Friday, June 07, 2013

Attorney Mark Bresee says no conflict for school board member Richard Barrera with job at Labor Council

Mark Bresee

The education elite--administrators and union officials and their respective lawyers--are already working together behind closed doors. They often oppose each other in public, but they're united in keeping the voters ignorant of how decisions are made in schools. Mark Bresee speaks from first-hand experience when he says, truthfully, that board member Richard Barrera's new job on the Labor Council isn't really a problem.

If anything, Barrera will probably be more likely to consider the wellbeing of students when deciding what demands he'll support for teachers.

Attorney: No Conflict for Labor Leader Trustee
By Wendy Fry
Jun 7, 2013
NBC 7 San Diego

An attorney for the San Diego school district has weighed-in on the controversy surrounding a trustee taking a job with the Labor Council.

Outside Counsel Mark Bresee says trustee Richard Barrera has no conflict-of-interest serving on both the school board, and as the chief of the Labor Council.

School trustee Barrera was recently elected as the leader of an umbrella organization that represents 135 unions, some of which are present in the San Diego schools.

"We are pretty much defined as a citizen's board," said Barrera about the school board. "So, obviously, people are going to have other jobs. If my compensation at the Labor Council was structured in a way that if a teacher's union gets a raise, then I get a raise, then I would be required to recuse myself but that's just not the case. My compensation has nothing to do with member union benefits."

The attorney, from the Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo firm hired by the district to do a legal analysis on the situation, agreed.

Barrera should refrain from participating in decisions on which the Labor Council has advocated a specific position, the lawyer also wrote.

In the meantime, an assistant to the board said Friday the board office has received more than 100 phone calls from the public expressing a negative opinion of the situation.

Tony Krvaric, chairman for the Republican party, said a robocall is going out to district parents informing them of Barrera's new job and connecting them to the district to complain.

"The board's own legal opinion urged caution when SDEA or CSEA issues are involved," Krvaric said. "What decisions on a school board don't affect the teachers unions, and who is going to pay for the legal analysis on each vote?"

To read the full legal opinon of the district's outside counsel, click here.


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