Newly defrocked Washoe School Superintendent Traci Davis made two fatal mistakes.
First, she decided she liked Nevada and wanted to raise her daughter here. Second, she stayed too long at the fair.
A government critic once told me that the average mid- to high-level public administrator jumps jobs every three years.
By that time “they’ve gotten too hot to stay any longer,” this guy advised. Davis had passed critical mass, stepping on too many toes.
I’ve watched the unwritten three-year rule come to life many times since. Ms. Davis’ crybaby predecessor Pedro Martinez, who ending up leaving for San Antonio with more than a million of our tax money, signed a contract to stay for five. He got fired for throwing a temper tantrum when the school board question fabrications on his resumé.
Martinez’s predecessor, Heath Morrison, phonied up graduation stats and left for Charlotte, NC, in year three. He admitted his shuck to the Charlotte Observer’s education writer.
Hungering for stability after falling for a con artist, the local hicks settled on the man who had been their second choice. Martinez, meanwhile, had trickled down to Gomorrah South and taught their boss how to reshuffle the deck to look like a miracle worker.
The Washoe school board fired Davis on a 6-1 vote last Monday. Only Reno trustee Jacqueline Calvert voted no. The biggest disappointment was Dr. Angie Taylor who admitted the case was circumstantial at best, no smoking gun, but “we can’t go back.” She could have voted no or abstained in protest. Nada.
Davis will get a payoff on her contract of $122,412.79. At the post-mortem press conference, I asked board chair Katy Singlaub Simon Holland what about liability should Davis prevail in court. It’s about $426,000 not including attorney fees.
Kristen McNeill was named acting super and wept uncontrollably while reading her resume to the board members who already knew her well. Go figger. Several trustees needed Kleenex while deliberating Davis’ fate.
McNeill and Holland shut down the Green Monster administration building last Thursday and Friday, alleging employee fears that Davis might (gasp!) show up for work. I asked Mrs. Holland if they feared violence from the short black lady. She denied that, just fears that little Tracy might be disruptive. I asked Holland to inform me how much the two days with pay cost taxpayers.
Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie Feemster told a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter after the meeting that “you can have racial bias without being a racist.” Sen. Kamala Harris just called former Veep Joe Biden on that issue.
The best line of the day came from Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung who said they should have given staff a third day off on Monday so people could find a parking place for the SRO crowd.
“End this insularity in Washoe County, working for the one-percent” she pleaded. “It’s necessary for people to trust us. This is an indictment of all of us.”
Most of the many commenters did not speak to the tempest in a teapot issue of leaking documents. They were either teachers fighting a rising tide of desperation or Republicans who thought Davis just made too much money.
I’ve solved the problem.
I’M GOING TO APPLY. If they are looking for cut-rate talent to screw up the education system, I’ll give them a half-price deal at a mere $200k a year. I know I’m as qualified as anyone they’re likely to find in the school boss bargain basement.
SAME OLD BOSS, PART DEUX. Assemblymember Skip Daly, D-Sparks, has criticized Gov. Steve Sisolak for vetoing Assembly Bill 444 which would have created a legislative committee to review Nevada’s epidemic of corporate tax breaks. Right now, the governor’s office has max purview for passing out golden cookies to the likes of Tesla.
As a Clark County Commissioner, Sisolak was the biggest cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders stadium but refused to advocate giving a small piece of the corporate welfare to education.
As I told the school board, just about everything they heard on Monday was symptomatic of the stinginess of our legislature which bows to the gambling-industrial complex and starves education, parks, roads and first responders.
Decades ago, I wrote a column expressing a somber view of the future of America: Maybe it will never get better.
The phony election of Czar Donaldov proved me correct. The school board’s show trial on Monday was just the latest attempt to paint over the ashes after the house burned down.
If you are a family with mid-middle class income and above, your kids will do well here. If you’re poor or struggling, like renters and payday loan victims, get outta Dodge. Your labor is subsidizing the corporate welfare queens and your children will get an inferior education.
Just ask some of the frustrated teachers I met at the Green Monster.
You will find my online column which I distributed before the ceremonial execution at NevadaLabor.com/ It’s worth your time.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.