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Southwestern College Leery of “Pay for Play” Perception

Southwestern College issued a statement on December 22 that calls for “procedures and protocols…to ensure the integrity of the contract selection process.” The statement continued, “No employee associated with construction or general acquisition shall accept any form of gifts or meals as this may be perceived as a ‘pay for play.’”

Trustees and employees of Southwestern College and the Sweetwater Union High School District became the subjects of a criminal probe by the district attorney’s office this week. The homes of contractors as well as trustees and former trustees were searched.

Though the statement appears to be in response to the raids, the district initiated an “internal audit” last April and former interim superintendent Denise Whittaker put the new protocol in place administratively.

In a December 22 email, boardmember Tim Nader said, “I am confident there will be additional review by our new administrative team to assure appropriate transparency in college contracting.”

When asked if any construction contracts had been cancelled as a result of the audit, Nader answered that the internal audit is not completed and the college plans to release it when it is finished. Regarding the contracts, Nader stated, “No contracts have been rescinded on account of the concerns uncovered thus far. The termination of Echo Pacific contract was for other reasons.…”

Echo Pacific Construction CEO Christopher Rowe was involved in a much-publicized Napa Valley wine-and-golf trip along with Southwestern’s former vice president Nicholas Alioto and former Proposition R program manager Henry Amigable.

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Southwestern College issued a statement on December 22 that calls for “procedures and protocols…to ensure the integrity of the contract selection process.” The statement continued, “No employee associated with construction or general acquisition shall accept any form of gifts or meals as this may be perceived as a ‘pay for play.’”

Trustees and employees of Southwestern College and the Sweetwater Union High School District became the subjects of a criminal probe by the district attorney’s office this week. The homes of contractors as well as trustees and former trustees were searched.

Though the statement appears to be in response to the raids, the district initiated an “internal audit” last April and former interim superintendent Denise Whittaker put the new protocol in place administratively.

In a December 22 email, boardmember Tim Nader said, “I am confident there will be additional review by our new administrative team to assure appropriate transparency in college contracting.”

When asked if any construction contracts had been cancelled as a result of the audit, Nader answered that the internal audit is not completed and the college plans to release it when it is finished. Regarding the contracts, Nader stated, “No contracts have been rescinded on account of the concerns uncovered thus far. The termination of Echo Pacific contract was for other reasons.…”

Echo Pacific Construction CEO Christopher Rowe was involved in a much-publicized Napa Valley wine-and-golf trip along with Southwestern’s former vice president Nicholas Alioto and former Proposition R program manager Henry Amigable.

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Comments
9

Why didn't Sweetwater do anything like Southwestern? Sweetwater must have known they were in trouble, they had some of the same pay-to-play characters. They seem to want to go on playing the same game, don't realize the deal is over.

Dec. 26, 2011

very important question:

will candidates IN FUTURE ELECTIONS be allowed to accept monetary contributions from contractors or vendors doing business with the district or with any potential future contractor or vendor.

so interesting that all of this is coming up - just 2 weeks ago the sweetwater board had the opportunity to change its bylaws and place a $500.00 limit on their contributions - what did they do? the lot of them, NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. they sat there looked as though they were not even breathing. they spoke NOT ONE WORD. then to their delight the board secretary spoke the words they were anxiously waiting to hear:

NEXT BOARD ITEM

can you freakin' believe it - here it was the opportunity for all of them to express remorse for all of those many thousands they had received and yet they did NOTHING. time to clean house..............................................

we need community members who are there to do the job at hand - educate our students, not pave their political career paths.

Dec. 26, 2011

john mccann, where is the vega report? my opinion, this is the smoking gun that will end your political career - that is why you allegedly stated it would take a subpoena for it to be released.

well, until and unless you release it i am calling for all reading this to ask you in any public comment they may make at the board meeting, or in any blog they post to ask :

john mccann, where is the vega report? dr. brand you have the power to ask john mccann to release it, why aren't you?

Dec. 26, 2011

A friend recently commented that Southwestern's efforts were a bit like closing the door after the cows got out...perhaps that holds true for Sweetwater...

On the subject of Sweetwater, the district is performing an audit now but what guarantees will there be that the findings will be made public? The Vega report--which was intended to bring "transparency" has not even been made public.

Dec. 26, 2011

"Play for pay", no "pay for play, or is it "pay to play", or ...? A rose by any other name is a rose, and bribery by any other name is bribery. That's what we have in spades in both spots, SW College and Sweetwater UHSD. Isn't it worth noting how many of the suspicious characters have a foot in both operations? Work as a full time employee for one, and represent the public on the board of the other.

Susan, Susan, Susan, as soon as you hear that code-word "transparency", run away as soon as you can. When that word is uttered, you know that the process will be opaque, hidden, manipulated, and likely corrupt. The truly transparent operations don't feel the need to proclaim it. They do business that way all the time, and feel no need to proclaim their openness. They just operate that way, thinking it is the only way for a public body to function. Or even a private business.

Dec. 26, 2011

we have all heard of transparent 'scotch tape' - well the way i see it we ordered (our votes) a case (our board and superintendent)

instead they delivered freakin' masking tape - and we all know there is NO TRANSPARENCY in masking tape.

Dec. 27, 2011

Right ON, Vis! When a car dealer tells you he's honest, go to Craig's list. You'll still get swindled, but not by someone who pays millions to lie to you.

Dec. 27, 2011

and when johnny boy mccann, the little man who wants to be king, says he is going to get to the bottom of the alvey situation what we get instead is this:

johnny boy mccann: "vega report, yeh you can have it, as soon as you show me a subpoena"

this poor impression of a public servant should NEVER be voted into another office - not even dog catcher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec. 27, 2011

visduh, visduh, visduh,

yes, use of the word transparency should be the kiss of death in the next round of campaigns...so oft promised, so never produced...

I am digesting the D. A. docs that were released today...rather sifting...transparency by hook or by crook...but will we get the whole picture?

Dec. 27, 2011

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