It is ironic that the Daily Pilot’s report on the tax evasion scheme set up by the N-MUSD Deputy Supt. and unanimously rubber-stamped by the school board club members should come on the eve of the deadline for filing our annual tax returns.

Most of the rest of us do not have access to the privileges of the top brass in the N-MUSD and we have to get our pensions the old fashioned way: We have to actually put in the time at work in order to reap the benefits.

The revelations of the tax scheme, of paying a bureaucrat to hold off on his retirement and of a general disregard of the ramifications of all of this money laundering should not shock anyone – this type of reckless financial activity has been going on for many years.

What is shocking is that the school board club members and the administration don’t see their own hypocrisy.

They want you to believe that this is an open, above board administration and that everything was done in public and see! we followed all the rules, so neener neener. Yeah, this is the same bunch of folks that just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned tax dollars in legal fees to keep you from seeing and hearing what John Caldecott has been trying to tell them – and you – for well over a year.

Transparency my eye. These responses are an insult, lines of meaningless blather to justify something that has no justification. But they keep spewing out this nonsense in response to crises for one reason and one reason only: It’s what they have always done.

In what is turning out to be the N-MUSD version of the Panama Papers, the public finally getting a sense of the runaway rubber stamping financial activities of the people who are supposed to be the best stewards of your money. Oh, the retirement scheme set up and delivered may be legal but that’s hardly the point. But there is a precedent for this mindset, expressed months ago by the Deputy Supt. himself at a board meeting.

Last June, I reported on a conflict of interest brought before the school board club at a meeting:

“Then there was the revelation that the district knowingly engaged in a conflict of interest: ‘The work that Dudek was going to do concerns the property adjacent to the environmentally-sensitive Banning Ranch, for which there are plans to build homes and for which there is substantial community opposition.

‘The problem is that Dudek is also doing work for the developer. According to [Steve] Ray, Dudek is ‘conducting biological consulting for the Banning Ranch Development.’” Oops. But did Deputy Super Paul Reed apologize and say he’d correct the situation immediately? Nope. Reed admitted that he knew about Dudek’s double dipping but recommended them anyway, claiming at the board meeting that, “There is no legal conflict of interest.” Vicki Snell helped him out of the hole he’d dug for himself, then muttered that the district could find another company to do the work.'”

Reed’s comment that there was no “legal conflict of interest” gave us an insight into the mindset of the administration and the school board club. So because the retirement scheme is legal, it’s OK. Well, much of the financial doings revealed in the Panama Papers are legal, too, but that doesn’t make them right.

Think about all of this – all of the arrogance, the lack of accountability, the complete lack of remorse, and the inability to understand why people are so upset, as we pay our tax bill today. And think about it up to and after April 24, 2016 – that’s this year’s “Tax Freedom” day – the day when the little people have worked enough to fulfill their tax obligation to the U.S. government.

And think about it when you vote on three new school board club members in November.

Steve Smith

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