Thursday, March 31, 2011

Darren White appointment; political cronyism?

Is the Pope a Catholic? Does a bear whiz in the woods?

Among standards of conduct that apply to pols and public servants;

  • thou shalt not create the appearance of a conflict of interest
  • and thou shalt not create the appearance of impropriety.
These standards are necessary because creating even the
"appearance" of political cronyism does every bit as much
damage to confidence in the trustworthiness of our government,
as cronyism itself; perception is reality.

Consider then the appointment by Governor Susana Martinez of Darren White to the Judicial Standards Commission.

If you google; +"Darren White" +"Judicial Standards Commission", you will get nearly 3700 hits; nearly all of them pointing to the appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety, and political cronyism.

They point out a number of really good reasons to pass over White in the search for an appointee; two votes of no confidence by his subordinates would be high on my list of reasons to look for someone more qualified.

Martinez must have seen this coming.
How could she have not seen it coming?

She did it anyway. Why?

She did it for the same reason a dog licks his balls,
because (s)he can.

Why does a Governor
deliberately create the
appearance of impropriety
without consequence?

because she can.

Why does a Governor
appointee a political crony
to a position of stature?

because she can.

She did it because she could.

And to hell with everyone who sees impropriety, conflicts of
interest and political cronyism. There's nothing they can do
about it, even if they wanted to.

Must we be hit in the head with a brick?

photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

APS' DoIA and DoC don't have their stories straight

There is an inconsistency in the responses to my inquiry as to a list of all (non-financial) audits of the leadership of the APS in the last twelve years.

APS' Director of Communications
Rigo Chavez implies there is
no such thing;

"I don't know that the district
maintains lists of audits other than
those regarding fiscal audits."

At $75K a year, we're supposed
to believe; he just doesn't know.

APS Director of Internal Audits
Margret Koshmider's response
implies there is such a thing;

"I have started working on your request,..."

Problematic; the rest of her response;

"... but need to ask you to route it through
Rigo Chavez as it is a public records request."
It is not up to the person who fields a question, to decide whether it falls under the auspices of the NM Inspection of Public Records Act. It is up to the person who asks.

And, who in their right mind would want to engage all the loopholes, technicalities and "legal" weaselry the district will use to avoid responding candidly, forthrightly and honestly?

Witness their success in hiding the Caswell Report from public knowledge by playing games with the Act.

My question commands a response under higher standards of conduct than the law; which is but the lowest standard of conduct accepted by civilized human beings.

I responded to Koshmider as follows;
It is not a public records request unless I make it one, and I have not. I am simply asking for information.

Rigo Chavez has effectively denied the existence of any such list, so it will do little good to route the request through him anyway.

If there is someone else in your department that can handle this simple request, I have no need to further occupy you. I would be happy to correspond with anyone who will answer my legitimate questions candidly, forthrightly, and honestly.

grateful for your time and attention
Koshmider is the subject of a complaint filed with APS Ethical Advocate, link.

The leadership of the APS would like interest holders to believe that Ethical Advocate offers them an opportunity to file legitimate complaints against administrators and board members, and expect their complaint to see due process.

I file a legitimate complaint every once in a while,
and prove its not true.

photos Mark Bralley

Armenta stops wriggling, starts stonewalling

I am trying to get APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta (seen here instigating my unlawful ejection from the Gubernatorial Debate at EHS) to respond to a legitimate question candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

I have asked her to identify an audit of APS administrative standards and accountability which did not find;

  1. inadequate standards, and or
  2. inadequate accountability, and or
  3. inadequate record keeping.
She responded, not by identifying a clean audit, but by trying to pass the request off to her underling APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez. I responded with a number of good reasons why that solution was unworkable, link.

It has been five days, and still no response from Armenta who is being paid $107K a year to stonewall legitimate questions about the public interests.

photo Ched MacQuigg

APS doesn't compile audit results.

At 7:23 am on Tuesday, March 23, I emailed APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez and asked him where I could find a list of (other than financial) audits done on the leadership of the APS.

I asked him to respond by email, rather than wasting tax dollars and time printing a letter and mailing it to me.

His response arrived yesterday via snail mail. Score one for Chavez' relentless need to obfuscate and delay the process, even at tax payer expense.

His response, "I don't know that the district maintains lists of audits other than those regarding finances."

There is a lot to be read into his response, like, there may be a list, but he doesn't know about it, and does feel like making any inquiries.

I will take it on its face; just like they don't keep a list of all of the vehicles in the APS Fleet Maintenance Division, link, APS doesn't keep track of old audits either.

That would explain why a recent audit revealed, the leadership of the APS does not pay any attention to audit findings; not enough anyway to cause them to change policies, rules or regulations in response.

Which begs a question; when is enough, enough?

photo Mark Bralley

UNM tuition hikes unjustifiable

They will remain unjustifiable for as long as there is any real
question over whether the administration is spending resources
effectively and efficiently.

Proof of that comes in the form of an independent and honest
audit of administrative effectiveness and efficiency.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why is the COSO analysis and review undated?

Scour the final report, link. You will find no dates.
I haven't read the whole thing word for word, but I am comfortable reporting, you cannot find important dates in the usual places.

Nor can you find them by asking anyone in the leadership of the APS. They won't respond to the questions; when did it start, when did it end, and when did the School Board first see the results, in part or in whole?

Was it before they extended Supt Winston Brooks' contract and the cover up of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS? Is that what they're trying to hide?

Why, if Brooks' administration is corrupt and incompetent as the analysis and review suggest, did he get another $250K golden parachute? Why did he get it after the school board election and before any member- elect could participate in the behind closed doors shenanigans?

Why won't the establishment media investigate and report upon ethics and accountability in the leadership of the APS?

Why, except that they cannot report credibly on a scandal of long standing, without acknowledging their failure to investigate and report the scandal long, long ago.

By establishment media, I mean;
Editor Kent Walz and the Journal,
News Director Sue Stephens and KOAT TV,
News Director Julie Szulczewski and KOB TV, and
News Director Iain Munro and KRQE TV.

Monday, March 28, 2011

According to the COSO audit of the administration of the APS

There is;

"... no formalized process
for employees to provide
recommendations for

Consider for a long moment, what that says about the respect
the leadership of the APS has, for the people who work under them.

"... there won't be a single APS senior administrator left standing."

When APS Police Chief Gil Lovato was put on paid administrative leave following the revelation of evidence of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators, link, he said he was ready to go to court and when he was done "telling the truth","... there won't be a single APS senior administrator left standing."

Lovato really didn't want to go to court of course; he was complacent or complicit in the burial of every body he threatened to dig up. But the prospect of the truth coming out in court and in the public record, was more than APS Modrall could bear, so they just put him on leave for half a year to keep him quiet and out of court.

You might ask yourself, why is it that the leadership of the APS can't fire a senior administrator ever, without giving them a boot full of cash and paid leave?

It is because of what they will reveal in court. You don't get to be an APS senior administrator without knowing where more than a few bodies are buried.

If the truth in the Caswell Report is ever made public,
there won't be a single APS senior administrator left standing.
If there is justice, there won't be an incumbent school board member left sitting.

If the truth in the COSO Report is ever made public,
there won't be a single APS senior administrator or incumbent
board member left sitting. That, if they are held honestly
accountable for their complicity in, or complacency about,
the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

If the leadership of the APS could furnish one public record that
substantially controverts anything I have written, they would.

They cannot furnish even one independent investigation of
administrative and executive standards and accountability,
that demonstrates the adequacy of either.

There is an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership
of the APS.

If there is not, why can't they prove it with independent review?

It is time for a review and analysis of APS audits. I propose the audit cover the last 12 years; the time this year's seniors have been students in the APS.

I propose auditors look for evidence of recurring issues and failures to address audit findings with meaningful standards and accountability.

I propose that they publish their ethically redacted findings in the public record. And further, that their conclusions be written in plain English.

The only reason that anyone in the leadership of the APS would oppose such review, analysis, and publication, is to cover up public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

The only reason the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV, are not investigating the cover up, is because they are (at least tacitly) part of it. My opinion, there complicity and complacency is way more than tacit.

Board ignored audit, extended Brooks' golden parachute anyway

The APS School Board recently gave APS Supt Winston Brooks his third contract extension, link. His contract now runs until 2014. It is a half million golden parachute.

If Brooks were a great superintendent, perhaps a golden parachute would be justified. He is not, and the golden parachute reeks of corruption.

The Board extended Brooks contract after two new school board were elected, but before they took their new seats on the board.

Following the dots, it appears they also extended Brooks' contract after they were appraised of the results of the latest audit of Brooks' administrative skill set; an audit that found significant administrative issues; a glaring lack of administrative standards and accountability.

Brooks wears two hats; he "leads" an educational effort and, he is the Chief Administrative Officer of a bureaucracy that spends more than a billion tax dollars per year. It is his failure as a CAO, proven by the audit, that would have led an honest school board to deny his contract extension from 2013 to 2014.

The Audit compared the administration of the APS to standards outlined by COSO; the Committee Of Sponsoring Organizations, link.

They claim to be

"... recognized the world over for providing guidance on critical aspects of organizational governance, business ethics, internal control, enterprise risk management, fraud, and financial reporting."
The PDF, link, is entitled;
COSO Review
Analysis and recommendations
FINAL Report
The analysis and review was done by Griego Professional Services LLC, link.

If it is as it appears, the school board extended Brooks' contract even though they were aware of significant findings of administrative incompetence and corruption. That action would make the board itself, incompetent or corrupt.

The Journal is aware of the COSO audit (I informed their reporter Hailey Heinz by email) and they have apparently chosen to ignore it.

Shame on Kent Walz and the Journal for their ongoing efforts
to help cover up the ethics and accountability scandal in the
leadership of the APS.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, March 25, 2011

Armenta begins to wriggle

I have received a response to
my inquiry of APS Executive
Director of Communications
Monica Armenta.

I asked her to identify even
one single audit done in the
last hundred years, that found;

1. adequate standards, and
2. adequate accountability, and
3. adequate record keeping of the spending of public power and resources.

Armenta has responded;

Dear Mr. MacQuigg,
I understand Rigo Chavez has already responded to this request and has offered to speak with you should you have further questions.
Thank you,
Monica Armenta
I ask you;

if Rigo Chavez had ever shown me a clean audit, would I still be asking for it?

If Rigo Chavez had a clean audit to show me, wouldn't it be a lot easier to just name it than to go through this rigamarole?

If Rigo Chavez had ever admitted that the leadership of the APS hasn't had a clean audit in a hundred years, wouldn't I be showing you his admission?

I wrote back to Armenta;
You understand incorrectly.

Rigo Chavez has not already responded to this request. I am not sure who might have misinformed you, but to my best recollection, I have never sent this request to him, ever.

I really do not care to speak with him anyway, he steadfastly refuses to accommodate my disabilities and insists upon snail mailing every response, though I have asked him repeated for electronic responses and records.

I also do not believe I can enter spaces anywhere around your office without being harassed by the APS Police and apparently, being accused of "stalking" you.

In any case, I would rather an answer in writing in order that there be an incontrovertible record of was actually said.

Perhaps you could just go ahead and name the audit.
Will Rigo Chavez not tell you the name of the audit and when it was done?

Or you could just admit in writing, that the leadership of the APS has never in a hundred years, had an audit without findings of; inadequate standards and/or, inadequate accountability and/or, inadequate record keeping.

grateful for your time and attention

which, as they say, puts the ball back in her court.
Though her hand off to Chavez could mean, she hasn't
the stomach for the game.

photo Mark Bralley

APS Whistle blower program tested

APS has a whistle blower program. It used to be called
Silent Whistle; it is now called Ethical Advocate.

Ethical Advocate is like Silent Whistle in that both are only
forwarding mailboxes. Neither offers any legitimacy to the
process except to strip the identity from complainants who
want to remain anonymous (out of fear of retribution and retaliation).

I have filed a complaint on the Ethical Advocate website; link.

I have alleged that two members of APS' Internal Audit Department deliberately misled an investigator from the New Mexico State Auditor's Office.

The investigator was there to determine whether the APS Audit Committee was indeed denying due process to more than 300 whistle blower complaints.

School Board Policy requires the Audit Committee to "review and approve" the administrative handling of every single whistle blower complaint.

To date, they haven't reviewed and approved of a single one.
One or both of the Internal Audit employees led the SAO investigator to believe that 317 individual complaints had seen the Audit Committee's review and approval.

In my complaint, I have demanded as resolution, that the truth be told to State Auditor Hector Balderas' Office; that due process is being denied to whistle blower complaints in blatant violation of APS School Board Policy.

The complaint against APS administrators will be adjudicated by APS administrators. A complaint against Supt Winston Brooks will be adjudicated by one of his subordinates. The remedy to the appearance of a impropriety; the obvious conflict of interest, is a promise from the executive branch, the school board, that they will review and approve the complaint; offering their personal guarantee that complaint was adjudicated free of administrative bias.

They won't actually do that of course, which is the whole point.

A response from the Internal Audit Department (the subjects of the complaint) was posted on the Ethical Advocate site the next day, it read;
Thank you for using Ethical Advocate.
Please allow 2 weeks (April 6, 2011) for a response.
OK, April 6th it is.

Brooks acknowledges Armenta complaint, or did he?

I emailed a complaint to APS Supt Winston Brooks.

I complained to him about the conduct and competence of APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.

I allege(d) that she has failed to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to four legitimate questions about;

  1. the hiding of the Caswell Report
  2. the denial of due process to hundreds of whistle blower complaints
  3. the abdication of the senior most role models of student standards of conduct, and
  4. the avoidance of independent review of the administration of the APS
I filed the complaint on 3/9. Brooks (or somebody with access to his email account), finally used the return receipt function on the email on 3/16.

On 3/24, I received an email from Brooks email address;
it read;
Mr. MacQuigg, I have received your email.
The carefully worded response is telling. He maintains plausible deniability. If he found himself in a witness chair he can still claim that someone else must have sent the return receipt and the email "he received" could be any email I sent him ever.

Will my complaint against Armenta see due process?

Will any whistle blower complaints ever see due process?

Will Journal readers ever see an investigation and report upon credible, self-evident in fact, allegations of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?

Will TV viewers KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV ever watch a
report on the standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS?

Monica Armenta gets paid $107K a year
to be Brooks' Six. Her only job is to make
the leadership of the APS look good.

Yesterday I asked her to point to a single
audit ever done, that indicated that there
are standards and accountability for APS
administrators and board members,
high enough, and certain enough,
to protect the public trust and treasure.

She has not.

She will not.

Because she can not.

APS administrators have had a hundred years to come up with honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

They have not.

They will not.

They will not, because it would take character and courage
that simply do not exist anywhere in the leadership of the APS.

Or at the Journal. Or at KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.

Or in Mayor Berry's Office, or in Governor Martinez' Office.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, March 24, 2011

APS' Open Meetings Resolution

Once a year or when new board members take their seats, the board reviews and approves its open meetings policy.

More enlightened politicians and public servants are recognizing the need for adequate agenda posting, and are passing legislation requiring agendas to be posted three days before the meeting, and more.

The APS School Board's new policy; 24 hours; same as always.

The truth is they often don't publish agendas and minutes in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. You would have to sue them before they would even acknowledge their failures.

Though it is their long past practice to post agendas on their website; their new policy doesn't really require them to. Once you follow all the "or"s, opposed to "and or"s, all they really have to do is tape it underneath a desk drawer somewhere in their castle keep at 6400 Upyours Blvd.

Take the time to read it, link. You will find a huge disconnect
the transparency they award each other for, and the transparency that they actually provide.

Open Government Lawyer, Dixon "hero of transparency" Award winner, NM Foundation for Open Government Board of Directors Member Marty Esquivel has apparently failed to overcome the opposition on the Board to offer interest holders any improved transparency.

The vote will be test for the new Board Members Kathy Korte and Analee Maestas.

With their votes, they will pick a side in the fight over any real transparent accountability in the leadership of the APS.

I wonder if they know that. I'll tell them. They were cc'd
upon posting. Their mettle is to be tested.

They will vote at a Special Board Meeting at 7:30 in the morning,
the agenda was published today; expect public attendance to be light. I would go, but Marty Esquivel says he will arrest me,
if I don't first kiss his ring.

Right, like that's ever going to happen.

Open inquiry sent to Monica Armenta

I have made an inquiry of APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.

I sent it via email, return receipt requested.

Ms Armenta,

This inquiry comes addressed to you because it is my impression that, that is your manifest preference.

If it is not, please advise me of such and, forward this inquiry to the appropriate office.

I would like you to identify every audit or investigation of any aspect of the administration of the Albuquerque Public Schools, done in the last 12 years, and that meets the following criteria;

Auditors found all of the following;
  1. adequate standards (regulations, policies, procedures and directives)
  2. adequate accountability to those standards, and
  3. adequate record keeping.
Again, the identity of all audits whose findings include all three.

If it is your intention to argue that the number of such audits makes my request excessive and burdensome, I will amend my request to include only the identity of one; the most recent.

Grateful as always, for your time and attention

Charles MacQuigg

photo Mark Bralley

Armenta acknowledged receipt at 10:18 am.

Marty Esquivel shows his cowardice and his lack of character

I am one of School Board Member Marty Esquivel's constituents.

I have standing to ask him legitimate questions about the public interests in the APS and about his public service on the School Board.

In the past, he has had me arrested for asking legitimate questions, link.

I am the subject of a completely unlawful restraining order,
written by Esquivel, signed off on by Paula Maes, and
enforced by APS' Praetorian Guard Commander Steve Tellez, link.

Never the less, I took the opportunity to ask him a question.

I asked Esquivel to respond to a legitimate question about due process for whistle blower complaints. According to school board policy, the Audit Committee has an obligation to provide a final review of whistle blower complaints;

"School Board Policy B.07D; The Audit Committee
reviews and recommends approval of ... any
whistleblower complaints ..."
School board policy requires the review and approval of every whistle blower complaint and to date, they have not reviewed even one; and certainly neither of mine.

So my question to Esquivel was legitimate;
Now that you are the Chair of the Audit Committee,
will you respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly
about the Audit Committee's ongoing failure to provide
due process to more than 300 whistle blower complaints
already filed; not one of which has seen the audit
committee's review and approval of any whistle
blower complaints, as promised in school board policy?

If not why not?
His responses came to a total of 265 words. Though I have only pointed to Esquivel's public service, his response amounted to nothing more than an abusive personal attack. He called me;
  • A personal and professional failure,
  • obsessed,
  • a crybaby,
  • unhealthy,
  • unproductive,
  • a gadfly,
  • a critic,
  • a liar,
  • gutless,
  • lacking integrity, and
  • misleading
In the past, he has labeled me a "nut case".

Let's assume for the sake of discussion, that I am; a personal and professional failure, obsessed, a crybaby, unhealthy, unproductive, a gadfly, a critic, a liar, gutless, lacking integrity, misleading, and a nut case. So what?

Does that make the question any less legitimate?

Does it make his obligation to respond candidly, forthrightly, and honestly to any legitimate question about the public interests or about his public service, any less binding?

Questions are either legitimate or not on their face.
It makes no difference who asks them or why.

Esquivel has an obligation to respond to any legitimate
question, no matter who asks it or why.

If you as him to point to a time, a day, and a place where he will stand and deliver candid, forthright and honest responses to legitimate questions about the public interests and/or his public service, he will not.

He cannot summon the character and the courage.

He is a punk, if ever there was one.

He prevails in no small part because Kent Walz and the
Journal, Sue Stephens and KOAT, Julie Szulczewski and KOB TV, and Iain Munro and KRQE TV will not investigate and report upon an ongoing conspiracy to deny due process to more than three hundred whistle blower complaints filed against the leadership of the APS.

They steadfastly refuse to investigate and report upon ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

photo Mark Bralley

I updated this post at 12:26 pm. I will remind old readers and inform new, I regard all of my posts as works in progress, and if ever I have an opportunity to improve a post, I do. I hold myself accountable of course, for every version I have ever published.

APS, is another audit the answer?

Though a long time advocate of an independent district wide audit of APS' leadership and managerial skills, I have come around to a different way of thinking. Perhaps there have been audits enough, and the real problem is that the leadership of the APS ignores findings (which is itself a recurrent audit finding).

Consider the latest audit of APS' leadership and management practices, link. It is as damning as it could possibly be; what more proof could anyone need of the ongoing incompetence (corruption) in the leadership of the APS?

The solution; an audit review; hire an independent audit team to examine the findings of every audit done in the last 12 years (the time this year's senior class has been denied a first class education due to administrative short comings).

Auditors must report directly to the public not to administrators and board members who have a need to hide their own incompetence and corruption. The auditors will report to interest holders, upon recurring findings and the administrative failure to address them.

This audit review would be relatively inexpensive as the facts have been gathered already. It could also be completed within a very short time frame.

The only thing missing; the character and the courage necessary to begin the disclosure.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another APS audit, same findings

Another audit has been performed on the Albuquerque Public Schools. The audit was done by Griego Professional Services late last year and reported to APS in January. The audit concerned itself with internal controls.

I cannot find a copy of the audit on APS' website and for good reason; the audit reveals the same problems APS has always had and continues to fail to address; (The list is not comprehensive, I stopped reading about halfway through realizing my argument is made. The following points are pretty much verbatim, emphasis is added)

  1. the absence of a periodically acknowledged code of conduct
  2. the absence of HR processes to address nepotism conflicts of interest
  3. apparent lack of accountability for the protection of district assets
  4. a lack of process to notify the State Auditor of the discovery of any violation of a criminal statute in connection with financial affairs
  5. lack of background checks on those in fiduciary positions
  6. a lack of communication of management responses to conduct/ethical lapses
  7. the Districts practices and processes are reactive in nature (v proactive)
  8. board policy and procedural directives are outdated and inconsistently written
  9. employee standards of conduct are sparsely worded; due care of District property is not stated
  10. no code of conduct is formally acknowledged (not since the leadership abandoned its obligations as role models of the Pillars of Character Counts!)
  11. the whistle blower program is highly utilized (but due process is still being denied to every single one of the complaints)
  12. management culture shows varying emphasis on integrity and ethics
  13. no formal metric for measuring management responses to problems
  14. District management's approach to allegations of nepotism, cronyism and protection of property needs improvement
  15. it is unclear whether the District has reported to the State Auditor discoveries of cash fraud and property losses, or that they intend to rectify this finding in the future
  16. a perception that management is ineffective or ambivalent about enforcing standards of conduct, and enforces rules inconsistently
  17. the school board is not focused on evaluating the effectiveness of "the tone at the top" (yet they have extended Winston Brooks contract three times, three years into the future)
  18. the district does not publish a code of conduct
  19. significant turnover in the Chief Financial Officer position (the district argued "individual circumstances" for turnover; the record indicates otherwise)
  20. District assets are not protected from unauthorized access or use
  21. the District doesn't benchmark supervisory ratios
  22. overtime for managers is not tracked
  23. specific delegations of authority are not defined
  24. individuals hired for similar positions with similar education receive widely different compensation
  25. there is no management-related training program
  26. no systematic confirmation that required performance reviews are actually done
  27. it is unclear whether specific promotion criteria are documented or understood (the Council of the Great City Schools auditors wrote; administrative evaluations are subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement)
  28. promotion criteria do not include adherence to behavioral standards
  29. HR policy does not require scrutiny of job candidates with frequent job changes or gaps in employment history
  30. there is no stated policy requiring employees to report criminal convictions
  31. credit checks are not done on employees with fiduciary responsibilities who handle cash
  32. activity level objectives are not periodically reviewed for continued relevance
  33. a lack of specific performance objectives in activity areas
  34. there are no formal processes for periodic risk assessment or root cause analysis of recurring issues
  35. I. T. back up plans are not periodically tested
  36. formal identification of risks at the activity-level have not been performed
  37. information on the function of internal controls has not been developed
  38. APS does not maintain an Ombudsman function
  39. no formalized process for employees to provide recommendations for improvements
  40. suppliers, customers and others are not made aware of District standards and expectations
  41. such standards are not reinforced in routine dealings
  42. improprieties are not reported to appropriate personnel
  43. no documentation of closure of complaints made to the Service Center or to the Superintendent
  44. no clear metrics showing top management is aware of the volume or nature of complaints
  45. formal monitoring of internal controls needs improvement
  46. personnel are not periodically required to acknowledge compliance with the code of conduct
  47. the Internal Audit Department is understaffed and therefore consumed with property issues and activity accounts at the expense of systematic issues of risk.
  48. the District does not conduct formal self-assessments of control processes
  49. no evidence of a single process or clearinghouse for tracking issues and corrective actions
The entire audit can be viewed here, link.

Though I haven't the expertise to evaluate all of these findings, it seems pretty clear that there is a lack of standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS and that little progress is being made in remediation of the problems.

The lack of progress is due, in my opinion, to the fact that the leadership of the APS are a bunch of good ol' boys, more interested in covering each others asses than in holding each other honestly accountable to any meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

Open letter to APS Audit Committee Chair Marty Esquivel

Mr Esquivel,

Now that you are the Chair
of the Audit Committee,
will you respond candidly,
forthrightly and honestly
about the Audit Committee's
ongoing failure to provide
due process to more than
300 whistle blower
complaints already filed;
not one of which has seen
the audit committee's review and approval of any whistle blower complaints, as promised in school board policy?

If not why not?

photo Mark Bralley

Did Brooks and Esquivel threaten Gov Martinez? With what?

Governor Susana Martinez has
an abundant record of criticism
of waste in the APS. It was she
who pointed repeatedly to the
administrative bloat in the APS,
in particular, the waste in APS'
Communications Department.

Then she, APS Supt Winston Brooks,
and then School Board President
Marty Esquivel, met in secret from
stakeholders, link, and since, not a
peep from the Governor about the
ongoing waste, link, in the leadership of the APS.

So what did Brooks and Esquivel say to Martinez to get her to back off her legitimate criticism of administrative bloat, incompetence, and corruption in the leadership of the APS?

Likely, we will never know; Martinez does not respond to questions left on her "Contact the Governor"website, link.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, March 21, 2011

As a "political subdivision", APS is covered under the new Governmental Conduct Act.

Assuming Governor Susana Martinez signs the bill, Senate Bill 432, carried by Senator Tim Eichenberg, will expand the coverage of the Governmental Conduct Act to include all political subdivisions, including school boards.

Assuming the Bill is signed, Article 10-16-3 Ethical Principles of Public Service, will apply to the APS Board of Education and a criminal complaint can be filed on July 1st, regarding their ongoing violation of Article 10-16-3-B.

(School Board Members) shall conduct themselves in a manner that justifies the confidence placed in them by the people, at all times maintaining the integrity and discharging ethically the high responsibilities of public service.
It is the "discharging ethically" where the APS School Board is in violation of the law. Their ongoing refusal to hold themselves honestly accountable as role models of accountability to a code of ethics, is prima facie, an unethical discharge of their duties as role models of the APS Student Standards of Conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

APS and Modrall will spend freely from increasingly scarce operational funds to litigate an escape from the consequences of their ongoing criminal misconduct. Or, business as usual.

Now all I have to do is find a prosecutor who is willing to prosecute any of the good ol' boys that run the APS.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is likely of no use, as she won't even do anything about the fact that the leadership of the APS is hiding evidence of felony criminal misconduct involving senior administrators and the APS Police Department, and has been for more than four years.

photo Mark Bralley

APS liable for $5M in fines, Robbins says; "We need to maybe start having consequences."

I have finally been given a recording of the Audit Committee meeting of February 16, 2011. During the meeting, it was pointed out that posters had been sent out to schools from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and from APS' Whistle blower program, but were not being posted.

It was revealed that only 20% of schools had hung the posters as required by law. The speaker, I believe to be APS Internal Audit Director Margret Koshmider, reported that the federal fine for failing to post the posters is $17K per school. She stated, if the feds audited compliance, APS could be on the hook for $5M in fines.

She went on to opine; "It is possible the persons in charge of those areas don't want them up." The people in charge don't want their subordinates to know how and where to file formal complaints over their incompetence or corruption.

Whistle blower complaints are down, she reported, in part because it has become increasingly difficult to find contact information to file a complaint. Koshmider said, people can find it, if they look really, really hard.

A telling point about David Robbin's personal character and competence came up inadvertently.

The committee was supposed to go into closed session to discuss the whistle blower complaint program. The law is very specific regarding what does and doesn't qualify for discussion in closed session. Robbins was prepared to discuss the program in secret though Koshmider freely admitted during open session that what she was going to present in secret did not qualify for exception under the Open Meetings Act. She said, "I was going to talk about this in closed session but there's really nothing that, other than questions, which would prohibit me from covering (this information) in open session."

She admitted that Robbin's planned executive session was unwarranted. That was my impression as well, link.

In a telling aside, Robbins reported the board's frustration that their decisions are not seeing administrative implementation; that deadline after deadline passes without compliance and without consequence for the administrators who fail to implement board policy.

It was at that point where Board Member David Robbins joked;

"We need to maybe start having consequences" for administrative incompetence and corruption.
Well Mr Robbins, the district's ongoing failure to hold administrators honestly accountable for their conduct and competence is hardly a laughing matter.

Robbins also admitted that the only time there are consequences for incompetence and corruption is when the incompetence and corruption are reported in the newspaper.

This aspect is particularly confounding since the Journal and the rest of the establishment media are part of a cover up of the most serious corruption in the APS; the felony criminal misconduct of APS senior administrators and the APS Police Department.

Robbin's Audit Committee has for years, denied whistle blowers due process, a final hearing, of their complaints against administrators and board members. Marty Esquivel is the new Audit Committee Chair and will undoubtedly continue to deny whistleblowers due process of their complaints.

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is Martinez isolated?

Grumblings abound about the
impossibility of getting face time
with Gov. Susana Martinez.
There are rumors of internal friction
regarding her inaccessibility.

My allegigators allege that only
one has access to the Governor;
Jay McClesky, link.

They wonder about his Rasputinesque
wikilink influence over the neophyte
Governor, keeping her from "knowing what she doesn't know".

They worry that Jay "the Mad Monk" McClesky is calling the shots in the Governor's Office and that he is more concerned with maintaining power than in serving New Mexicans.

photo Mark Bralley

The real legislative failure

It is fair to say; the just finished legislature failed to fix most of our most serious problems.

It is also fair to say; many of the problems could have been solved if the people were meaningfully involved in the solution creating process.

For example; problems in education could have been solved, if the people, teachers with hundreds of thousands of years of teaching experience between them, sat at the table where this year's solutions were created.

The proof that we have no seat at the table where our power and resources are being spent, is self evident; we don't know how either is being spent. There are still doors between the people and decision making that affects their interests. There are still, public records being hidden from public knowledge. There is still, no robust webcasting to a searchable archive.

The first responsible use of power is to ensure that the power cannot be abused, ever, by anyone. The greatest weapon against abuse is transparency; transparency limited only by due process and the law. The greatest failure of this legislature was their failure to provide for us, the government we deserve; government that is transparently accountable to the people.

There are at least three kinds of legislators;

  1. those who fought for transparent accountability in politics and public service to its practical limits.

  2. those who fought against transparent accountability.

  3. those who chose to not fight at all.

    They are actually members of group two.
    They joined simultaneously with their choice to
    not stand in group one.

The first are a handful at most.

As for the second group, their number harder to quantify, though clearly large enough achieve their goal. You can't count them, none of them stands up with a standard in their hands. There is no champion of incompetence and corruption. They are for the most, in hiding. Their considerable obstruction can not be traced to them.

And then the third group. Their number is hard to quantify as well. There is no champion of the complacent and cowardly. No one proclaims their membership. The only thing we know about their number is, it is large enough to enable those in the second group to have their way with control over our power and our resources.

Third groupers are identifiable.

All you have to do is ask them where they got their nose bloodied in a fight for transparent accountability in government. If they can't point their blood on the ground somewhere, they fall by default, into group three.

Edmund Burke wrote;
all that in necessary for evil to prevail in the world,
is for good men to do nothing.

From which I can derive;
all that is necessary for public corruption and incompetence
to prevail, is for legislators to ignore their obligation to protect
our power and our resources from abuse by providing
transparent accountability in their spending.

The failure of this legislative session to push transparent
accountability in government and public service, to its
practical limit, falls squarely on the shoulders of
the complacent and the cowardly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

AG King's "legal" weaselry

The Office of the Attorney General is being sued for discrimination against female employees.

The attorney representing the three women who filed suit, asked for salary records. The salary records can be called one or both, of two things; public records and/or "discovery" in the lawsuit. NMAG Gary King decided to called them "discovery" to block their surrender.

The Attorney General's Office's reluctance to surrender the records, suggests that they are more hurtful than helpful to the AG's defense against charges of discrimination.

The salary records are first and foremost, public records. The fact that these public records also fall under "discovery" is a technicality being exploited by King. Because a federal judge ordered a stay in the surrender of discovery, King argued that they were no longer subject to the Inspection of Public Records Act.

A district court judge has ruled against King, link, and in favor of the surrender of the records.

The judge pointed out that, King had not provided the court with "any legal support for his argument". Nor did King point to any statute or regulation prohibiting the surrender of the records. Nor did King even assert that the requested records were confidential or protected by the law in any way.

Bottom line, it looks like King is stalling.

He took an argument to court,
knowing the argument was nonsense,
for no reason except to delay the process.

He is using technicalities, loopholes and "legal" weaselry to escape accountability for his conduct and competence as the Attorney General.

The $100 per day fines that have accrued, court costs, and legal fees on both sides, will be paid by taxpayers, not by King.

He gets of scot free.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Is APS Supt Winston Brooks a "leader" in public education?

APS Supt Winston Brooks will join others this weekend to
right what is wrong in public education, link.

This is not the first time that the most powerful and privileged
superintendents, business leaders, national media and "others"
will have gotten together, at no personal expense, to identify
and solve the problems with public education.

Nor, will it be the last.

It's great work if you can get it; taxpayers pay tens of thousands of dollars in dues to the Council of the Great City Schools, and then the Council of the Great City Schools underwrites the forums "at no expense to taxpayers".

There is no objective or empirical data that proves Brooks is even a run of the mill superintendent, much less the world class superintendent created by the APS Communications Department and corrupt influences at the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB, and KKOB.

The grumblings I am hearing are that he is pretty much loathed by his subordinates. Notice that subordinate evaluation of administrators is no longer part of APS' administrative evaluations; "evaluations that are subjective and unrelated to promotion and step placement", according to recent audit findings.

Teachers, who between them have 100,000 years of teaching experience, don't even get to evaluate their principals.

Brooks will not only attend the forum, but will take part in a panel discussion on “What are public education’s greatest challenges and how do we address these key issues?”

If Brooks has even the slightest clue
about the greatest challenges and
their solutions, why doesn't he
identify and solve his own?

Brooks actually said;

“The students of APS benefit from
our participation in these types of
forums because they are, after all,
the reason we’re working to make
public education better.”

Or, students benefit from forums because they are the reason we are working to make public education better.


The only people who benefit from these forums are the
privileged class in education, business and the establishment
media, who will stand around patting each other on the back,
or slapping each other on the ass, depending, and reinforcing
each others political importance.

Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools Michael Casserly is expected to recognize APS during his address for the district’s "academic progress".

What academic progress?

The increase in APS' graduation rate is mathematical smoke
and mirrors. Brooks removed from the calculations, students
who are demonstrably least likely to graduate; students who
have previously failed their 9th grade year.

Then Brooks added another year to high school, which raised
the graduation rate, but had no effect on dropouts.

The Council of the Great City Schools will endorse Brooks
because that's what $40K in annual dues gets you.
$40K that would otherwise be spent in classrooms.

None of them have a real clue. If they did, teachers would
be on their list of resources. They would be asking teachers
what is wrong and how best to fix it.

Brooks and the rest of the experts will also chat about;

"* Title I;
* Achievement and professional development,
* Governance, leadership, management, and school finance;
* English Language Learners and bilingual education;
* School improvement grants;
* The newly enacted Child Nutrition Act legislation;
* Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind;
* Federal funding for public education; and
* School improvement grants."

Conspicuously absent from their list of "important challenges";
chronically disruptive students.

If anyone ever did ask teachers to list a few of the problems
they need help with, chronically disruptive students would
make their top ten.

Teachers are not asked, because chronically disruptive
students are an unmet administrative responsibility, and
those, we don't talk about.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brooks acknowledges receipt of complaint

I have filed a complaint against
APS Executive Director of
Communications Monica Armenta.
I have filed the complaint with
her boss, APS Supt Winston Brooks.

Brooks acknowledgment of his
receipt of the complaint is noteworthy.

He has responded by means of "return receipt"; a dialogue box that opens on the respondent's screen and asks if they would acknowledge having received the email.

APS Executive Director of Communications Rigo Chavez never uses the feature. He says; "it's not my practice."

Armenta says there is no Departmental Policy with regard to extending the simple courtesy of acknowledging receipt of the email. She is hit or miss herself; sometimes extending the courtesy, sometimes not.

Winston Brooks is more miss than hit when it comes to acknowledging complaints.

But on this occasion he has.

He has acknowledged that he has received my complaint against Armenta.

It took a certain amount of character and courage to acknowledge receipt. Because in so doing, he acknowledged also his obligation to respond; to give the complaint due process.

Giving the complaint due process will require character and courage heretofore unseen in the leadership of the APS. They have never been able to summon the character and the courage to hold themselves honestly accountable any meaningful standards of conduct and competence, much less to the same standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon student; the Pillars of Character Counts!

The complaint, the receipt of which, he acknowledged;

Supt Brooks,

I write to you to file a complaint against the Communications Department in general, and Monica Armenta in particular.

I have asked four legitimate questions;

1. Why have hundreds of APS whistle blower complaints been denied the final hearing promised in school board policy?

2. Why was the APS Role Modeling clause (In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult be lower than the standards of conduct for students.) removed from the adult code of conduct? Why will it not be restored? Why won’t the school board discuss the issue openly and honestly and in public?

3. What is in the Caswell Report (APSPD circa 2007)? Does it point to evidence of the felony criminal misconduct of senior APS administrators? Why has the evidence been withheld from the District Attorney for more than four years? Why are operational funds (otherwise classroom bound dollars) being spent to litigate against the surrender of an ethically redacted version to public knowledge?

4. Why does the leadership of the APS oppose an independent audit of administrative and executive effectiveness and efficiency, standards and accountability, the ethically redacted results of which, would be surrendered to the public record?

Ms Armenta has failed to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to the questions. She is apparently claiming to be "too busy" to respond to follow up questions.

I am wondering if you would be willing to step up and either answer the questions, candidly, forthrightly and honestly yourself, refer me to anyone who will, or order Ms Armenta or one of her subordinates to respond to legitimate questions about the public interests in the APS.

Additionally, Ms Armenta implied in response to question number 2, that she has no obligation to answer for the board. Are you in agreement that her responsibilities do not include communicating for the board, only for the administration, in which case I am curious how the Admin's website contains so much communication on behalf of the board.

I really think it is time for someone in the leadership of the APS to summon the character and the courage to tell the truth about the public interests and public service in the APS. This ongoing game playing and fundamental lack of honesty and accountability is really wearing quite thin,

Grateful for your time and attention

Charles MacQuigg
It has been a week since the complaint was filed.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

APS leadership team, on the road again.

The Journal reports this morning, link, that Winston Brooks
and his leadership team (15 senior administrators) had been
on the road last year for 143 days.

Whether or not those days were well spent and in the interests
of students, teachers, parents and community, is the question.

We have assurances that they were, from the Journal, and
Winston Brooks, Marty Esquivel, Paula Maes and
the Council of the Great City Schools. Oh yes, Monica Armenta
also thinks the resources were well spent. Rigo Chavez was
not asked, but I am certain that he agrees too, the rest of the
Communications Department and probably every senior
administrator who went on a trip.

The Journal report cited no independent confirmation of
the usefulness of the trips.

The relationship with the Council of the Great City Schools
is interesting. In the past, they have done a number of
"independent" audits for the leadership of the APS.
They found;

  • "a culture of fear of retaliation and retribution" against complainants, and that
  • "administrative evaluations were subjective and unrelated to promotion and step placement", and that
  • the leadership of the APS routinely fails to act on audit findings; the same findings show up audit after audit.
Their findings have been largely ignored, and APS will play host
to the Council of the Great City Schools 2013 annual conference,
and pays nearly $40K in annual dues to the Council.

Too cozy a relationship between "independent" auditor and
audited, in my book.

It is time for a truly independent district-wide administrative audit; the kind of audit that exposes corruption, incompetence, and the practices that enable them. An audit that reports to the public record and not just to those whose conduct and competence are being audited.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Higher standards of conduct.

"The law"; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings, does not require politicians and public servants to be "trustworthy". As we cannot tolerate untrustworthy politicians and public servants who go unchecked by the law, we must hold them accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law. And they must be willing to hold themselves honestly accountable to those standards or, they cannot be trusted.

Whatever "higher standards of conduct" include,
they all rest upon a common foundation; trustworthiness.

There are no meaningfully higher standards of conduct that
do not begin with truth telling; responding to any legitimate
question about the public interests or about their public service,
candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Any politician or public servant unwilling to take that pledge
is not trustworthy and should not be entrusted with control
over our power and resources.

Brooks could face $500 fine

In the Journal this morning, link, we read;

The Senate, on a vote of 32-5, also approved and sent to the House bill providing for a fine of up to $500 for someone who "knowingly and in bad faith" withholds documents that are subject to the Inspection of Public Records Act. Keller, the sponsor of Senate Bill 271, said the aim is to "get at the decision-maker" who, for example, would order a clerk not to provide public records. The original version of the bill provided for criminal penalties but those were removed by committees, leaving just the fine.

If the bill is actually signed into law, APS Supt Winston Brooks could be fined personally for the hiding of a public record; the Caswell Report on public corruption in the leadership of the APS.

Before that fine were levied of course, thousands and thousands of operational (classroom) dollars would be paid to the Modrall law firm in efforts to litigate an exception for Brooks, from accountability to the law.

We should not be surprised if the Board passes some kind of policy that protects Brooks from fines and passes them on to tax payers.

Though the fines seem like a step forward, one has to wonder why the "committees" removed the criminal penalties for unlawfully hiding the truth.

It would be nice, if all we had to do was go to a searchable archive and pull up videotape of the committee meetings and the legislators who voted to let public servants, like Brooks, slide on criminal accountability for betraying the public trust. That is not possible of course, since robust webcasting to a searchable archive is at best, a distant reality.

I would not be surprised to find, the legislators who stripped the criminal penalties are probably the same ones who are blocking robust webcasting to a searchable archive.

The Bill doesn't provide any consequences at all for those
who are complicit or complacent in the effort to unlawfully
hide the truth about the spending of public power and resources.

People like Marty Esquivel, Paula Maes, and Kent Walz
all get off scot free, wikilink.

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Martinez has reneged.

Governor Susana Martinez, during her campaign, made an "absolute" commitment to independent audits of state government agencies; audits of the kind that would expose public corruption and incompetence even against the will of the powerful politicians and public servants, link.

She has gone back on her word.
She has not begun the process of independent audits.

An apologist might argue that she has not had time to begin the process of beginning the audits. Someone less inclined to apologize for Martinez would argue, if something is important to you, you make the time.

Even if there were any validity in her excuse that she is "too busy", there is a more telling indicator of her real intentions; her unwillingness to even talk about independent audits. Repeated requests for any kind of acknowledgment of her commitment have been ignored. Even a request that she challenge APS Supt Winston Brooks to begin an independent audit of his administration, has been ignored (by her Office/junkyard dogs, link)

When the question is, will you tell the truth,
any answer except yes, means no.

Her stonewalling means no. She has no intention of having
(any part of) her administration independently audited.

I can think of two reasons that she might not want to be held
transparently accountable for her administration of the public
trust and treasure; why she might not want independent audits;

  1. she cannot summon the character and/or
  2. she cannot summon the courage.

If there is a third reason to not begin independent audits and
to not even put the subject on the table for open and honest
discussion, perhaps one of her apologists would be kind enough
to post it here. _________________________________

cc Martinez' Office upon posting

photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Was TJ fired because he told the truth?

The truth apparently is that a city police officer and public information officer exchanged text messages in the moments after the police officer had shot someone to death. My understanding, the exchange violated policy.

The PIO that told on the PIO has lost a job;
he has been reassigned.

Albuquerque's Public Safety Director Darren White's PIO, TJ Wilhelm has been accused of letting the truth out and the skinny is, that's why he no longer works for White.

Which begs a question; was what he did a good thing or a bad thing?

The answer rests on two premises; either the truth falls under exceptions to open government law or, the truth is (should be) public knowledge.

One could argue; if the truth belongs in public knowledge, Wilhelm did a good thing. If the truth enjoyed a specific exception under the law, Wilhelm did a bad thing. No one has accused him of breaking the law, and no one has argued that this truth enjoyed any exception to the law.

The right or wrong math gets a little more confusing; it is subject to perspective. Wilhelm's perspective apparently; the people have a right to know.

On the other hand, the PIO who exchanged the messages,
Mayor Richard Berry's spokesperson Chris Huffman-Ramirez
has apparently, a different perspective; the people do not have
a right to know about his public service unless they can prove
that they do, in a court of law. He will be defended with the
full weight and influence of Mayor Berry and City Government.

PIO Chris Huffman-Ramirez is privileged. The people's power and resources are at his disposal and he is unaccountable to us or to anyone other that the person he really works for; Mayor Berry.

Huffman-Ramirez is the poster child for PIOs gone wild. He's the one who thinks it is his call; who is and who isn't "the press" and therefore entitled to equal protection under the First Amendment. Another PIO whose job it is, to spin the truth according to his and his boss's own agendas.

And apparently, he has enough suck to get you fired if you rat him out.

Just ask TJ Wilhelm.

photos Mark Bralley

Friday, March 11, 2011

Esquivel begs for "rigid" examination.

In his Journal piece, APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel wrote;

"I can assure you that APS doesn't fear rigid examination of how we operate."
I would be happy to oblige. I am willing to go to a school board meeting, step up to the podium during Public Forum and ask School Board Member Marty Esquivel a few legitimate questions;
  1. What is in the Caswell Report on the investigation of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators, that you need to hide from public knowledge?
  2. Why is the Audit Committee denying final hearings and due process to whistle blower complaints?
  3. Why won't you and the rest of the leadership of the APS, hold yourselves honestly accountable as role models of accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!; the APS student standards of conduct?
  4. Why won't you and the leadership of the APS allow an immediate, district-wide, Administrative Standards and Accountability Audit?
  5. Why will you not point to a time, a day, and a place where you and the leadership of the APS will sit still and answer legitimate questions candidly, forthrightly and honestly?
The only problem? Esquivel wrote an illegal restraining order revoking my "privilege" to attend board meetings. The Chief of the Praetorian Guard Steve Tellez signed the order expressing his intention to have me arrested if I try to exercise my constitutionally protected human right to speak freely and to petition my government.

Marty Esquivel has no
intention of submitting
to rigid examination of

He cannot even summon
the character and the
courage to look you in the
eye and tell you the truth
about your interests or
about his public service.

photo Mark Bralley

OMG! !! Marty Esquivel is such a liar!

APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel got himself 22 column inches in the Journal this morning. (I couldn't find a link).

Though the leadership of the APS has a half million dollars worth of propagandists on staff to polish their own apple, the Journal gives them an additional 50 column inches a month, to spread their hogwash for free. Journal editors do not publish contradiction, link.

This morning, Esquivel writes;

"I can assure you that APS
doesn't fear rigid examination
of how we operate."

School Board President Paula Maes, speaking for the board once said; we will never agree to any audit that individually identifies corrupt or incompetent administrators or board members.

Clearly one of the two of them is lying. The only real truth
is neither of them will agree to sit down and respond to
legitimate questions about an audit; not if they are required
to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Four out of the last four audits of the leadership of the APS have found inadequate standards, inadequate accountability, and inadequate record keeping. Four of the last four audits have found public corruption and incompetence. The next audit will find the same, no matter which division is next audited. A district-wide audit will reveal district-wide inadequate standards, inadequate accountability, and inadequate record keeping.

Yet Kent Walz and the Journal won't report on controversy over an independent district-wide administrative accountability audit; like it's not "newsworthy".

Esquivel, Maes, and Brooks want us to believe that if they
were audited, auditors would find adequate standards and
accountability and record keeping.

If those will be the findings, then why not do the audit?
If they can prove adequate standards, accountability and
record keeping, district-wide, the why not do a district-
wide audit?

Esquivel used a lot of his nearly half page in the Journal to try
to mislead interest holders about the true cost of education in the APS.

One way of looking at the cost per student, is to take the total cost and divide by the number of students; n. Esquivel would like to separate out first, capital outlay (buildings) and count only operational funds (teacher salaries). His method yields a smaller cost per student.

Unless Esquivel knows where there are school buildings,
using his formula is unjustifiable.

The leadership of the APS is responsible for spending capital dollars well. School Board Member David Robbins said APS spends nearly 50% more per square foot, for schools than other districts, link.

Now Esquivel says we shouldn't count capital dollars in the costs of education.

I don't care. Dividing the total cost by n, or dividing operational cost by n; either gives a meaningful number. But everyone has to calculate the cost using the same formula, or the results cannot be compared.

Esquivel is using operational/n, because it suits his needs; not one of which is to be candid, forthright and honest with interest holders.

Equally unjustifiable, Esquivel math on graduation rates;

  • first, drop from the cohort, the students most likely to drop out.
  • Then add another year to high school; making high school five years instead of four.
Nothing has actually increased the likelihood that APS students will graduate, but Esquivel's deceptive and deceitful math would make it appear that something has.

Journal readers are being deliberately misled.

I blame Kent Walz. He and Esquivel team roped the NM FOG into giving APS Supt Winston Brooks a Dixon Award for hiding the truth about the Caswell Report on an investigation of corruption in the APS. The Report names the names of APS senior administrators who committed felony criminal misconduct.

The relationship between the powerful at the Journal and in the leadership of the APS that is covering up the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, is criminal.

If it isn't, it should be.

photos and Walz frame grab Mark Bralley

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Golden opportunity; part deux

Recently, New Mexicans had a chance
to elect Rep Janice Arnold-Jones as
their Governor, and blew it.

Arnold-Jones is willing apparently,
to give voters another chance to
elect character and courage,
intellect and experience,
leadership and grace.


Let's not blow it again.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones for Congress!

photo Mark Bralley

Bregman, too slick by a half.

Sam Bregman was on the Bob Clark Show Wednesday morning. I listened with interest as he is in the running for the Democratic Party Chair.

OK, I'll admit, part of me wanted to drive by the Ron Bell accident scene.

The Democratic Party Chair, I am assuming, will have a lot to do with the tenor of upcoming elections, and I, along with a majority of New Mexicans, am tired of endless negative campaign ads.

Voters would be better served by leadership in both parties who would eschew the negative campaigning in favor of civil discourse.

I bring a prejudice to my evaluation of Sam Bregman. It is based on the public perception of who he defends, what they have done, and how they get away with it.

On the subject of using laws' loopholes and technicalities and "legal" weaselry to litigate escape from the consequences of criminal misconduct, for the privileged class, we are in apparent disagreement.

"If winning is everything, then you must be willing to do everything to win." unk

Bregman freely admits, in his ideal world, every elected seat is filled by a Democrat. That speaks to a need to win that eclipses any respect for a system that respects a variety of opinions.

I can see where Bregman, who identifies himself as a "litigator", is a successful litigator. He's slick, he's fast, and he's not afraid of a half truth or any other "legal" distraction or deception to justify the unjustifiable.

The level of decision making necessary to solve our many problems, is several orders of magnitude higher than negative campaign ads and vitriol. We deserve better. We need better.

If an argument cannot prevail in open and honest discussion,
ramming it down voters throats is not an acceptable substitute.

I would prefer leadership in all parties, willing to defend their principles civilly and in voters best interests.

But if you are a Democrat and you want to FIGHT! anyone
who disagrees with you, if you're willing to do anything to win,
well, Sam Bregman is your guy.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Armenta; subject of complaint. Brooks ignores it.

APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta,
a public servant earning north of $107K a year to "communicate" for the district, was asked four questions;

  1. Why are more than 300 whistle blower complaints being denied the final hearing guaranteed them by school board policy?
  2. Why are administrators and board members not accountable as role models of the APS Student Standards of Conduct?
  3. Why are operational funds (classroom dollars) being spent to hide an ethically redacted version of the Caswell Report (on an investigation of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators)?
  4. Why will the administration not allow an independent administrative accountability audit to be conducted? an audit similar to the recent audits of the M&O Division, the Finance Division, the APS Police Department, and the Fleet Maintenance Division, all of which revealed an abject lack of standards, accountability, and record keeping?
She was asked to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly,
according to her obligations as one of the senior-most
administrative role models of the APS Student Standards of
Conduct, which require students to respond to any legitimate
question, candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

She did not of course. She did respond, but not candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

So I filed a complaint with her boss, APS Supt Winston Brooks.

Apparently, he is ignoring my complaint. He feels justified
to label any complaint I make, a "nuisance complaint" allowing
him to close the complaint without giving it due process of any kind.

It is exactly what I expected him to do.

I was asked once, by an APS senior administrator, why I file complaints against administrators when I know full well, they will be ignored by the good ol' boys higher up.

Why did I complain to Brooks about Armenta's incompetence and/or corruption, knowing full well that Brooks lacks the character and the courage to give it due process? To prove my point.

In truth, I have proven two points, the other; Brooks' own cowardice and corruption prevent him from responding candidly, forthrightly and honestly to those four questions, either.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if the establishment media asked the same questions. Not that they ever will, of course. Too cowardly or corrupt to ask the questions and report upon the responses;
  • Kent Walz and the Journal,
  • Sue Stephens and KOAT TV,
  • Iain Munro and KRQE TV, and
  • Julie Szulczewski and KOB TV.

photo Mark Bralley

Martinez, no comment on independent audits

I have asked Governor Susana Martinez to walk her talk
about administrative inefficiency in the APS. I posted the
following on her Office website.

During the campaign, candidate Martinez was asked if she would "support independent reviews of agencies of state government; allowing "efficiency experts" to come into state agencies and evaluate their effectiveness and efficiency and then report to the public record?" She responded, "absolutely".

Does she still support independent audits? Has anything been done to start that process? and
Since the Governor is critical of APS administrative bloat, why will she not ask (publicly) for APS to commission an independent audit of its administration?
So far, no response. I emailed her again just now, wondering if you would admit to having heard the question, and asking if she intended to respond. Realize, I don't think Martinez actually handles questions personally, but the buck does stop on her desk.

In any event, no response yet.

If the question is; do you intend to do something?
any answer except yes, means no.

In the absence of any indication to the contrary, Martinez
has no intention to put Winston Brooks on the spot over
administrative accountability.

We are free then, to indulge in our own conjecture, as to
why she will not.

The only reason I can imagine is that she is afraid that
if she does, someone might ask her why she hasn't followed
up on the commitment she made, to independent administrative
audits of divisions in her own administration.

Considering that finding free independent audits would be
gold in the bank, the only reason to not begin them would
be the fear that they will not be finding free.

In other words, Martinez is
unwilling to be held honestly
accountable for problems in
her own administration.

So much so, that she won't
even talk about the subject
on the record.

photo Mark Bralley