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.