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Superintendent's future uncertain Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Sep 15 2012 12:00 PM

Citizens came by the dozens, donned with football whistles, Chargers jerseys, penalty flags and signs to attend a special closed session board meeting at the Sweetwater Union High School District.

They showed up Monday night to protest the rumored negotiation of a two-year contract between superintendent Dr. Ed Brand and the district.

While district spokeswoman Grace Sevilla assured those who asked that was not the case, Brand was under a different impression.

“As far as I know, the meeting on the 10th was to decide whether or not they (the board) wanted to enter into formal negotiation about me staying on,” Brand said.

In the end, no reportable action was taken following the two-hour meeting, at which Brand was not present.

“The attorney who represents the district said that I didn’t need to be there,” Brand said Wednesday. “When he said that I chose not to go.”

Citizens were especially upset that a special meeting was called during the season-opener of the Chargers versus Raiders game and believe it was done to prevent most people from attending.

Despite Brand’s absence he received a tongue-lashing from the community during public comment.

Citizens Bond Oversight Committee member Kevin O’Neill said having a last minute meeting invites skepticism and mistrust from the public against the district.

“The district has taken secrecy to an art form and the media is Dr. Brand’s personal kryptonite,” O’Neill said. “Where is the sense of expediency? Any way you cut this it was ill-advised.”

The committee voted no confidence in Brand at their meeting last week.

Brand signed a contract with the district in June 2011 to replace then superintendent Jesus Gandara and serve as acting- and then interim-superintendent for up to one year or until a permanent replacement was found.

Beginning July 1, the laws pertaining to the California State Teachers Retirement System changed, limiting the amount of money a retiree could earn.

“I told the board at the July meeting that I had to resign effective Aug. 31, which I did,” Brand said. “I was under the belief that the board would make a decision regarding myself at the Aug. 20 board agenda and then was told Aug. 20 by the board president that they’d have a special meeting Sept. 6...”

But that meeting never happened.

Parent Stewart Payne brought up the fact that during a previous board meeting Brand stated to the public that he was willing to work the month of September for free.

Brand said Wednesday that his statement was based on a contingency.

“It was contingent on the board allowing me to be an administrator of the district,” he said. “In other words, if someone tried to sue me in the month of September, I wouldn’t be protected. I didn’t have liability insurance.”

Board bylaws state that the superintendent’s contract shall be extended only by board action and subsequent to a satisfactory evaluation of performance. He has yet to receive one.

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sosocal Says:

Thu, Sep 20 2012 11:04 AM

With the recent report that the bond company Sweetwater uses being investigated for misuse of funds, I am wondering how many more scandals it will take before Sweetwater will be taken over by the State Board of Education. Ed Brand, the walking advertisement for self-aggrandizement, self-promotion and greed wants more than $20,000/mo, plus perks. While not doing this school district one bit of good. We need to send him packing as well as send packing anyone who continues to support this malevolent drain on our community.

ChargerFan Says:

Sun, Sep 16 2012 08:50 AM

Also at the meeting were two exceptional education leaders (Karen Janney and George Cameron) who exemplify integrity and strong leadership. The board could have approached either one of them to consider taking over and helping them work though the issues in an intelligent, organized, and student centered way.

anniej Says:

Sat, Sep 15 2012 09:52 PM

so, i ask you, is there a policy and procedure manual that was passed down from brand to 'the gandara' ?

it appears that these board members and brand have been using us for many, many, many years:


is this what we want more of?

concerned citizen Says:

Sat, Sep 15 2012 09:16 PM

why is no one reporting the fact that Jamie Mercado offered to serve as interim sup. FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!!
He is an honorable man and has the respect of the district employees. God for bid the board would take him up on the offer. They have no clue how to best serve the needs of the students in this district. It may not best serve their wants/needs. Who the heck do they think they should be serving. Wake up Chula Vista stop voting for these crooks! get them out of the school system!

anniej Says:

Sat, Sep 15 2012 05:41 PM

when he said that i chose not go - of course he did not go and now he is giving interviews with reporters that 'throw the board, especially pearl quinones not in front of the bus, BUT UNDER THE BUS'. according to brand the board had lead him to believe that the last two board meetings were going to be ALL ABOUT HIS CONTRACT. hmmm, i thought the brown act clearly states that is not to be done. brand was not there because brand does not like confrontation. no, instead he prefers to stand before all and dictate. so board let me ask you, how do YOU like having brand expose you for who you really are? why weren't we, the ones who pay the bills with our taxes advised of the truth of the meetings? why wasn't the correct time notice given since the board, quinones, and brand were aware of the real agenda issue? they continue to treat the taxpayers of this community with disdain and disrespect.

quinones has been asked for a change of venue for the meeting of the 24th, so lets see if she does it? i am beginning to question, as does brand, mccann, cartmill, and ricasa if quinones is fit to be board president.

and as if things were not bad enough john mccann has once again acted out - when asked to clarify a statement he became upset - attempted to have the community member thrown out. so what does he do? he calls his very own community 'unpatriotic'. claims that HE DISCOVERED THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE HAD BEEN IGNORED. yes folks this is what this community 'chose' (past tense) to represent us on our school board. the man is irrational, quite emotional, and operates as a loose cannon. many of us have tried to dial it down, but mccann does not like calm and order - instead he 'creates' the environment. his community is a buzz, talking behind the mccann back - for he has exposed his dysfunction to us all. "i thought i knew the man, his is an imposter - he is as that woman writes 'a little little man".

so lets see, what will our board do? will they offer brand the permanent contract? all eyes will be on them. while brand, who HAS a CURRENT CONTRACT til december, chose to abandon our children OVER MONEY................ yes folks, he did not want to pay those fines he would be facing, so, as you can see we are dealing with a greedy, self serving, egotistical ----------, let us see which entity the board protects - the students and taxpayers or brand.

sosocal Says:

Sat, Sep 15 2012 12:18 PM

I wonder how many of us would be on the receiving end of a good evaluation, if we had wasted over a year and over $500,000 on a pile of dirt? How about if we unilaterally declared "open borders" within Sweetwater, so that schools, teachers, counselors and everyone has been scrambling to make things work, with 40 students per class much of the time? How about cutting bus routes while neglecting to inform the families who are most impacted by the decision? Then, scrambling to put a few token routes back, so that the fuss will die down...How about bribing all incoming 7th graders with iPads, so they wouldn't try the charter schools of Chula Vista Elementary's expansion into middle schools...How about Brand's own counterattack on the topic of charter schools: creating and "endowing" two of them, while again, teachers are pink slipped because the district has no money? If the district has no money, why are we paying Ed Brand for making mistake after error after blunder after failed decision?

Frankly, I've seen middle schoolers who seem better equipped at planning and thinking through problems to be solved.

So why does Ed Brand create such chaos whenever he acts? Smoke and mirrors act? Distraction from further and more egregious failings?

How and why would any human with about 5 active brain cells want to appoint Ed Brand to any position, let alone one that pays $20,000 a month, plus benefits?

The sooner Sweetwater is cleansed of Ed Brand, the better.

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