Saturday, May 24, 2014

Is Sweetwater Union High School District going from the frying pan into the fire?


Convicted trustees out; SDCOE trustees in

SDCOE administrators and board members have assumed positions at Sweetwater: left to right in photo: SDCOE administrator Lora Duzyk, SDCOE Superintendent Randy Ward, SDCOE board members Susan Hartley, Mark Anderson, Sharon Jones, Lyn Neylon, Gregg Robinson. For some reason Sweetwater board member John McCann has been replaced, although he was NOT charged or convicted of crimes as his four colleagues were.

Bizarrely, the four convicted trustees of Sweetwater Union High School District--as well as trustee John McCann and Sweetwater administrators--had their seats taken over at the most recent board meeting by the five members of the current SDCOE board and top administrators at SDCOE. SDCOE got permission from the Superior Court to implement the takeover.


Here's a question for candidates Alicia Munoz and Katie Dexter for San Diego County Office of Education board. (Candidates Rick Shea and Doug Perkins should answer the same question.)

Will you work to make sure that top administrators Diane Crosier and Dan Puplava of SDCOE report ALL the gifts they receive from companies doing business with SDCOE--and require them to explain who paid for their cross-county trips to be wined-and-dined by those companies?

Voice of San Diego education reporter Emily Alpert reported in 2010:

In response to questions from, the County Office wrote in an email that it believed Crosier had followed the gift rules. But despite repeated questions, it would not specifically explain why the trips could be legally left off the forms. In an email, Crosier said only that the trips were not included “due to discussion with legal counsel.”

I have personal experience with one of the companies visited by Crosier and Puplava, as recounted in the above article by Emily Alpert. The company was Life Insurance of the Southwest. I was signed up for an insurance policy with this company against my will. The name of the company was written in below, after I crossed it out. I was told the agent did not have an extra form so I would have to use the form you can see HERE. Note the scribbles. The agent also took $12,000 of my money and put it into an account where it would be locked in for years. I was fortunate enough to figure out the ruse before the lock-in date.

I expect that county officials--and union officials--get sweet deals from financial institutions in return for access to employees. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, "Incredibly, Superintendent Randolph Ward himself bought an annuity from Puplava shortly after Ward began work in 2006."

And how about the teachers unions? Are they any better? Dan Puplava used to work for teachers unions, as he told Forbes magazine.

Who is more shameless in taking advantage of teachers, the school officials or the teachers unions? That's a hard question. I haven't figured out the answer yet.

The most common problem in public entities is not blatant corruption such as the outrageous salaries ($560,000 for the assistant City Manager) of officials in Bell, California, but the money that gets channeled behind the scenes. Millions of dollars get moved around, and the public doesn't know about the connections and motivations that are guiding the transfers. Voice of San Diego reporter Emily Alpert was investigating SDCOE when she suddenly went silent, and then got fired. SDCOE exempts Diane Crosier (the director of Risk Management; also, Dan Puplava's boss) from having to disclose the gifts she receives. Why don't we have transparency in government at SDCOE?

SDCOE Risk Management Director Diane Crosier and her close associate Dan Puplava work with AIG

SDCOE has silenced its critics.

When Scott Dauenhauer revealed that SDCOE fringe benefits manager Dan Puplava [who is still employed by SDCOE] was getting at least $355,000 in commissions from AIG while working for the taxpayers, Dauenhauer was sued by Diane Crosier and Dan Puplava.

I went down to the courthouse and read the pleadings in the case.

The SDCOE managers claimed that Dauenhauer didn't know that what he said was true. I'm not kidding. They didn't claim he said something false. They claimed that he didn't actually know that what he said was true. Since he couldn't afford to keep paying an attorney to fight the case, he settled. SDCOE has also tried very hard to silence me. SDCOE lawyers had more success with Grossmont student representative Rick Walker, who obligingly shut down his website.

In the MiraCosta College scandal, in which SDCOE's favorite law firm got paid $1.3 million to investigate $305 of water stolen and used to water palm trees. (After investing all that taxpayer money, MiraCosta let the palm trees die. It was never about water or palm trees. It was all about power and politics.) Sounds a little bit like Bell, California, doesn't it? How can the taxpayers protect themselves?

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