FBISD Trustees Mum On Call To Investigate District Police Chief
January 15th, 2009 | by John Pape, Fortbendnow.com
Fort Bend ISD trustees are remaining tight-lipped over calls from a local taxpayer group call to investigate the school district’s police chief.
After district Chief Communications Officer Mary Ann Simpson said the district would not comment on a call from the Fort Bend ISD WatchDogs for the district and the Texas Ethics Commission to investigate allegations surrounding Police Chief J.L. Campbell, Fort Bend Now left messages requesting comment from all seven school trustees and Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney.
None of the trustees responded to the request for comment.
Jenny forwarded Fort Bend Now’s request to Simpson, who re-stated the district’s position that the issue was a “personnel matter” and no comment would be forthcoming. . .
. . . As with the call for an investigation, the district also refused to comment on the actual allegations.
Dr. Jeff Hathaway, a communications specialist who advises companies on crisis communication issues, said the district needs to, at the very least, assure the public that they will not stand for misconduct by district employees. Absent some sort of assurance, the public may well get the impression the district is more concerned with covering up misconduct than correcting it, he said.
Hathaway, who also teaches crisis communications, said calling the issue a personnel matter is “a stretch.”
“The call for an ethics investigation is much, much more than ‘a personnel matter.’ I’m very surprised to hear them use that as a reason to not comment,” Hathaway said. “All they’re doing is making people think they’re hiding something.”
Hathaway said he counsels his clients to address allegations of wrongdoing with strong assurances that any such claims would be taken seriously.
“In this case, it sounds more like the school district and school board are more interested in finding a reason to duck comment than address a potentially problematic situation,” Hathaway said. “Whoever is recommending this course of action to them is not serving the school district well.”
Hathaway added that a sophisticated public no longer accepts a simple “no comment” when difficult or potentially embarrassing questions are raised.
“That sort of response was the standard at one time, but that time has long past. People are more sophisticated, better educated and more demanding, especially of public servants,” Hathaway said. “If any organization wants to win the respect and confidence of their customers, in this case the taxpayers in the school district, they’re going to have to learn to embrace a greater degree of transparency in their corporate communications.”
Get the full piece at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/01/15/34837#comment-454
2009 FBISD Tax Hearing (On YouTube)
CLICK HERE FOR THE 2009 FBISD CONTROVERSIAL TAX HEARING (YES THEY ARE RAISING THEM AGAIN--see petition of over 500 district taxpayers asking for board accountability) --In case anyone missed it they raised the property tax rate again (4th time) in 2010 and more than likely will do so again in 2011 facing another projected 15-20 million dollar budget deficit, according to some media reports. ***NEW*** ..Petition TO STOP THE GSTC (Global Science Museum being planned at the district central office--near $30 million dollar project that superintendent Jenney is pushing): http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthegcst/ (see update below on this apparently ending this project after 2 years)