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No rush for replacement Allison K. Sampité | Fri, Jun 01 2012 12:00 PM

Sweetwater Union High School District interim superintendent Dr. Ed Brand may be out-staying his welcome.

Brand, who came out of retirement because he said the district needed a change, is fighting criticism from angry parents, teachers and community members, some who say he is acting no better than former superintendent Jesus Gandara.

Gandara was indicted by the District Attorney’s Office in January on felony corruption charges.

Chula Vista resident and community member Maty Adato said it’s been nearly a year and Brand’s time is up.

“The intention of hiring Dr. Brand was for the sole effort of putting the district back on track  … we haven’t moved forward,” she said.

Brand signed a contract with the district last June to replace Gandara and serve as acting-, then interim-superintendent for up to one year or until a permanent replacement was found.

After nearly a year the board has yet to begin the search for a permanent replacement. Instead they recently approved a six-month extension for Brand’s contract.

At last month’s board meeting, members of the public critical of Brand’s decisions questioned the board’s lax approach.

“Why they haven’t started the superintendent search is beyond me,” Adato said Wednesday.

Brand said he’s going to wait until the (next) election to decide if he wants to be the permanent replacement.

“If there’s a new board we’ll see what they want to do,” he said. “My interest is to have the district be successful.”

Adato said she felt Brand was chosen as a default.

Brand was the district superintendent from 1995 to 2005.

“My understanding is that if they are extending his contract, they are only hiring him as that so he can keep his retirement,” Adato said. “I don’t think his contract should be extended again, I think the board should be doing their job.”

Another issue that irks critics is that Brand’s contract is between the district and Ed Brand & Associates, Inc., which is owned by Brand and his wife Betty.

The business has two purposes in which he operates as an educational consultant and also manages his and others’ properties.

“That’s the way I proposed it and that’s the way they took it,” he said. “I couldn’t be hired as Ed Brand because I’m in the State Teachers Retirement System, which limits the amount of money I could earn. So the only way was to have some kind of business.”

As a consultant, Brand is not a regular employee and therefore not on the payroll. Because of this, he said the district gets a $20,000 to $30,000 benefit.

“I have to pay for Social Security and Workers Comp through my consulting agreement,” Brand said.
Brand added it’s a way for the district to save money.

Brand is paid a flat rate of $20,000 each month. To date, he has received $226,400 from the district, an amount that will surpass Gandara’s annual salary on June 30.

“When you add in all the fees that they paid my predecessor (Gandara) I’m a lot less expensive,” he said.

“When I signed on I said I was trying to get the district back on an even footing and trying to make it a place for the community to be proud of,” he said. “I believe the district is better off today then it was when I took over June (22) 2011.”

Parent and retired teacher John Brickley said he is concerned with the deal.

“It’s my understanding that, as Ed Brand and Associates, he’s essentially drawing retirement and a sizeable income,” Brickley said. “I think if he wants to go back to work he should be paying into the retirement system.”

Brickley said he feels that the public could potentially be taken advantage of.

“I question the (LLC) issue in regard to civil financial liability for a corporation to be a superintendent,” he said.

Brickley also questioned what would happen if Brand became incapacitated.

“Does that mean that she (Betty) becomes the superintendent?” he said. “…It opens up a can of worms. Until the board authorizes the search, I find it a little disingenuous.”

Brand said his situation is not unique.

“I can name you 10 superintendents who have retired and become consultants,” he said.

 

Questions or comments for Allison? Email: asampite@thestarnews.com; Twitter: @starnewschisme

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anniej Says:

Tue, Jun 05 2012 09:06 AM

well there Jibaro, you raise some excellent points. and quite frankly i am thinking you are right - FIRST THE BOARD, then brand, and then some of those at the district office that are operating about 10 pay grades over their ability.

HOWEVER, that does not mean i will not continue to site the factual reasons as to why we need a new superintendent. case in point, THE READER's current article showing the red flag - it appears that the board/brand/cfo have continued borrowing the prop o monies even after they publicly declared the practice had ended. not to mention the petty nonsense that mccann is believed to have brand participating in i.e. sending a district employee down to take possession of the RECALL signs put up along main street in chula vista. then there are those mello roos funds, oh much is in the works about all of this borrowing MUCH.

i sincerely thank you for posting back, that is why i blog - it interests me to hear and then contemplate what others are thinking and the reasoning behind their thoughts.


jibaro Says:

Tue, Jun 05 2012 05:16 AM

anniej, Until a majority of this board changes, Dr. Brand is the best of a bad situation. To have this board select a superintendent, perm. or temp., would move a bad situation to a worse situation. Completely understand the frustrations with Dr. Brand, but as mom used to say "better the devil you know than the one you don't..AT LEAST FOR NOW" As I see it, first the Board, and then the superintendent. YES, this community "deserves so much better than what we have gotten" and, thanks to you and a "corps" of others, this will happen. THANK YOU


anniej Says:

Mon, Jun 04 2012 08:08 PM

Jibaro: while it is true their ability to 'choose' a superintendent has failed, it is frustrating to sit back and watch while any person is paid the kind of money he is for doing 'EXACTLY WHAT GOT US INTO THIS MESS'.

guess my point is brand has failed the students and taxpayers miserably. but what else should we expect john mccann brought him here, and john mccan allegedly failed to share the second opinion with the other board members ' you know the opinion that stated 'the gandara' could be fired for cause.

the students of the south bay deserve so much better than what they have gotten.


jibaro Says:

Mon, Jun 04 2012 05:14 AM

The search for a new superintendent must be INCLUSIVE and OPEN.. an opportunity to bring this community together in a positive way and a critical first step. I say keep Dr. Brand until the electoral and judicial processes changes the make up of the Board, then begin the search. I think it is a very bad idea to pressure the current Board to hire a superintendent.


Erupting Says:

Sat, Jun 02 2012 04:31 PM

I also think that Diane Russo is milking the system. She is known as DLR and associates. I know that Carl De Maio is out spoken on double dipping in the retirement system. I wonder why Mr. McCann has not done something about this. Is he choosing Brand over DeMaio and the republican stand? I wonder why?


anniej Says:

Fri, Jun 01 2012 10:30 PM

"i couldn't be hired as ed brand because i am in the state teachers retirement system, WHICH LIMITS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY I COULD EARN"

ding, ding, ding - well folks out of his own mouth - it's all about the money.

as i seem to remember he promised to take a pay cut - when challenged to put his money where his mouth is he then relented and stated "IF the employees take a cut i will take a cut"...............

and he calls that leadership? one leads by example - a leader leads he does not follow.

this is yet another reason for the RECALL - he and the majority of the board HAVE GOT TO GO.........

just my opinion


anniej Says:

Fri, Jun 01 2012 10:25 PM

many in the south bay, myself included had high hopes for Dr. Brand. we all bought his speech about his desire to leave a legacy in the sweetwater community that he could be proud of - yes, we took the bait - hook, line and sinker. now we are paying the price. the legacy he leaves this time will be just like the last time - a legacy of failure to lead - a legacy of a lack of integrity - a legacy of failing to protect the students or the taxpayers.

he has aligned himself with those members of the board that the community wants gone - at the top of the list JOHN MCCANN - and those that are under indictment - he has failed this community miserably. in my opinion mccann is an opportunist who has done NOTHING to improve the sweetwater district. proof of this leads back to his 'acceptance' of all of those thousands of dollars of campaign finance dollars from contractors that benefitted from prop o. oh, mr. mccann - all of the promises he made to so many down here - he has failed to bring about change, and failed miserably.

this week when a district employee was sent to the city of chula vista's yards to pick up the RECALL signs that had been torn down (RECALL folks did not realize they could not put them up) - signs that did NOT belong to the district, signs that had been paid for with taxpayer donations. yes folks, they have pink slipped 200 teachers but can afford to have a district employee chasing after signs they object to - AND BRAND WANTS TO KNOW WHY HE IS NOT RESPECTED? AND MCCANN WANTS TO KNOW WHY WE WANT HIM RECALLED?

and now mccann sends a copy of an email he wrote to brand recommending gift reform. what a minion he is, just a few months ago he refused to even open up an agenda item for discussion that had been brought forth by the community relative to this same issue.

now he wants to be a pretend hero. johnny boy, stay home and play with your toy soldiers - you are no hero to us - quite the opposite.

just my opinion


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