One year after John Caldecott raised the issue of financial improprieties in the district, the so-called mainstream media is finally latching on to the story in a meaningful way.

Yesterday (the day before, if you checked online), the Daily Pilot ran a story about alleged pension shenanigans, today it’s the Orange County Register. You can read the register story here:

Here’s the key section from the Register story:

“Reed, now 68, will also receive a pension upon retirement. He did not respond to questions about whether he would have left Newport-Mesa if the district had not agreed to the payments, but instead released a statement on Thursday through a district spokesperson.

“’After 47 years in education, I am appreciative and humbled by the value placed on my skills and experience,’ Reed wrote.”

So, there’s no denial there, no defense. Does that make the district or Reed guilty of anything other than bad judgment so far? No. But it would have been nice if at least one person came out and said, “Everything we did was legal and if we had to make the decision over again, we’d do the same thing.”

And it would be nice if the fellow in charge, Supt. Frederick Navarro, said that. He’s the top guy and everything that happens while he is there (or, in the case of the academic improvement of Costa Mesa’s schools, doesn’t happen) is his responsibility. That’s a lesson effective managers learn early in their careers. They learn that to earn the respect of your subordinates, you must have their backs at all times and be ready to take full responsibility for anything that happens on your watch. That’s one of the main reasons why you make the big bucks.

But perhaps they can’t say, “Everything we did was legal and if we had to make the decision over again, we’d do the same thing.”

But then, maybe it is fitting that Reed made the statement. After all, he does make more than his boss…

More to come.

Steve Smith