APS – Ethical Conduct – When it’s Convenient

Richard Belcher at Channel 2 recently reported on a case in which a senior APS official received favorable treatment on a transfer for his daughter to Inman Middle School.

Records show that Atlanta Public School Communications Director Stephen Alford ignored orders not to try to transfer his daughter to Inman in August 2010.

But an official reprimand said Alford was ordered not to seek a transfer and calls his actions a blatant violation of policy.

Belcher further reports that APS Chief of Staff Sharron Pitts wrote to Alford in May 2011 –

“This is a matter of ethical behavior (that) calls into question your judgment. Your breach is serious enough for me to have recommended termination,”

Alford wasn’t fired, and it turns out he wasn’t the only one who was cutting corners at the overcrowded middle school.

It should be noted that Alford resigned his position as Executive Director of Communications last month in advance of Belcher’s report and did not give a reason for his resignation. It is also interesting to note that his resignation is not effective until September 30, 2013.

Dr. Bockman – the principal who approved the transfer for Alford, and possibly 62 others – is now the principal at Coan Middle School. Per Belcher, APS indicated that:

“There is no documentation Dr. Bockman received any discipline.”

While it does not surprise me that senior officials try to bend the rules for their own kids, given the ethical chaos the district was encountering at the time with the cheating scandal, Superintendent Davis’ reaction is troubling. Again, as Belcher reports:

 APS officials said Superintendent Errol Davis knew about Alford’s reprimand but did not stop his promotion to executive director of communications nine months later. They said that’s because the system was experiencing tremendous transition and needed someone who could assume leadership immediately.

Superintendent Davis did a superb job on cracking down on the cheating scandal and has worked hard to raise the ethical standards in APS. There are numerous records of his statements on the importance of maintaining high ethical standards in the system and that violations of the standards will not be tolerated.

However, in this case, the violation was known and it was not corrected. Further the recommendation to fire Alford was rejected by Davis because it was not “convenient” at the time.

Ethical conduct means ethical conduct. Ethics of “convenience” does not quite meet that standard.

One Response to APS – Ethical Conduct – When it’s Convenient

  1. H.A. Hurley says:

    Richard Belcher is getting into areas of APS that have always been ‘business as usual’. Nepotism and ‘some being more equal than others’ has been a way of life in APS. Long history in the Board, too. There are so many employees who owe favors to others…..Belcher could set up shop! He is now poking away at APS’ Best & Finest!? Their shining stars! Ethics – Shmethics! This is APS we’re talking about. It has a history of making stars out of marginal people, retaining them, earn their EdDs on the job, and rewarding them big financially. How’s it working for them? Very well!

    Dr. Davis has done a fairly good job, however, he also has conducted himself in some situations unbecoming of an ethical superintendent. In fact, he never would have done some of these while at the Board of Regents.

    Question, do we have any of our taxpayers’ $$$ left to go down that legal road? Between the Cheating Scandal and the numerous Special Education lawsuits, our taxpayer $$ are hurting. You wouldn’t know it, because APS has always been LIVING LARGE.
    Good luck, Mr. Belcher! Good Luck Atlanta Tax Payers!

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