Over two months after John Caldecott made allegations of financial improprieties and a hostile working environment, Daily Pilot columnist Patrice Apodaca has decided to come to the party. There’s nothing new in the column – Caldecott’s story has been told here and elsewhere for months – but the comments following it are worth your time. You can read both by clicking here.

If the comments are any indication of which way the wind is blowing, the public is outraged. Again. But as I noted in my comment after Apodaca’s column, Caldecott’s charges are not the problem, they are a symptom.

The problem is a failure on the part of the school board and the district administration to hold themselves accountable to taxpayers. These people talk only among themselves until such time as they are forced by high public pressure or a court order, to reveal that which they feel taxpayers do not have a right to know.

In the time since Caldecott’s initial allegations, TOOTS (The Out-Of-Town Superindent – he lives in Long Beach) has been immersed in the process of surrounding himself with loyal staffers to further insulate himself from any public controversy.

Looking back over the 2.5 years since he has been collecting his approximately $300,000 compensation packages, TOOTS has taken only one position on a controversial subject. That was back in January when he (and board president Martha Fluor) signed a letter urging Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee (FPCAC) to construct fields at Fairview Park instead of having those annoying kids in youth sports trample over “their” school fields.

Oh, yea, that’s right… The letter didn’t state that’s what he advocated – that would be too strong a position and might actually show some leadership capability. Instead he just urged the committee to find a solution to the sports field squeeze. Okay, here’s one: Start being a better partner with the city and work to create more field time for kids in youth sports.

In the nearly two years of FPCAC meetings, the super did not attend a single meeting, ask for an update from the committee or offer any constructive input. All he managed to do was wait until what he thought was the day before a crucial vote to weigh in on the controversy.

But wait, there’s more!

When the school district posted notices of two high-paying administrative positions for a nanosecond to fulfill a requirement, the job description indicated that the new managers would be managed by the “Associate Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer.” The trouble is, there is no existing Associate Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer.

So, I wrote to the super. After eight days (he did apologize for the delay), having received no response, I e-mailed again and was told that “No one has been recommended to the Board for the position of CAO at this time” and that he hoped to make a recommendation before the end of April.

Once again, what a bureaucrat doesn’t say is often as important as what he does say. In this case, the super said he would make a “recommendation” to the board. What he did not say was that they expected to hire someone by the end of April. This leads me to believe that the road map to completing the superintendent’s insulation process was drawn up awhile back and that the new Associate Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer is already working in the district. My guess: Susan Astarita.

John Caldecott – Remember Him?

This circuitous route to the case of John Caldecott is important because it illustrates a method of operation that is purposely carried out because the board and the district officials are used to being ignored. They like it that way.

Then along comes this rabblerouser Caldecott who has the nerve to tell people that the rules are not always followed and that anyone who sticks their neck out will have it promptly chopped off.

The nerve…