Gilbert Public Schools – Let’s Party with the Greens!

The GPS Governing Board held a work-study session about a new ethics policy. Something was afoot, but it wasn’t really about the Gilbert Public Schools board ethics policy.

Looks like someone got a burr under their saddle and decided to legislate against… frankly, we were stumped and just couldn’t figure it out.* As the session unfolded, it turned out to be quite a story: it looks like Lily Tram might be miffed that she hasn’t been invited to “party with the Greens.” We’re guessing she  didn’t mean the political party Greens.

It gets nuttier… Susan Segal, the lawyer for anyone who will listen to her, advised the board that the proposed policy changes to BCB, Board Member Conflict of Interest, were unenforceable. “Stick with the requirements of the law,” Gust Rosenfeld attorney Susan Segal advised. The red-lined text:

Any board member who has a personal or business relationship with a person or entity that is adverse to the District in pending or contemplated litigation should disclose the relationship and consider refraining from voting upon or otherwise participating in any manner as a board member in any discussion or decision pertaining to the conduct or settlement of that litigation. The term “litigation” includes legal actions claims, and administrative adjudicative proceedings.

We helpfully excerpted the video of the work-study session below. We finally figured out what was really going on when board member Lily Tram tossed out “hypotheticals” about other board members she accused of being friends of the Greens. Lily Tram stated, “I don’t have any evidence.” The other board members, those accused of partying with the Greens, were almost speechless. It was a surreal scene. It dawned on us: Lily Tram’s feelings were hurt!

Lily Tram:  “Say you’re a best friend, or your kids go to school with the Greens, or they’re a teacher of yours or something like that. You guys hang out and party together all the time. (points finger) And Staci, you hang out with them on the weekends or something and have dinner. I’m just throwing examples out there.
Staci Burk:  I’ve never had dinner….
Lily Tram:  And Daryl, maybe you hang out with them all the time too. Who knows? We all have personal lives, ya know. But that is just an example…”

We’ll set the record straight and maybe Lily Tram’s feelings will recover. We sure don’t want anyone being mad at the Greens!

Lily, the board members you accused of partying with the Greens were the wrong board members: the only board member the Greens partied with was Good Old Jill Humpherys. It was a lovely occasion, full of friendship and laughter. There were probably 100 or more people there. Jill Humpherys circulated throughout the venue, interacting with guests throughout the evening. The Greens mingled with a group of GPS employees and families, chatting and laughing.   A few weeks later, Jill Humpherys attended a mediation session with the Greens where the civil rights lawsuit against GPS was settled amicably. We’re sure that Jill Humpherys would feel awful about Lily’s hurt feelings about being left out of those momentous occasions.

The weekend partying Lily Tram wishes she could attend must be in reference to US Air Force fighter pilot traditions. Sorry to say, the closest Officers’ Club is Luke Air Force Base, and it’s just not close enough for routine weekend partying these days. Besides, Sheriff Joe’s tent cities are plenty enough to scare off anyone who might think of driving across Maricopa County in search of a good time. The Greens throw some pretty good parties, but these days, they tend to be intimate dinner parties rather than carousing festivities.

Lily, sweetie, the Greens are known as foodies, and their dinner parties are fun, but you shouldn’t feel left out. No board member has ever attended any of the Greens’ dinner parties. Although dinner parties are nightly events at Chez Vert, most Green weekends are spent working or with family. No board member has been carousing with any Greens. The Greens enjoy partying on ocean voyages, but no board members have been cruising with the Greens. We’re really curious, though, about who has been partying with the Keegans.

[Keyboard: That’s just great, Westie. <sarcasm> If Lily Tram hasn’t been partying with the Keegans, she’ll feel really left out now!]

We would have expected that attorney Susan Segal has taught board members that while they may enjoy legislative immunity for things they say from the dais, there is an ethical obligation to be sure that what you say is true. A modicum of investigation would have revealed that Lily Tram’s allegations against her fellow board members were purely speculative. In the interests of comity and community, a dinner party at Chez Vert might be a good idea for GPS board members. The Greens probably would insist that Lily Tram stay seated in the proper place at the table, though. During board meetings, people worry that Lily might fall off the dais if she scoots much farther away from her fellow board members; the Greens might worry that their homeowners insurance might not cover Lily Tram’s chair maneuvers at the dinner table.

At the end of the day, any changes in the board member ethics policy would be applicable to GPS staff as well, and they’ve already said, “Staff doesn’t want this.” So maybe it’s best to keep the perfectly good board ethics policy that GPS has now, and trust all board members to live up to the high expectations of the community. Heaven knows, the GPS administration needs an example to follow, based on the rumblings about criminal investigations that are running rampant throughout the town these days.

Here’s the work-study session, cued up to Lily Tram’s comments:

Big Fat Asterisk: Why wasn’t the previous board equally concerned about GPS board member Helen Hollands sitting on the dais and voting on sensitive GPS matters while she was, at the same time, being paid big bucks as the public relations flack for Mesa Public Schools? That situation smelled to high heaven, so much so that community members were calling on Good Old Helen to resign. Helen Hollands refused to resign. She served out her term as a GPS board member + Mesa School District top dog.

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