The purpose of this blog is to help the West Contra Costa Unified School District succeed at educating our children.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
My request for an ethics and conflict-of-interest policy
I recently sent the following letter to Trustee Ramsey and President Kronenberg. I have not received any reply.
Does the WCCUSD have an ethics and conflict-of-interest policy? If so, can you please forward me a copy. Have you read about Lockyer's request for a legal opinion from the Attorney General with respect to bond measure campaign practices? It was reported here.
The treasurer said that some school districts have given underwriting firms “an exclusive, sole-source contract” to sell bonds “in return for obtaining pre-bond election campaign services” from the firms.
Under some agreements, he continued, underwriters who stand to profit from selling bonds conduct voter opinion surveys or help prepare ballot arguments. Other agreements “specify [that] the underwriting fees paid in connection with any subsequent bond sale will reimburse the underwriter for pre-election campaign services provided.”
Charles, has the WCCUSD engaged in this practice that Mr. Lockyer is referring to? I have to ask because as a result of some of my own observations. You know the adage, "Follow the money trail." It is why I became concerned enough about the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. The money trail flows freely from those employed-contracted with the district to those on the CBOC, that the fox is guarding the henhouse.
The union rep on the committee is just one example, although the Associate Superintendent disagrees with me, his reasoning being that the union rep is not employed with the district. The union rep represents people employed with the district and gets paid from their union dues for doing so. The money trail is contiguous. The CBOC committee chair receiving $20,000.00 from the very Bond Program Manager (SGI) the district has contracted with is a huge conflict-of-interest in my opinion. These same folks give large amounts of money to board candidates during their election bids. There is also the Trades Council Rep on the CBOC. The Trades Council is affiliated with the pipe-fitters union who also has a PAC that also contributed to the Chair's WCCUSD election campaign bid. If these folks get elected, they then vote to renew the contracts with those who made such contributions. It's human nature, right, to reward those who have been kind to you?
In addition to the union reps, board members have their own appointees on the CBOC. At one time, the recipient of the $20,000.00 from SGI was also a committee appointee of yours, Charles. Maybe everything is ethically kosher with the WCCUSD bond program and oversight committee. I'm no expert, so I did ask some folks to check in on our operation to see if any tidying up is necessary, some recommendations perhaps. If not, I stand corrected and apologize for any inconvenience I might have created in the process.