Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bertha Lopez opens her personnel file--but she illegally refused to let me see my own CVESD personnel file

In 2002 I sued Chula Vista Elementary School District for violations of the labor code and other illegal actions. Bertha Lopez refused to produce my personnel file.

What are she and the rest of the CVESD board hiding? Is it something that's in the file, or, more likely, is it something that's missing from the file? Among the very few documents produced by CVESD were documents that were altered, pre-dated or post-dated. CVESD hid or destroyed other documents, and failed to create any paper trail at all on important occasions.

Bertha Lopez violated the law in a regular manner during her years as a CVESD board member.

Jaime Mercado, on the other hand, is clearly a person of decency who doesn't step on other people to get ahead. He cares enough about others to give a pay advance to an employee whose salary schedule included two months with no pay each year.

Former superintendent Ed Brand and Bertha Lopez are very much a part of the unethical and greedy inside circle that controls schools in San Diego County.

Here's today's SDUT article about Bertha's request to open personnel files:

Candidates open personnel files; 1 has reprimand
By Chris Moran
October 25, 2008

CHULA VISTA – Rivals in the race for a seat on the Sweetwater Union High School District board opened their personnel files to The San Diego Union-Tribune, revealing overwhelmingly positive evaluations of the 30-plus years each has spent as an educator in South County public schools.

The file of candidate Bertha Lopez, a National School District teacher, contains positive evaluations and no reprimands.

In addition to positive evaluations, incumbent Jaime Mercado's file contains a 2002 letter reprimanding him for using Associated Student Body money to make a loan to an employee. Mercado was principal of Palomar High School in Chula Vista at the time.

Then-Superintendent Ed Brand declined to suspend Mercado in part, he wrote, because “although your judgment was poor, your actions were not self-serving.”

Mercado said he authorized the loan because the employee faced two months without a paycheck because of a lag in the district's payroll system. Mercado said the employee told him that without the money, he would not be able to pay his rent.

The money was restored to the account a month later. Mercado said he used his own money to pay back the account and that the employee reimbursed him in installments.

In a letter of response to the reprimand, Mercado wrote at the time, “I was making up for a payroll system that has for years shamefully abused the basic right of employees to get paid in a timely manner.”

In an interview this week, Mercado called the reprimand letter retaliation by Brand.

[Blogger's note: Ed Brand has become famous for illegal retaliation. He was connected to widespread wrongdoing when he was superintendent of SUHSD, including the Mary Anne Weegar case, in which he retaliated against an administrator who complained that the law was not being followed by the district. He suddenly resigned from San Marcos Unified School District in August 2006. I'm not surprised to hear about more illegal retaliation by Ed Brand.

In the months before the letter was issued, another Sweetwater principal had filed a sexual-harassment claim against a high-level district administrator, and Mercado had agreed to make a declaration that the same administrator had mistreated him. The principal eventually filed a lawsuit alleging that she was wrongfully demoted in retaliation for the sexual-harassment complaint. The district paid $150,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Lopez asked the Union-Tribune to review the files after being asked about a petition dated April 21 signed by her co-workers at John Otis Elementary School. It states that Lopez “is not a team player, and in actuality she has worked assiduously at creating division and tension among staff members.”

Lopez transferred to another school in August, and her personnel file shows that she volunteered for the transfer. The petition and its allegations are not part of her file.

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