Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NM FOG Board of Directors appearance of a conflict of interest.

Appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety abound on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

One not yet on the table; Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce President Teri Cole's endorsement of Winston Brooks' award and the cover up of Character Counts! scandal in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

There is the appearance that she is in support of a Dixon Award in order to lend undue credibility to APS Supt Winston Brooks and his cover up of his abdication as a role model of the standards of conduct he established and enforces upon students; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link.

Teri Cole and the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce were early supporters of Character Counts!, in the 90's when it was all the rage; before people realized what they were getting into.

What they were getting into was; honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

What they were getting into was accountability as role models of a higher standard of conduct than the law.

When I asked Teri Cole to step up as a role model of the Pillars of Character Counts!, she ran.

And took the Chamber of Commerce with her. Where is the Chamber's support for Character Counts! in the APS now?

If you think about character education in general, and Character Counts! education specifically; it doesn't require a great deal of thinking to come to two conclusions.

The first is that;

Because our children have an absolute right to role models,
we are inexorably obligated to step up as role models
of any standard of conduct that we enforce upon children.

Character is not taught, except by personal example.
The second is;
there is no getting out of the first.

If we really want students to grow into adults
who embrace character and courage and honor,
someone has to show them what it looks like.

Before that became a sticking point, public figures were falling all over themselves to be counted among those who would be models of Character Counts!

One of the early jumpers on the bandwagon, was the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and its President, Teri Cole.

Then I asked her to join me in the effort to hold APS administrators and board members actually accountable as role models of the Pillars of Character Counts!. At which point she bailed.

As did Character Counts! Founding Father Senator Pete Domenici.

As did Character Counts! Founding Father Michael Josephson.

As did Character Counts! Founding Father Marty Chavez.

As did Character Counts! Leadership Council President Paula Maes.

As did Mayor Richard Berry.

As have every single member of the leadership of the APS including school board members.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Journal Editor Kent Walz once endorsed Character Counts! and now no longer will.

It bears notice; Richard Romero, when asked to step up as a role model of the Pillars of Character Counts!, did not bail. He offered to hold himself, as Mayor, honestly accountable to the same standard of conduct as his student constituents.

Kent Walz' paper didn't report it.
Is there a politician or public servant anywhere, who will stand up and hold themselves honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence?

Is there no politician or public servant who will promise to tell us the truth, the whole ethically redacted truth, and nothing but the truth?

We tell students; their character depends on their willingness to do more than the law requires, and less than the law allows, and no one is willing to show them what that looks like.

We tell them their character depends on their holding themselves honestly accountable for their conduct.

We tell them to respond to legitimate questions by answering candidly, forthrightly, and honestly. We tell them that when the don't, they do so at the forfeit of their good character.

The highest and most powerful role models have simply abandon their obligations as role models, and no one is holding them accountable.

I digress.

Teri Cole once stood up for Character Counts!
She does not now, and has never explained to 90,000
students in the APS, why they are expected to "model
and promote a higher standard of conduct than she.

Someone needs to explain, in words that a child can understand,
why adults will not have in their own code of conduct,
a promise which reads;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for a child.

Cole once supported Character Counts! and now supports Winston Brooks in his battle to remain unaccountable as a role model of a higher standard of conduct than the law.

She will have forgotten all of this.

I haven't.

In any case, on the Board, the following appearances of a conflicts of interest and impropriety;
  • Marty Esquivel, who has also abdicated from his obligation as the senior most executive role model of the Pillars of Character Counts!, and who would not like the subject discussed.
  • Kent Walz, who should be reporting on the abdication by the leadership of the APS, has not. Difficult, if not impossible to explain.
  • Teri Cole, former Character Counts! advocate, who along with the Chamber of Commerce itself, abandoned all support of the APS Student Standards of Conduct.
  • Pat Rogers, who is guilty by association with the Modrall law firm which has made millions , using loopholes, technicalities and legal weaslry, to litigate exception to the law for APS administrators and board members.
Noteworthy; three of the above mentioned four,
make up 3/4ths of the Executive Board of the FOG.
If Esquivel had been given the President's seat,
it would have been four out of four.

Add to this; Winston Brooks will be handed a Dixon Award for
  • hiding evidence of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators, and
  • pointing to the NM FOG's inability, or unwillingness, to do anything about it.
The FOG is feckless, or lackin the will, to compel the surrender of public records; the independent investigation of the public corruption in the APS Police Department.

William Dixon must be spinning in his grave.

If not, he will be the evening of November 3rd
when they present the award with his name on it
to Winston Brooks.

photo Mark Bralley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As per the National Character Counts! webpage: http://charactercounts.org/overview/members_by_state.php?state=New%20Mexico

APS is not a member in any way, shape, or form.
Maybe they can answer why and when?