be long gone" I wrote,

... before her administration of the APS is examined in any detail."

I wrote it on August 8, almost four months ago.(link)

A month before that, Beth Everitt promised an audit of her administration. An audit yet to begin.

Beth Everitt will be long gone before the public interests in the public schools, are protected by a full scale audit of incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the public schools.

There have been partial audits; audits that the leadership of the APS was not able to scuttle;
audits by the state,
and by the Council of the Great City Schools.

Every audit that has ever been done of the leadership of the APS has revealed deficiencies; fruit of the complete lack of accountability that is their culture.

The leadership of the APS will not begin a full scale audit; an audit that will ensure that the public trust and treasure are safe in the hands of the leadership of the APS.

An audit that will restore public confidence.

The audit is being blocked by those who wanted to see Beth Everitt get another superintendency.

The audit is being blocked by those who did not want to see the audit results, in the hands of the Aiken County Board of Education.

Also not it the hands of the Aiken County School Board were;

  • the results of an evaluation of Beth Everitt's last school year, done by the board as required by board policy, NM State Law, and by honest accountability to any meaningful standard of conduct at all. Because those who wanted to pass their little lemon; never did the evaluation.
  • the results of an impartial investigation of the public corruption and criminal conspiracy in the leadership of the APS (police department). Results that are being hidden from public knowledge in complete disregard for the requirements of the NM Inspection of Public Records Act, by Beth Everitt and the leadership of the APS.
  • details of Beth Everitt's involvement in the gradegate scandal. She is yet to make a statement on the record, detailing her personal responsibility in changing the grade.
  • the details of the public corruption and incompetence in APS' financial department.
  • the details of public resources funneled to the board president's law firm; to litigate exception for the leadership of the APS, to any meaningful standard of conduct, even the law.
There is a lot of truth that was not shared with the Aiken County School Board.

It seems fraudulent.

... at best.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Diogenes' six, honored has honored D6 by ranking it as the 12th most influential on the direction of conversation in the state blogosphere (this week).

Click on the logo and visit their site. You can read all the stories from the state's twenty most influential blogs with a single click.

The influence of state blogs is recalculated on a weekly basis, so the top twenty is subject to change.

Parting wisdom for Aiken County

See if you can get AikenStandard.Com (link)
your "trusted source for local news";
to ask a question of your new superintendent.

It is a question that she has been asked many, many
times before.

She steadfastly refuses to answer.

As a public servant and as a role model,
will you hold yourself honestly accountable
to the student standard of conduct, (or higher)
by a system over which you have no control,
and even against your will?

Any answer except yes, is no.

Stonewalling, is no.

(someone, please let me know what happens.
My bet is that she will stonewall.
That is, if your news has the balls to ask the question,
Albuquerque's, unfortunately, never did)

What did Beth Everitt use for her evaluation?

When she went shopping for a job in Aiken County, what did she surrender for her latest evaluation?

She never began the audit of her administration that
she promised on the day she announced her resignation. So she couldn't have used that.

The board still has not done the evaluation of her performance that was required by state law. So she couldn't have used that.

So what did she use? They must have asked her to show them something for the previous year.

Did APS Board President Paula Maes write an informal evaluation of her to take the place of her formal eval?

Did the board meet in secret, and in violation of the Open Meetings Act, and actually evaluate her formally?

Did she agree to resign quietly in exchange for a promise from Paula Maes and the board that, they would not evaluate her, or allow an impartial accountability audit of her administration to begin before she found another job?

Both or either of which, would have made her
yet another unemployable APS graduate.

Everitt has Maes' support, and Bernstein's

I've been reading the online news around the
Aiken County Schools selection of Beth Everitt
as their next superintendent.

It turns out that the President of the local teachers union, Ellen Bernstein is a big fan of, and highly recommends Beth Everitt to the people of Aiken County South Carolina.

She comes highly recommended to Aikenians
by School Board President Paula Maes as well.

They say you are known by your friends.

These two friends of Beth Everitt are not friends of Character Counts.

In the APS, the Pillars of Character Counts are
no longer the standard of conduct for adults.
They are no longer even the "required" standard of conduct for students.

Paula Maes and the rest of the leadership of the APS
deliberately and methodically eliminated the Pillars of Character Counts from their own standard of conduct.

Paula Maes is (or was) the President of the (APS) Character Counts Leadership Council at the time when she was voting to except herself, administrators, board members, and the Modrall law firm, from accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts.

The board now claims accountability only to its own code of ethics; a comparatively meaningless and completely unenforceable disgrace.

Despite the fact that Character Counts came to APS via union president and Character Counts founding father, Don Whatley, Ellen Bernstein and the union have abandoned their support of Character Counts as well.

Bernstein explains, " ... that was Don's thing."

This all is of some importance depending upon
how Aiken County feels about honest accountability
to meaningful standards of conduct and competence
in public service;

... and about role modeling.

Does Character Count in Aiken County Public Schools?

It defies explanation

Role modeling is a powerful influence
on the developing character of students.

I submit that the premise is irrefutable.

It follows then that the superintendent of a school district has the greatest obligation of all, to be a role model of the character that is expected of students.

APS board policy used to require that adults be accountable as role models of the student standard of conduct. Board policy read; ... the standard of conduct for adults would equal the standard of conduct for students.

Beth Everitt and the leadership of the APS, struck that language from board policy. Board policy now allows adult role models (the leadership), to be accountable to a lower standard of conduct than the student standard.

They have abdicated their accountability as role models.

Their hidden record is one of self exception
to accountability to any standard of conduct at all,
even the law.

So how does one get to be hired as a superintendent in Aiken County, South Carolina, without ever having to answer this question on the record;

How were the interests of students served, by removing the following language from board policy and administrative expectation;
"... in no case shall the standard of conduct for adults be lower than the standard of conduct for students..."

? ??

Hook, line, and sinker

The Aiken County School Board has apparently bought Beth Everitt's story that she cannot talk about her part in Gradegate "because federal privacy laws prevent her from doing so".

Clearly that is not the truth.

She can, and should respond candidly, forthrightly, and honestly to questions about her involvement in the grade change, and which do not reveal the student's name or grades (both of which are public knowledge anyway).

She chooses not to, to protect her own self interests.

And then claims that the law will not allow it.

And Aiken County has bought it hook, line and sinker.

Everitt still Aiken County's top choice

According to the Aiken Standard, Beth Everitt is still the top choice for the Aiken County Schools Superintendency. (link)

According to the same article, Everitt is
stonewalling them on the truth about gradegate.

"Everitt said earlier this month that she couldn't talk about the specific situation because of federal privacy laws protecting students."
Everitt chooses not to talk about gradegate. No law prevents her from being candid, forthright and honest about her involvement in gradegate. Nor does it prevent her from explaining why the "special investigation" of gradegate by Everitt's friend NM PED Secretary Veronica Garcia, did not include Everitt being asked even a single question about the scandal, on the record.

Federal privacy laws that protect students, do not prevent her from being candid, honest, and forthright about her personal involvement in the grade change.

No law prevents her from telling the truth about the scandal in her police department, or in her Maintenance and Operations, or in her Financial Department. She has avoided telling the truth, to protect her own self interests; to avoid accountability for her failure to provide oversight over her own administration.

APS' student code of conduct, established for and enforced upon students by Everitt, requires that they as young men and women of character, do "more than the law requires, and less than the law allows".
(from the Pillars of Character Counts)

Because APS' senior administrative role model is no longer accountable to the student standard of conduct, Everitt and APS/Modrall, instead use the law to avoid telling the truth.

Their record is one of refusing to explain, defend, or even acknowledge that they are not telling the truth. Everitt will not stand on the record and answer questions about her refusal to answer questions.

Before you appoint her as your next superintendent; ask her why neither she, nor any member of her administration is honestly accountable to any standard of conduct that uses the word ethical.

Good luck Aiken, if you choose to just let this all slip by without explanation or defense.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Welcome, Aiken County Readers

I am grateful for the kind attention of many new readers from the Southeast, Georgia, and Aiken County.

I hope that you will find your attention to this blog
worthy of your investment.

Mountain or molehill?

There are a number of written statements
that might be offered as examples of
the APS Student Standard of Conduct.

The most all encompassing, can be found in the Student Behavior Handbook.

Students are expected to: Model and promote the pillars of Character Counts.
Because accountability to The Pillars of Character Counts requires accountability to all legitimate codes of conduct; this particular statement would seem to be the philosophical trump card.

The Pillars of Character Counts is a widely recognized, accepted, and respected code of ethical conduct.
It is a "higher" standard of conduct.

APS Superintendent Beth Everitt and the leadership of the APS do not want to be held personally accountable to a higher standard of conduct. In particular, they do not want to be held honestly accountable the Pillars of Character Counts.

So Beth Everitt and the leadership of the APS changed the language in the employee code of conduct. It used to read,
in no case will the standard of conduct for an adult be lower than the standard for students.
It no longer does. Beth Everitt's standard of conduct no longer requires her to hold herself accountable to same high standard to which she holds students accountable.

One once could argue;
it doesn't make any difference if it is written or not;
educators have an inescapable obligation as role models, to hold themselves honestly accountable to the standard of conduct which they establish and enforce upon students.

Beth Everitt's response to that obligation was to then lower the student standard of conduct to a standard she would hold herself accountable to. She lowered to the student standard, and her own, to an unenforceable standard

The language in the Student Behavior Handbook used to read; students are required to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts.

It no longer does. Requirement has been replace with "expectation". Students are no longer
required to behave ethically, they are only "expected" to behave ethically.

And by extension, Beth Everitt, and the leadership of the APS, are no longer required to behave ethically.

If one were an unscrupulous lawyer
(Mark Twain would add,
But I repeat myself.)
would one rather defend a senior APS administrator or board member against charges that they had not met an "expectation"; or that they had not met a "requirement"?

By their own deliberate and methodical actions; Beth Everitt and the leadership of the APS have systematically excepted themselves from honest accountability to any standard of conduct at all, even the law. They are damned absolutely by the public record of their conduct and competence as public servants.

This is why neither she, nor they, will surrender the public records of their public service.

This is why unwitting taxpayer support of "education" is being used to fund litigation to secret public records. This is why taxpayer dollars are being used against the public interest.

Aiken Georgia, are you looking for a good ole boys club
to run your schools?

Are the interests of your 25,000 sons and daughters served
by a complete lack of accountability for public servants
in your public schools?

Are you looking for a role model for your staff and students?

If you are, I suggest that you will need to continue looking.

You have not found one in Beth Everitt.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

APS' bond rating substantially weakened

From the Journal (link sub req)

An operating deficit and turnover of key financial officers has "substantially weakened" the financial position of Albuquerque Public Schools, Moody's Investors Service reported Tuesday.
APS just sold $75,000,000 worth of bonds to
Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc.

Taxpayers will pay $25,000,000 in interest.

It is going to cost taxpayers only $25,000,000, because APS,
based on its bond rating, was able to borrow money at a low interest rate; 3.99%.

APS' bond rating is established by
Moody's Investors Service.

The leadership of the APS was worried that Moody's might downgrade APS' bond rating.
A downgrade would mean higher interest rates for bonds, and would be difficult to explain to taxpayers.

They worried that Moody's might downgrade APS based upon the public corruption and incompetence in the APS Financial Dept. that is coming to light.

According to the article, Moody's gave the APS an Aa2 rating despite;
... negative comments regarding an audit released by the district last week ,that showed that APS is $53 million short of its reported net worth, and revealed personnel issues in its finance department.
The APS has an annual budget of around $1,000,000,000.

It also has a Chief Business Officer who recently resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

His accuser,
the APS Head of Accounting, was placed on administrative leave in September; leaving the APS without even a single CPA on duty.

She is on leave while being "investigated" by the APS.

There has been no communication from the district as why their investigation is taking such an inordinately long time. It is worth noting that the length of her leave is consistent with her allegation that she has been placed on leave in retaliation for blowing the whistle on financial irregularities.

one of my readers reports that,
"The CPA from Chicago that Acting Accounting Director Ted Osbourne and Tom Savage hired, walked out last Friday because there was no one at APS that had any accounting knowledge who could help him with the 2007 audit."

The citizens of Albuquerque may have to put up with the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS; but Moody's does not.

APS has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bonds yet to sell. Taxpayers will have to pay millions of additional dollars in interest on those bonds, if APS' bond rating is downgraded.

APS' bond rating will be downgraded if the corruption, incompetence, and the complete lack of accountability in the leadership of the APS is not exposed and corrected.

APS' bond rating will be downgraded if there is not an impartial accountability audit of the leadership of the APS.

This situation represents a financial crises for the APS
which we cannot afford to ignore.

Nor can we continue to allow the leadership of the APS to stonewall the issue.

The leadership of the APS must either;
  • begin an honest accountability audit; or
  • explain to stakeholders' satisfaction, why they will not.

It is time for the APS Superintendent Beth Everitt
to stand and deliver a response to the question;

Superintendent Everitt,

Will there be
an honest and impartial audit
of your administration?

... yes, or no?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Aiken County School District considers Everitt

The Journal reports this morning that Beth Everitt is among three finalists for the position of superintendent of the Aiken County (S. Carolina) School District. (link sub req)

What makes the story interesting, is that she was able to compete for the position without having to explain, defend, or even acknowledge any of the problems in her current position;

  • the APS Police Department scandal,
  • gradegate,
  • the principal shuffle,
  • the squandering of public trust and treasure at the UAC,
  • the shambles that is the APS Financial Department
  • her refusal to surrender her administration to an impartial accountability audit.
  • or her abdication as the senior administrative role model of the student standard of conduct, for 99,000 of our sons and daughters.
Interesting becomes worrisome when one considers the possibility that our next superintendent will likely come to us under similar circumstances;
  • A county district attorney like Kari Brandenburg; who is willing to sit on evidence rather than allow Beth Everitt's administration to be held accountable for the criminal misuse of sheriff's office equipment and resources.
  • A county sheriff like Darren White; who is willing to disregard open government laws in order to cover up for Beth Everitt's administration; and his own.
  • A law firm like Modrall, whose president is married to the school board president.
  • A law firm like Modrall, feeding off taxpayer support of education, litigating exception even from the law, for senior administrators and board members.
  • A law firm like Modrall, to litigate exception to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.
  • And local media who are willing to ignore an ethics and accountability scandal in the public schools, rather than hold Beth Everitt honestly accountable for her conduct and competence as public servant.

What if a lemon is marching our way?

How would we know?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The newest elephant to join the herd of elephants already in the room; APS absenteeism and morale

The Journal reports upon teacher absenteeism today. (link sub req)

There are two kinds of absences. The first kind,
you minimize by scheduling legitimate absences
around the needs of students.
(Not exactly rocket science.)

The other kind, is a manifestation of teacher morale.

Illegitimate absenteeism varies inversely with morale;
as morale goes down, these absences go up.

As a matter of fact, so do legitimate absences.
The same stressors that lower morale,
add to stress related illness.

Those who are individually responsible for employee morale in the APS, do not want to talk about morale.

The union doesn't want to admit that there are teachers who take mental health days.

So they will focus together on,
finding answers to pointless questions.

According to the Journal;

"Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein said the joint district/union committee is looking for more information to put the numbers into context:
  • How do they compare to previous years?
  • How does APS compare to other New Mexico districts?
  • How do public schools compare to the rest of the public sector?"

Comparison to "similar situations" is the work of administrators who have a need to appear busy.

The educational interface, where the student and the system interact, is as individual as the teachers, and the students, and the community members that work there.

At the classroom level, the two most "similar" school districts in the country, are as dissimilar as an apple and an orange.

There is an elephant in the room;
teacher "mental health days".

Ellen Berntein doesn't want to talk about them, apparently.

Beth Everitt flatly refuses to talk about them,

or about teacher morale.

Because she owns it;

and because it sucks.

Spinning the background check problem

Jessica Garate and KRQE have reported that state law requiring background checks of school employees, has been skirted. (link)

State Senator Joe Carraro says that the legislative intent of the law was that all employees be screened. Many school districts, including the APS, have interpreted the law to mean that they had only to screen new applicants.

School Board President Paula Maes said that many school districts would like to do the checks, " ... but just don't have the money or the means ..." to check all employees.

APS has the money and the means; they just chose to spend them elsewhere; filling their UAC with new ranks of administrators, for example.

Ms. Garate reported that APS Superintendent Beth Everitt refused to be interviewed on the subject.

...which is wrong, right?

I mean, a public servant can't just refuse to answer questions about the public interest and their public service, right?

Monday, November 19, 2007

unfunded mandate

The Journal reported;

"New Mexico S.B. 561, signed into law earlier this year, requires all public school districts to test workplace readiness of its 11th-graders in math, reading and locating information beginning next fall.

The bill provided no money for districts to cover the costs."
Do legislators not understand what it means, to mandate something and then not appropriate the necessary resources?

(The more optimistic and politically active among readers might want to contact their legislator and ask them to fund this worthwhile and useful testing.)

17% of APS students are, and will continue to be, 'Unemployable'

In the Journal today (link sub req)

It was reported that when ninth grade students took a test, the test revealed that one in five would be unemployable. *

APS was quick to point out that these were ninth graders; and further

""Mary Ann Landry, the district's vocational education director, said APS scores rose slightly when some of the schools retested students as upperclassmen. However, the district did not provide complete data on those results."
One has to wonder what, exactly, the leadership of the APS meant when they said, ...when upperclassmen retook the test, scores rose slightly.

I suspect that is APS speak for;

when seniors were given the same test;
the scores were essentially the same.

Coincidently; the public records of the test results
were not provided.

* from the Journal report, the test;
"The numbers come from the WorkKeys assessments, tests designed to find out how high schoolers stack up next to employer expectations.
Local businesses seem to be developing a taste for the test and advocates say it goes where the resume can't.
"Employers really like it because it gives them a really objective assessment of workplace skill," said Lois Johnson, director of transitional services for the New Mexico Department of Workplace Solutions."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

APS' Latest Audit

APS has just finished a financial audit by an independent auditor.

The purpose of the audit was to determine the APS' net worth and to establish a "rating" for the purposes of selling bonds. When APS sells some of the $316M dollars of bonds that were recently approved by voters; the interest paid on the bonds varies with APS bond rating. If APS can maintain a high rating, taxpayers pay less interest on the money they borrow to underwrite education.

It is in the public interest for the administration of the APS to keep APS' bond rating high, in order to save tax dollars. If the bond rating is allowed to fall, through administrative incompetence or corruption, the public interest has been betrayed.

The auditor, the firm Moss Adams, found the following;

  • The audit was almost a year late.
  • APS over reported it's worth by $53M (nearly 10%).
  • APS is in need of "qualified financial personnel".
  • "material weaknesses in the district's internal financial controls".
  • errors in previous years that required "adjustment." (correction)
  • APS' problems are due to "poor record keeping".
  • APS' records are "riddled with errors".
Even Robert Lucero admitted that it is the worst audit that APS has ever had, saying, "They have to clean house in the financial department."

Lou Anne Boothe, the APS administrator, and the district's only certified accountant, who blew the whistle on the corruption and incompetence in the district's financial department, is still on paid administrative leave while a "personnel investigation" is conducted. No explanation why some months after she was put on leave; the investigation isn't complete. (more corruption and/or incompetence?)

According to the paper, "APS officials do not expect the audit to dent its strong bond rating."

Really? And why not, exactly?

This latest incompetence and corruption in the APS could very well affect our bond rating. If you were buying bonds, would you ignore this information?

Board Member Marty Esquivel said, "The most important thing that we have learned out of it is,
we need to have better accountability from the professionals in charge." (emphasis added)

Esquivel has proposed a full scale accountability audit of the APS leadership and administration.

So far, not one public figure has stood in support of an audit.

The audit is opposed by the media, and by those in the leadership of the APS who do not want their corruption and incompetence exposed by an honest and impartial audit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Superintendent to Make $260K

If one could actually hire a person
who could single handedly fix the APS,
$260K would be a steal.

But there is no such person. If there were;
there would be school districts routinely succeeding.
There are not, name one.

APS is a good old boys club;
like most old bureaucracies.

When the Council of the Great City Schools audited the APS; they found that administrative evaluations were
"... subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement."

Good old boys get promoted without demonstrating by any objective means, that they are in any way competent to do the jobs into which they are promoted.

The Council of the Great City Schools also reported that the leadership of the APS had "... a culture of retribution and retaliation."against those who challenge their conduct or competence.

They cover each other's asses. You can't fight one
of them without fighting all of them, and all of their lawyers.

The Council of the Great City Schools reported that the leadership of the APS has " ... a culture of deliberately misleading the community.

They don't tell the truth.

Gold old boys put up with a lot incompetence and corruption in their fellow club members. That is why APS is performing so poorly. The gold old boys can't run a school district without scandals in every department. It is the natural consequence of failing to hold people accountable for their conduct and their competence.

It is the Peter Principle on steroids; fueled by corruption and incompetence.

The good old boys will not audit themselves. Any competent and impartial audit will reveal widespread incompetence and corruption.

The good old boys can survive anything but an audit.

If the leadership of the APS is not willing to conduct the audit, and remove incompetent and corrupt administrators; how do you expect the superintendent to do so?

Place a $260K dollar apple in a barrel with rotten apples, and it will rot.

There is no person who can do their job so well that everyone else doesn’t have to do their jobs as well.

If the community is not willing to disband the good old boys; nothing will change. You could pay the new superintendent a million dollars a year; and nothing will change.

They will not be disbanded except by a large enough group of people showing up at a public forum and demanding an immediate and full scale forensic audit of the APS.

And despite the deliberate and methodical efforts of the leadership of the APS and the media to prevent such an occurrence.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The most important task they will ever undertake;

and never once have they done it right.

The school board has never hired a superintendent
who had the will and the courage to disband the
good old boys club, that is the leadership of the APS.

If they had, the leadership of the APS would not
now be "a good old boys club";
where what you know means less than who you know,
and where incompetence and corruption are tolerated and enabled.

Never once have they hired a superintendent
with the character and the courage to audit
honestly, the administration of the public interests
in the public schools.

Rules are for fools

Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Policy C.02

The Board will annually evaluate the Superintendent in compliance with New Mexico Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Policy, State Statutes and the State Board of Education's Educational Standards.
1. And they will not.

Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Policy G.10

"The Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee will maintain a system of evaluation for all personnel in compliance with the laws of New Mexico and the standards and procedures adopted by the State Board of Education."
2. And Beth Everitt has not.

The validity of those statements will be proven irrefutably by an honest accountability audit of the leadership of the APS.

That is why neither the administration,
nor the board intends to conduct an audit.

If they get away with it, it because when
Marty Esquivel stood up for an audit,
nobody stood up with him.

Everyone who waits for the perfect circumstance
to finally make a stand; will find only a perfect excuse
for never making a stand at all.

Never, ever loose sight of the fact that the media refuses to investigate and report upon these allegations. Their refusal is not accidental.

The refusal of the media to report the truth about the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS is deliberate; with malice and forethought.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The March of the Lemon

Photo by Craig Fritz, Tribune

The "march of the lemons" is a phrase often heard in the APS. It usually refers to bad teachers who are allowed to simply move to another school rather than be held accountable for some incompetence or misconduct.

According to the Trib, (link) Beth Everitt's APS is;

  • a mediocre school district,
  • that cannot rid itself of bad teachers,
  • where students and staff do not feel safe, (*)
  • with an administration that does not listen to stakeholders, and
  • with a superintendent and administration that lacks "ethics".
The administration of the APS
  • lacks any system of honest accountability for conduct or competence,
  • is without the will to hold anyone personally accountable, and
  • is without the will to conduct an immediate full scale forensic audit.
The school system that hires Beth Everitt will not be aware of the incompetence and misconduct that has come to light this year. They will not be aware of;
  • the scandal in the APS police department,
  • the scandal in the financial department,
  • gradegate,
  • the principal shuffle, or
  • the squandering of the public trust and treasure at the Uptown Administrative Complex.
They won't know because Paula Maes and the school board have not done an annual evaluation on Everitt; in blatant violation of;
  • school board policy,
  • State Board of Education regulations, and
  • State Law.
Because Paula Maes' et al, cannot be held accountable even to the law, Beth Everitt can misrepresent herself to some other school district, as someone she is not.

At what legal meeting of the board, was it decided that Beth Everitt will be allowed to march,
  • without the required evaluation, and
  • without an honest full scale forensic audit of her administration of the public interests and resources in the APS?
None of this has been, or will be reported upon;
a disservice to the process, and to stakeholders,
of epic proportion.

The public interest has been betrayed by whomever at the Journal, Trib, KKOB, KOB, KOAT, and KRQE has decided that each of those "news" outlets will not investigate or report upon the march of this particular lemon.

*APS has routinely reported to the community that students feel safe at school. That claim would seem to be directly refuted by an honest and impartial scientific poll. The Council of the Great City Schools, in a recent audit, reported that the leadership of the APS has
a culture of under reporting crime statistics to the community; in an effort to deliberately deceive stakeholders about safety at school.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The new superintendent will not change the system.

The system will change the new superintendent.

If the leadership of the APS has neither the inclination nor the will to perform an honest audit of the administration before handing it over to the new superintendent;

s/he will be expected to fix a broken school district;
using the same corrupt and incompetent people who broke it.

The new superintendent cannot fix the district except by ending the culture that tolerates and enables corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

The district will not be fixed without first removing incompetent and corrupt administrators and board members.

Who do you think will prevail in that contest of wills?

The new superintendent, (backed only by a board that lacks even the courage to audit a scandal ridden and totally unaccountable administration);

or the entrenched bureaucrats (incompetent and corrupt; with nearly unlimited power and resources, and nothing to lose but their jobs)?

Every rule, regulation, policy, and directive,

that determines the course of the APS,
is the prerogative of the leadership of the APS.

Their were at the wheel when the bus left the road.

They have been doing things their way for a hundred years, and all they have to show for it is a school system that is mediocre on a good day.

The system is fundamentally flawed.

One of the most fundamental flaws is that it allows board members and administrators to keep secrets about public interests and resources. Secrecy allows the worst in human nature to flourish. A void in accountability is filled by incompetence and corruption. Soon, there is so much corruption and incompetence that a blanket of secrecy must cover every aspect of administration.

It is secretive for a reason.
There is no good reason to keep secrets.

Beth Everitt's administration, and the current board, refuse to answer legitimate questions about the public interests in the public schools.

Nobody is talking about complete transparency as a fundamental requirement of the next superintendency.

Any change which continues in secrecy,
is no change at all.

APS Board to ignore board policy

According to APS School Board Policy C.02

The Board will annually evaluate the Superintendent in compliance with New Mexico State Statutes and the State Board of Education's Educational Standards.
Apparently, the board intends to ignore it's own policy, NM State Statutes and the State Board of Education's Educational Standards; without explanation, without defense, and without even acknowledging their intentions.

At one point board members Paula Maes and Robert Lucero, stated that they were ready to offer her a contract extension before their annual evaluation was ever begun.

It would appear that a deal has been cut with Superintendent Everitt. She agreed to resign, and the board agreed not to document the many failures of her administration.

Unfortunately for stakeholders, the agreement appears to cover not only their required annual evaluation of the superintendent; but any form of impartial accountability audit of her administration.

APS will pass it's lemon of a superintendent with a clean record;

and all of the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS will remain unexposed and unmitigated.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cash strapped APS

has found a third of a million dollars to tear down the Stronghurst Complex. It is vacant building. There is no urgent need to tear it down. It is debatable whether or not that kind of money should be spent on something that has a more direct benefit for students.

APS' John Dufay has reported that the district's emergency reserves are gone, and that the district would have to go to the legislature for more money, if something big happens. (link)

It seems that the leadership of the APS is in a bit of a hurry to sell the land that the Stronghurst Complex sits on. When the truth about the spending at the APS UAC, became public, APS' spin was that it really wasn't going to cost taxpayers anything because the proceeds of the Stronghurst sale would cover the unjustified costs of renovation.

In the first place, selling public property to cover public debt still costs taxpayers, because it is their building and land which is being sold.

More importantly, the method of funding the renovation, does not justify the renovation. The leadership of the APS has never justified the money that they have spent on the Uptown Administrative Complex.

They will not explain, defend, or even acknowledge the amount of the public trust and treasure that has been squandered at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

There is a related story in this morning's Journal.
(link sub req)

"The law is clear on it's face."

This is District Court Judge Nan Nash. This morning she ruled that the meaning of the law regarding Dr. Elsy Fierro's right to a public hearing, is clear on it's face.

It doesn't lend it self to interpretation;
it doesn't need interpretation.

Which makes you wonder why these two guys are here.

They came to interpret the law to mean something diametrically opposite to its actual meaning; meaning that is clear on its face.

The part that really burns, is that they are public servants; they work for the NM Attorney General's Office. You pay their salaries so that they can litigate against your interests.

APS/Modrall was there, in the person of Art Melendrez.

He said the district was on the horns of a dilemma; they really, really want an open hearing, but the darned ole law just won't allow it.

Melendrez also informed the court that Miguel Acosta had threatened to sue anyone he could, if his son's records are not kept secret.
A problem there; there is little, if any, of those records which have not been publicly discussed by the student and his mother on several TV and radio shows. There is really nothing secret about them.

More likely is that, Miguel Acosta, and Teresa Cordova do not want their secrets to become public. They can prevent a hearing by insisting on secrecy for their son, even though it no longer exists.

Fierro's Attorney, Gail Stewart, laid the case out well. The law was clearly on their side.

Dr. Elsy Fierro declined interviews with the press. She said that she would give them a statement after the matter was closed.

She may never get that opportunity.

The leadership of the APS/Modrall does not want to see the matter closed; nor does the NM Educator Ethics Bureau, nor does the NM Public Education Department. Not if "the matter being closed" means a hearing open to the public.

The leadership of the APS needs to cover up for board members and the very senior administrators not yet implicated in the gradegate scandal, and the NM EED and the NM PED need to cover up their sham "investigation" and scapegoating of Ms. Fierro.

They will instead drop the charges against Fierro, claiming that they must, to protect the young Acosta's right to privacy.

Her reputation will not be cleared;
and theirs will not be sullied.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

One of the worst things a public servant can do

is anything they do in secret.

She's so special.

This is Beth Everitt. She is special. She is the senior administrator in the administration of a billion tax dollars a year.

She is a public servant. She has a responsibility to the public. She has a responsibility to tell the truth in response to legitimate questions.

Stonewalling is not an acceptable term of her public service.

The terms of her public service are the prerogative of the public; and the public has not given her permission to stonewall.

  • Will you furnish an honest accounting of the spending at the Uptown Administrative Complex?
  • Will you surrender the truth about the principal shuffle?
  • Will you surrender the truth about the scandal in the APS police department?
  • Will you surrender the truth about the scandal in APS finances?
  • Will you surrender the truth about the gradegate scandal?
  • Did you trade your silent resignation for a promise that your would not be evaluated by the board this year; as was required by board policy?
  • Will you surrender your administration to an immediate, full scale forensic audit of the conduct of those under your supervision and within your responsibility?
  • Will you surrender the truth about the APS/Modrall relationship and the nature of the million dollar a year litigation done on the behalf of the leadership of the APS and Board President Paula Maes?

These are all legitimate questions.

Our expectation that Superintendent Everitt respond to them candidly, forthrightly, and honestly, is legitimate.

She was paid a quarter of a million dollars a year to protect public power and resources from waste. And because waste is the sum incompetence and corruption; her job was to establish a meaningful standard of conduct, and then enforce that standard consistently.

She did neither.

Her job was to eliminate corruption and incompetence through honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct.

She did not.

Beth Everitt cannot be made to explain, defend, or even acknowledge what appears to be an egregious betrayal of the public interest.

Because she's so special,

special at least to Phill and Kent. (link)

(photo by Mark G. Bralley)

Terri Cole wants special consideration

According to the Journal; ((link) sub req)

"Three weeks after Albuquerque Public Schools cut off public comment on its search for a new superintendent, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce wants a say as well."
Her homework assignment is three weeks past due; and the board turned her down. She and the Chamber of Commerce would like a superintendent who among other things would have
"a willingness to be held accountable..."

Given the opportunity to create honest accountability in the leadership of the APS by supporting annual accountability audits; Cole has steadfastly refused to stand on the record, and behind an audit.

In complete disregard for the interests of the communities sons and daughters; she and the Chamber have abandoned their support of Character Counts, in deference to the leadership of the APS, who did the same.

If her interests included the welfare of children;
she would stand up for audit based on
a meaningful standard of conduct for APS leadership;
like the Pillars of Character Counts.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the face of corruption and incompetence?

This is Gil Lovato. He used
to be, APS Chief of Police.

It was alleged that he did
some inappropriate things.

The public still doesn't know the whole truth about the betrayal of the public interest. All the public knows is that he was placed on administrative leave for six months rather than have the whole truth come out in a discharge hearing. He and his lawyer, Sam Bregman, said, when the truth comes out, there won't be an administrator left standing.

So tax payers paid him a half a year's salary after he was removed from duty, rather than have him spill the beans on the record.

This is APS' second in command Tom Savage. His girlfriend had an illegal criminal background check done on her; apparently by the APS Police Department, in apparent violation of pretty serious laws. He said he didn't ask for it.

One of the first things he did when the shit hit the fan in January was to order all APS employees to keep their mouths shut.

Beth Everitt blamed his lack of competence in overseeing the APS Police Force, for the problems there.

This Sheriff Darren White. The computers and/or information systems on which the illegal criminal background checks were made, were entrusted to him.

He steadfastly refuses to surrender any public documents that would indicate whether or not he knew personally of the criminal misconduct.

He would like to be elected to congress.

This is District Attorney
Kari Brandenburg.

Almost a year ago, she was
asked to determine whether
or not there had been criminal
misconduct in Lovato's police

She says that she is too busy to look through the evidence that has been given to her by the leadership of the APS to determine whether or not the leadership of the APS and the BCSO broke the law and would be prosecuted.

She is not too busy however to invite her radio talk show listeners to call her at the office to clear up any problems with recipes.

She will not answer when asked; did the leadership of the APS surrender the results of the independent investigation of the public corruption and conspiracy in the leadership of the APS police.

This isn't the only truth being hidden from stakeholders.

This is County Commissioner Teresa Cordova not answering reporters' questions about grade gate.

Gradegate stirred up a lot of community outrage because the smell of it was that, a powerful politica had gotten special treatment from the leadership of the APS.

The scandal stirred up such an uproar, that Beth Everitt asked State Secretary of Education, Veronica Garcia to investigate APS' handling of the affair.

Garcia agreed, despite the fact that she had already been on television proclaiming Everitt's innocence.

She conducted the investigation anyway, and laid the blame on Elsy Fierro.

The "investigation" team included the head of the New Mexico Educator Ethics Bureau, Paul Calderon. Between them all, they managed to investigate the whole scandal without taking a statement on the record, from either the County Commissioner, or the Superintendent.

Everitt appears to be teflon coated. The NM PED won't do an honest investigation; the NM Educator Ethics Bureau will not to an honest investigation; and apparently, she can prevent an accountability audit of her administration as well.

It is almost as if she traded a quiet resignation for the promise of no investigation of her conduct and competence as a public servant.

This School Board President Paula "let's get in a teacher's face" Maes.

She is the reason that the leadership of the APS is not honestly accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct.
(photo by Mark G. Bralley)
Despite the fact that she is the President of the Character Counts Leadership Council; the board has removed the Pillars of Character Counts as their own standard of conduct.

Her husband is the President of the Modrall law firm.

APS spends millions of dollars at Modrall, for among other things, litigating exception to the law for senior administrators and board members.

Maes/Modrall makes so much money off taxpayers that they will not surrender public records that reveal the exact amount.

She is on the record saying, there will not be an audit of the administration of the APS that identifies the incompetence or corruption of individual APS administrators; "... like for example Tom Savage."

She will also vigorously oppose any honest audit of the APS/Modrall relationship, because it will reveal that public power and resources have been used against the public interest.

This is Phill Casaus, editor of the Trib. He is on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and the Trib won't investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the APS. I cannot find a picture of Kent Walz. If I could, I would show you the face of a man who sits on the Executive Committee of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and who also will not investigate or report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

The Edifice of Corruption and Incompetence.

This is the house that corruption/incompetence built.
It is as far from a classroom in the APS
as one can get.

It was a controversial purchase. Many objected to buying such an expensive and exclusive property.

The Leadership of the APS made a lot of promises to the community, about how they were going to make the purchase make money for stakeholders.

The face of corru
ption and incompetence

When the community placed their trust and their
treasure in her hands; she and the others in
the leadership of the APS used them both instead,
to fix up their Administrative Complex.

Most recently they spent a million dollars to remodel
a board room that they didn't need.

Everitt steadfastly refuses to surrender a full and honest accounting of the trust and treasure which have been squandered at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Her friends in the media;
steadfastly refuse to ask for one.

(Everitt photo by Mark G. Bralley)

the new APS Chief of Police has some 'splainin to do

It is his responsibility to make sure that the recording equipment on dispatch phone lines is in working order; and turned on.

The failure of the APS PD equipment and/or personnel,
to record the phone call about evidence of pedophilia,
requires an explanation.

What happened?
Why did it happen?
Can it happen again?

Stakeholders have a right to answers;
... candid, forthright, and honest answers.

There is a board meeting Wednesday. At that meeting,
there is the opportunity for the leadership of the APS
to tell the truth.

Someone (I forget who,) was recently wondering
why Monica Armenta makes a hundred grand, and
the new Chief of Police makes only makes seventy.

It is because she is better at not answering questions,
than he is.

It is because the leadership of the APS cares less about the leadership of their publicly funded, private police force, than is does about being able to spin the truth about the leadership of that police force.

We'll see on Wednesday,
who answers to the board, and to the public,

... and we will see who doesn't answer at all.

the REST of the story

According to the Journal ( (link) sub req)

An Albuquerque police dispatcher, criticized for his advice to the principal of Atrisco Elementary, won the appeal of his firing.
He then promptly resigned.

APS cannot produce the recording of calls made to the APS Police Dispatch phones.

The equipment that records these calls, is fairly sophisticated. It records a time and date stamp designed to make it difficult to cut and splice recordings. The recordings are of substantial value as evidence; credible and unequivocal.

The recording (would have been) a public record of some substantial value to the lawyers and families that are suing the district over the alleged pedophile's alleged battery on their children.

It would also of been of use in firing a dispatcher.

But you can't very well use the recording in one hearing; and then pretend that it doesn't exist in another.

So it just disappears entirely in favor of the interests of the larger litigation and liability.

The evidence disappears;
even if they have to let a little fish go.

On the way out of the hearing;
he told them to take their job, and shove it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

APD stonewalls on morale

Please read this post (link) on a blog called Eye on Albuquerque. In particular, read the comments.

A bunch of people who claim to know, claim that there is incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the Albuquerque Police Department. They claim that as a result, morale in the department is very low.

If all of this is true; the safety of the community as being affected. Community members have a right to know the truth.

If it is not true; why won't the leadership of the APD say so?

Friday, November 02, 2007

The new NM FOG Executive Director has a conflict of interest.

The NMFOG has been asked repeatedly, for their assistance in gaining the surrender of public records by the leadership of the APS.

I have have repeatedly alleged that those public records are evidence of public corruption and criminal conspiracy in the leadership of the APS.

Leonard DeLayo was the President of the APS school board during times relevant.

What do you suppose his response will be when asked if he will help in the fight to get APS/Modrall to surrender public records including those that implicate him personally?

Modrall lawyer sits on NMFOG Board

According to the NMFOG website;
Patrick J Rogers of the Modrall
sits on their Executive Committee.

The NMFOG has consistently ignored my requests
for their assistance;

in my efforts to hold accountable, the axis of
the APS administration, the board, and Modrall,
for their complete disregard of open government laws.

... and now it all makes sense.

So what's with Phill and Kent?

Kent Walz is an editor of the Albuquerque Journal.
Phill Casaus is an editor of the Albuquerque Tribune.

Walz is on the Executive Committee of the NMFOG.
Phill Casaus is on their Board of Directors.

The Foundation for Open Government exists I suppose,
for purpose of fighting for open government.

What is more fundamentally open government
than public servants providing good faith responses
to legitimate questions about the public interests,
and about their public service?

So why are Walz and Cauaus so accommodating
to the leadership of the APS;

who have never had, and who never will have,
a town hall meeting?

and who never have, and who never will,
stand and deliver the truth?

Still no answers

Is is OK that,
the leadership of the APS will never answer a question?

They are public servants. The questions are legitimate.
They are on the clock; and on the public dime.

Ms. Everitt,

Schedule a town hall meeting.

There, to stand and deliver good faith responses
to legitimate questions about the public interests
in the public schools.

And what in the hell good, is a newspaper
that will not echo that demand?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Not at school.

Regardless of what is going on the community;
and regardless of what is going on in a student's
world; we can draw lines between acceptable and
unacceptable behavior.

We can impose consequences for crossing those lines;
consequences that are likely to mitigate inappropriate behavior.

We can provide teaching and learning environments
that are safe and educationally efficient.

It is a matter only of will.

Will we examine the problem honestly?
Will we involve stakeholders in solutions and
in the decision making process that identifies them?

Or will we continue to invest our energy and resources
in more layers of bureaucrats filling more offices
in the Uptown Administrative Complex?

Why has one of the limited and over stretched home hospital program teaching slots, been eliminated in order to fund another administrative slot and fill another office in the APS UAC?
Why won't the leadership answer questions
about their priorities?

Why don't they have to?