(Note: This updated version has only two minor edits that do not change anything material to the fiscal irresponsibility that is documented. If you read the first version, you do not need to read this one.)

The district’s Citizens’ Oversight Committee (COC) was established to monitor the expenditure of $282 million from the Measure F funds, passed in 2005. The COC is supposed to ensure that the money is being spent judiciously and in a way that benefits all students, blah, blah, blah.

Call me crazy, but I don’t believe that spending $170,000 for Alaska yellow cedar seats for Davidson field is judicious spending, particularly when aluminum is much cheaper, easier to maintain, and lasts longer.

But that’s just me.

The COC has met only 23 times since 2007, about half of their mandate of at least once every quarter – according to the board’s resolution of Nov. 2016, and they have not submitted the required annual reports to the board for three of the past four years.

The COC met only once in 2014, once in 2015, once in 2017 and did not meet at all in 2016.

But wait, there’s more!

A review of the minutes of the 23 meetings shows that no board member ever attended a single meeting. Not one.

One would think that with so much money at stake and so much construction and development involved that at least one board member would check in over the 10-year period to ensure that the committee is fulfilling its obligations. But, one would be wrong if one thought that.

Not one board member in 23 meetings over a ten year period. Worse, they never questioned the absence of the annual reports that are missing for three of the last four years and have not demanded them since.

Why, you ask? Good question. They did not attend even one meeting, did not question the lack of reports, and do not demand them because… (wait for it)… they don’t care.

It’s the bottom line: If they really cared, at least one board member would have made even a cameo appearance at a meeting. At least one board member would have raised his or her hand and said, “Hey, aren’t we supposed to be getting some sort of report from the COC right about now?”

And at least one board member would have demanded those missing reports.

But they didn’t and don’t because it’s not on their radar. They just don’t care. And they don’t care because IMO, the COC was never intended to get its fingernails dirty by overseeing anything – it was a committee set up for the sole purpose of creating the illusion of oversight to help support the passage of Measure F in 2005.

And it gets better or worse, depending on your point of view.

Each of the minutes of the meetings lists the members present and the members absent. Before she was a trustee, current school board club member Vicki Snell was a member of the COC – that, anyway, is the way she is listed on the minutes of the meetings of June 25, 2012, and January 29, 2013.

Those are the only two times she is listed in any of the minutes. Unfortunately, she is listed both times in the “Members Absent” section.

So what was her reward for missing the COC meetings and failing to participate in the oversight of a helluva lot of taxpayer dollars? In March, 2014, she was appointed to the school board.

It makes sense, though, if you think about it. After all, the super co-signed the infamous Mariners Gold Ribbon application. He wasn’t held accountable at all, in fact, he got raises and a bonus.

This type of insulting and irresponsible behavior is why I am supporting a complete turnover of this current board.

Start this year by electing Dr. Gina Nick in Area 4 and Michelle Murphy in Area 2. Both have kids in the district, both are smart and hard-working, and both will demand more accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

The other two areas have no incumbents running and they will be covered in future posts. For now, just remember to vote for Dr. Gina Nick and Michelle Murphy and tell everyone you know to vote for them, too.

Steve Smith

 

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