The South San Antonio Independent School District Board of Directors voted 5-2 early Wednesday morning to censor an administrator and issue two written reprimands to Superintendent Marc Puig.
The divided votes came hours after the Texas Education Agency released a final investigative report into council conduct and district procurement practices, concluding that council members had not cooperated with the superintendent and had acted outside their authority.
The agency will set up a monitor to work with the council and the district, following the investigation, which began in April 2019.
The board voted 5-2 twice, with directors Gilbert Rodriguez and Stacey Alderete dissenting on each occasion, to issue two written reprimands to Puig for “breach of professional duty to the board” and “policy violations. district school board supply. . ”
Directors met behind closed doors for about five hours on Tuesday, voting after midnight Wednesday.
Puig declined to comment later Wednesday.
Directors also voted 5-2, with Rodriguez and Alderete again dissenting, to publicly censure and reprimand Rodriguez for “unprofessional and disrespectful behavior.” The resolution adopted by the board of directors indicates that Rodriguez has repeatedly addressed his fellow directors with “vulgar and profane language; makes offensive and insulting comments to other directors about their moral, ethical and mental capacities; made unsubstantiated and unsubstantiated allegations that fellow fiduciaries engaged in criminal behavior, including bribery and corruption ”and engaged in“ intimidating behavior towards female fiduciaries ”.
After reading the resolution, Rodriguez said he was passionate about the work of the board and apologized to his fellow directors if that passion “translates into [him] being overly aggressive or intimidating.
“I don’t hide the passion I have for the service I provide to the children of our district and to the people of our community,” he said. “I’m a man enough to admit that sometimes I get a little too passionate, and yes there were times when I used a few chosen words that were inappropriate.”
Alderete called the retaliation resolution and said all directors occasionally got heated during board discussions.
“This is just another example of why TEA needs to be here,” she said.
Alderete and Rodriguez also called for the votes taken to reprimand Puig by the majority of the board. Rodriguez said the majority were targeting the superintendent for using his authority to deal with personnel issues, which he called “inappropriate” and “unwarranted.” The council did not discuss the issue of personnel in open session.
“It is my opinion that this majority of the board of directors is deliberately, intentionally” in the superintendent’s investigation of a South San ISD employee, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez presented two replacement motions not to reprimand Puig, both of which fell 5-2 with him and Alderete voting for the replacement motions.
The second reprimand the board approved for Puig involved the superintendent hiring a lawyer. Trustees Shirley Ibarra and Homer Flores, who voted for the reprimand, said Puig did not have the authority to hire legal counsel without going through the procurement process and bringing the case to the board. for a vote. Board chairman Ernesto Arrellano Jr. echoed their concerns and said the reprimand was not retaliation but to ensure board policy is followed.
Puig told the board that he did not hire a lawyer to act as legal counsel, but for investigative services in connection with his investigation of the employee in question, and that those services would end once investigation completed.
“The email I shared with you makes it clear that this is a staff survey,” he said. “I did not at all unilaterally hire a lawyer to represent the board of directors. What we have hired is an investigator, an investigator, someone to do technical research for a very important investigation. “
Before voting, Alderete apologized to Puig and thanked him for his service.
“You are the best thing that has happened to these kids and these people in the neighborhood,” she said.