I have consistently stated that Suzanne Dale Estey appears to have a great resume. She seems to have broad policy experience at different levels of government.
But, based on attendance at and viewing of some videotapes of various campaign events, I realized that she has this tendency to embellish what her resume says she did. So I decided to check some of what is on her resume AND what she has been saying at campaign stops.
Here's what I found:
Working for Governor Locke
Here's what her campaign website says:
Federal Legislative Analyst for Washington State Governor Gary Locke
Her LinkedIn resume goes further:
Federal Legislative Analyst
Washington, DC Office of the Governor of Washington State
1998 – 1998 (less than a year)Washington, DC
Monitored Congressional legislation and federal agency activities on behalf of the Governor and the State of Washington. Worked with Congressional staff, White House and federal agency officials, national associations and other governors’ offices to promote Governor’s agenda, including helping lay the foundation for his leadership role on electronic commerce issues. Represented Washington State at meetings of the National and Democratic Governors’ Associations.
But out on the campaign at the Eastlake Forum, she talks about her background and talks of working for Governor Locke "where I ran his D.C. office." (Here's the link - she makes this claim at about 54 seconds.)
Wait? She wasn't just an analyst who did that laundry list above but ALSO ran the office?
Impressive, no? But if it's so impressive, why not add it to her resume at her campaign website?
Well, maybe because she was hired, as a temporary intern, and worked in Governor Locke's office for just 3 months from June to August 1998.
Her status, according to state HR records, was "temporary paid intern", not "legislative analyst." It's a rather huge leap to go from a short-term intern to almost a year as a "federal legislative analyst."
Serving on "taskforces and committees" on education
Dale Estey's website does not make this claim but again, out on the election trail she has recently been talking about serving on "many taskforces and committees" on education.
I looked into this and found that she did work quite a bit with the Renton School District (as her website reflects) but they said she hadn't been on any committees/taskforces per se. Via public disclosure, I asked the nearby school districts of Tukwila and Highline.
Tukwila - The District was unable to locate any records showing that Ms Dale Estey served on committees or taskforces for the District.
Highline - Suzanne Dale Estey has not served on any committee or taskforce for Highline Public Schools.
Dale Estey may indeed have worked with staff from those districts elsewhere but not on any of their own district taskforces or committees.
Being the Inter-High Chairperson on the Seattle School Board
From her campaign website:
"...she served as chair of the Inter-High Council, which represented students in an advisory role on the Seattle School Board."
I always found this claim on her campaign resume a source of amusement because really, unless something you did in high school was in the national news, who cares? That she went through SPS schools is a definite community link BUT does it mean she knows the district today? Not by a mile.
But oddly, she mentioned it at nearly every single campaign stop. In fact, at the Maple Leaf event, there was a bit of confusion in the opening seconds when she said, "I served on the Seattle School Board" and took a bit to get to "in high school."
But, as I have previously reported, I did check in the district archives. (And let me say that whoever was taking minutes, took VERY detailed minutes that would put any present-day minutes to shame. That they are so thoroug, it helps clarify this claim.)
First, she was co-chair. Maybe a small thing but when I was co-president of the Roosevelt PTA, I never said I was president and forgot my co-president. (The minutes reflect a co-chair.)
Second, her first appearance at a School Board meeting is in Jan. 1988 (but she started her senior year at RHS in the fall). She is introduced by her co-chair to the Board at that meeting.
She missed the Feb. meeting and then appeared at 4 more meetings. She spoke once at each meeting she appeared at except her introductory meeting in January. You be the judge of that "experience."
Worth noting - she didn't even serve a whole school year (unlike her campaign manager, Dexter Tang, who was the Student Senate rep for the Board from last year).
Credibility and integrity matter. Not all candidates (and their campaigns) try to puff up and embellish their resumes to win.
What about integrity? The Stranger reported back in 2004 that when she worked as a lobbyist for WaMu, she was directed to send an e-mail to thousands of WaMu employees telling them how to vote on the Monorail (against) while at the same time serving as a member of the Transportation Choices Coalition, a PRO-Monorail organization. So was she for or against the Monorail?
Dale Estey says she isn't for charter schools or Teach for America. Yet her campaign has accepted thousands of dollars (plus the thousands spent on her by the PAC established to help her) from the very people who fronted the charter school campaign and their supporters. She has several prominent exTFAers not just contributing money but as endorsers. (I'll make a prediction right now - if she's elected, I believe that in two years or less, she and/or Blanford will be pushing for SPS to become a charter authorizer. )
Why all this exaggeration when she has a damn fine resume to start
with? I don't know but I do know it is troubling that she feels the need
to do it. Or her campaign handlers told her to do.
What else about
her background and her abilities has she embellished? And who will whisper
in her ear if she is elected?