Corruption is in the air. Many contractors, staff, and even Trustees have been indicted for possible wrongdoing tied to gifts. Some have pled guilty while others await trial. Consultants paid by the District were allowed to defraud the District for non-existent meetings. An investigation was conducted but nothing came out of it. Finally, the contracting system for goods and services seems compromised at best. This may be news to the people who sit on the dais, but it’s time to take steps to reform the system.
Sky is the Limit. Unlike most other government entities, Sweetwater District has no campaign contribution limits, and, consequently, contributions to the campaigns of some Trustees have been staggering. The same situation existed at Southwestern College (SWC), but there, the Board recently put an amount limit on campaign contributions. That Board (SWC) is trying to fix what one Trustee described as “trying to rebuild the foundation of a house.”
Lost opportunity. At a recent Trustee meeting, a public speaker submitted a proposal to put a limit on the amount that can be contributed to the political campaigns. The proposal was not considered and none of the Trustees even discussed it.
It’s time to clean house. It might be too little too late but the Sweetwater District needs to bring real reform to the system. While not a big step, adding a limit of $300 to campaign contributions would be a small start. Even more important, contributions from corporations should not be allowed. It should already have been proposed but a strong policy on gifts must be implemented. Finally, there must be accountability for the thousands of dollars billed to taxpayers for bogus consulting. Let this be a warning: If the District doesn’t act, then the community will.