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Gehrig Saldana
Gehrig Saldana

                             

2/05/07   What's a rule, if it's not supposed to be broken by DISD brass?

In mid-January, I got the following e-mail:

    According to DISD Board Policy DB Local, all executive employees (that includes Associate Superintendent) shall be bona fide residents of the District.  "Bona fide resident" shall mean that the employee's true, fixed, permanent home and domicile is located within the boundaries of the District.  It also says that newly appointed employees shall have six months from the date of appointment to comply with this provision.  It does state that the general superintendent shall ensure that all designated administrative employees adhere to the provisions of this policy but shall have the authority to waive the residence requirement or to extend it beyond the six-month period for newly employed personnel when there are extenuating circumstances.  An employee who fails to meet the residence requirement at the end of the six-month period shall be reassigned to a position below the executive positions. 

   Celso was hired in June and lives in McKinney, Tx.  Wonder if there has been a waiver? 

Since I've been doing DallasArena.com, I've had a policy of feeding important stuff to larger media outlets.  Obviously, I'm a big fan of CBS11's Sarah Dodd, Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze, WFAA's Chris Heinbaugh, et al.  I passed the e-mail on to Matt Pulle at the Dallas Observer because he was having a little disagreement with Celso Martinez at the time regarding Pulle's presence at Preston Hollow Elementary.

  This may seem like we?re being petty here, but bear with us: Celso Martinez, the DISD flak who said I may have broken the law when I toured a public school with a parent, is himself in violation of school policy. Martinez, hired by the DISD in June, lives in McKinney, outside district boundaries. But board policy says that members of the executive staff have to reside inside the district boundaries within six months of their hiring.
   So that means that Martinez, who is an associate superintendent, is in violation of the board?s residency requirements, yes?
   ?Technically, your right,? Martinez conceded.
   Actually, we?re not just technically right. We?re completely right.
   Martinez could have followed the policy simply by asking Hinojosa for a waiver before the six-month window expired. Martinez, though, has an excuse: He says that he was waiting on a letter from the district?s human resources office, which typically precedes a waiver request. Turns out, he says, they notified him late. How come?
   ?I don?t know if H.R. is all that concerned about the residency requirement,? he says, ?as it is in filling open spaces in math, science and bilingual education.?
   OK, we get it. There are bigger issues facing DISD than where its chief spokesperson lives. But since when can you disregard a policy because you don?t think it?s important? Would that excuse fly if a teacher?s assistant failed to file a receipt after she purchased $10 worth of Magic Markers?
   And if you?re going to send an e-mail to a reporter telling him to await a call from the District Attorney?s Office, then it doesn?t hurt to be above reproach.
   Martinez has now filed a waiver with Hinojosa asking for at least a temporary exemption from the district?s residency requirements. He says that when Hinojosa makes his decision, I?ll be the first to know.
   Somehow, I doubt that.
?Matt Pulle

About the same time that I forwarded the e-mail to Pulle, Sarah Dodd called and said she was working on story about Martinez not living in the district.  I told her about the e-mail, and it fit right into the report she was putting together.  Sarah can take an acorn and turn it into a big old oak.  That's just what she did Monday night on CBS 11, and what she will continue on Tuesday night.

In case you missed her interview of Celso Martinez (what a smarmy puff of gas he is), it's on line at www.CBS11tv.com.  You will be amazed and repulsed by the arrogance of DISD's overpaid spokesman as Sara questions him about his residency.  Hopefully, the CBS11 webmaster will have the audio improved by Tuesday because Sarah's comments are hard to hear, but Collin County Celso is audible and disgusting.

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File Size: 20 KB   After acknowledging the board policy requiring someone of his position and high salary to live inside the DISD boundaries, his basic talking point is 'It's a free country, and I'm exercising my right to live and work anywhere I want.'  

Anywhere he wants is outside the boundaries of the DISD, and Dallas County.  He does not want to live amongst DISD taxpayers.

We hear he left his position with the City of Dallas because his macho sensibilities made him uncomfortable working under a strong woman like Mary Suhm.   He was pretty high ranking with the city, and it is disappointing to learn through this fiasco that high-ranking city management is not required to live inside the city limits -- at least that's what Collin County Celso says in his interview with Dodd. 

There are those who would change the city charter to require a cop or firefighter to live in the city limits.  I have always opposed that rule because they don't make enough to put their kids in private schools in Dallas, and no one wants their kids attending DISD schools if humanly possible to avoid. 

The Chief of Police and the Fire Chief are required to live in the city limits of Dallas.  Seems reasonable to expect the same from upper level city management.

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File Size: 20 KB   Back to the DISD.  Collin County Celso took the job knowing there was a residency rule for his position.  It would be somewhat understandable if Dr. Hinojosa did not require CC Celso to sell his McKinney, Texas home and move into the DISD district.  If CC Celso was emotionally attached to his McKinney home, one might be more sensitive to his being forced to move into the DISD.  That is not the case.

The fact is Collin County Celso has a contract on a new house in Frisco.  He's ready to abandon his McKinney home, but not to move to Dallas to comply with DISD rules in force when he accepted his job.

He keeps telling Dodd the DISD residency rule is a "floating requirement", and that rules get changed.  When she asks him about the basis for Dr. Hinojosa granting Collin County Celso a waiver of the residency requirement, he responds, "I want to exercise my personal preference as to where I want to live."

Where Celso Martinez wants to live is not next door to any DISD taxpayer.

He also says the "Board determines which policies are important".  So, it's a rule for some DISD employees, but not everyone? 

As I've said for months, Dr. Hinojosa is getting a pass in all the brohaha at DISD,  Collin County Celso confirms my suspicions in his interview with Dodd.   According to CC Celso, Dr. H is aware of his violation of the residency requirement and intends to grant him a waiver.

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File Size: 20 KB   Here's the deal, Collin County Celso can live anywhere he wants and he can work anywhere he can get employment.  It is a free country.  However, he took a job which requires him to live inside the DISD boundaries.  He was not granted and did not seek a waiver from that restriction when he was hired.  He had SIX MONTHS to relocate to meet the terms of his employment.  He chose not to do so. 

Instead, he has put earnest money down on another house in Collin County.  Actually, he claims to have earnest money down on more than one new house.

My next to favorite part of his interview is when he says his wife makes all the financial and real estate decisions in the family.  If you believe Collin County Celso defers to some mere female, I got a String Thing Bridge over a stinky sewer trough to sell you.

My absolute favorite part of the interview is when he talks about his sadness that someone of Dodd's stature would be concerned about a matter so trivial as a top level DISD executive ignoring and outright violating DISD policy.

Now, we know why lesser beings in the DISD employee ranks might feel free to play fast and loose with other DISD policies.  The big shots do it without repercussion -- all the time.

Don't know about you, but I can't wait for Sarah's second part Tuesday night of this two-part series on the misadventures of Collin County Celso.

sb
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8