Bureaucrats will tell you what they think you should know

Louise Johnson What opening?

Louise Johnson
What opening?

The public’s right-to-know what bureaucrats are doing with our money is a concept that’s reluctantly embraced if not ignored by–you guessed it–bureaucrats, as two events this week illustrate.

The Union reported Tuesday that the Nevada Joint Union High School District is again playing musical chairs with the principal’s job at Nevada Union, posting an opening for the job internally.

As is typical of the high school district, Superintendent Louise Johnson wouldn’t even discuss the job listing when contacted by the paper, but did say the district is planning for 159 fewer students next year and wants to eliminate two administrative positions.

The man who’s losing his job, Mike Blake, was more forthcoming, making it clear that he is not happy with being reassigned. “It’s not my decision. It’s not a voluntary thing,” Blake said.

When he got the job in 2010, Blake was the sixth principal at the school in 13 years. His appointment came at a time when the district learned NU would not receive a full six-year accreditation, instead getting a three-year extension. It recently received another three-year accreditation.

Johnson is the district’s fourth superintendent since 2010 (that includes one who was hired but took another job before starting work). Through it all, the board of trustees has said little publicly about why all of these changes are necessary, or even what they’re trying to accomplish.

But trustee Richard Baker, who isn’t seeking re-election, said he is tired of dealing with adults behaving badly. That should reassure taxpayers.

Gregory Diaz Where's Waldo?

Gregory Diaz
Where’s Waldo?

Then there’s the office of the county Clerk/Recorder, which announced Wednesday that the mailing of ballot to residents who vote by mail will be delayed a week because of a printing error.

So who was responsible for this error? Sandy Sjoberg, assistant clerk/recorder, wouldn’t say. While the printer is absorbing the cost of the mistake, the initial job was paid for by taxpayers and this isn’t a CIA black ops project, so why is it a big secret?

The Union reported the printer is ProVote Solutions of Porterville, which had to reprint 15,000 absentee ballots for Sonoma County in 2010 because of an error. Maybe that’s why she didn’t want to name the culprit.

Trust our bureaucrats. They know what’s best for us.

LEADERSHIP? Why does county Clerk/Recorder Gregory Diaz always seem to leave it to his staff when there’s bad news to report? Leadership means being out front all the time.



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2 Responses to Bureaucrats will tell you what they think you should know

  1. I returned from a workout at the gym this morning to discover that Jeff Pelline gave his fingers a workout on the keyboard criticizing this post. As usual, he misrepresented what I wrote and make selective use of the facts to again proclaim that I’m a blight on local journalism.

    Let’s take his criticisms one at a time:

    –He says I “took aim” at high school trustee Richard Baker. How can I take aim at somebody by quoting something he said?

    –I criticized Superintendent Louise Johnson for refusing to even acknowledge that the district is looking for a new principal at Nevada Union, a continuation of the district’s unwillingness to communicate with the public when it will make them look bad.

    Pelline ignores my point (or maybe it was too subtle for him) and claims I criticized Johnson for failing to “discuss personnel issues, though it happens to be the law.” There’s nothing in the law that says you can’t discuss job openings in the district, Jeffy.

    –I pointed out that county Clerk/Recorder Gregory Diaz disappears when there’s bad news to report, and criticized his office for failing to tell The Union the name of the printer that fouled up the ballots. Pelline reports that “I had the same brief discussion with the assistant/clerk recorder (sic) and got all my questions answered, including the name of the printer.” I’ll give Diaz credit for knowing where he can get friendly coverage.

    Finally, Pelline suggests I pick on bureaucrats like El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting, who is currently being prosecuted on “felony and charges (sic).” (He doesn’t say why I should care about a case in El Dorado County that has no connection to Nevada County.)

    Pelline cites the Sacramento Bee reporting that the prosecution is “revealing angry divisions within the local Republican Party faithful and deep-rooted antagonisms in a county long-known for its bare-knuckle politics.”

    Funny how he doesn’t bother to mention the Bee editorial that calls the Nutting case a “political prosecution” http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/09/6390442/editorial-political-prosecution.html. But that would screw up his narrative.

    Regular readers of Pelline’s criticism of The Union may wonder what his journalism principles look like in action. I will address that subject in Friday’s blog update. Look for it after 9 a.m.

  2. Ray Nutting, who Pelline wanted me to pick on for his alleged misdeeds in El Dorado County, was acquitted yesterday of three of four felony charges (the jury deadlocked on the fourth) and was convicted of six misdemeanors that probably won’t get him any jail time. The jury apparently agreed with the Bee that this case was a political prosecution.

    Meanwhile, the new principal at Nevada Union was hired after officials spend one whole day interviewing candidates. On the other hand, Dan Frisella hasn’t worked at the district long enough to develop those old grudges that have torpedoed other administrators.

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