photo from the Daily Pilot.
Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, the NMUSD Superintendent, has been with NMUSD since July 2006. He worked as superintendent of Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) for three years before moving to NMUSD.
A vote of no confidence is a process in which union members state that they have no confidence in the ability of a person or group of people to perform their duties. In this case, the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers (N-MFT) conducted a vote that asked union members whether they believed Hubbard could do his job as a superintendent considering his trials.
In the past, Hubbard was accused of two more felony charges, both from his time in BHUSD. Hubbard was charged with unlawfully giving $20,000 to another BHUSD employee, Karen Christiansen, along with a raise of $350 per month for her car allowance, bringing it from $150 to $500 a month.
house, photo from OC Register.
Hubbard was also granted “more than $125,000” in a five month paid leave to prepare his legal defense. He requested the paid leave retroactively in January, receiving payments from December 2010 onward. The board approved the request in a 6-1 vote in which only Katrina Foley voted against it. Hubbard returned to the district on July 5, 2011.
Christiansen has also been charged with illegally accepting the pay raise and car allowance, in addition to over $2.2 million in contracts from four counts of conflict of interest. Hubbard’s preliminary hearing was in January 2011. Both Hubbard and Christiansen have pleaded not guilty. Christiansen, however, was found guilty of her charges and faces up to eight years in prison.
On October 20, the N-MFT sent ballots to each union member. The votes were tallied, and on November 8, N-MFT presented its results to the NMUSD Board of Education at the District Office.
At this District Board meeting, Kim Claytor, the President of N-MFT, presented the results of the vote of no confidence. She talked for three minutes, and was followed by several other speakers concerned with the vote of no confidence. One woman claimed that Hubbard was not performing adequately as superintendent. The meeting continued as usual after the 10 minute presentation.
She added that other concerns included the “superintendent's decision making processes regarding hiring upper level administrators and modeling acceptable behavior on the job.”
Of N-MFT's 959 members, 379 participated. This translates to a 39.5% voter turnout. To put it in perspective, the 2008 presidential election yielded a 56.9% voter turnout, according to the United States Election Project.
Ciulla and a friend,
photo from O.C. Now.
“Our concern is that he will continue to be distracted by his defense. We want him to defend himself, we hope he did not do the things for which he is being charged, and we hope he is treated with fairness by the justice system. Our members are also disturbed by his request for paid leave to prepare for his defense - other employees would have to use sick time or take unpaid leave and we are quite certain none of us would be granted over five months of paid leave,” said Claytor.
Karen Yelsey, a member of the District Board of Education, said, “Sixty-four percent of the teachers did not vote no confidence in Dr. Hubbard. The Board of Trustees, which has much greater knowledge of Dr. Hubbard's performance, has expressed confidence in his leadership. The majority of the Board of Trustees has an abiding commitment to the concept of due process, that one is not guilty until convicted.”
Walt Davenport, NMUSD Board of Education President said, “Dr. Hubbard can do, and is doing, his job. Other than the financial issues stemming from Sacramento, the district is in great shape. If you do the math, approximately 37% of total union membership voted to support the no confidence resolution. In my experience, whenever there is a vote of this type, those who choose not to vote do so because they are OK with the status quo. This leads me to believe that if 100% of the membership had voted the resolution of no confidence would probably have failed.”
Yelsey added, “It would be interesting if NMFT would take a vote of no confidence in the union leadership. I wonder what that result would be.”
“I completely agree with this vote of no confidence. If a teacher was accused with what Hubbard did, they would face far more serious punishment than what he got,” said a veteran CMHS teacher.
“I would support [the teachers] because they are most involved and affected. NMUSD has a strong group of teachers who know what they’re doing and I support them,” said Alyssa Hatton, senior and ASB president.
Others are opposed to the vote of no confidence, meaning that they support Hubbard as a superintendent.
“I voted no, but I’m somewhat mad that we used union dues to pay for the vote,” said Mrs. Sheldon, a long time teacher at CMHS.
“I don’t agree with [the vote of no confidence]. I feel that people don’t have enough information from both sides to make a judgment,” said Jennifer Piatti, a CMHS parent.
Most CMHS students were unaware of the vote of no confidence when asked about it.
“Yeah, I definitely don't know anything,” said junior Rachel Witter.
“Um no, sorry,” said freshmen Jeirany Chavez.
“Hmmm I don’t really know about that!” said junior Trista Bell.
“I honestly have no idea!” said Melissa Michaels, senior class ASB president.
As for the Board of Education’s next action about the vote of no confidence, member Katrina Foley said, “nothing.” She said that it’s clear that most of the Board of Education supports Hubbard.
Foley also commented, “I have a concern that the priorities of the administration aren’t focusing on ensuring that the funding allocation have a direct impact on students for education, activities, and athletics.”
Laura Boss, of the Public Information Office of Newport-Mesa, said, “Because of his pending legal case, he is not at liberty to address any of the issues, including those such as the vote which is a result of circumstances created by his legal case.”
Hubbard's court case in the Los Angeles Superior Court began on November 10. Hubbard said that once his trial ends he will explain everything. The outcome of his trial remains uncertain.
Video of Vote of No Confidence Presented at NMUSD Board Meeting (video)
Go to 2 hours and 37 minutes.
Dr. Jeffery Hubbard’s District Biography
Hubbard’s emails to Walt Davenport, the Board President, about his trial, dated 2010-2011
Hubbard’s emails to Karen Christiansen