CA public sector: Laws? We don’t need no stinking laws

May 12, 2013

By Chris Reed

In the private sector, there are all kinds of laws that govern employment, conduct, conflict of interest and appropriate use of shareholder funds. They may not always be enforced, but in the best-run companies, they are usually taken seriously.

In the public sector, there are all kinds of rules and regulations that are supposed to cover these same areas, but they are ignored. And sometimes there are rules and regulations that protect misconduct and tolerate ridiculous conflicts.

Public sector mischief and worse: Ho-hum, nothing to see here

LAUSDExamples are everywhere, but I stick to these four:

It took a lawsuit by parents of students in bad schools to get the Los Angeles Unified School District to begin heeding a 1971 state law that requires student performance be part of teacher evanluations.

In the same school district, administrators chose to pay off a perverted teacher who fed semen to first-graders because they didn’t think it was within their authority to immediately dismiss him.

In the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the longtime president of the board, incredibly enough, is the same guy who is the executive vice president of the California Federation of Labor. Boy, I wonder why CalPERS has acted so irresponsbily for so long.

Shut up, complainers, and butt out

Which brings us to California’s second-largest school district after LAUSD, San Diego Unified. The San Diego County grand jury issued a report last week that noted all the different ways the district has used taxpayer resources to promote ballot measures and bills in Sacramento in explicit defiance of state law. This is from a U-T San Diego story:

san_diego_unified“[The U-T] last year highlighted a district email blast to parents with the subject line ‘Make Your Voice Heard — Support AB 2434,’ a proposal by Marty Block, D-San Diego, affecting the sale or lease of district property.

The story also looked at the district’s Education Issues Action Center, a website that urged residents to write their representatives or sign petitions asking them to provide adequate funding for schools. It also linked to advocacy websites for two tax increases.

“Another story highlighted school board President John Lee Evans’ use of his district email to coordinate a news conference with the region’s school board presidents to advocate for the passage of two tax increases, Propositions 30 and 38.”

Behind the flouting of the law? You guessed it

But as I pointed out in an editorial, San Diego Unified has already rejected the idea that it must use taxpayer funds legally.

“Last year, an attorney for the school district said SDUSD emails and a website advocating passage of a state bill were perfectly legal. So much for state courts’ established view that it is illegal to ‘use the public treasury to finance an appeal to the voters to lobby their Legislature.’

“There’s the law of the state of California, and then the one governing the San Diego Unified School District. That latter law amounts to, ‘We do what we want, and if you don’t like it, tough luck.’”

If this attitude sounds like standard union thuggish politics, bingo. San Diego Unified’s CTA-affiliated teachers union has its hooks firmly into four of the five school board members. The rules of the state just don’t apply, these members jave concluded — just the rules as determined by the bullies of Burlingame.

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