Back in March of this year a citizen of the Snohomish School District
filed two citizen complaints. One was against the Executive Director of
Human Resources, who has since resigned/retired. The second was against
the School Superintendent Dr. Ginny Tresvant. Both complaints alleged inappropriate
handling of a contract awarded to a "retiree" of the District.
The contract that was awarded by the Board of Directors on August 13, 1997 agreed to pay $43,062 for consulting services, PROVIDED the consultant did not work more than 525 hours. This sum represented more than what the superintendent receives and is twice that of a deputy superintendent. In fact, at that rate if this were a full-time annual position it would be paying in excess of $174,000.
"Part of the injustice" explains complainant Valeria Barschaw, "is that no other member of the community was given a chance to apply for the position. Not only did that unfairly deny the opportunity to the community at large, but it sent and strong signal in my opinion, that denotes a lack of trust."
On multiple requests for public documents, it was also learned that several other policies and procedures were not followed. So many in fact, that the matter was turned over to the Snohomish Police Department for investigation. An investigation is presently underway by the Department of Retirement Systems and a separate investigation will begin in October by the Washington State Auditor's Office. The Joint Committee on Pension Policy has also expressed an interest in this matter.
Ms. Barschaw says she is very concerned. "It is hard to summarize my complaint because so many things were mishandled. I object to the contract being written around his retirement those are his concerns, not mine." It has been verified that the district did not properly report the retiree returning to work,which may also bring further sanctions against the district.
"Furthermore," says Valeria, "why didn't the school follow it's own policies and procedures? They did not keep accurate time sheets, they did not get receipts before giving out expense reimbursements (and they were huge too), and they would not give me a straight answer. None of those things should have ever happened. It is the whole combination of this thing that has brought about my complaint asking for the Superintendent to resign."
The complainant made a public request for Superintendent's resignation on March 11th. Since that time she has undergone a multiple step complaint process of which the final step is to hear the board's ruling on June 24th.
Citizen input is welcome during the time set aside at each regular board meeting. Board meeting are held at 7:00 p.m. in the George Gilbertson Board Room at the Resource and Service Center, 1601 Avenue D.