On April 2nd, the Delaware Public Integrity Commission wrote a letter to the Odyssey Charter School Board of Directors which showcased a plethora of financial improprieties, conflicts of interest, and co-mingled interests involving their board and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA). The Odyssey Board of Directors has nine members, five of which belong to AHEPA. Currently, Odyssey is beginning a formal review by the Delaware Department of Education after the State Board of Education voted to place the charter school under review last week.
The letter concludes with the following: Continue reading Exclusive: Public Integrity Commission Slams Odyssey’s Board; Potential McGuiness Ties To AHEPA Creates Huge Conflicts of Interest
Aside from State Rep. Paul Baumbach, I have yet to hear from one person in support of this legislation. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But in the 24 hours or so since I posted this story, I have had many sidebar conversations with Baumbach, as well as many other crucial conversations. Continue reading More Information On The Atrocious School Board Member Removal Bill
Two new bills introduced today tackle the very problematic issue with lobbyists in Delaware. State Senator Bryan Townsend and State Rep. Paul Baumbach are the main sponsors of each bill showcasing the need for transparency from lobbyists. As well, their peers in the General Assembly will have a lot more to answer for in terms of their relationships with lobbyists. Conflicts of interest will be under the spotlight, as they should be.
Senate Bill 225, sponsored by Townsend, is a much-needed bill that removes exemptions for General Assembly members not being investigated in conflict of interest and code of conduct investigations. The legislation also requires lobbyists to disclose any payments they receive, including the source of the payment and the amount.
House Bill 385, sponsored by Baumbach, would make it so lobbyists have to pay a registration fee to offset the costs imposed on the Public Integrity Commission. Many lobbyists pose a conflict of interest and this bill would actually generate funds in a situation that deals with this ongoing issue.
Both of these bills are very welcome in my opinion. We can’t cut the rot out of Delaware politics until we get to the root of it. And unfortunately for the good lobbyists, there are many bad ones. In most investigations, it becomes a standard game of follow the money. If both of these bills pass, that will be much easier.
This will get real interesting with the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) and the Delaware Charter Schools Network. In Delaware education, they are both at Legislative Hall for anything education related. I would love to know how much the lobbyists for the Delaware Business Roundtable make as well.
Updated, 5:20pm: I’m now seeing a third bill introduced today, once again by Townsend. Senate Bill 224 deals with Campaign Finance Reform and disclosure of a contributor’s occupation and employment information. This is already done in federal elections. It looks like the transparency train is finally making a stop in Dover…
Larry Mendte’s weekly program, The Delaware Way, aired its most recent segment yesterday. One of the interview subjects was none other than State Rep. John Kowalko. Mendte and Kowalko primarily talked about The Public Integrity Commission’s recent grade for Delaware in transparency. You know, that glaring “F”. Kowalko said he was surprised Delaware wasn’t 5oth out of 50, as opposed to 48th. I recommend watching this, and not just cause of the name drop near the end! I guess Larry didn’t want to hear about that! But thanks anyways John!