Hanretty arrested on embezzlement charges Around Town, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Jun 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm
Tim Hanretty, the former superintendent of the Portola Valley School District, has been arrested and charged with felony embezzlement of public funds from the district, acting superintendent Carol Piraino announced late Friday night.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, June 16, 2012, 3:03 PM
Posted by Interested onlooker, a resident of the Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley neighborhood, on Jun 16, 2012 at 11:30 pm Interested onlooker is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
how would the current board stepping down improve the situation? Do you have a slate of candidates to replace them? The current board is a group of people with extensive involvement in the PV schools, and as they all have children attending the PV schools, they've got plenty of skin in the game. It's indeed unfortunate that they didn't realize that Hanretty apparently couldn't be trusted, but in fairness, his old boss, Anne Campbell, apparently didn't realize that either, and she worked with him for years! Hanretty was the business manager for both Woodside and Portola Valley for a decade, so he was already established in the role by the time any of the current board members were elected or appointed. My impression is that prior to the real estate slump, the district was on a comfortable financial footing, and there wasn't much incentive to go looking for trouble when none was visible.
If you look at the meeting minutes from past meetings, you'll see that many of them have sections where the board meets in closed session to discuss disciplinary matters, performance evaluations, other confidential matters, and litigation. The bulk of the agenda for the June 20 meeting is in open session — only 1 hour of the 5 1/2 hours on the agenda is closed, and that is to discuss the performance of the acting superintendent (happens each meeting), some potential litigation, and some inter-district transfer applications. The auditor's report and the budget discussion are in the open session.
Posted by tom94301, a resident of another community, on Jun 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm tom94301 is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
You make many good points and sound very reasonable.
On the other hand, from my experience with the Portola Valley community, I know that many have a great depth of intelligence and energy and concern for the excellence of their children's educational experience. Additionally, they do not have a credibility burden from possibly having showered a generous salary, loans, and bonuses upon an employee who may have taken advantage of their trust.
I cannot speak to Anne Campbell's experience, but it took me much less than a year to have serious concerns.
I'm not convinced that the agenda items that you indicate are closed (i.e., the performance of the acting superintendent) should not be held in the open.
I sense that the times are changing and that we are moving towards transparency in many new areas.
Posted by Susan Smith, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Jun 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm Susan Smith is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
The bank was happy to lend the money - and probably did not check with the financial office to confirm the amount of the loan. Those banks make it easy.
On the other hand, school administrators ought not to be accessing the school district's funds. The only money they should see should be their paychecks. Everything else should be handled by the School Board and the financial officers in front of the public.
Don't tell me, the schools probably don't carry errors and omissions insurance policies.
those with an oversight responsibility failed big time here and should be terminated as incompetent. The problem most likely starts with the school board. ...
Posted by hoflem, a resident of the Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch neighborhood, on Jun 19, 2012 at 9:00 am hoflem is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
1. To bad the loans to the teachers were not handled properly. It is a good program that some people took advantage of by not paying their share of the loans
2. The district is in a crisis. The fix is going to come from the district, parents and teachers. All of us need to share in the pain of getting this fixed, equally. Let's not expect one group to carry the responsibility by themselves, and not do our own part in fixing this problem.
Posted by Matt R., a resident of the Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda neighborhood, on Jun 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm Matt R. is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
The books were a mess. Money wasn't well managed. Accountability was lacking at many levels. Many want to help, but only a few have the ability to actually do anything other than talk. As of now, most communication is still less than ideal.
Posted by Interested onlooker, a resident of the Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley neighborhood, on Jun 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm Interested onlooker is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
§ 54957(b)(1) -- "[N]othing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the legislative body of a local agency from holding closed sessions during a regular or special meeting to consider the appointment, employment, evaluation of performance, discipline, or dismissal of a public employee or to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee by another person or employee unless the employee requests a public session."
I believe I saw similar language regarding litigation.
The board members are chosen to be our representatives. It's clearly not practical to directly involve everyone in everything.