Ad Astra, Per Aspera

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

SDEA Spring Election Challenges and Interpretations

It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.  Watch the others do the job, then swoop in after the fact and tear apart every facet of the work being done.  It is also easy to interpret information to support one’s own agenda.

The Breakfast Club recently released a long, point by point armchair quarterback version of the recent elections.  And I’m accused of having too much time on MY hands…

Within their lengthy diatribe, they attempt to discredit the current election challenges through their interpretation of the standing rules and regs of our election procedures.  Some of these comments sound as if they have merit.  Others give the impression of the “were desperate to take over the board and this is our last chance to do so” variety.

Oddly enough (or maybe not), their long post of violations doesn’t include the violation by their own members with regards to (as they call it) The Email Heard ‘Round the World.  Many of the problems noted by the Club stem from this particular violation.  If their member hadn’t campaigned for their slate of candidates over the district email system, we might not be at this point.  Whether or not Carter was a candidate or not, whether he knew of the rules or not, his email in support of Club contenders violated our rules.

Now, their long list of other violations reads like a police blotter.  All of them come from section nine of the standing rules.  All of them can be interpreted in several ways.  Obviously, since their candidates did not win outright, they choose to interpret them in such a way as to cause shame towards your SDEA leadership and the election committee.  Rather than dive through every rule and show its true meaning, I’ll hit a few highlights of importance.

SR 9.1.E.3 (Procedures) Candidates will receive confirmation from the SDEA office that their Declaration form has been received either by email, US mail, or a written receipt when hand delivered.

When I submitted my own documents for reelection, I made sure BEFORE I arrived at SDEA that I had all of my paperwork in order, that I had dotted my Is and crossed my Ts.  That’s my responsibility as a candidate.  Should Ms. Marble have received a receipt?  Yes.  Did she verify that she had all of her documents in order?  It doesn’t seem that way, or this wouldn’t be an issue.  Looks to me like blame should be on both parties, not just SDEA.  Perhaps the Club should have worked with their candidates more closely to ensure they were ready to run. What you don’t know: After this had all been discovered, Ms. Marble was given the chance to come down and submit her documents to the election committee AFTER THE FACT.  That’s right – the committee noted the error and made attempts to correct their error.  Ms. Marble chose not to accept that offer, and was instead turned into a write-in candidate.  End of story.

SR 9.1.I (Vote Requirement) All vote requirements shall be established in accordance with CTA guidelines.  Unless otherwise specified, all elections shall be decided by majority vote.  Write-in votes are valid and must be counted.

And they were.  Ms. Marble received several write-in votes, the majority of which were counted.  End of story.

SR 9.1.J.4.b (Counting of Ballots) Blank and/or illegal ballots for each office/position shall be set aside.  Examples include the following: Voter’s intent unclear; 

As the item states, “Examples include the following….”  Not “Illegal ballots are LIMITED TO…,” or “Ballots w/o the bubble colored in will still be counted.”  The election committee determined that the ballots w/o a proper vote (the circle colored in on the scantron sheet) were invalid and were set aside.  Hmmmm…if a student taking a test on a scantron wrote the letter of the answer on the scantron rather than coloring it in, I’d mark it wrong because he didn’t follow directions.  The voters didn’t follow instructions – their ballots were not counted.  End of story.

SR 9.1.I.1 (Vote Requirement) A majority vote means more than half of the legal votes cast.

This is the one that really made me angry, especially after the snarky, rude, and condescending speech by Shane Parmely at rep council.  She spoke to election co-chair Karen Ellsworth as if she were admonishing a first-grader about their homework.  Her tone of voice was so vile that groans and cries of “That’s enough” could be heard during here outburst.  Here’s the real story –

According to the election committee, the teller sheets for the board elections stated a victory would be comprised of 50% + 1 of the legal votes cast.  If memory serves, there were 97 votes cast for this particular board seat (mine!).  10 were disqualified, leaving 87 legal votes.  Ms. Marble received 44 of those votes.  Math time:

Problem 1: 87 / 2 = 43.5.

Problem 2: 50% + 1 of 87 = 44.5

Problem 3: Math teachers are supposed to know that when one rounds a number, you round up at 5-9.  Since there can’t be 1/2 a vote (unless you’re only half a person!) we round that number up to 45.

Problem 4: 44 < 45.

Therefore, Ms. Marble did not win by the required majority as stated on the teller reporting sheet.  Hence, the run-off election is valid.

I will say that yes, there is differing information on the SDEA website regarding the majority rule.  The election committee chose to follow the information printed on the OFFICIAL ELECTION DOCUMENTS. End of story.

Is there more?  Of course.  There will always be problems during elections where two groups of unlike-minded people are running for coveted seats on governing boards.  Before you believe everything you read, do your OWN due diligence (like I do) to ensure you’re getting the whole story.  Don’t be a lemming.

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the opinions of me, myself, and I.  I do not represent any other person, group, or breakfast pastry.  Especially waffles.  They’re leaving a bad taste in my mouth these days. 


SDEA Election Challenges Properly Continue

At the recent BOD meeting (Wed, 4/10), another challenge to the spring election results was brought to the Board for consideration.  Again, this challenge referenced the campaign email sent out by members of The Breakfast Club, in clear violation of the election guidelines in our organization’s standing rules.

Once again, after a brief discussion, the board voted to uphold the challenge based on the evidence presented.  And, once again, the members of the Breakfast Club who sit on the SDEA Board both voted to dismiss the challenge…even when presented with evidence that the election was tainted.

My question is: does their action constitute a breach of their fiduciary duty to the members in their areas?  We are elected to our board positions in order to represent all of the members.  We should be expected to follow the guidelines and rules of the organization.  And yet, when presented with clear evidence that wrongdoing was committed, these two members attempt to interpret the rules to their own (or guided) designs, and vote how they (apparently) are told to vote…rather than vote according to the rules of our organization.

I would venture that any officer of a major corporation who voted on issues to achieve personal gain would be sanctioned, let alone thrown off the board for breach of promise.

I’ll be frank: I also filed a challenge against this election.  Had I lost through a fair election, I would indeed have been gracious enough to step down and wish the new board member much luck with their new job…because they’d need it.  However, when faced with evidence that a small faction of members chose to circumvent not only the election rules but directives from our own district’s legal department in order to win their seats on the board, I could  not sit idly by.  It would not be fair to the other board members, and it certainly would not be fair to the 600+ members whom I represent with this board seat.

When there is an honest and fair election, I will be happy to be involved and let the results fall where they may.  Until then, I shall fight tooth and nail to continue to help guide our membership into a new era of educational stability.  I’m ready to run again.  And I ask for your support.

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.   These are the opinions of me, myself, and I.  I do not purport to represent any group, organization, or breakfast pastry.  That’s because my kids keep eating the doughnuts before they go to bed.  

Current State of SDEA Spring Elections

Friends – Here are the facts about the situation with the spring elections.  All notes are from our board meeting that occurred just before spring break.  Accept no substitutes:


As you may or may not know, the SDEA run-off elections have been put on hold until several matters can be resolved.  These are the facts:

During the spring elections, it was discovered that some members used the district email server to send out campaign emails in support of specific candidates.   Because of this email, and other matters, the spring elections are being challenged by several of the candidates.  These challenges are allowed under the election rules and guidelines of SDEA.

The email(s) in question violated the election rules in two ways.

1)     Under the election rules, Item 5 states:

  1. “District email address and/or systems shall not be used for campaigning.”
  2. The email was sent by a member to an undisclosed number of other members.  The email contained campaign language and made suggestions on who to vote for in the spring election.

2)     The district legal office, under the direction of Larry Schoenke, has twice warned the membership about using the district email systems and servers for non-approved emails.  This email is the 3rd such recorded use of the district email systems for campaigning purposes.

  1. Campaigning by members for SDEA board and representative positions falls under this ban.

At this time, the SDEA board has heard and voted to uphold one of the challenges.  This challenge was presented to the board during a called meeting on March 28th. In addition, the board was informed by the election committee representative that additional challenges had been filed, which would be brought to the board for resolution once the election committee had completed their review (they are allowed 10 days to review any election challenges.)

I expect these additional challenges will be delivered to our next scheduled board meeting this Wednesday, April 10th, at 4:30 pm.  If so, they will be discussed and voted on at that time. Once these challenges have been resolved, the election committee will inform the membership of the next steps in the election procedures.

Any member may attend a Board of Directors meeting.  If you’d like first-hand information on how these processes are conducted, I invite you to join me this Wednesday at the SDEA offices:

10393 San Diego Mission Rd, Suite 100, San Diego, CA,  92108-2189. 

If you have any questions, you may also contact me directly.

Respectfully – Dennis Schamp.

SDEA Elections Invalidated by Breakfast Club Breaking the Rules

The votes are in. The results…not so much.
On Thursday, March 28, the SDEA Board of Directors – under the watchful eye of a few Breakfast Clubbers – were presented with the first of what will turn out to be many challenges to our most recent election.

Challenges are allowed under our by-laws and election guidelines/rules. Reasons for challenges are also laid out within those hallowed tomes. They are there to ensure a fair and impartial election campaign, run so that each candidate has equal opportunity to win. Unfortunately, (and once again), some people from the Breakfast Club slate of candidates decided that these rules did not apply to them nor their elite group of members. Once again, the Breakfast Club decided that it would be just fine to
circumvent the election rules in order to win.

According to the SDEA election rules,
“5. District email addresses and/or systems shall not be used for campaigning.”
And yet, that’s exactly what members of the Breakfast Club did…use our district email system to campaign for their board, regional, and national seats.

During the Board meeting, Ms. Nieto, our election committee co-chair, presented the BOD with a copy of the challenge. It included the official challenge, a citation of the rule that was broken (#5 above), and a copy of the email that was sent, which listed EVERY SINGLE CANDIDATE on the Breakfast Club slate. Ms. Nieto explained Rule #5 in depth, and the matter was discussed by the board.

Presented with such overwhelming evidence, the board discussion leaned towards upholding the challenge. As it should have been, if we were working from evidence alone.
But, one must remember that there are currently two members of the BC on the board: Barry Dancher and Michelle Sanchez (our secretary!). They, of course, voted along their “party lines” AGAINST upholding the challenge.

Their reasons? Well…
1) the email wasn’t sent by a candidate so it shouldn’t be considered. (See rule #5 – doesn’t mention who sends the email; only that it can’t be sent).
2) the members shouldn’t be held accountable for not knowing the election rules, so it shouldn’t be considered. (see rule #5 above…etc.)
3) The Candidates cannot be held responsible for the conduct of their members, so the challenge is invalid. (see rule #5 above…etc).

So, even when presented with evidence that the rules were broken, our two Breakfast Club Board Members chose to ignore those rules and vote against the challenge.

I ask you…is this the type of representation we want on our board? People who are beholden to a small, elite group of members who only represent themselves rather than our entire membership? It seems to me that upholding the standing rules, by-laws, and constitution of the SDEA would be part of their responsibility. By ignoring those three documents, Mr. Dancher and Ms. Sanchez are not following their fiduciary duty as a board member. Their actions are being influcened by outside agencies who do not have the best interests of the full membership.

This week is our next BOD meeting where – I predict – we will be presented with numerous additional challenges to the recent election, along with overwhelming evidence of the bending and breaking of our election rules. If you want to see how the Breakfast Club will handle these charges, I URGE, BEG, AND PLEAD you to give up a few hours of your Wednesday night and attend this meeting.

Any member may attend a Board of Directors meeting. Lately, our only observers have been members of the Breakfast Club…who take notes, then blog a portion of the proceedings to suit their fancy. If you want the full story, you’ll need attend in person.

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message. This blog is the opinion of me, myself, and I. I do not purport to represent any union, agency, or breakfast pastry. Unless I’m at Von’s when the bagels come out of the oven at 6:30 a.m. Then I’m all over those puppies.

Post Navigation