Analysis: Lovenburg, Allen Tell Community to “Move On”

Board listens to public comment prior to appeal hearing on Thursday night
Board listens to public comment prior to appeal hearing on Thursday night

On Thursday night the Davis School Board voted 3-1 to uphold the district’s decision on not renewing Volleyball Coach Julie Crawford’s VSA (variable service agreement).

At the time, Board Member Susan Lovenburg said that she was declining to speak to her decision, stating that the board’s decision stands for itself.

But she added, “I think we’ve done the right thing.  I’m certain that it’s not going to make everybody happy.  But I think we really carefully weighed the factors we were dealing with and made the best decision that we could in the best interest of the community.”

Sheila Allen read from a lengthy prepared statement.

Now, several days after the controversial decision, rather than simply letting the matter die and allowing the community to move on at its own pace, the two board members have joined forces to tell the community that “it’s time to move on.”

They write, “Much has been said and written in the Davis media about the Crawford/Peterson complaint, and some of it has been speculative. For the record, we briefly recap the appeal process.”

“The Davis school board reviewed the facts of an independent investigation conducted on behalf of the district, listened closely to the statements of the parties involved in the appeal, then found that a preponderance of the evidence supported the conclusion that a coach made a poor judgment call which had negative consequences for a student,” they write.

“By the conclusion of the appeal, the independent investigator, the associate superintendent, the superintendent and a majority of the board all concurred that the facts supported this finding,” they continue.  “The evidence demonstrated a poor decision, but not a poor volleyball coach. Poor choices have consequences, in this case, a short-term suspension from coaching. Though the board modified the consequence slightly, it largely reflects the original recommendation of the superintendent and Ms. Crawford is welcome to coach again in the future.”

“This episode has generated much debate in the community; we trust it will also guide us to greater mindfulness. The board and administration will review and strengthen policies and practices, especially those related to personal conflict of interest and to resolution of complaints. Parents should think carefully where the line lies between advocacy for a child and possible harassment of a coach or teacher. And educators are reminded that the best interest of students should always be the determining factor in a public school environment,” they write.  “With these lessons in mind, it is time to move on.”

The problem, ironically is that statements like these do not allow the community to move on.  For one thing, they generate more questions than answers.

While it is true that the majority of the board agreed and supported this finding, it was not universally true.

“I do believe that our district’s response to complaints and the way that we handle the procedure and the investigations needs to be in proportion,” Gina Daleiden stated.  “I do believe in this instance the district went Code 3 on something that maybe didn’t warrant that.”

“I do not find in reading the investigation that there is a preponderance of evidence to support the findings and the conclusions,” she said.  She added that they “ended up jumping right into the deep end of the pool” and she would have preferred to have seen this resolved “at a much lower level, a whole lot earlier.”

One problem with the finding by the board majority is it drew a very narrow line over what retaliation is.

Retaliation can be generally understood as the act of seeking revenge upon another.  In this case, it seems that the school board understood the act of retaliation in the loosest of all possible terms, embraced in the notion that the decision to cut the Peterson’s daughter was “influenced at least in part” by the broader conflict between Nancy Peterson and Julie Crawford.

The three board members apparently took any evidence at all that “retaliation” occurred as necessary and sufficient to uphold the district and investigator’s ruling.

More importantly, the board remains silent on the conduct of their former colleague.  In particular, Sheila Allen has never explained why she as board president allowed Nancy Peterson to publicly criticize a district employee.

Our lengthy evaluation of the entire episode focused on a number of critical mistakes, not just by Julie Crawford but by everyone involved.  The district and board have never come to terms with those mistakes.

If the “evidence demonstrated a poor decision,” and “poor choices have consequences,” why is Julie Crawford the only one suffering a consequence here, at least formally at the hands of the board, in the form of “a short-term suspension from coaching”?

Remarkably, Sheila Allen and Susan Lovenburg’s colleague resigned and yet they make no mention of that or what might have led up to that.

Just as Nancy Peterson’s op-ed never offered insight into mistakes that she might have made, this op-ed falls short in the same way.

The authors write that “we trust it will also guide us to greater mindfulness” and that the board and administration “will review and strengthen policies and practices,” but they never enumerate what mistakes they made, they never elaborate on the mistakes by Nancy Peterson that forced her resignation, and in so doing we get only a small piece of the story.

The public cannot simply move on, it is not time, despite what the two board members insist.  Indeed, the board has not even taken the few small steps to deal with the complaint process, conflicts of interest, or bullying that this incident reflected.

This is in effect the equivalent to Nancy Peterson telling everyone to calm down – telling people to move on before they are ready to do so rarely works and often incites more anger and frustration.

To Ms. Allen and Ms. Lovenburg, we suggest that you do the job you were elected to do, you allow the community to move on at its own pace, and in the future, we suggest when you communicate to the public, you do so with more insight into the entire breakdown of the process rather than what is, frankly, only a small and almost inconsequential piece of that process.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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113 Comments

  1. Growth Issue

    What were they thinking? In my opinion submitting a letter like that was very unprofessional. They should’ve just let the matter lay. Didn’t they learn anything from Nancy Peterson’s ill advised letter to the Enterprise and the reaction it garnered?

    1. Tia Will

      From a different point of view, I think that they found themselves in a no win situation. If they make a statement, everyone who did not like that decision will be making negative comments and picking the statement apart. If they make no statement, those who do not like the decision would have been quick to say that they were slinking away or hiding from the consequences of their decision and just hoping that everyone would forget about it. For those who wish to nurse anger, and or obtain political advantage from whatever statement was, or was not made the situation was ideal as we are about to see in the press and comments.

      I would like to see us take a different path. A number of positive suggestions have appeared in comments in the articles and commentary here as well as probably in the Enterprise which I do not follow closely. A suggestion would be for someone who has a passion for this topic ( fremontia or TrueBlueDevil ) for example to compile these suggestions, send them to the board members, administration, Enterprise and Vanguard and keep this issue alive before the board and the public so that the issue will be addressed as the board members have now all publicly said it will be and not allowed to sink into obscurity.

      1. DT Businessman

        Say what? That’s a fairly strange point of view. It is the board and the admin that have been taking inexplicable action followed by silence and/or baffling comments; not the voters. This has been ongoing for well over a year. It is entirely predictable that such actions and comments by electeds confuse and unsettle voters, which will undoubtedly lead to a voter reaction. This thing isn’t unfolding in a vacuum after all.

        I encourage these guts to stop digging and bend this thing around fairly quickly otherwise the consequences will not be long in coming.

        -Michael Bisch

        1. Tia Will

          I agree that it is the responsibility of the board and the admin to turn this around quickly, as the board members have now all publicly said that they intend to do.
          If not the voters can certainly chose to “turn things around” themselves.

          My point is simply that many commenters have good ideas about ways of analyzing the problem. Rather than just leaving these ideas sitting here as part of angry rants, would it not be better to put them to good use by urging the incorporation of these ideas into any analysis and changes that the board members have said that they are intent on making ? If citizens truly desire greater openness from their elected officials and a bigger say in the decision making, why not present their ideas openly in public forums in a positive manner where their ideas will have the greatest chance of incorporation ?

      2. Mr. Toad

        But they already spoke on the issue the other night. It seems they want something they will never have, the final word. Yesterday there was no news on the case. Today there will be another hundred or so remarks because they opened their mouths. If they were really interested in things getting to “Calm Down” as Nancy Peterson famously said they would be quiet. Instead this is about trying to control the message and its one more mistake in a long series of them. Lovenburg was the smartest of the three who voted out Crawford as coach the other night because she said little. Speaking out now means that they underestimated the withering blowback they caused with their decision. They cannot control the conversation. It seems anything they say will simply perpetuate the anguish they are suffering as a result of what they have done. They will reap whatever they sow.

        1. SODA

          Rather than telling us all to ‘calm down’ in a condescending, lecturing way, which provokes a knee jerk negative reactions, at least in me, I suggest (yet once again) that they acknowledge THEIR shortcomings in this thing and begin to communicate what they intend to work on to IMPROVE the processes that led to the fiasco. Put the incident aside and tackle the core issues, ‘common core’ anyone?

  2. Tia Will

    “One problem with the finding by the board majority is it drew a very narrow line over what retaliation is.
    Retaliation can be generally understood as the act of seeking revenge upon another. In this case, it seems that the school board understood the act of retaliation in the loosest of all possible terms, embraced in the notion that the decision to cut the Peterson’s daughter was “influenced at least in part” by the broader conflict between Nancy Peterson and Julie Crawford.
    The three board members apparently took any evidence at all that “retaliation” occurred as necessary and sufficient to uphold the district and investigator’s ruling.”

    While David, and apparently the majority of commenters view of taking “any evidence at all of retaliation” as a problem, I would like to add a different perspective. In my system, there are situations where there is “zero tolerance ” for an action. Amongst these are charges of harassment, creation of a hostile work environment, and retaliation. With these charges, it is not a matter of innocent until proven guilty. It is not even, “he said vs she said”. Unless there is definite evidence that the accusations are completely unfounded, the determination is based on the perception of the victim, not the intent of the accused. On the surface this completely unfair and unfounded, however, it does stop the previously common practice of a superior within the organization from harassing or retaliating against an individual over whom they have significant power.

    Looking at the Crawford/Peterson case from this perspective, there are two pairs in which there was a significant power differential. One was the differential that the commenting community has focused on almost exclusively, the power of the school board member over that of a coach. I agree with the majority of commenters that in this case, the board member handled the situation in an abysmal manner, and she has paid for her transgressions with her elected job.

    What the commenting community does not seem to be willing to acknowledge is the second power discrepancy, that of a coach over a player. Multiple times statistics have been used to justify the coach’s decision to cut a senior from the team. What is missing in this analysis may be what lies behind and contributes to a player’s stats. Sometimes it is true that a player does not perform well because they do not make the effort, or do not have the interest or talent for the sport. However, there is another component of a player’s performance that I have never seen mentioned. That is the role of the coach in mentoring, guiding, teaching and investing time not only in the team as a whole, but in each individual player to help them achieve their best. Does anyone find it impossible or even unlikely that being harassed as she undoubtedly was by the parent, the coach might ,even subconsciously attempt to avoid the situation by withdrawing these all important investments of time and emotional energy in the player whose parent is causing her such misery ?

    I have no knowledge of this particular case, but in the face of so many unknowns, and with my knowledge that at least in my system, retaliation is viewed through the eyes of the alleged victim and in the broadest possible, I do not see the majority of the boards final action as so totally inexplicable.

    1. SouthofDavis

      Tia wrote:

      > the determination is based on the perception of
      > the victim, not the intent of the accused.

      So should we fire (or spend $22K to “investigate”) a coach (or teacher) any time a student “perceives” they are being treated unfairly?

      1. Tia Will

        GI

        What a biased question. Of course not. However, nor should we ignore student complaints whether brought forth by the student or by the parent. In some circumstances, although not here I believe, to do so would be to allow continued abuse or neglect of a player by a hostile coach.

        Please do not believe that this cannot happen. It can and did happen here in Davis until enough parents weighed in to ensure the removal of the offending coach . While I believe that most coaches, like most teachers are genuinely motivated by their passion for their field of interest and care for their students, they are no more likely to be perfect angels than any other member of our community, but rather are subject to all the same strengths and weaknesses of character even while possessing athletic skills to which many of us cannot
        aspire to.

          1. hpierce

            Given the topic, consider that she may have erred, with no malice intended, and consider whether you could let that go. Or, go ahead and pick that scab.

        1. Mark West

          Everyone and anyone should speak up about abuse if they are in a position to do so, as not doing so makes them complicit in the act. That said, getting cut from a sports team is not abuse, it is a coaching decision. Complaints about abuse should always be listened to and investigated, but complaints about an individual coaching decisions should be dismissed out of hand as coming from a whining parent or child.

          To my knowledge, there has never been a complaint against Coach Crawford for “abuse or neglect of a player by a hostile coach.”

    2. Grassroots

      Speculation of the sort presented in Tia’s response still seeks to punish and create loss. Restorative dialogue, healing dialogue, allows the parties to focus on needs and harm done and acts to fix harm and restore relationship. No one has beer restored nor has the harm been fixed. It is time to restructure our conflict resolution process.

      1. Tia Will

        Grassroots

        I am completely in agreement with your point.
        I wrote what I did not to defend our adversarially based system, but merely to point out how these conflicts are currently handled in one very large system and how that might shed a different light on the constraints faced by the administration and board in their decision making.

    3. hpierce

      I have personally seen cases where a very talented player, who the coach tried to help, kept ‘mouthing off’ to the coach because the player perceived that they were ‘too precious for words’. The better coaches removed that player from the team, as they were hurting the TEAM. Not saying this occurred in this case, but to say that a coach is responsible for a player’s lack-luster performance isn’t quite right either.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        And the coaching staff, in this case, apparently replaced an less-talented reserve with an outstanding freshman player whose success was chronicled all season in The Enterprise. So it looks like the coaching staff made the right volleyball decision.

    4. chris

      While harassment in employment cases is generally viewed from the perspective of a reasonable person, I believe a retaliation claim for a job action is different. That is more akin to when it’s alleged a job action was based on race, religion, or other protected category (in this case making the complaint puts them in the protected category) and you look at whether retaliation was a motivating factor in the decision. In that case, it’s the employer’s intent, not the employee’s perception, that is examined. If there are other reasons for the job action (cutting from the team), it’s considered a “mixed motive” and there is further analysis.

      Robin — am I getting this right? In any event, I don’t know if the analysis is the same in an educational setting like this.

      1. chris

        Actually, i think in retaliation claims now, the employee needs to show “but for” causation, not just that it was a motivating factor in the employment decision. But again, don’t know how this applies in this educational setting, just wanted to clarify it’s very different from a hostile environment claim.

  3. Adam Smith

    I agree that it is time to move on, and to learn some lessons. Ms Allen and Ms Lovenberg state that poor choices have consequences. I trust that the Davis electorate will consider Ms Allen’s poor choices as a Trustee when they vote for city council members in June.

  4. fremontia

    We don’t need them to restate what is already public knowledge and then tell us what we should think. We can judge for ourselves based on what we are allowed to know.

    They have sat in judgement on Julie Crawford but the voters sit in judgement on them. We are the jury here and like any jury we must make our decisions based only on what we are allowed to know. They have been the judge, jury and executioners of Julie Crawford. But that case is settled even if there remains debate on the wisdom of its outcome. Now the voters must decide whether to allow Sheila Allen to move up to City Council. We sit in judgement on Sheila Allen and must make a decision based on what we know.

    So what do we know? We know that after a long period of harassment, Julie Crawford was provoked into doing something that was used as the basis for being disciplined. We do not know what it was. We know that it was not serious enough to effect her status as a teacher and that she was not removed from the classroom or otherwise relieved of her duties supervising students or referred to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for action on her teaching credential. We know that the school board was divided on whether the finding even met the standard of a preponderance of the evidence and that the report showed no mal-intent.

    We know that Sheila Allen as board president publicly failed to act when Nancy Peterson maligned Julie Crawford from the dais. We know they spent more than $22,000 on an investigation. We know that Nancy Peterson in one instance did not recuse herself for conflict of interest and suffered no public rebuke from other board members. We know that in the current case Nancy Peterson reversed herself and recused herself based on a conflict of interest and was compelled to resign from the board because she claimed her need to protect her family was paramount. We know there was much public outrage directed at her and calls for her resignation and threats of withholding financial support from the district.

    We know the remaining board members denied Julie Crawford’s appeal and supported the decision of their administration to withdraw Julie Crawfords tentative contract to coach volleyball. We know there are unanswered questions about whether the process was conducted in a legal and fair manner for Julie Crawford. We know that the district sat on the investigative report for months before making a decision when there was little time for it to be reversed. We know that after voting to support the disciplinary action that Sheila Allen read a statement from the dais to a room full of Julie Crawford supporters with Julie Crawford present castigating the public for the tone of remarks made in the exercise of their free speech rights under their first amendment rights.

    We know they would like us to focus on other things now and underestimate the anger and distrust this case has generated in the community.

    Based on what I know I will not be supporting Sheila Allen for City Council and will urge my fellow citizens and co-members of the court of public opinion known commonly as the electorate to join me in my judgement on the failures of Sheila Allen and the Board of Trustees majority in the case of Julie Crawford

    1. wdf1

      fremontia: We know that Sheila Allen as board president publicly failed to act when Nancy Peterson maligned Julie Crawford from the dais.

      Allen and colleagues did act by voting down Peterson’s motions. It wasn’t clear at the time that the trajectory of events was going to this point. The board became aware of the complaint when it was appealed to the board.

      1. Fremontia

        Yes, that is true but as I said, not when Peterson publicly maligned Crawford from the dais. By the way Allen and Lovenburg continue the maligning today when they state “The evidence demonstrated a poor decision,…” Why are they talking about a personnel issue in the press? They seem to want it both ways talking about the parts of the file that support their decision but claiming confidentiality overall. Probably another violation of employment law.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          I agree, except without time to review the “investigation” and rebut it with FACTS (not factors), we can only guess at how thin, muddy, or illogical it is.

          They have lofty diplomas but not much common sense.

  5. Tia Will

    fremontia

    Yes, we all know what you have stated, although we may not all see it in exactly the same light as you have portrayed it.
    What you are omitting from your analysis is nine years of previous service on the school board and in previous roles in which Sheila Allen has contributed to the community. I have not decided for whom I will cast my second vote ( my first one belonging to Rob Davis ) however, I have never been a single issue voter. I believe in looking at the entirety of an candidate’s contribution to the community over time, not a single decision with which I disagree.
    I also agree with Michelle’s comment that it is more important to me how an individual approaches their decision making rather than any single decision. It is for this reason that I have not yet made a second voting decision.
    I prefer to wait to hear the nuances of positions and thought processes as the debate over multiple public issues develops and the candidates face one another in forums and question and answer sessions.

    What I would urge is a broader perspective and that we choose to act proportionately as Ms Daleiden stated that the administration and board should have done, a perspective with which I thoroughly agree and which I believe should be universally applied.

    1. SouthofDavis

      Tia wrote:

      > I have never been a single issue voter

      Everyone has a “single issue” that will make them not vote for a candidate. For Fremontia it is “vollyballgate”, for you it is something else.

      If Sheila was running on a platform to ban anyone with an MD from living (or working) in Davis I’m guessing she would not get your vote (despite her “nine years of previous service on the school board”)…

      1. Tia Will

        SouthofDavis

        Now if you are going to state that you know that everyone is a single issue voter over something, why don’t you try to find something within the realm of possibility. With regard to any local issue, I simply cannot imagine a single issue that would ever come to a vote that would be a litmus test for a candidate for me. If you know my mind better than I do, please demonstrate so with a credible example. You are allowed to consult with Frankly who also knows my mind better than I ; )

  6. Grassroots

    As a citizen of Davis, I do not find this puritanical lose-lose solution helpful to the Davis Community or the parties involved in this dispute which includes the community. Healing has not occurred. Conflict resolution has not progressed. I am disappointed, sad, that our social service programs have not advanced to the same depth and quality that our environmental activities have. I still call for restorative justice conflict resolution policy to be implemented by the Board.

    1. Tia Will

      Grassroots

      I am wondering how you envision this happening without the willing participation of all parties. My understanding was that when the possibility of such an approach was proposed one party to the conflict expressed interest and the
      other did not. While I have no experience with this model personally, my understanding is that there must be participation from both sides. Perhaps I lack understanding of this issue.

  7. Fremontia

    That is the great thing about the court of public opinion each voter gets to make their own verdict and each juror can try to influence the other jurors. It is obvious you are a defender of the status quo on this one. Even though you are relying on spin based defenses regarding tone or in this instance, a broader look art Allen’s record, because you know reprehensible things have occurred by those you choose to support others of us will use our own set of preferences in making our decision come June when i hope the day of reckoning comes for Sheila Allen.

    1. Tia Will

      Fremonita

      “It is obvious you are a defender of the status quo on this one. Even though you are relying on spin based defenses regarding tone or in this instance, a broader look art Allen’s record, because you know reprehensible things have occurred by those you choose to support others of us will use our own set of preferences in making our decision come June when i hope the day of reckoning comes for Sheila Allen.”

      Congratulations on your new membership in the “we know Tia’s mind better than she does ” team. I am sure that SOD and Frankly will welcome you warmly and it seems Mr. Toad may also be trying out ! I most certainly am not “defending the status quo”. There is probably no one who would choose to make more dramatic changes to our current system than I would. I would entirely scrap our adversarial system in which there are accusers and those who must defend against those charges. I do not believe in the impartiality or fairness of such a system whether it be in judicial, quasi judicial or any other type of conflict resolution as it sets up an ( in my opinion) arbitrary and unnecessary winner vs loser scenario which actually serves no one’s purposes but which we are so thoroughly invested in as a society that we see almost all aspects of life in terms of competition and not collaboration to achieve the best outcomes. Anyone who has read my posts over time would know I do not favor the status quo.

      Nor do I support the actions of Allen in this particular instance. However, I certainly do not believe that I have either enough information to support or attack although others certainly believe that they can decide based on limited facts and uncertainty about the actual rules that apply as a number of posters have alluded to. Not believing in making poorly founded judgments based on limited information is not synonymous with support.

      And I will stand my ground on viewing a candidate in light of their entire background and performance rather than one incident. I am certainly glad that all seem to have acknowledged that each individual has the right to make their own decision even if it does not happen to agree on all points with the majority.

      1. PhilColeman

        Tia: I liked you so much better when you made measured and thoughtful responses, specifically counter-points to a prevailing but vulnerable opinion.

        Now, you have fallen into the trap of responding to being deliberately baited and provoked. Don’t take the bait. We know who you are, and your reputation is secure. In this forum the best response to a jerk is . . . Silence.

  8. Don Shor

    It is difficult to trust the same board and administration that bungled this situation repeatedly to “review and strengthen policies and practices.” Especially when they clearly still think they made the right decision.
    They seriously need outside help on this.

  9. PhilColeman

    Maybe District Counsel has already tried, and failed. The Board–in what now seems to be a seemingly endless sequence of judgmental errors–makes yet another one. They are yapping away while sitting in the shadow of the mother of all lawsuits. Just on “process” alone, this is a tort attorney’s biggest fantasy. Board members are giving depositions and not even realizing it. They are giving details of the appeal that lock them down to a story, and using the most public of means to do it.

    Any practicing attorney would (and maybe did) tell the Board they must not do this, but politics probably trumps legal sanity just about now.

    Did you notice that Crawford’s future employment status went from “could apply,” to welcome back?

    Message to Board Members, nobody’s moving on, least of all, you. You’re not moving on, you are running for your life. Cut your losses now and eventually we’ll all move on. Meanwhile, you’ve got a parcel tax to promote. Guess what folks will want to talk about instead? Cut your losses and finally make a right decision. It will be humiliating, but you’ll be doing it (insert hackneyed sanctimonious phrase) “for the kids.”

  10. hpierce

    Not sure how much the analogy works, but am reminded of when human skin has a signficant ‘insult’, like ‘road rash’ from a bike accident. The body bleeds, nerve endings are exposed and ‘raw’, and there is pain. Then the body ‘sacrifices’ some more blood, and a protein (?) the makes a ‘net’ to use that blood to create a scab. Scabs are gnarly looking, but it stops the bleeding, protects the body from infection, and allow the body to heal. Eventually, the healing occurs, and the scab falls off, with little/no sign that an injury occurred.

    Yet many children (particularly little boys) get fascinated with the scab (which sometimes ‘itches’), and when the initial pain goes away, and when the skin is healing near the edges of the scab, start “picking at” it (despite adult admonitions to the contrary), resulting at times, to further bleeding, risk of infection, and the risk (as adults told us) of creating a scar, instead of full healing.

    Just a thought.

      1. PhilColeman

        Please don’t take this comment and try to tag it to Watergate. If you do, you author it and leave me out of it.

        My earliest memory of a public official using the “we need to move on” defense was L. Patrick Gray, the acting FBI Director during the Watergate scandal. Gray appeared before the Senate to be confirmed. Naturally, Senators were sharpshooting him on the FBI’s role in Watergate. Gray, who was dirty as hell, ducked, weaved, answered questions that were not asked, and all the usual stuff. Gray kept saying, we need to move on, we need to return to the business of running the country, etc. It didn’t work then and . . .

          1. Frankly

            And Obama and Reid deflecting the questions about Benghazi and the IRS scandal as being a right-wing conspiracy funded by the Koch brothers.

            But the difference between these and the Davis “coach scandal” is that the former are significantly important to continue to investigate and report on, and the latter is not.

          2. hpierce

            Yeah, Bill and/or Monica blew that one. Both “survived” (at least physically), as did Gray, Nixon, Halderman, the other “plumbers”, Warren Harding (well, at least he survived the Teapot Dome scandal, not necessarily the ‘other one’). People can be jerks/corrupt. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can claim purity/sanctity.

    1. hpierce

      I HATE it when people tell me how to FEEL. My feelings are MINE, and I’m entitled to them, no matter how ineffective, or self-destructive they may be.

      Point made, TrueBlue. Do not disagree with your sentiment.

  11. TrueBlueDevil

    With the underhanded and unethical manner they ran this “process”, even reasonable people could refer to this education board as a kangaroo court.

    Why? On top of everything, they apparently violated Coach Crawford’s employee rights in two ways.

    State of California / DLSE

    “California law requires that employers allow employees and former employees access to their personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Labor Code Section 1198.5 Inspections must be allowed at reasonable times and intervals.”

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_RightToInspectPersonnelFiles.htm

    Second, Vanguard contributor (and attorney) Robin W wrote two days ago:

    “I did some further research today because my background is primarily in the private sector. In the private sector the employer had no duty to inform the employee of the existence of documents with disparaging information that in the personnel file or that contributed to an adverse employment action. However, it appears that a related duty may exist when it comes to school district employees. California Education Code section 44031(b) states that, in addition to the right to inspect personnel records that all employees in California have, the following applies to a school district employee: ‘Information of a derogatory nature shall not be entered into an employee’s personnel records unless and until the employee is given notice and an opportunity to review and comment on that information.’ ”

    How could Tim Taylor, a lawyer, in-house legal counsel, and Human Resources allow this to happen?

    1. hpierce

      Weird… I thought the right to see one’s personnel jacket was ‘universal’. I do know that the right also covers most, if not all, public employees.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I’m surprised that Mr. Greenwald or Mr. Dunning have not focused on this apparent mammoth error.

        Did the coach’s lawyer ask for the 72-page report, and get a denial?

        1. David Greenwald

          I mentioned it in the last column the fact that it makes no sense and I compared it to Kafka’s the Trial where the protagonist did not know even the process or charges against him.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            Can the City or Crawford’s representative tell you (present day) what excuse they were given for not seeing it, and not seeing it far in advance?

          2. hpierce

            Uh… the City had nothing to do with it… get a clue… DJUSD handled this, not the City… you must be from out of state.

          3. TrueBlueDevil

            I’m not a gov’t policy wonk or lawyer, so I’m unaware if the City has any authority, or not, over an out-of-control school district.

      2. Frankly

        Another example of how unionization is outdated. Employee labor laws, codes and practices have advanced beyond the archaic practices of collective bargaining and union resource management.

        1. wdf1

          Frankly: Another example of how unionization is outdated.

          Meaning what? That an employee shouldn’t have the right to see the substance of a complaint against her/him?

        2. hpierce

          Wow! I hate unions in general, but the right to see the virtual ‘bill of attainder’, confront your accuser? Guess the person who questioned me for being over the top for likening some folks desire to go back to a previous time was wrong.

          Frankly, Frankly, giving up what approaches amounting to constitutional rights, should be restricted by public vs. private, union or not union is something you espouse? Are you familiar with a job having certain property rights? In this particular case, a job was not “lost”, but not “granted”. No foul there.

          Yet, your missive seems to imply that any employee, public or private, union or non-union should not be entitled to know what is in a personnel file related to their employment. I strongly disagree. Particularly in the public sector. If a private employer discharges an employee simply because they want a relative to fill the position, I believe that would be legal, but morally and ethically wrong. In the public sector, an employee deserves to be informed of causes for an adverse personnel action, otherwise we could easily devolve to a patronage system, instead of a merit system. Frankly, did you grow up in Chicago?

        3. Frankly

          Ok – apparently I need to make myself clear here.

          First, am I wrong in that the presumption here is that Ms. Crawford was NOT entitled to see her personnel file? And that the school district and the union would have to include that “right” in the labor agreement?

          And am I wrong with the presumption that Ms. Crawford was NOT offered, nor was she provided, her personnel file?

          General labor code for employee rights to their personnel file vary state to state. But in good ol’ CA… the state we are talking about here…

          And…

          California law requires that employers allow employees and former employees access to their personnel files and records that relate to the employee’s performance or to any grievance concerning the employee. Labor Code Section 1198.5 Inspections must be allowed at reasonable times and intervals. To facilitate the inspection, employers must do one of the following: (1) keep a copy of each employee’s personnel records at the place where the employee reports to work, (2) make the personnel records available at the place where the employee reports to work within a reasonable amount of time following the employee’s request, or (3) permit the employee to inspect the records at the location where they are stored with no loss of compensation to the employee.

          The right to inspect personnel files and records does not apply to records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense, letters of reference, or ratings, reports, or records that (a) were obtained prior to the employee’s employment, (b) were prepared by identifiable examination committee members, or (c) were obtained in connection with a promotional exam.

          Now, I might be wrong here, but I think that state government employees, and safety employees are exempt from this statute. And I think all government employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement are also exempted. The bottom line here is that the state labor codes exempt state and local government employees that are covered by union contracts.

          My point was that these employees would seem to be better protected by the existing labor code, than by their union contract.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            Our understanding, I believe, is that she WAS entitled to see her personnel file based on two criteria which I posted at 9:01 AM (see it above about 12 posts). Robin W took the time to dig up the second leg.

            Correct, I believe the understanding is that she was NOT offered the investigation document for her review, but possibly a brief summary of the allegations within. Robin W has explained that if a document is used to reach an adverse employment action, then that document must be provided to the employee for review, and rebuttal. (She can correct me if I mis-stated anything.)

            We’re unaware of what twisted logic they are using to shield it. Could it be the former age of the student? Redaction could solve any minor worries. Maybe the Peterson’s are lording legal actions over their heads?

          2. chris

            I think Frankly is saying the protections/rights of private sector employees which you and Robin explained might not apply here in public sector employment. If that is true, I dont know that it necessarily means the district is also prohibited from disclosing the info. Public sector employment laws are often different from private sector. I just wish the district could explain to David or the Enterprise why Crawford did not have an opportunity to review the investigation before the hearing. That would go a long way to help restore my trust in their judgment.

          3. chris

            sorry i don’t think my comment was clear. i think frankly is saying that those protections don’t apply to government employees that are covered by union contracts. again, if that’s true it doesn’t necessarily mean the district could not show crawford the report. we just don’t know yet the reasons why they didn’t.

          4. chris

            sorry i don’t think my comment was clear. i think frankly is saying that those protections don’t apply to government employees that are covered by union contracts. again, if that’s true it doesn’t necessarily mean the district could not show crawford the report. we just don’t know yet the reasons why they didn’t.

            i’ll stop talking to myself now. 🙂

          5. Frankly

            Chis – Sorry for the delayed response.

            You are correct, that is what I am saying.

            The California labor code has been jerry-rigged (pun intended) by the politicians, ostensibly to provide more power to the unions to write their own employee protections into their labor agreements.

            But the CA labor code has the benefit of hundreds of thousands of workers, lawyers, HR professionals, managers and millions of daily transactions and interactions and all the enforcement and court precedence… that lead to best-practice refinement that is orders of magnitude stronger than anything than union collective bargaining derives.

            My point is that the employee protection would be better as a non-union, right-to-work, employment-at-will, situation, than it is with union protection.

  12. Davis Progressive

    i simply do not understand what they thought they were accomplishing. as many have pointed out telling people to calm down or move on is the surest way to incite things. every time this story has calmed down, someone has poured gasoline on the fire. given that it was lovenburg and allen this time, peterson last time, i wonder to what end?

  13. Ryan Kelly

    I agree that the community should move on, but I think people are enjoying the controversy too much. That, or they might see this as useful for for the upcoming election. Robb Davis has supporters who seem to be welcoming this opportunity to trash Sheila Allen over 1 out of 3 vote. Since I make an effort to not be a “what have you done lately” voter, this is just a turn off. I also can’t blame Robb for the actions of his supporters.

    1. Don Shor

      I agree that the community should move on, but I think people are enjoying the controversy too much. That, or they might see this as useful for for the upcoming election.

      That, or they (such as myself) feel that the issue is unresolved because the school board majority fails to recognize the harm they have done, the total ineptness of the administrative process that led to this, and clearly refuse to acknowledge the disproportionate fault involved by the Petersons in this debacle. The phrase ‘extenuating circumstances’ comes to mind in assessing what kind of proportionate action should be meted onto Coach Crawford – if in fact there was anything approaching retaliation, which is questionable to begin with. In the face of an unrelenting campaign against her, she may have considered that harassment as she made up the roster. That’s where we are. And there is barely a word from Susan or Sheila about the actions of the Petersons.
      So no, we don’t “move on” and they really need to understand how incredibly dense and patronizing that statement is.
      The school board doesn’t get it. Taylor kind of seems to, based on his comments as reported by Bob Dunning. Although his comments completely undercut his vote, so it is a real head-scratcher. Susan Lovenburg and Sheila Allen clearly do NOT get it. So why would we all “move on” when they don’t understand what they have done?

  14. Davis Progressive

    some interesting comments on the enterprise site…

    “Bob Dunning reports that one person that signed Allen’s petition has already asked to remove their name. I wonder how many others will. Best not to have your name attached to Allen’s, especially if one has plans to further one’s professional future in Davis.”

  15. Davis Progressive

    another: “know who I am NOT voting for, no matter who supports her. It’s Sheila Allen. After this mess they got us in with DHS sports, she has no chance”.

  16. TrueBlueDevil

    This “Move On” missive by Board members Sheila Allen and Susan Lovenburg adds more questions than answers. Please, do comment.

    Allen-Lovenburg: “The Davis school board … listened closely to the statements of the parties involved in the appeal, then found that a preponderance of the evidence supported the conclusion that a coach made a poor judgment call…”

    Question: How do you know this, if the employee couldn’t review her personnel file in advance, and submit a well-thought, documented reply, as California laws allow?

    Allen-Lpvenburg: “The evidence demonstrated a poor decision, but not a poor volleyball coach. Poor choices have consequences, in this case, a short-term suspension from coaching. Though the board modified the consequence slightly, it largely reflects the original recommendation of the superintendent and Ms. Crawford is welcome to coach again in the future.”

    What? So is there a quid pro quo here … Coach Crawford agrees to not challenge your kangaroo court finding (she can’t even read the “investigative” report, nor reply to it); and she gets her job back? Is this now officially a ‘suspension’?

    And how was anything “modified”?

    They wrote: “…Parents should think carefully where the line lies between advocacy for a child and possible harassment of a coach or teacher,” which seems like tacit acknowledgement of Mrs. Nancy Peterson’s long-running, inappropriate behavior. Is this an attempted mea culpa?

    If the “evidence demonstrated a poor decision,” that means that there is no ‘smoking gun email’ as Dr. Peterson claimed, but we are back to the real transgression: cutting the daughter of a Board member (in favor of two outstanding freshmen players) is what they consider “retaliation”.

    Can we ask Mr. Best and the Board why they didn’t let an employee see their complete personnel file, per California laws? (We don’t need new “policies and practices” when you don’t follow what’s on the books now.)

    Mr. Greenwald – could we have a link to the complete communique?

    P.S. Mr. Phil Coleman, who contributes here, wrote an excellent piece which ran today in The Enterprise suggesting that fellow school districts assist each other in low-cost, independent investigations. I was going to suggest such an idea – say, Woodland help Davis, and visa versa – and his piece is well thought, nuanced, and with ancillary benefits which I hadn’t even envisioned. I bet an experienced hand from Woodland or Sacramento could cut through the Fog of Peterson quicker than a highly paid legal gun.

    1. Don Shor

      Which makes no sense at all. The board members are saying ‘she’s welcome to apply’ — but to get it on the consent calendar for Friday’s agenda, she would have already applied, already been offered, and already accepted.

      1. PhilColeman

        Don: Note also that the punitive action towards Coach Crawford just recently characterized as a short-term suspension. Now the Board seems to be saying, “It’s your job, please take it.”

        As we go ever forward from the bewildering to the bizarre, can we anticipate Julie getting a back-dated pay check for the season in which she was suspended? That way, the Board could say Ms. Crawford was on paid Administrative Leave.

        1. Growth Issue

          Phil Coleman
          “As we go ever forward from the bewildering to the bizarre”

          Nothing that happens with the people that are making the decisions in this drama is surprising anymore. They seem to be shooting from the hip.

    2. chris

      I think that’s great and I hope she takes it and the kids get their coach back. Now I’m guessing that last week’s hearing was more in the nature of a mediation with the result that the denial of the boys’ coach VSA was upheld with the understanding she would in return be allowed to come back for the girls’ season. Sort of like a suspension as others have characterized this previously. Of course this is my speculation only, but it helps make sense of Taylor’s comments during and after the meeting, and even the Allen/Lovenberg Enterprise letter.

      While I think that would be great if they all came to a mutually agreeable solution, I hope that what doesn’t happen is that they forget to address the serious procedural concerns that have been raised during this process. If Crawford in fact returns to her old positions and doesn’t raise a stink about what happened, who will ensure there is follow-through on these issues? I hope we as community continue to monitor their corrective action re these matters.

      1. Fremontia

        I disagree a mediation should have had a joint statement including an immediate return to coaching the current season. This is district damage control from the ceaseless public pressure and in fact they are finally trying to do something to get this behind them. It might work but it still stinks that she won’t be reinstated until the fall. If they really wanted to get this behind them they would reinstate her immediately.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          I concur. And how do teachers, staff, and coaches now feel, knowing that the district can slip a negative document or investigation into their personnel file, which they won’t be able to read or respond to?

        2. chris

          I agree if there were really a mediation during the hearing they should have come out and clearly stated that’s what happened. Again, I’m just speculating there was even a mutually agreed upon settlement during the hearing. It’s just the only scenario that helps me make sense of what we’ve heard (or not heard) since the hearing.

  17. wdf1

    Don Shor: to get it on the consent calendar for Friday’s agenda, she would have already applied, already been offered, and already accepted.

    Do you think all that hasn’t happened? Were you expecting a notice that the position is open, an application acceptance window, an interview, and then announcement?

    1. Don Shor

      VARIABLE SERVICES AGREEMENT
      2. CRAWFORD, JULIE – Varsity Head Coach Girls Volleyball, Davis Senior
      High School, March 21 – December 15, 2014, $4,298.00/stipend.

      The fall 2014 season begins March 21 2014?

      1. wdf1

        One issue recently in discussion, apparently, is that VSA’s often weren’t approved until the season almost began. This meant that coaches weren’t really under an official VSA when the first workouts were starting. This was discussed at the Feb. 20, 2014 school board meeting. I think this was part of the issue with Crawford coaching the boys VB team. The season was about to start, and a VSA hadn’t yet been approved, and yet Crawford was trying to get the team and season organized under the assumption that she would coaching. I think the earlier term time gives a coach authorization to do whatever preparation is required to organize the team and season.

      2. SouthofDavis

        It will be interesting to see how Sheila and Susan vote on the VSA…

        My guess is that they are ready to “move on” and get her back as coach this month…

        P.S. I saw another Peterson for School board signs in South Davis this morning and I was wondering if they were coming from a former supporter with extra signs who was mad at her or if a former rival was just getting rid of a stash of stolen signs (I can’t remember if Sue Greenwald’s husband Mike Syvanen was a Peterson supporter or rival)…

        1. wdf1

          VARIABLE SERVICES AGREEMENT
          1. CRAWFORD, JULIE – Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach, Davis Senior High School, effective August 2013 – November 2013, $4,298/season.

          Same amount as the past year, source.

        2. Jeff Simons

          I would surmise that the stipend (based on the dates given) is for coaching volleyball for the year, including girls in the fall and boys in the spring.

          1. Jeff Simons

            Whoops, I was confused. It ends December when girls’ volleyball ends, but starts now.

          2. wdf1

            It’s a separate VSA for each assignment. This is for the boys’ volleyball team in spring 2013, the one that brought about the 3-2 vote at the February 7, 2013 meeting:

            VARIABLE SERVICES AGREEMENT
            1 CRAWFORD, JULIE – Head Coach Boys Volleyball, Davis Senior High School, effective February 4, 2013 – May 31, 2013, $4298/season.

            It’s $4298.00 for each VB coaching assignment, source

    2. wdf1

      The agenda for Friday’s meeting is shown to have been posted yesterday. If the paperwork was turned in on Friday, then it probably was in time for the agenda. I could imagine what happened is that the Athletic Director walked several feet over to Crawford, asked, “Would you coach the girls’ volleyball team next fall?”
      “Sure.”
      “Great! Please fill out and turn in these forms before you leave today.”

      1. wdf1

        I’m sorry. I got that wrong. This is what really happened:

        In a statement emailed to The Enterprise on Tuesday morning, Superintendent Winfred Roberson stated “In order to reconcile recent events around volleyball (Monday) I met with Ms. Julie Crawford to discuss her immediate appointment as the varsity girls volleyball coach for the 2014-15 season, pending Board of Education approval on Friday, March 21. As superintendent I strongly believe that employees and students alike should have opportunity to grow as professionals and learners, even in the face of challenging circumstances. We are confident that our students-athletes, Ms. Crawford, the DJUSD and our community will begin the process of moving forward for the betterment of our students and organization.”

        Jeff Hudson, Davis Enterprise, 3/18/2014, School board to meet Friday to consider budget, technology and coaching hire

  18. Ryan Kelly

    If so, it looks like Julie is ready to move on to coaching next year. Good for her. I’m impressed. Hopefully, the community will allow her and the team to get on with playing volleyball and bringing home the section title.

    1. hpierce

      OK… there would be no school board… not a particularly good idea. Special election, if your thought is to be made reality? That would make the ~22 k expenditure “chicken feed”, given it could not make the June election. Has pot been legalized in Davis, and I missed it?

    1. wdf1

      Based on trends in past years, they’re usually approved later. If you want to dig through personnel reports in the board agenda docs, they’re usually found under certificated personnel under the consent calendar if they’re teachers, or in the classified personnel report if they’re not teachers. I haven’t seen fall sports assignments in recent board docs, but I haven’t looked that closely.

  19. Mr.Toad

    Now this is fascinating! Thanks to WDF1 I went through the consent calendars dating back to November 2013 for certificated employees. It appears that through Friday 3-21-14 Julie Crawford is now the first and only certificated employee being offered a VSA to coach a sport for fall 2014.

    Multiple choice time.

    Why?

    A. She is so damn good.
    B. They are afraid of losing her to another district.
    C. They feel guilty that they threw her under the bus to cover their own asses.
    D. All of the above.

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