Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bottom line; Brooks IS a bully

The Journal shed some light this morning, link, on the controversy that sent a $120k a year super senior administrator home on paid leave.

Associate Superintendent Ruby Etheridge apparently accused Brooks of

"harassment, yelling, belittling" and creating a "hostile work environment."
so Brooks sent her packing;
"You are not to step foot on any APS property until the referenced meeting occurs."
How likely is it, that her version is the truth?

Actually, quite likely, and I am not writing only of my personal experience with the bully that runs the APS.

Brooks was involved in an unseemly shouting match at a school board meeting in Wichita before moving to APS, link. He was involved in a pretty unpleasant exchange with a charter school principal after a meeting with the NMPED, link. One principal, who asked not to be quoted by name, accused Brooks of deliberately "bumping" another principal as he stormed out of the meeting.

APS offered its usual;
"Because the incident deals with personnel, APS would not provide details about what led to the exchange."
and then proceeded with a variety of statements in defense of Brooks.

School Board President Marty Esquivel a staunch Brooks supporter, chastised Etheridge;
"Copying board members and others on the aftermath was impetuous and caused this to be more dramatic than it should be. We'll address it in the normal, private personnel way."
Read; we'll address this in secret to prevent stakeholders from holding Brooks accountable for his inability to manage his anger, and from holding Esquivel accountable for his bad choice in hiring Brooks in the first place and then giving him a half million dollar golden parachute to sweeten the deal.

Again, there is a line between the truth to which stakeholders are genuinely entitled, and the truth that is kept private for good and ethical reasons. The problem is that we never get even close to that line; the leadership of the APS hides any and everything it wants to.

And, the Journal aids and abets;
  • Brooks is hiding public records of corruption in the APS Police Department and the Journal is ignoring the outrage.
  • Brooks and Esquivel are denying hundreds of whistleblowers due process of their complaints, and the Journal is ignoring the outrage.
  • Brooks and Esquivel have abdicated as role models of the APS student standards of conduct, and the Journal is ignoring the outrage.
The Journal reports on Brooks' behalf;
"Brooks said Monday he could not have yelled at Ethridge without being heard by APS staffers who sit near his office."

The Journal chose not to report the Council of the Great City Schools audit that found a "culture of fear of retribution and retaliation" in the APS that would prevent "staffers" from stepping up report anything at all about the bully under whom they serve.

Brooks said he didn't "believe" he yelled at her. He likely also doesn't "believe" he yelled at a charter school principle and then bumped into him after the NMPED meeting.

This affair demands an impartial investigation. Etheridge is likely to sue over the creation of a "hostile work environment"; we will foot the bill. We are stakeholders in the outcome, have a right to know the truth.

Instead, if there is an investigation at all, it will be done internally by people who fear for their future, and the results will be hidden from stakeholders because they amount to "personnel matters".

Though APS argued it could not provide details; Brooks emails were generously published by the Journal; far in excess of quotes of Etheridge's side of the dispute.

photos Mark Bralley

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