Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brooks, Esquivel threaten APS employees. Journal publishes it for them.

That's not the way the Saturday Journal front page top of the fold headline reads, link; it uses the word "caution" instead, applying it only to "employee/legislators". One doesn't have to read too far between the lines to perceive the threat and to conclude it doesn't really apply to only those employees who serve are legislators.

Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks said Friday he plans to take a harder stance against misbehavior by employees who are also state legislators.
He spoke in response to two "incidents" involving APS employees who are legislators; Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton and Senator Bernadette Sanchez.

We are familiar with the Williams-Stapleton incident, a racist comment that Brooks "plans" to have reviewed (some day) by his own Human Resources people. Unclear, why the review is still in the "planning" stage, apparently yet to begin.

The other has to do with an email written by Sen Sanchez, to the Supt and the School Board complaining about Brooks' Chief of Staff Joseph Escobedo. Sanchez apparently declined an invitation to attend a meeting with APS senior administrators and area legislators, citing problems with Escobedo as justification. According to the Journal; Sanchez wrote:
“Please do not have Joseph Escobedo contact me as the last time I spoke to him he was rude and I have no tolerance for that behavior. It has been difficult enough to communicate with him due to his lack of experience and knowledge in regards to education and the system.”

I feel obliged to add that Escobedo,
a former student of mine, has never
been anything less than courteous,
respectful and professional in all our

The Journal chose to not ask for or, to not publish the whole letter, though it would seem to qualify as a public record under the NM Inspection of Public Records Act.

Board enforcer Marty Esquivel assailed the Senator claiming the email was unprofessional and that she was "throwing her weight around" and acting "inappropriately".

While board members might not want to receive emails complaining about administrative conduct and competence, interest holders have every right to send them; doing so doesn't reasonably constitute "inappropriate" behavior.

Esquivel, who has a history of disrespect in his own emails, calling people nut cases and worse, said differences should be worked out through "respectful" dialogue. By which he means in private, beyond the attention of interest holders who might want to pick a side.

Esquivel has expressed no interest in respectful dialogue with those who signed the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication Petition; happy to join the rest of the board in denying them and their petition even rudimentary due process.

Esquivel would rather "differences" be discussed in secret from stakeholders, not out in the open. He regards open and honest public discussions of "differences" as "disrespectful" and has gone so far as to use his Praetorian Guard to arrest those who insist upon public, rather than private, dissent.

According to the Journal;
Brooks also said he thought Sanchez’s email was inappropriate, although he does not think it warrants disciplinary action.
Brooks argued that he is walking a fine line between abiding by school board policy that prohibits retaliation against legislators for their speech, actions and votes, and disciplining her for "bad behavior".

A question is begged; did Sen Sanchez "behave badly" by emailing the board with her concerns about Escobedo? What exactly, did she do wrong except complain (rather publicly) about the conduct and competence of a senior administrator?

A recent independent audit of the leadership of the APS found "... a culture of fear of retribution and retaliation ..." against those who try to expose administrative or executive misconduct and incompetence.

Esquivel has suction with the Journal and its Managing Editor Kent Walz. In fact, he and Walz together, managed to bamboozle the NM FOG Directors into giving Winston Brooks a Dixon Award for, in effect, hiding the Caswell Report on APS administrative incompetence and corruption, keeping it secret from public knowledge even in violation of the NMIPRA.

Walz, unfortunately, is clearly comfortable with helping to suppress the Caswell Report.

He is, in fact, the heavy in the scandal. If he weren't all about covering up the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, it would be made public and the people could throw board members like Esquivel out of office and replace them with board members who would hire a Superintendent who would end the culture of fear of retaliation against those who try to improve the system by exposing incompetence and wrongdoing.

photos Mark Bralley


Anonymous said...

This top down warning to employees has been going on through the Principals for the last few months. I've checked with other friends and it is being done verbally and in writing, telling us to remember to talk "positively" about APS when around the general public. I'd be interested to hear other teacher's experiences with the administration's attempt to squash free speech.

Anonymous said...

On some past incidents, principals told school employees that they were not to talk to the Media, good or bad, or they could be punished for insubordination.

Anonymous said...

The "warning"had been put on the APS website before going to the journal by Winston Brooks.
I got the same impression that it was for all of us, not just those 3.