This is an excerpt of On Assignment, education writer Theresa Harrington's blog on Contra Costa County schools. Read more and post comments at IBABuzz.com/onassignment. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.
Bay Point Mystery Meeting Revealed
When I heard after the fact from a district parent that a Bay Point master plan meeting was held earlier this month, I contacted Pete Pedersen, who is the Measure C Project Manager, to find out what it was all about.
In an email, he responded, in part:
"On Wednesday, October 10th we convened the first meeting of the committee exploring the Bay Point master planning exercise. This is not a Board-appointed committee but rather, is a committee that was formed at the request of the audience attending the last public master planning meeting at Riverview last year. The meeting was not publically (sic) noticed. All Bay Point sites as well as Mt. Diablo High have designated volunteer committee representatives and each of these participants was individually contacted/noticed ..."
Pedersen added that the PowerPoint presentation from the meeting should be added to the Bay Point Master Planning website soon.
As of now, it still has not been posted on the site:http://www.baypointmasterplan.com/
The previous Bay Point meeting, May 15, also was not publicly noticed. And although the PowerPoint from that meeting is posted on the website, there are no minutes from the meeting posted, so there is no public record that this committee was formed.
The website assures readers: "Your opinion matters!" But, if only a select group of people are informed about the committee and its meetings, it appears that many people who might have opinions about the Bay Point Master Planning process could be left out of the loop.
Do you think these meetings should be publicly noticed and that minutes should be posted on the website?
Reader response (excerpted):
G Says: "And why should the school district (which includes taxpayers for another 28,000 students) be footing the WHOLE bill for Bay Point's Master Plan FUTURE for school needs?"
Anon Says: "So what's up with all these meetings with only hand-picked people allowed to attend? This is such bs. The district should start realizing who is paying the bill .... oh wait they don't care because there is no one who will hold them accountable."
Jack Weir says: "The 'mystery' meeting in Bay Point, which was not publicly noticed, continues the policy of behind-the-scenes activity typical of the current district board. With the notable exception of Trustee Cheryl Hansen, they persistently prefer to operate at all levels without public input and scrutiny. Pete Pedersen, who retired as Assistant Superintendent of Facilities to become the in-house bond project manager (the proverbial 'fox in the henhouse') has no business representing the district in master planning matters."
G says: "Jack Weir: You echo the sentiments I have been dogging for two years! Pete Pedersen is no longer a District employee. He is a 'Contracted' individual who should have NO input or financial access on any matter other than for that which the contract was written — Project Manager for those items listed on the ballot for 2010 Measure C — PERIOD. We were sold a bill of goods that said if we let him run Measure C, he would save millions over what we paid the previous outside company to manage 2002 Measure C. He now heads a veritable 'company' of 'managers', most drawn from within the district. With the exception of one or two secretaries, each person he has put on his 'team' now draws Manager Salary and district benefits, and use of district vehicles without a breakdown of cost accounting. ... Measure C accounting is broken out to individual sites and projects making it nearly impossible to compile stats on exactly what his 'company' is really costing. And HOW in the world did this 'contract' for Measure 2010 C put him in charge of all expenditures for 2002 (Measure) C, AND Prop 55, AND give him access to spend Measure A for his 'company's' little 'extra' needs?"