Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

Towards the end of last Monday’s marathon board meeting, Jim Cartmill chided critics of the SUHSD Board of Trustees for setting a negative tone at the meetings. He called upon those in attendance to consider the philosophy that he tries to follow when voicing his thoughts, “Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind?” Well, Mr. Cartmill, since you brought it up (listen to the audio, f.6, #32), let’s analyze the recent actions of the SUHSD Board of Trustees using your model.

First, was the decision to offer Brand a lucrative two-year contract necessary? Was it necessary to spit in the faces of the thousands of Sweetwater employees who took massive pay cuts this year to help the district balance its budget by providing Brand with a salary and benefits package that raised his meager $240,000 a year salary to approximately $295,000 a year? Was it necessary to provide him with a total of $54, 276 worth of vacation days (daily rate of 969 x 28 x 2)? Was it necessary to include a benefits package that will continue even after he is no longer employed with Sweetwater? Was it necessary to give him almost $100,000 more than the county average? Where is his 8% cut? His furlough days? Was it necessary?

Mr. Cartmill, is it true that four of the five sitting board members have a financial stake in Dr. Brand’s status as superintendent? Is it true that Dr. Brand loaned you $50,000 to save your company from insolvency? Do SEC documents lie? Is it true?

Is it true that John McCann, the Board President, sought out Ed Brand to replace Jesus Gandara without any input from the other board members? Is it true that John McCann announced to the press that Brand would serve as interim prior to Board discussion? According to Bertha Lopez, that is what happened (listen to f.6 # 31). Is it true?

Is it true that John McCann supplied channel 10 news (the only media outlet not in attendance) with audio footage from the September 11th meeting and distorted the facts to further his own political and personal agenda? According to Bertha Lopez, that is what happened (listen to f.6 # 31). Is it true?

Mr. Cartmill, was it kind to keep the public waiting for over seven hours, until 3 a.m., to see a copy of Brand’s contract and witness the Board’s vote? Was it kind to forget about the student board representative who was on the dais well past her curfew? Was it kind to have a recently graduated Otay Ranch student escorted out of the meeting by the police because he wanted to voice his disapproval over Brand’s contract? Was it kind?

Ultimately, Mr. Cartmill, you are suggesting that those of us who are unhappy with the current direction of the board need to tone down our outrage. Yet, our righteous indignation over the gross negligence of the Board in respect to the students, employees, and community of Sweetwater, trumps bruised egos. The truth hurts, Mr. Cartmill. And the truth of this Board – corruption, greed, incompetence, and hubris – hurts Sweetwater kids the most.

As Reported in the SEA Weekly Advocate (September 29, 2012) Vol.II Issue 8