Thursday, January 6, 2011


SCHOOL BOARD STARTS WITH 4 DISSENTING AGAINST PRESAS-GARCIA

DISSENT SPECIAL MEETINGS

Escobedo started the meeting by indicating Presas-Garcia is out of line with the special called meetings. Peña, Aguilar, and Colunga joined in. The new attorney verified for the board that Presas-Garcia is not suppose to be calling special meetings unless there is an urgency. Presas-Garcia made clear she will move forward as she pleases.

I have been saying this for several weeks - Escobedo and Presas-Garcia are at odds. ADDED COMMENT:  It just hit me why Escobedo did what he did - he fears a TEA Master - a Master would kill his corruption

VOLUNTARY INSURANCE

Flores lead auditor mislead board with half-ass report on the insurance issues for the voluntary insurance - what is made clear is someone leaked the report before input was permitted by those who were involved.   Peña made clear reports should not be released until all parties can respond to the audit.  This is exactly what Presas-Garcia did in the Joe Rod case - she put the report out there without the rebuttal. -

LOONEY CONTRACT

Presas-Garcia put the item on the agenda.  Colunga pointed out that only a member of the prevailing vote can rescind the contract.  Presas-Garcia then blamed Longoria for the item.  Longoria then said she was surprised the item was on the agenda.

Counsel makes clear to Presas-Garcia that there is no basis for her claims that the Board violated policy in making a one time payment to Looney.  In fact he stated the contract would be legal.

Longoria made clear that Looney needs to be fired for incompetence - when asked for proof she had none - Fuller outlined the savings amd Longoria dismissed his evidence.

They voted to cancel the contract.  Pena and Colunga put on the record no evidence of wrongdoing by Looney, and that the district is now wasting $55.000.00.  Longoria is ademant that she will not allow the board to review her bogus claims.

Escobedo tried to redo this issue to allow Looney to stay until August.  Springston tried to allow Pat Hammes to speak on the issue and Escobedo told Presas-Garcia to shut it down so the people would not hear what Pat had to say  because there is no evidence to support Longoria's claims.  I hope Looney and his firm sue.  There was no just cause.  Remember it was lance Pendley who was the consultant before Looney who recommended to get rid of Healthsmart.  See the link in one of the posts.

THEY HAVE GONE INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION - WE WILL BE BACK



ARTURO MICHEL 

This is interim-counsel from Thompson Horton.  He overruled Colunga's objection to the vote going forward on terminating Looney's contract.  If he is wrong, Looney has a clear open to void the vote through a lawsuit.  If Looney fails to sue to protect his reputation, then he deserves to loose his reputation.  They went into executive session over the attorney's fees issue.  The fees being paid are public record, but as is always the case with Presas-Garcia she did not want public discussion so she forced it into executive session.

To be fair the attorneys fees are very reasonable. I do not have a problem with the rates.  Large firms doing corporate work would be charging significantly more.

What happened though is Thompson Horton opened the door to BISD being sued.  This means them being sued for malpractice for not stopping Presas-Garcia.  There is no doubt in my mind Arturo Michel will be reporting back to his partners they have entered hell.

They are back

Michel tried to justify his fees.  He concedes that his firm is charging more than other firms in the area.  His argument is they will be more efficient.  This is actually a valid argument.  It is about efficiency.  If they are more efficient then the district will save money.  I am trying to be fair.  I do not have a problem with the  fees.

Michel is actually being very good with Pena and Aguilar in explaining how they find cost savings.  Michel actually stated that they may find ways to reduce the charges.  Good news is, Michel is not charging for travel.  This is actually a good deal and very fair.

Longoria as is always the case is an idiot - she thought they were being charged a flat rate regardless of time expended.  She is prepared to vote for anything whether she has the facts straight or not.

THEY ARE IN CLOSED MEETING - MORE TO COME

While they are in a closed meeting I want to better explain the attorneys fees issue.  A lot of attorneys will take cases even though they are not qualified.  I get paid a good rate because in most cases I can do in 15- 30 minutes what might take someone else all day.  If I cannot I tell my client I am new to the issue and will need to spend extra time researching the issue.  They then can consider someone elst to do the work.  More likely than not Michel will be able to answer a lot of questions on 15 minutes billing while another lawyer might need 4 hours.  So in the end BISD actually saves money.

PRESAS-GARCIA GETS LEGAL DEFENSE

In my post earlier today I noted the issue of the insurance for board members.  In Texas only the dumbest insurance company denies a defense.  But in cases like hers they might issue a letter of reservation - this means they will provide the defense, but reserve the right to not pay the judgment.  This is the norm. 

Once the insurance company decided to pay for the defense, the board would have been petty to deny Presas-Garcia's request.  Presas-Garcia abstained - but Pena gave her the 4th vote.  I think it was wrong for Aguilar and Colunga to abstain.  Once the insurance company said yes, the board should have voted unanimously to cover her.

I will note Presas-Garcia voted no against the agreement of the insurance companies to provide a defense in the Rendon and Gonzales suits.  This could have resulted in the BISD getting hit with a judgment.  You can see how she is all about doing what the carrier recommends unless it gets her friends money at the expense of the BISD taxpayers.  On this vote Aguilar and Colunga were no better than Presas-Garcia in her vote on the Rendon and Colunga suits.

This should have happened in the first lawsuit.  I do not know what is happening behind the scenes but it seems to me her personal attorney must have send a  strong letter to the insurance carrier.  In Texas the rule is pretty clear - if there is doubt as to coverage you must still provide a defense under a letter of reservation wherein only after judgment you decide if there is coverage for the judgment.

For example - if a jury finds she is being held liable for turning the report over to a convicted felon - she will get caught with the judgment.  The confusion here is, she was clearly within her right to go to the DA - in fact if she believed there was a crime she had a duty to go to the DA.  It is sad Pena, Aguilar, and Colunga do not see things so clearly.  Their failure to go to the FBI over what is happening is the big problem I have with them.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gary Looney has a very good reputation and what a corrupt board at BISD does will not hurt his reputation.

BobbyWC said...

these comments relate to the meeting but got posted by my readers before I posted the first summary - I am copying them over to here

" Anonymous said...
Bobby, did Longoria put her neck on the line for saying that the insurance consultant did not look out for the best interests of the district, employees or taxpayers?

January 6, 2011 6:52 PM

Anonymous said...
Saavedra's "one body" comments sound like something from a previous board member.

January 6, 2011 6:54 PM

Anonymous said...
I think they're wanting a new insurance consultant because they want a new insurance company. How close to a conspiracy might this be?

January 6, 2011 6:55 PM

Anonymous said...
Looks like Cata cut off Pat before he could debunk the reasoning about employee complaints about the insurance company.

January 6, 2011 6:58 PM

Anonymous said...
Bobby, did they violate the procedure in voting to fire the consultant by using votes from non-prevailing voting members on the previous contract vote?

January 6, 2011 7:01 PM

Anonymous said...
They want to choose a consultant that they can control not a professional one. Or they would like it even better if the board was allowed to choose the company. What they don't seem to realize is that they can not make recommendations only the administration can do that. They only have the ability to vote for or against a recommenation. The only power they have is to choose an attorney and hire and fire the superintendent. The rest must come from the administration.

January 6, 2011 7:01 PM

Anonymous said...

It is good to hear that a board member has told Presas Garcia that she is out of line calling these special meetings. The attorney is also correct. This will lead to action from TEA if this continues. The other board members seem to be tired of her actions. I think that several people involved have given her enough rope to hang her self.

BobbyWC said...

We know what this is about - looney was an outsider to the kick backs - plain and simple - Escobedo voted to terminate because he is expecting something - maybe very indirectly - but he is expecting something.

But as to Looney - if he fails to sue over the tarnishing of his business reputation then he has no right to a good reputation.

I am tired of people like Looney just walking away - his fight is also a fight for BISD - if he fails to sue then he is telling BISD taxpayers to go jump in a lake.

I really hope he sues.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Could someone who is watching explain who Pat is that was cut off. For those who can not watch.

BobbyWC said...

pat is a BISD employee qualified to speak to the insurance issues - Springston asked him to speak to verify that in fact Looney save BISD millions. Escobedo did not want the public to hear this so he whispered into Presas-garcia's ear to object to him speaking.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

I think Pat Hammes is the employee rep on the insurance committee. He may also be a union group rep. I wonder how it would have looked if he said he had no employee complaints?

BobbyWC said...

thanks for the help on that -

This is part of my problem - the unions and employees are the ones who need to step up and demand an end to this - their rates are going up - as Presas_Garcia gives away the treasury the teachers will be left with no raises - and with the budget cuts coming I see no new hires and larger class sizes

The teachers need to send their union reps to protest now - in fact I would say they need to call a press conference

they will not because the union reps kiss butt to the majority

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Pat Hammes has been involved with the insurance committee for many years. He is very well informed and has worked with several different consultants. He has seen the good the bad and the ugly through the years. As a member of the committee he hears from employees if they are having trouble with their insurance. He is a member of a union but that has not bearing on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Evil has descended on the BISD. Settling scores is what the new majority is about (plain and simple). Taxpayers will be forgotten until the next election (unfortunately in 2 years).

Anonymous said...

The BISD board needs to step up and start acting professional. Everyone seems hell bent on revenge that they are putting their own agendas and motives first rather then the students, teachers and staff at BISD. I am sure that TEA is watching and reviewing these meetings. I would also find it very reasonable that they will pay us a visit real soon if these meetings keep on getting ugly.

BobbyWC said...

they messed up on the Looney issue big time - Looney can prove Healthsmart and Ted Parker was part of what happened. I hope he sues BISD and Healthsmart for damage to business reputation.

The people saw and heard Longoria had no evidence.

Smart money would have been to just allow his contract to expire and then go out for new contracts - they would have won the issue without showing the people their true colors.

same with Walsh Anderson - they moved too fast.

I am reserving judgment on Thompson Horton - we shall see how they do with the big issues of Healthsmart and settling with Juarez and Rendon.

Now Presas-garcia has a problem on Rendon and Juarez - she asked Pena to vote based on the advice of the insurance company - but on Rendon and Juarez she wants the board to ignore the recommendation of the insurance company

We shall see how Thompson and Horton handle this - they know for sure the 4 will fire them if they do not play along - lets see what happens



Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

You are correct about keepping Looney until the contract ran out. They could not listened to his recommendations and avoided all this controvesy.

Anonymous said...

This is only the 1st of many more Special Called Board meetings to come. There will be more. Next week there will be a regular scheduled board meeting but that will soon follow with anothe special called "circus" or board meeting.

Anonymous said...

It seems like they want the taxpayers to pay the lawsuits. When it comes to teacher raises they will just blame the budget cuts and the previous board members. Hope teachers are watching!!!

Anonymous said...

You might want to look at this if you haven't done so

http://blog.riskmanagers.us/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/BISD-Audit-Executive-Summary.pdf

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting and it was a real circus.

In the morning Dr. A.N. (Nick) Vallado had a board training meeting and the following attended: Presas-Garcia, Longoria, and Saavedra. It was (I think) on the duties of a board member. I have an old article that Dr Vallado published in the Brownsville Herald that I need to find and circulate again.

Longoria wanted to fire Looney because of incompetence and she didn't trust him. What part of saving the district 7 million dollars did she not understand? It was repeated several times. Longoria smiles and repeats that she does not trust him. Has she ever met Gary? Pat Hammes told me the other vendors at the time wanted more than a $55,000 fee. I cannot wait to see what and how much they will spend the next time.

BobbyWC said...

The link post has the Healthsmart audit. I acnnot copy it, but the last paragraph on the last page (21) tells how bad Healthsmart was.

Numbers are numbers - CTI lied about the numbers or they did not. It is that simple.

Presas-Garcia needs to show why these numbers are wrong. Onfortunately, Colunga, Aguilar and Pena do not have it in them to show how black and white this con job is.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

This is getting so ridiculous....so now all the supporters of these incompetent women can see what they voted in....

Anonymous said...

There are many competent people both men and women the problem is voting for tje person based on the issues if not this is what happens.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bobby, If Looney does not sue, than it will show he does not want the tax payer dollars spend on legal fees. If he is as good as he is, he will not go after tax payer money; he does not need it. He can continue to work for his money.

Anonymous said...

We need to put some thinhgs in proper perspective. Under the current Board being strongarmed by Presas-Garcia and minions, the district just gave away $110,000. They let Looney go with 55,000, a consultant that had already saved they district several million dollars because they did not like him, no other reason. The Board, at least some members, decided to cover the cost of defending Presas-Garcia against Joe Rod under the guise of the insurance covering such costs. They failed to reveal a $50,000 deductible that the taxpayer will be responsible for. Presas-Garcia's agendas are egocentric and vindictive and will bring BISD nothing but more embarassment!

BobbyWC said...

You are 100% correct, but I think you meant to say $105,000.00 One the insurance company agreed to defend it became more difficult of a question.

The people should have been told about the $50,000.00 deductable. Had Pena not voted for the defense that would have forced Presas-Garcia to vote for herself.

I have very mixed feelings about this - Pena's vote told me she is not going to get petty - while I may not like the vote in this case - in the long run I think her not being petty is important

But thanks for the post.

Here is another option - people can go to the Herald and under key stories start posting about the Herald's cover-up of what is happening and then tell people the truth

Anonymous said...

What is more embarrassing is the people who voted for this. The Brownsville Voice was right about all this even before the election.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bring up a good point about being petty. If more people were LESS petty then things would get done in the right manner. Again Thanks for pointing this out.