Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is there "honest to God accountability" in the leadership of the APS, or not?

Nearly a decade ago, auditors from the Council of the Great City Schools found what they described as a “culture” of fear of retaliation against whistle blower and other complainants.

Nothing has changed.

The premise is easily tested; ask an APS employee at any level;

is there a widespread belief that retaliation will follow filing of a complaint against an administrator?
Their answer will be yes; hell yes.

Whether the belief is justified is moot; perception is reality.
In fact, it is entirely justified.

The test is simple; all you have to do is look at their record (after prying it loose in court). See what they do to complainants.

They're spending millions of operational dollars on litigation and legal weaselry in order to pound complaints into accepting their “admissions of no guilt” in settlements. Filing a complaint against any one of them is a brutal process; ask anyone who has filed one.

Filing a complaint against any one of them is filing a complaint against all of them, and against the APS/litigation industry and all the power and resources they have usurped. They and their lawyers wield power and squander operational dollars without limit and without real oversight.

A culture of fear of retaliation is a useful tool in the hands of the unscrupulous and the powerful; they use it (routinely) to escape accountability for their incompetence and or corruption.

There is no doubt that Winston Brooks created fear of retaliation against complainants. There is no doubt that, rather than admit their hire was deeply flawed, the school board tried to cover it all up.

It is important, in the face of the upcoming bond issue election, to know whether these are isolated instances of incompetence and corruption.

I have argued for decades that they are not. I have argued for decades that administrators and school board members are not actually, honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

If I am correct;
  • it would be reckless of taxpayers to trust their stewardship over another $70M tax dollars. And
  • the Journal, according to their obligation to inform the democracy, should expose the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
If I am wrong,
  • the Journal should expose the honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within politics and public service in APS. 
The Journal should reassure voters that their continued confidence in the stewardship over millions and millions of dollars is justified.

The editors will at some point, take a stance on the APS bond issue election. They will encourage voters to support a shot in the arm for the local education/construction industry.

What they will not do, is to investigate and report upon honest to God accountability in the leadership of the APS.  Why not? What good and ethical justification can there be?

At best, they are complacent about the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

At worst, the Journal editors and or owners, are complicit in its cover up.

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