Thursday, December 04, 2014

APS Board walks back administrator/legislator pay

The APS School Board decided Tuesday night to pay administrators while they serve in the legislature.  Wednesday night they changed their mind.  It seems, it may not be legal.

APS Modrall lawyer Art Melendres advises the board on these kinds of legal issues.  We pay him and his firm millions of dollars a year for their advice.

Melendres was in attendance last night and was called upon for a legal opinion.  According to the Journal, link,
"... Melendres said he couldn’t offer an opinion on Wednesday but would before the board’s next regular board meeting Dec. 17.
 “It’s actually more complicated than it appears,” Melendres said. “So I’m not ready to give you an answer right now.”
This will all sort itself out.  Taxpayers will pay Melendres and Modrall hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands of dollars? to come up with an answer to a question that should have been asked and answered long before the board voted to approve it before they voted to not approve it.

Actually, neither vote counts because both votes were taken in meetings that don't count.  Both were held without proper notice.  Records have been produced by APS indicating that the meetings were noticed on APS award winning website at 9:57 am and 9:58 on November 29th.  November 29th was a Saturday.  Saturdays don't count for meeting notice under the Open Meetings Act.  Nor do Sundays. 

In effect, agendas were posted on Monday morning for meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

The records were emailed to me as pdfs.   When I tried to post them on Scribd in order that you could link to them, they were regurgitated.  APS has a long, long record of producing records in hard to open formats.  They once made a recording by playing a videotape of the meeting through a TV and them videotaped the TV to blur the image and audio.

That particular record was of the meeting where freshman School Board Member Marty Esquivel proposed an administrative accountability audit. 

Upon which, then School Board President, NM Broadcasters Assoc President and CEO Paula Maes announced that she would never agree to any audit that would individually identify the incompetent and or corrupt. 

It was shortly after that meeting
when Esquivel went over to the
dark side, for good.

The dark side is where school board members advocating transparency eventually end up.  No one seems to know why.

What is said to people like Esquivel, that flips them from transparency to cover up?

Esquivel no longer demands independent administrative accountability audits; he obstructs them.

He is not alone.

There is not a single APS School Board Member is willing to discuss openly and honestly, the ethics, standards and accountability that characterize their public service.

I've always regarded board member's and superintendent's refusals to hold themselves honestly and actually accountable to the same standards of conduct that they establish and have enforced upon students, as cowardice, corruption or both.

What else explains their refusal to accept and create their own accountability to student standards of conduct*; higher standards of conduct than the law, except their cowardice (they are afraid of the consequences) or their corruption (they don't want to accept the consequences?

*APS student standards of conduct, by unanimous and continuing school board annual approval, are the Pillars of Character Counts! link, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

If we really want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like; a least for the few hours a day their public service is supposed to be the stuff worthy of emulation.

Character is taught by example. 
It is in fact, taught only by personal example.
It doesn't of necessity have to start at the top, but it should.

School board members show superintendents
who show administrators
who show teachers
who show students
what it looks like to hold oneself honestly and actually
accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law

To expect of themselves  
more than the law requires and 
less than the law allows.

photos Mark Bralley

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