One New Guy, One “Repeat Offender” for Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee


Bill Kelly is on the school board agenda to be­come a new CBOC mem­ber as a nom­i­nee of the Hercules City Council; Tim Warner is on the same agenda to be ap­pointed to a sec­ond term.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee has 19 seats. Currently, there are 16 ap­pointed mem­bers with 1 mem­ber fin­ish­ing his term and need­ing to be re­newed. There are three empty seats, all “city” seats: Hercules, San Pablo, and Richmond. (Check the ros­ter for the full run-down on mem­ber­ship.)

It’s the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the school dis­trict to fill the po­si­tions. Sadly, they don’t tell the CBOC lead­er­ship any­thing be­fore­hand about ap­point­ment ac­tiv­ity, be­cause that would be…too nor­mal. As com­mit­tee sec­re­tary, I just check the agen­das as they come out to the pub­lic. If there is a new per­son on the agenda, I do some in­ter­net track­ing if nec­es­sary to get their con­tact info.

In the next WCCUSD School Board meet­ing agenda, I can see two CBOC ap­point­ments. Tim Warner is up for re­newal. He has been a good con­trib­u­tor to our com­mit­tee, so I’m glad that he’s con­tin­u­ing. Bill Kelly is also on the agenda as a new ap­pointee hav­ing been nom­i­nated by the City of Hercules. He’s on the city coun­cil. Hopefully, the time de­mands of his coun­cil seat won’t in­ter­fere too much with at­ten­dance at CBOC meet­ings.

Note: Other groups and in­di­vid­u­als nom­i­nate peo­ple for CBOC, but ap­point­ment to the CBOC is ap­proved by the school board.

Budget and Schedule Are the Hobgoblins of Small Minds

It started at our WCCUSD CBOC meet­ing in January as this agenda item:

F.2 Budget Adjustments to Bond Program (tabled at December meet­ing)
The Board of Education has just ap­proved $26 mil­lion in bud­get in­creases for bond projects.
Why did this hap­pen and what sort of con­trols are in place to pre­vent this from re­oc­cur­ring.
Submitted as a ques­tion by the CBOC Chair to Bill Fay on 1/​20/​14.

This had ear­lier elicited this brief writ­ten state­ment from Mr. Fay, WCCUSD Chief Operations Officer:

The WCCUSD Bond pro­gram is scope dri­ven that de­liv­ers out­stand­ing fa­cil­i­ties that meets the ex­press needs of each school com­mu­nity.

As such, all projects re­ceive the most cur­rent de­sign stan­dards, tech­nolo­gies, ed­u­ca­tional spec­i­fi­ca­tions and equip­ment with­out re­gard to project tim­ing. The pro­gram also moves for­ward with­out re­gard to con­trac­tor bid­ding cli­mate and does not “value en­gi­neer” any scope. The rem­edy re­quires a change in
the num­ber of projects that can be ac­com­plished.

When the mat­ter came up, Mr. Fay did not de­tail how this phi­los­o­phy led specif­i­cally to the $29M short­fall, but in­stead ex­panded on the phi­los­o­phy of scope-based bud­get­ing at least as used in this dis­trict: spend with­out limit on projects un­til you run out of money -> bump re­main­ing projects to the next bond -> get the next bond.

It’s all in this record­ing of Mr. Fay with some com­ments by Martin Coyne along with com­ments by com­mit­tee mem­bers. It’s only 9 min­utes; it’s worth a lis­ten.

Update (5/​22/​2014):

  • The meet­ing date was January 29th, 2014.
  • The full meet­ing record­ing by dis­trict staff is still on the pod­cast site at this page.

Recording from 5-30-2012 CBOC Meeting Is Up

I’ve posted the of­fi­cial au­dio record­ing for the May 30, 2012 WCCUSD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee on the site I main­tain for these record­ings. The record­ing can be down­loaded as a pod­cast or a sound file or be lis­tened to on­line. Highlights from the record­ing:

  • Starting around 4 min­utes and 15 sec­onds – Minutes re­view in­cluded a ques­tion from Kris Hunt about why the min­utes go through so many re­vi­sions even be­fore the com­mit­tee sees them. Kris Hunt also ob­jected to a crit­i­cal com­ment she had made at the last meet­ing be­ing left out of the min­utes. She made the com­ment un­der Public Comment, but in the min­utes it just said “NONE” un­der Public Comment. Instead of just be­ing fixed, this led to some dis­cus­sion first.
  • 15:11 – Under chair’s re­port, Robert Studdiford did some sort of eu­logy for re­cently de­ceased County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema whom he didn’t seem to know. Then he switched to some­thing about sub­com­mit­tee e-mails be­ing pub­lic and that this was some­thing to be on-guard about. He then men­tioned me by name. After the meet­ing, I con­firmed that he didn’t like me post­ing this e-mail on­line to link to in other e-mails. (The thread for that e-mail in­cluded the whole WCCUSD school board.)
  • 29:00 This was the be­gin­ning of our Brown Act train­ing ses­sion. The at­tor­ney mak­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion seemed to be a lit­tle bit more fo­cused on get­ting around the Brown Act, etc. in­stead of just fol­low­ing it, but lis­ten and judge for your­self.

More Stuff: Bond Oversight Committee Recordings

I’ve al­ways been an­noyed by the fact that, even though staff makes record­ings of our WCCUSD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee meet­ings, no one seemed to be able to get a hold of them. Then (sup­pos­edly) they are de­stroyed af­ter be­ing used to draft min­utes. Not very use­ful for the rest of us.

After a lot of work, I think can get them reg­u­larly now. As of to­day, I have record­ings of the last two meet­ings.

The next step was find­ing a way to make them avail­able. For this, I’m try­ing a ser­vice called Podomatic. It gives you 500Mb of free stor­age and pack­ages the sound files as pod­casts. Just use a spe­cial link to get to the pod­cast page:

From this page you can lis­ten to a record­ing, sub­scribe to the record­ings, or down­load them. A multi- or sin­gle-track play­ers can eas­ily be em­bed­ded like this:

I’ll see how this works out.