The Same GPS Top Dogs Collect Under the Table Bonuses, Year After Year

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year, GPS employees! While most of you were not under contract during summer months (we know better than to call it a vacation), there were some GPS Top Dogs making out like bandits. Parents will feel their wallets lightened considerably with increased school lunch costs and student fees while a few denizens of the GPS White Castle line their pockets with taxpayer money, sometimes with the Governing Board’s blessing. Following is a road map for how to profit from the public purse while crying that there’s just not enough money in a public school district. 

Our last post showed how two certain favored GPS Top Dogs were surreptitiously enriched  by being paid the same salary for significantly fewer days of work.  Lo and behold: in their 2015-2016 contracts, other GPS Top Dogs were given the same pay for ten fewer days of work! GPS not only produced various public records in the form of stipend approvals, they gave Westie incontrovertible evidence — public records — that this was done *behind closed doors, under the table, in a smoke-filled room.*

Good old money bag man Teddy Dumlao, who received this secret bonus himself, emailed Suzanne Zentner, then GPS Chief Talent Officer, to authenticate that Christina Kishimoto had authorized this unlawful gift of public money.  He asked, “Would you please confirm if the intent is to keep the contract salary amount for the year the same with less days or are the salary contract amounts supposed to be reduced along with the days?”

Complicit Chief Talent Officer Suzanne Zentner confirmed that Christina Kishimoto issued this edict in a cabinet meeting. Read the April 20, 2015 email chain for yourself: “As discussed in Cabinet, these contract lengths are to be modified in length, not salary.” Now Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner is the darling of the current GPS Governing Board … you have to wonder if the board members know about her evil enabling history.

Note that Teddy Dumlao himself received this secret bonus. So did Susan Cadena, Shawn McIntosh, Missy Udall, Derek Skutnik, Ward Heinemann, Irene Mahoney-Paige, Jon Castelhano, Debbie McCarron and Jason Martin. You can be sure that Marcie Taylor profited, too. Don’t forget that at the same time, Teddy Dumlao was receiving thousands more dollars as a *special* bonus for tuition to get the college degree he didn’t have before being hired at GPS a decade or more ago.

What else was significant about these under the table bonuses? Aha … the GPS governing board had granted all GPS employees a raise of 1.6% for 2015-2016. On top of that, Kishimoto saw to it that folks in her *line of sight management* received extra bonuses, some of which were slipped into consent agenda items. As Westie reported back in June 2015:

The reason for the pay raises, which apparently caught the board by surprise, as Superintendent Christina 7-0 Kishimoto explained, was because these employees were doing more work. So they needed to be paid more. “How dare you question me?” was unspoken, but given the ferocity of the brushback, it was not necessary to say those words out loud.

GPS was at it again in July 2015, with an item on the consent agenda to amend Top Dog employment contracts. Christina Kishimoto claimed it was an administrative error that her nearest and dearest assistant district overlords were denied an $800.00 payment for an annual physical … while other GPS employees couldn’t afford (or were not even eligible for) health care coverage. Yep, the Top Dogs basically got their deductibles covered each year and had GPS cover their annual payments for healthcare.

GPS gave under-the-table bonuses again in 2016: this time GPS Top Dogs were gifted “Travel Stipends” of $3,000.00. This replaced the ordeal of Top Dogs having to submit their mileage records for reimbursement, which is what the IRS requires for tax-free reimbursements of employee travel. The background was that GPS had been illegally giving unreported gifts of $350.00 checks at the end of the school year to 100 administrators. See Westie’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report #9.

For the 2016-2017 school year, Christina Kishimoto awarded a whole group of district office sycophants the same $3,000.00 bonus that formerly had been restricted to the superintendent and *chief* officers. The newly enriched employees included Barbara Newman, Marcie Taylor, Jason Martin, Jon Castelhano, Missy Udall and Shawn McIntosh. Isn’t it interesting that the same method Christina Kishimoto used for gifting money to the dude with whom she had an *alleged* unprofessional relationship is being used to publicly reward GPS Top Dogs for being just so magnificently awesome?

The current GPS governing board stupidly forgot that *optics* matter when it comes to dispensing public funds to folks who have nefariously endeared themselves to you while most GPS employees are off contract. With GPS Executive Directors Missy Udall and Shawn MacIntosh already profiting from the *more pay for ten less days* shenanigan described above, the GPS board decided to pay them to give up their summer vacation time … at that grossly inflated daily rate of pay and full buy-back. Other GPS employees are limited to a small percentage of their daily rate of pay when and if they are allowed to sell back vacation days.

Current board member comments included how wonderful Missy Udall and Shawn McIntosh were to step up to the extra work that would be required because this same board let former superintendent Christina Kishimoto tootle off to Hawaii on a lark. Now, that new boss Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner would be stepping up to be the temporary superintendent and these magnificent Executive Directors would have to do extra work. Their payoff: more than $10,800.00. It wasn’t the first time Missy Udall profited from the largess of an interim superintendent. [There just isn’t a bucket deep enough to catch all the dripping sarcasm here.]

Keyboard: These folks might be really, really *special* … but they just look like crooks.
Westie: Some of the same *special* employees have been lining their pockets under at least five GPS superintendents and interim superintendents. It won’t stop until there are GPS board members who have the integrity to say, “No more!”  Sheeesh.

It gets worse: a short time later, the board voted to buy out some of Suzanne Zentner’s vacation days so she could be the pretend superintendent for a while. Seriously, governing board president Sheila Rogers said flat-out that this move was to give Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner some more money. Unsaid was that Arizona law prohibits gifts of public funds to anyone, let alone a public officer who is already highly paid.  But Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner will have to work on weekends for a while…. [Yes, we know this level of sarcasm is triggering your gag reflex. Sorry.]

Hey GPS teachers: the handsome reward for Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner, who is now your superintendent and boss, was bestowed at the same meeting where the same board members approved your totally inadequate 1.06% payment. This occurred on June 27, 2017, with unanimous votes for the following agenda items:

8.02 Discussion and potential approval of Dr. Suzanne Zentner as internal GPS District administrator to serve as Interim Superintendent.
8.03 Approval of unused vacation days for Dr. Suzanne Zentner
8.05 Approval of allocation of monies provided pursuant to Session Laws 2017, Chapter 305, Section 33 granting a 1.06% increase in pay for eligible teachers in accordance with the appropriation restrictions and the guidance issued by the Auditor General’s office.

Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner gets big bucks and *eligible* GPS teachers might see enough extra change in their paychecks to afford a cup of Starbucks coffee. Sorry, GPS support staff, you get nothing in this deal. That’s the way it has always been in GPS.

That wasn’t enough for the GPS Governing Board … they are so in love with their slimebucket, they approved another raise for Suzanne Zentner at the July 25, 2017 business meeting. But, as full of transparency as they proclaim themselves to be, they conveniently didn’t include the price tag for their largess in the agenda. And they buried this pay raise in the consent agenda so they wouldn’t have to vote on it in the open, where the public might catch on to their secret bonuses and pay raises for their favorite employees.

What do you suppose the chances are that this board will diminish Suzanne Zentner’s paycheck when a new superintendent takes over? Yeah, not much of a chance, is there?

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