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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

To the Members of the Executive Committee

This is an e-mail I sent to the members of the Executive Committee this morning:

I note that on your agenda this morning for the Ex Ctm is your Board calendar for next year.

I have repeatedly asked about sponsorship of Board retreats since the Alliance was allowed to plan them for this entire school year.  That is NOT part of the Alliance's MOU with the district and appears to look like undue influence from an outside entity.  To avoid that appearance, the Board could do the following:

- the Alliance ends its sponsorship of Board retreats

- the Alliance can handle logistics but nothing else.  They certainly can weigh in on the agenda for any given retreat as is the right of any other group or individual.  They should NOT be setting the agenda nor directing the facilitator.

- the Alliance should NOT have be part of any discussion during the retreats.  No one else is allowed this privilege and it should stop.

- if the Board wants sponsorship of the retreats, then it should be open to any group or individual that wants to do it.  If the Alliance's sponsorship granted them access to the shaping of the agenda and/or giving input during the retreat discussions, then that opportunity should be available to any group or individual sponsoring any future retreats.

The Board should take care to avoid any and all appearances that sponsorship of Board retreats gives access or undue influence to any outside entity.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you use 'ctm', do you mean 'committee'? I've seen it twice today here and I completely didn't get it the first time. Perhaps I also didn't get it the second time and it means something totally different.

But if so, why not just use 'cmte'?

--just curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I mean committee.

Catherine said...

Have you sent this to the ethics group at the city?

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, because I wanted to give the Board the opportunity to self-correct because it is the fair and equitable thing to do.

If they do not correct this, then yes, I will take further action (and not just to the City Ethics officer).

Catherine said...

I think that's more than fair of you. I'm not sure that I would have been that generous.

suep. said...

Speaking of the Alliance and their special treatment and influence within the district, on the Strategic Plan Stakeholder Task Force, we members were told we needed to commit to at least 4 of the 5 meetings. (I went to all 5.)

I noticed Alliance CEO Sara Morris was listed on the first meeting roster, but didn't show up for any of the meetings.

Then, at the last meeting, the Alliance's "Vice President of Programs," Karen Demorest showed up, for what I believe was the only time. (Perhaps serving as their 'closer.')

Why the Alliance should be allowed to take up a spot on a community task force, not use it, then send someone just to one meeting, when none of the rest of us were allowed such flexibility, is rather curious.

Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation. But I found it odd.

mirmac1 said...

Interesting suep

Obviously, they've been involved since day one. They paid for the "facilitators" Pivot Learning partners. They don't need to go to no stinkin' meetin's cuz they got JSCEE on speed dail. Besides they don't do things out in the daylight. Shoot! No open meetings act for them!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sue, you should let the Superintendent and the Board know about this. You're right; no one should be on a taskforce who isn't showing up for the meetings.

I would think since the Alliance is working with the consultants hired for the Strategic Plan, they probably don't think they need to be there.

Jan said...

My guess is that Melissa is right. The rest of the group needed to commit, because being at meetings was necessary to get information, give input, be part of whatever solutions or suggestions were to come out of the group. If you aren't there, you obviously cannot fulfill that role. For the Alliance, I suspect being there was more about monitoring whatever staff and the Task Force were coming up with (to make sure it aligns with whatever the Alliance wants) -- and they have other sources to help them do that, so it isn't "necessary" for them to bother going (since they have money to spend and people to influence, and time is valuable), unless somehow the process veers off an acceptable track, or for pr purposes, or whatever. I agree, though -- they shouldn't take up a seat allocated to the community unless they are willing to be part of the group and do the work.

mirmac1 said...

I remember when the A4E/LEV/OSC huffed and puffed that they were only allowed TWO seats on the superintendent selection committee. Ooowieee, they got all the big guns to write whiny letters about how they represent a vast (nonexistent) constituency.

Anonymous said...

Melissa

I wouldn't count on much from the City Ethics folks. Nice people, paper tigers.

No fear of sunlight.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

As usual, you rock.

It might be helpful to forward your letter to the Garfield teachers. They are obviously savvy, but I want the connection to the Alliance to be reiterated in terms of the MAP, as well.

It was after the Alliance used money and propaganda to influence the last teachers' contract (with their teacher trashing glossy brochure with half-baked statistics) that the MAP was introduced and then used to monitor teachers.

That was no coincidence. Taking a courageous stand on the MAP will not be fully effective until the root of the rot is addressed. The Alliance is a primary root.

Maybe some protest actions toward the Alliance can be part of the Garfield teachers (and other teachers taking a stand) and be their next step toward reclaiming the district from private control
and influence.

--enough already

Unknown said...

Melissa,
Thanks for taking the lead on this. I never understood how the Alliance became more than a fundraising organization. It's now insinuated itself into the board retreats as a non-elected representative of the chamber of commerce and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Incredible!