Indemnity for Good Old Dave Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

When Westie is Superintendent, accountability will be a touchstone in Gilbert Public Schools. We’re going to stop discrimination, harassment and other wrongdoing and set a shining example for managing a publicly-funded educational entity.

Why is accountability so important now? Because GPS administrators have squandered the public trust in so many ways: rewarding wrongdoing, rewarding Good Old Boys and their posses, rewarding race discrimination, rewarding bullies … there’s a long list. We know we haven’t uncovered everything the GOBs want to keep hidden, but we’re trying! The children who are entrusted to GPS for so much of their young lives deserve better than what they have received in the past.

Westie will instill “ethical accountability.” Citizens and taxpayers should accept no less from Gilbert Public Schools.

Ethical AccountabilityWithin an organization, the principles and practices of ethical accountability aim to improve both the internal standard of individual and group conduct as well as external factors. [Westie will demand that everyone follows the same laws and rules and Westie will follow up to make sure it’s really happening.]

Here’s another concept that has been missing in Gilbert Public Schools, “administrative accountability.”

Administrative Accountability:  Internal rules and norms are mechanisms to hold civil servants within the administration of government accountable.  There are independent “watchdog” units to scrutinize and hold organizations accountable; legitimacy is built upon independence, as it avoids any conflicts of interests. [Westie will establish an independent Inspector General who will report directly to the Board.]

We’re still scratching our heads over how GOBs were able to carry on right under the noses of citizens and taxpayers. We’ve posted before about the lucrative contract a previous board offered the Superintendent just before the election in November 2010 that put Staci Burk and Shane Stapley on the GPS Governing Board. We figure it’s time for some sunshine to disinfect any dastardly plans the remaining GOBs might have for indemnifying a new superintendency. [There’s that buzz word again! Drink!]

You have to wonder why a previous board thought it was necessary to INDEMNIFY Good Old Dave Allison for anything and everything he did as GPS superintendent.  It was in his last employment contract:

5.2 Indemnification.  The Board will defend, indemnify, and hold Superintendent harmless from any and all demands, claims, suits, actions, and legal proceedings brought against Superintendent in his individual or official capacity as agent and employee of the District, arising from acts or omissions occurring while Superintendent was acting within the scope and course of his employment. The Board may defend Superintendent from criminal charges against him if such charges are based on conduct occurring in the scope of employment and in the good-faith belief that the conduct was lawful and in the best interests of the District.

We have not found ethics to be prevalent at the top levels of GPS admins. We’ve written about how a previous board must have had suspicions that former GOB Dave Allison was leading GPS into peril, based on what we saw in his contract that was miraculously renewed almost a year too early:

Dave got some sweet deals in his contract that aren’t available to other GPS employees. Dave received professional liability coverage, which extends five years after the contract, meaning the district has to defend him in lawsuits. Lookie here: Dave also is indemnified against CRIMINAL CHARGES! He can have his own independent legal counsel when he and the board are co-defendants. Basically, Dave had and still has a blank check for misconduct as superintendent. No wonder he destroyed his files before he left! Anything he did, including covering his tracks, would not only be forgiven, he would be defended with taxpayers’ money.

Why would the GPS board be so zealous in protecting Good Old Dave from his own self? [That’s just a southern phrase, Keyboard.]  This just doesn’t pass the smell test. Especially after Good Old Dave cheerfully confessed to having destroyed public records over a period of several months. In general, indemnification doesn’t include protecting someone who has consciously committed illegal acts.

Now there are a bunch of lawsuits, and there are likely to be more, against Gilbert Public Schools institutionally and against GPS employees in their individual capacity.  We’re startled by the craziness of assuming the board’s interests are the same as the wrongdoers. With Good Old Dave having been indemnified against anything and everything, you have to wonder why his co-Defendants are so trusting that they’ll get the same good deal he got.

You don’t indemnify someone without good reason; however, there are good public policy reasons to indemnify public servants. What’s hinky with GPS is that only Good Old Dave got indemnified. Other employees have been told, “Don’t worry, the district will protect you.”

All those Defendants must have signed some doozies of conflict of interest waivers! The district has insurance and pre-paid legal services, which we’ve covered at length. Clocks are a-ticking for folks trusting GPS to defend their wrongdoing. Why would they trust such a lose-lose deal?  If they start pointing fingers at each other, some will be hanging out all alone. If Good Old Dave throws any of them under the bus, they’ll all be hanging out all alone, but Dave will be smiling all the way back to Canada.

You never know when the district is going to discover accountability and eschew indemnity for wrongdoers. There will be cheers and parades when that happens.

Westie for Superintendent!

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