Monday, August 25, 2014

The day after the next APS Supt is hired

will be a day too late to ask questions about the secrecy
that will characterize the process.

Consider the recent annual evaluation of former Supt Winston Brooks and the secrecy that surrounded it.  All we really know about it for certain is, the board met in secret to do it.

Within these meetings in secret, questions are asked and answered.  Some of the answers may actually enjoy legitimate exception to the law; good and ethical justification to be kept secret.  The rest do not.  The questions asked, do not.

Politicians and public servants meeting in secret have to follow rules, make that laws, that pertain.

One of those laws has to do with reasonable specificity.
School board members and senior administrators are required to describe with "reasonable specificity" what it is they intend to discuss and, after the meeting, what they it was they actually did discuss. 

The APS school board and open government hero Marty Esquivel's idea of reasonable specificity is;

  • we're going to meet in secret to evaluate the superintendent, and then,
  • we evaluated the superintendent.
We all have some issue I presume, we hold as more important than most others.  Mine is administrative and executive role modeling of honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

I would like to know if any questions were asked, or, are going to be asked about standards, ethics, accountability and, role modeling, specifically the obligations of the senior-most administrative role models of APS student standards of conduct.

The answers to those questions may qualify for exception according to an ethical interpretation of the law, though honestly, I can't imagine how.  Nevertheless, I would like to know if the questions were asked.

For reasons I cannot imagine, NM statutes allow politicians and public servants to self-redact the public record of their own public service.  But open government law is pretty clear about redaction; public records custodians must redact public records specifically, not in their entirety.

The leadership of the APS is fond of, and litigates it's way into, redacting entire records rather than  honestly redacting them, and then producing the rest of the record.

The concept of reasonably specific redaction applies to every aspect of government, not just public records.  Meetings cannot be simply redacted in their entirety because at some point in the meeting, something that earns legitimate redaction takes place.

There is a solution; create transcript and ethically redact it.
That solution has been rejected by the leadership of the APS.

It turns out, the APS school board by their own deliberate decision, does not create any record at all of what they do in secret.  The law allows them to not record the meeting.

They are fond of pointing out that "the Inspection of Public Records Act does not require politicians and public servants to create public records".

There is only one reason to hide the ethically redacted truth;
to avoid the consequences of the truth becoming known.

If the APS board had the collective character and courage,
they would record their meetings in secret.  They would create
an incontrovertible record of their public service.  The recordings
would be sealed to anything but a court order.  They would have
their staff create an ethically redacted transcript and they would
post it on their award winning website.

They could, but they won't.  Contrary to their annually reiterated expectation of students;
in defense of your good character; strive always to do 
more than the law requires and less than the law allows
Esquivel and the board will produce only what the law requires, secreting as much as "the law" will allow; and then, only after spending without any real oversight, unlimited operational dollars on cost is no object litigation and legal weaselry.
Why won't Marty Esquivel and the board produce
ethically redacted transcripts of their meetings in secret?
The Esquivel Modrall law on public participation in public meetings prohibits anyone, but especially me, from asking them that question from the speaker's podium during the public forum of regular school board meetings.

Arrested by APS Police Chief Tellez
This, though according to Esquivel
and Modrall, holding up a poster at
a meeting is"generally acceptable".
If I insist upon asking it, they are prepared to have their publicly funded private police force arrest me; deprive me of my liberty.

They will not entertain the question in private.

They will not entertain questions from me at all.

If the establishment media; the government "credentialed" press asked the question, one of two things will happen;
1.  someone will answer the question, or

2.  someone will not.
The Journal, KRQE, KOAT, or KOB TV will do one of two things;
1.  they will investigate and report upon the (non) response, or

2.  they will not.
The very worst thing a politician or public servant can do
is anything they do in ethically unjustifiable secret.

The very worst thing "the press" can do is,
allow them get away with it.

photo Mark Bralley

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