Friday, November 14, 2014

More in-secret investigations of APS superintendents?

The agenda, link, of the Special Meeting of the APS School Board this morning included the following item;

Consideration to Ratify the Hiring of an Independent Investigator to Conduct an Investigation of Complaints made Against the Superintendent (Discussion/Action)
Their next in-secret investigation won't be their first.

The dust is yet to settle from a recent in-secret investigation done at the behest of School Board President Analee Maestas.  She hired an investigator to look into some allegations made against then APS Supt Winston Brooks. 

She was afraid that she and the rest of the board, should they be sued by an employee who had been intimidated or retaliated against.

We, she wrote; 

"... would honestly have to admit that we had been made aware of these issues."
In a letter to the board about the hiring their own investigator, she wrote;
YES we are indeed aware of (incidents of intimidation and retaliation by Winston Brooks), including to one of our own board members and we would be liable for not taking any action.
See, it's a problem for the board,
  • if the board is being sued for allowing their superintendent to intimidate and retaliate employees, and
  • it can be proved they knew about it, and 
  • they let it go unaddressed.
So the private investigations are all about finding the truth and being able to keep it secret.  It's all about creating for themselves; plausible deniability. link.

When they sit in sworn deposition and they are asked what they know about Brooks intimidation and retaliation, they want to be able to say what Sgt Schultz said;
I know nothing! YouTube
Except that they did.

The last time they hired a private investigator/lawyer and than announced that they were going to keep the findings secret, they got in trouble for it.  "In trouble" being a relative term; their lawyer cronies are going to make a bundle litigating the issue for as long as it takes to make it go away.  Without limit; without oversight.

Having their lawyers investigate in order that the findings can be declared lawyer work product is shameless effort to get around the NM Inspection of Public Records Act.  

As wrong as it is for anyone to get around the law deliberately, it is an order of magnitude worse if that person is a politician or public servant, especially if they are acting in their own self interests; covering up their own incompetence and corruption.

It is exponentially worse that money they spend to underwrite their "legal weaselry; their Juris Mustelidae, link, are operational dollars; tax dollars that could and should be spent in classrooms instead.

When the leadership of the APS 
  • hires an "independent investigator";
  • when they have their publicly funded private police force self- investigate felony criminal misconduct, 
it is with the intention of keeping the findings secret from stake and interest holders.  It is with the intention of escaping the consequences of the truth being known about their character and their competence.

The board has already done (at the least) one in secret investigation on Brooks and got burned, link.

The "personnel" and "attorney-client privilege" dodges aren't working anymore, perhaps they think writing a school board policy enabling the activity will somehow legitimize their abuse.

Consider APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel's carelessly crafted policy and procedural directive on public participation in school board meetings.  He/they think they can write a policy and procedural directive with unconstitutional provisions (according to NM FOG, link) in a naked effort to give Esquivel and them cover in lawsuits they are losing.

It time for a audit.  In anticipation of the school board election and the hiring of a new superintendent, it is time for an independent investigation of ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS;
An annual examination and review of executive and 
administrative Ethics, standards, and accountability.

photo Mark Bralley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"YES we are indeed aware of (incidents of intimidation and retaliation by Winston Brooks), including to one of our own board members and we would be liable for not taking any action."

Where was the Board before Bachicha, Stanojevic, Ethridge, Dennis, et al. filed their lawsuits against Brooks? What action did the Board take against Brooks knowing fully well that he intimidated and retaliated against APS employees? The only action the Board took in regard to Brooks was to extend his contract year after year. Pathetic display of incompetence and egregious conduct.