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The Real Story of the Leaked Mike Miles-Rebecca Rodriguez Report

Let me start by saying that maybe DISD Superintendent Mike Miles is a goner, maybe he isn’t. Maybe he’ll be found guilty of obstructing an internal investigation, maybe he won’t. I don’t think he did or will, but I could be wrong. What I’m most concerned with right now is that leaked report on the investigation you’ve been hearing so much about.

If you read the entire report about Miles and the school board and pulling the RFP off the agenda and everything, I think it’s very possible you’ll come away with a very different take on this situation. My take from just hearing the news coverage: dumb, he’s probably sealed his fate. My take after reading the report: Miles didn’t do anything illegal, probably didn’t even do anything unethical (removing such an item from the agenda seems relatively SOP, by all accounts), and I wouldn’t hire Rebecca Rodriguez with your money. She’s the communications chief who stepped down after only three and a half months. For one thing, many of the people interviewed, not just Miles, give testimony that squares more with what Miles contends than with what Rodriguez says went down. I know that’s not what you’ve heard, and I think that’s because she has so many friends in the media, especially at the TV stations in town.

But as Jim Schutze said earlier this week, Paul Coggins will figure all that out. In the meantime, let me just point out a few of the dozens of things in this report that made me yelp when I read it.

This quote, from Rodriguez, about why she thought Miles was out of line to pull the agenda item on the day of the school board meeting.

“I cannot condone the decision to pull a potentially controversial item from an agenda hours before a meeting, even if it is within a Superintendent’s authority to do so. Such an action is not a prudent use of that power, and leads to an erosion of public trust. There are better ways to ensure the inclusion of diverse vendors within our community than through means that are inherently divisive.”

Not to put too fine a point on this, but are you effing kidding me? Tell you what, do me a favor, Rebecca: see if you can get Tim’s job, then tell Wick Allison what is and is not a prudent use of his power. And make sure I’m nearby. With popcorn. If you thought that Miles was a bully because he raised his voice to you, let’s just say that I’ve been yelled at by the best, and Wick is right up there.

I was also a fan of this quote from her, if just for the grandstanding:

“NO — I do not take a bullet for anyone when it comes to my integrity. You hired me for my knowledge about communications, but you didn’t buy my integrity.”

[Both retinal blood vessels within optic nerves snap due to intensity of eye roll.]

A little later:

“Regardless of what a manager thinks of actions of a direct report, no one in any workplace setting should be subject to what I was forced to endure for nearly an hour in the office of Mike Miles on the afternoon of Friday, June 14, 2013. As he continued his diatribe, I asked him to stop yelling. He responded by lowering his voice …”

There are many instances where she talks about being bullied, and the horrible workplace environment she endured. Again, I just don’t see it. He tells her in various instances that she doesn’t have his back, that she is out to teach him [Miles] a lesson (words put in her mouth by another staffer), and that such behavior in a subordinate is straight-up B.S. Oh, did you know that there are witnesses to every one of these supposed bullying instances, because Miles, for Rodriguez’s final two weeks, already didn’t trust her and made sure he did not have a conversation with her without witnesses? Of course you didn’t. That might lead you to suspect there are more people backing his version than her version. But I digress.

This next quote was my favorite. Remember, even though everyone else knew that the agenda item was being pulled, she says she was completely blindsided at the meeting. And yet she says the following:

“I told him [Miles] I only found out about the situation an hour before the briefing and didn’t see any purpose at that point in trying to undo his action — In addition, I told him I doubted a call to him would have done any good in terms of either gaining insight as to why he had pulled the item or suggesting that he go another route, such as opening a new RFP for the services of multiple vendors.”

She found out a full hour before the meeting! And she decided — what? — that wasn’t enough time to make her case? To make a plan? To pray? To discuss this with others who could counsel her, perhaps allay her fears (or, who knows, validate them!)? She doubted calling Miles would have done any good? So she then goes and allows herself to look foolish. Okay, then.

Why? I have my guesses. I’m sure you have yours. I just ask that you read the full report before you make them. There’s a lot more that made me crazy, but there’s also some good anti-Miles fodder if you’re looking for it. I just think the media have only been talking about that anti-Miles stuff, and, to me at least, the report reads more in his favor than not.