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Friday, July 23, 2010

Recall Story in the Times

The Seattle Times ran a story this morning on the Board recall effort.

The story has few quotes and none from the Board members, the District, or anyone in opposition to the recall.

The story says that it is now up to a King County Superior Court to determine whether the charges against the Board members are true and, if they are true, if they constitute a violation of the Board members' oath of office.

The oath of office binds the Directors to support the constitutions of the United States and the State of Washington and to faithfully discharge the duties of the office according to the best of the Director’s ability. I think the breakdown comes in the area of faithfully discharging the duties of the office. The recently released report from the State Auditor makes it very clear that the Directors have NOT been doing their duty. Since the District concurred with the auditor's findings, I'm not sure what story they will tell the Court in the Director's defense. Probably that the failures found in the audit do not rise to the level of violating the oath. Is that what they are going to say "Yes, we suck, but not that badly."

I don't know if the District will be providing the Directors with counsel at the Court hearing or if each Director will be responsible for providing their own. That's an interesting question. Does the District have a duty to defend the Directors (at taxpayers' expense) in this sort of legal procedure?

Here's something interesting. What are "the duties of the office"? According to Board Policy B23.00, Duties of Individual Board Members, it appears that they are just required to show up and have read the material provided to them.

But then there is this Code of Conduct for Board members in Policy B49.00 that puts some duties on Board members, and Policy B61.00 that lists more duties for Board members.

17 comments:

dan dempsey said...

The Recall did not use "Oath of Office" as it was not needed.

The minimum evidence required is one misfeasance, or 1 malfeasance, or 2 violations of oath of office.

From the RCW 29A.56.110
Initiating proceedings — Statement — Contents — Verification — Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) "Misfeasance" or "malfeasance" in office means any wrongful conduct that affects, interrupts, or interferes with the performance of official duty;

(a) Additionally, "misfeasance" in office means the performance of a duty in an improper manner; and

(b) Additionally, "malfeasance" in office means the commission of an unlawful act;

(2) "Violation of the oath of office" means the neglect or knowing failure by an elective public officer to perform faithfully a duty imposed by law.

Recall filing for Sundquist is Here.

Note:
In accordance with RCW 29A.56.110 we the undersigned seek the recall and discharge of Seattle School District #1 Director Steve Sundquist. He is named on page 4 of the Washington State Auditor’s Office Accountability Audit Report No. 1003871 issued July 6, 2010. The audit covered from 9-1-2008 through 8-31-2009.

This Seattle School Director participated in numerous acts of malfeasance and misfeasance as a member of the School Board as detailed in Audit Report No. 1003871. Among these acts are:

==============
Waited quite a while for something this solid. Since the audit had 12 significant findings, it appears each of the five directors have ZERO wiggle room. .... Then again the Superior Court has not done much of a job in enforcing RCW 28A 645.020 hopefully a superior court judge can step up on RCW 29A.56.110

=============
July 26, Monday 9 AM Judge Inveen's Court Room the appeal of New Student Assignment Plan will be heard. Except the District failed to provided the "Certified Correct" transcript of evidence and on Audit page 6......

"The Seattle School District did not comply with state law on recording meeting minutes and making them available to the public."

additionally ....
"We determined the Board did not record minutes at retreats and workshops in the 2008- 2009 school year. These retreats and workshops were held to discuss the budget,
student assignment boundaries, school closures and strategic planning."


and .....
District's response:
The District concurs with the finding and the requirement under the OPMA that any meeting of a quorum of the board members to discuss district business is to be treated as a special or regular meeting for the purposes of the OPMA.

Well so much for the OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT .... Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, tell be again about openness and transparency.

==========

So now it is back into Inveen's court room. Does she enforce laws or ignore them in making rulings? The saga continues at 9 AM Monday.

Oligarchy or Republic?

======== Get ready to gather signatures in the hopes of re-establishing a few more principles common to a republic.

Anonymous said...

Charlie,
The School Board member's "duties of office" are also specified by state law. One of them was amended in 2010 (link included with the RCW), adding more detail in the accountability sections.

RCW 28A.150.230
Basic education act — District school directors' responsibilities.


*** CHANGE IN 2010 *** (SEE 6696-S2.SL) ***

(1) It is the intent and purpose of this section to guarantee that each common school district board of directors, whether or not acting through its respective administrative staff, be held accountable for the proper operation of their district to the local community and its electorate. In accordance with the provisions of Title 28A RCW, as now or hereafter amended, each common school district board of directors shall be vested with the final responsibility for the setting of policies ensuring quality in the content and extent of its educational program and that such program provide students with the opportunity to achieve those skills which are generally recognized as requisite to learning.
(see the full RCW for very specific duties & responsibilities)

Charlie Mas said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for the reference. Here is a link to the law.

As is typically the case with an RCW, it requires the Board to have a policy, but it does not require the District to follow the policy. The Board Director's defense could be that the law requires them to have a policy - and they do, so they have therefore fulfilled and complied with the law.

dan dempsey said...

So please explain why when the Times writes something less than spectacularly supportive of the district .... it is not to be found with Local => education => article

Here we have it again.

When it was a puff piece.

Local => education => Puff Piece

by for the recall story it is

Local => education => ??? (not there)

================

Thoughts?

WenD said...

@Dan: Re: Times, I don't understand why the Times isn't dee-lighted with the possibility of top-down school reform. They should check their archives, along with the PI's. When you search on audit and SPS, you'll find lots to read, going back years.

dan dempsey said...

WenD,

Currently we see something approximating a steep exponential growth curve in audit findings since Goodloe-Johnson took over in July 2007.

MGJ is TopDown and particularly inept at handling operations and the School Board just completely failed to even look.

Audit Summary page 1:

the School Board delegated authority to the Superintendent to create specific procedures to govern day-to-day District operations. The Board does not evaluate these procedures to determine if they are effective and appropriate. Consequently, our audit identified 12 findings included in this report and in our federal single audit and financial statement report.

and on page 2:

In all areas that we audited, we found the District did not comply with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures.
=================

There is no rational argument that can be offered in defense of any of these five Board directors if accountability is expected.

Sahila said...

I dont think we had any other option but to do this, on moral and ethical grounds...

And I couldnt see any major advantages (or moral justification) in only recalling some of the 5, rather than all of the 5... Change has to happen and it wouldnt have with a half-arsed measure...

BUT - I am concerned about the possibility of mayoral takeover, vis a vis the Broad/Gates approach in other cities... its something to be aware of....

Charlie Mas said...

I, too, find it suspiciously odd that the story about the recall is so hard to find on the Seattle Times web site.

I'm also suspicious about why the Times Editorial Board has not yet written an opinion piece about how misguided the effort is... unless the Times is happy to throw the Board under the bus to save the superintendent.

Sahila said...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=861921&id=1180693416

Sahila said...

Have had lots of people say they want to help with the recall signature gathering effort...

If you are another person who wants to help, can you contact me at metamind_universal@yahoo.com and I'll connect you up...

we need:
* hands-on signature gathering - we're creating a coherent plan for that
* help with donations to cover photocopying costs
* help with outreach
* help with creating an information website/blog
* help with creating/printing informational flyers

Namaste

Sahila

kprugman said...

Throw the board under the bus! Sounds like a new musical comedy. Who's the busdriver? MGJ

Sahila said...

The wheels of the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round... the wheels of the deformers' bus go round and round, all through the US....

Charlie Mas said...

I've read the filing, and it's pretty clear that the findings of the state auditor constitute both misfeasance and malfeasance. The Board Directors didn't do their job properly and they committed unlawful acts (mis-spending capital funds, failing to report meeting minutes, etc.).

So there shouldn't be any trouble proving those as the Board and the District have already acknowledged doing them.

Next comes the signature gathering. This will require an organization of people to gather the signatures and motivating the voting public to sign the petitions. That's going to be tough.

kprugman said...

In our district, the board resigned. The new superintendent claimed she had no knowledge of what the previous super had been doing and then they selected the interim board members from the same group - mostly land developers and real estate agents. The irony is they all play together on the same golf course.

dan dempsey said...

Here is yet another RCW that seems to need attention.

RCW 42.56.040
Duty to publish procedures

So here is a letter urging compliance in several areas.

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