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Central Basin ‘Three’ Not Following Through on Ethics Compliant Against President Roybal

Roybal, Apodaca, and Vasquez-who voted to eliminate the CBMWD Ethics Committee-now ignore ‘teacher jail’ complaint against Roybal

By Brian Hews and Randy Economy

Concerns are being raised by the filer of an ethics complaint alleging that Central Basin Municipal Water Board President James Roybal possibly committed “a criminal act” by accepting compensation for his employment at besieged public agency while also accepting payment during the same timeframe from his job with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers broke the exclusive details that Roybal has been enrolled into the controversial “Teacher’s Jail” since March of this year.

Roybal had previously taught Special Education at Wilson High School until being yanked from classroom duties.  Roybal, in a brief interview with HMG-CN three weeks ago, would not speak about his involvement and participation in the disciplinary program.

HMG-CN received a copy of the complaint emailed to General Manager Tony Perez on November 19, 2013 seeking an Ethics Committee review and examination of the latest alleged illegal actions of the controversial water board member.  The complaint was signed by a former employee of Central Basin who did not want to be publicly identified.

According to the filer, “18 days have passed and I have not received any response nor has the District taken any public action to address the complaint.”

Central Basin’s Municipal Water District is currently controlled by a voting majority of three elected directors that consist of Roybal, Bob Apodaca and Leticia Vasquez.  The three of them recently eliminated the long-standing oversight committee in October after the committee investigated numerous citizen complaints filed against both Roybal and Apodaca.

According to Central Basin Director Art Chacon, “those two (Roybal and Apodaca) didn’t like the idea that they could be investigated so they found it more convenient to simply banish the committee and avoid inquiries altogether.”  Chacon added, “They were obviously successful because this latest complaint has not been addressed according to the filer.”

HMG-CN published last month the explosive video tape revelation that Roybal had been removed from classroom duties for allegations of improper behavior and has been languishing in “teacher’s jail” while an investigation is conducted.

The newspaper has also learned that Roybal is being paid his full salary and benefits from the Los Angeles Unified School District while performing no educational duties for the massive school system.

Roybal admitted to HMG that he was “reporting to the building” that LAUSD houses those reassigned to the rooms known as “teacher jail” but stopped short of confirming his actual participation at the program.

It is estimated that Roybal proceeded to attend Central Basin related meetings an estimated 50 times after he departed from teacher’s jail.

Rules dictating reassignment in teacher’s jail state that the remainder of the school workday, which concludes at 2pm, is to be spent at home, specifically prohibiting “seeking a second job”.

The ethics complaint received by HMG-CN calls into question whether fraud has been committed on Roybal’s part and whether he should return an estimated $25,000 in compensation to the school district that was earned while being paid at Central Basin for overlapping periods of time.

A retired LAUSD administrator familiar with the teacher jail reassignment referred to Roybal’s actions as “double-dipping.”

The complaint also states that Roybal “willingly committed workplace fraud and has knowingly implicated Central Basin in the process by setting the times of meetings per his discretion as President.”

The complaint also said that Roybal “had the opportunity to seek to schedule these meetings at hours that would not conflict with his LAUSD employment hours, but chose not to do so.”

The complaint states that Roybal’s actions amount to defrauding two public agencies for his own financial gain.

HMG-CN reached out to Board Member Vasquez via text who responded “the General Manager (Tony Perez) indicates he has not received any such complaint or letter.  I have had a conversation with him about this issue and he will be reaching out to you to further discuss it. I am in full support of ethics reform at Central Basin and look forward to staff bringing before the board recommendations on a more improved ethics policy. I remain committed that complaints brought before the board against board members and staff remain free of bias by both staff and board members… the District is best served by an independent review of such matters.”

She went on further to state that she supported the revamping the ethics committee and establishing an independent review of such matter while criticizing past boards for “totaling ignoring” issues at Central Basin now being investigated by the FBI.

Asked if she has talked to Roybal about actually attending “teacher jail”, Vasquez said, “Roybal would not confirm or deny his employment situation or provide me with any further information.”

Sources familiar with Central Basin claim that the revamped district ethics policy passed in October placed the General Manager in charge of handling ethics complaints and that critics feared that the GM would be intimidated to not address complaints promptly like the former committee had in the past.

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