Thursday, October 16, 2014

APS Audit Committee gives whistleblower report short shrift

APS Audit committee paid little attention to and gave little consideration of the presentation of the Director, Internal Audit Peg Koshmider's data on APS' whistleblower protection program; Ethical Advocate.

Of particular consternation; the discussion of a graph of SilentWhistle data.  But before you link to the graph; keep in mind that their conclusion based on the graph was; complaints are "all over the map" and no one misbehavior stands out as needing attention, link.

There is no more grave symptom of oligarchical malignancy than retaliation against whistleblowers.  As you saw; complaints of retaliation led all others for four years in a row.  Council of the Great City School auditors found in the APS; a culture of fear of retaliation against whistleblowers and other complainants.

Their conclusion; nothing to see here, let's move along.

Audit Committee Chair Dr Donald Duran does not allow public input in Audit Committee meetings. 

I considered raising my hand during the presentation in order to ask for permission to take the floor long enough to ask one question.  As the committee chair, he has the authority to allow a question if he wants to.

I reasoned that I would be accused of "disrupting" the meeting, so I decided instead to write a short note to Dr Duran;

Dr Duran,
I would appreciate it if you would ask for the percentage of whistleblowers who were satisfied with the process.
or words to that effect.

It is an important question.  If 90% of whistleblowers think the system failed them; it is a problem that should be addressed.  Considering that all the investigation and adjudication is done in house and in secret, I would not be surprised to find that a number of whistleblowers feel doubly victimized by the process.

I felt the least disruptive manner to deliver the note would be to hand it to a "board specialist" who would pass it along in Duran's direction.  It stopped, I think, when it got to Constituent Services Specialist Christy Albright.

And there you have it - the board has happily signed off on some really bad news, is reticent to answer any questions about any thing, and the problem of a culture of fear of retaliation will be hidden, not solved.

In cases like these, some communities have press who take their obligation to inform the democracy seriously.  They would follow up on stories like these and;
  • find out whether whistleblowers feel like their complaints saw due process and
  • find out how many administrative respondents suffered any consequences at all, over their attempts to retaliate against whistleblowers and other complainants. and
  • find out whether APS employees still feel that if they expose administrative incompetence or corruption, they will be retaliated against.
There is a school board election coming up.

They are about to hire another $250-300K a year superintendent with a golden parachute worth $500K.

The Journal in particular, relentlessly refuses to investigate and report upon credible testimony and evidence of a standards, ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

... to hell with voters and their need to know.

photos Mark Bralley

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