Thursday, January 29, 2015

APS School Board's enforcement of Code of Ethics on Korte's conduct; selective at best

In the Journal this morning, coverage of the latest APS School Board spat, link.

They report;

The Albuquerque Public Schools board executive committee has sent a letter to board member Kathy Korte saying she violated APS’ code of ethics when she reprimanded spokeswoman Monica Armenta in recent emails.
The Journal reports
The executive committee’s letter told Korte her emails violated APS’ code of ethics, which states board members should “delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent and establish a process for accountability of administrators.”
The words,
“delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent and establish a process for accountability of administrators.”  
are a cut and paste from the School Board Code of Ethics, link.
For the Executive Committee to call it "APS' Code of Ethics" is misleading.

Heretofore, the board's code of ethics was utterly unenforceable.  There was no venue where a complaint could be filed against them for violations of the code.  There was no place where a complainant would find due process; a principled resolution based on impartial adjudication and fully free of appearances of impropriety and conflicts of interests, and fear of retaliation.

Now we find that their code is enforceable after all.
All they have to do is to convene an in secret meeting of three board members (one short of a quorum) and decide to take action.
The letter... was signed by the three members of the board’s executive committee – President Analee Maestas, Vice President Don Duran and Secretary Steven Michael Quezada.
Their code of conduct can be enforced,
albeit selectively and only upon each other.

Korte is guilty of violating the School Board's Code of Ethics.
“I do hate meddling in APS employee affairs,” Korte said.
Good for her.  At least she "hates"it when circumstances make it "necessary" for her to violate their Code of ethics.

Their letter to Korte said that if she chose not to alter her behavior, “the executive committee’s concerns will be brought to the full board for consideration of formal action by the Board of Education regarding your refusal or inability to adhere to these standards.”  emphasis added

Their legitimate course of action in the first place; before the letter of reprimand is written and delivered.
Outgoing School Board Member
Marty Esquivel offered;
"It is important that other board members respond in a “swift and firm” manner so other employees can be assured a similar thing won’t happen to them."
Noteworthy; in the eight years
Esquivel has been on the board,
his resistance to school board
members being actually, honestly
accountable for their conduct
has cost the operational fund
nearly a million dollars.

School Board Member Lorenzo
Garcia stood in support of a
discussion in a meeting, saying
“We need to talk about it.”
Board member David Peercy's contribution;
“It’s not a big deal, and that’s the point,” Peercy said. “You’ve got to realize just because we have things we need to discuss – it’s OK.”
Peercy misses the point entirely.

Or, he would rather we miss the point entirely.

It isn't a big deal that you
"have things to discuss",
it is your relentless insistence
on discussing public interests
in meetings in secret that is a
"big deal".

Anything a politician or public servant does in unnecessary secret from the people they serve, is a "big deal".

“I have no idea what board
member Korte was specifically
upset about,” Armenta said
in an interview Friday.
For her part, "victim" and APS
Exec Director of Communications
Monica Armenta can't imagine
what all the fuss is about.

She would have us believe;

she never asked Marilyn Beck
any untoward questions, ever.

photos Mark Bralley


I took the liberty of posting a comment directly on the Journal report.  It read;
The Executive Committee, Maestas, Duran and Quesada, have the authority ONLY to put Korte's chastisement on the agenda of a meeting that complies with the NM OMA. The gang of three, not even a quorum under the law, have no more legitimate authority to chastise Korte, than Korte has to chastise Beck.

All of this illuminates the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the senior-most leadership of the APS. And, points to the need for an independent examination and review of executive and administrative standards and accountability.

It should be done and made public before they hire the next superintendent.

The scandal requires investigation and report by the Journal. It's what they're supposed to do. It's the reason why they enjoy Constitutional protection of their human right to be the press, in order that they can tell the people how their power and their resources are being spent. That so voters can hold politicians and public servants accountable for their conduct and competence in their public service.

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