Superintendent's firing was rash, costly

I'm referring to the May 12 column by Theresa Harrington, "Trustees explain their votes." I wish to respond to Harrington's question asking if we think the Mt. Diablo school board should have allowed Superintendent Steven Lawrence and General Counsel Greg Rolen to finish out their contracts.

Yes, the board should have waited. Aside from the appearance of this being a personal vendetta rather than overwhelming district dissatisfaction, can we really afford the cost of the board's actions?

Our district already deficit- spends. When you add the cost of buying out these contracts, paying for someone else to fill these positions temporarily, paying a firm to search for a new superintendent, and all the additional costs of interview visits, etc., it seems a more prudent use of our limited funds would have been to simply let the contracts expire.

Much has been said about dissatisfaction with district leadership. Well, I am very dissatisfied with the leadership of our school board. Members appear to have allowed their personal feelings to govern their actions, creating additional costs for our district at a time when we can ill afford it.

Rebecca Jensen

Pittsburg


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City worker theft not handled well

I was amazed at the response, or lack thereof, from Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay to the actions of outgoing Human Resources Director and Assistant City Manager Leslie Knight, once the facts were in.

Not only did Knight steal from her employer, but also from every Richmond taxpayer. I would be terminated on the spot the instant my private-industry employer found out I was knowingly stealing $400 a month car allowance. And they would come after me for full restitution.

But Lindsay's response was that Knight will pay the city back $10,800 for the car allowance. What? You mean everything is OK, now let's get back to work? Talk about dysfunction. And she also gets one of those extraordinary pensions? I hope not, since she only worked for Richmond for seven years.

By the way, does anyone know if Richmond's moniker is still the City of Pride and Purpose?

Mike Blake

San Pablo

Times is complicit in IRS cover-up

The Times runs many one-sided news articles, but "GOP accuses IRS of bullying," was a standout.

Rather than emphasizing the shocking fact IRS chief Steven Miller lied to the committee a year ago during the 2012 campaign by not disclosing the egregious IRS activity, which he knew was occurring, the article chose to emphasize instead that Republicans are trying to "ensnare the White House."

The article stated, "Republican charges range from clearly questionable to seemingly specious." However, the IRS admitted to inappropriately targeting conservative groups, which is highly unethical and possibly illegal. How's that a "questionable" charge?

The article didn't mention most Democrats on the committee also were outraged by the IRS activity and Miller's testimony.

Another article you printed on the same page, "President focuses on the path ahead," described how President Obama plans to ignore "the moment's political furor" and push his agenda by "executive actions that do not require Republican approval." Sounds like another "imperial presidency" to me.

Miller should go to jail for misleading the committee. Others who participated in or knew about the activity should lose their jobs, including any in the White House. And the Times should be ashamed for essentially assisting in a cover-up.

Marlane Huffaker

Concord

CalSTRS must be kept whole

I was pleased to read the Times' recommendation that the California Legislature devise a plan for ensuring the California State Teachers' Retirement System continues to provide the retirement benefits our teachers have paid for.

As they consider doing this, they should remember that California school systems have saved billions of dollars over the years by not paying Social Security taxes for working teachers. Not only do our teachers not participate in Social Security, as other workers do, when they retire, the Social Security benefits they may have earned in other jobs will be reduced, often by more than $3,000 a year, by the Windfall Elimination Provision.

If a teacher has been a dependent spouse before becoming a teacher, the Government Pension Offset will usually eliminate all that person's rights to their spousal retirement benefits. They will lose as much as $12,000 a year and can lose twice that in widow's benefits. Please go to www.ssfairness.com.

Congress must repeal these two outrageous laws. But in the meantime it is imperative CalSTRS be kept whole.

Bonnie Cediel

Berkeley Cediel is a member of the Committee for Social Security Fairness.