The New Accusations Against Mike Miles Are Serious, But They Don't Tell Us Anything We Don't Already Know

Thumbnail image for mikemiles_markgraham.jpg
Mark Graham
Typically, a $219,700 contract aimed at boosting parent engagement would sail past Dallas ISD's Board of Trustees with barely a murmur. It represents, after all, a vanishingly small speck of the district's $1.2 billion budget, and its goal -- getting parents involved in their children's education -- is hardly controversial. But this is Mike Miles' DISD, where every topic, no matter how mundane, carries with it the potential for a bare-knuckled brawl.

The details of the imbroglio surrounding the parent education services contract were sketchy at first. We knew only that Rebecca Rodriguez, all of three months on the job as DISD's communications chief, abruptly resigned after the topic was discussed at a June board meeting, and that trustees were looking into hiring an outside investigator to look into her claims of improprieties.

But then, this weekend, someone leaked the district's internal investigation (sound familiar?), which trustee and Miles nemesis Carla Ranger gleefully posted to her blog.

Rodriguez, according to the report, which is posted below, accused Miles of pulling the parent services contract for special discussion during June 13 board briefing because he wasn't pleased that district staff had recommended awarding it to Practical Parent Education, a McKinney company, rather than The Concilio, which The Dallas Morning News links to Commit, one of the big names backing school reform in Dallas generally and Miles' efforts in particular.

According to the report, Miles then tried to squelch the Office of Professional Responsibility's investigation "for the good of the District," making it clear that he feels he should have final say over the office's operations.

The evidence that Miles manipulated the procurement process is inconclusive, but there's good reason to give credence to Rodriguez's claims. She's also a veteran of local government, having worked for the city of Arlington for several years. She has a solid grasp of how government contracts are supposed to work.

It's also hard to fathom what motivation she would have to sabotage her new, high-paying position after just three months by making up accusations against her boss. On the other side of the equation, it's relatively easy to imagine why Miles would want a contract awarded to some of his most ardent supporters.

This probably won't have a lasting impact on Miles. The charges are serious, more so than other complaints that have been leveled against him, because they violate district policy, not to mention basic ethical guidelines. But none of this rises to the level of criminal offense and it merely confirms what we know or suspect about Miles: that he envisions himself more as the CEO of a private company than a public official bound by the constraints of government.

His opponents still hate him for that and will use this investigation as ammunition, but this is just an extension of the reasons why he was hired in the first place.

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12 comments
Vanessa
Vanessa

So was the report "Final" because it was complete or to satisfy the requirements to be released as public information? Certainly gives the appearance of a smear job.

titusgroan
titusgroan

On a side note, how exactly does "parent engagement" work anyway?  If the fact that it's YOUR KIDS doesn't motivate you to engage with the school, will anything?

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Mike Miles is no fool .

And the end of the day The story isn't what was in the report . 

The story will be that the report is out. 

Snippets and Broad based leading quotes that might suggest one had seen it are one thing .

From the link provided it seems MS RANGER posted the entire  document on her Blog / Website 

Page 1 says a person needs permission to release it .If properly written Page 2  makes it clear  what laws  a person violates when they do.

Some one has played into the trap .


uppercasematt
uppercasematt

Well, Miles sure comes across as crazy and vindictive.  And what was that stuff about Concilio raising the funds for half of the contract?  If that's the case, I bet that did get them wound up -- raising funds for a contract that they're not part of.

I wonder of ol' Carla Ranger doesn't deserve her own investigation, considering the Board of Trustees policy:

RESPONSIBILITY FOR RECORDS

A person, including a Board member, commits a criminal offense if the person:

1. Knowingly or intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a District record in contravention of Local Government Code Chapter 202. Local Gov’t Code 202.008; Penal Code 37.10

2. Willfully destroys, mutilates, alters, or removes public information without permission as provided by Government Code Chapter 552 (Public Information Act). Gov’t Code 552.351

3. Distributes information considered confidential under the Public Information Act. Gov’t Code 552.352


CitzenKim
CitzenKim

I'm appalled that you think bypassing legal procurement procedures is "no big deal."  These procedures are in place for several GOOD reasons: best value to the taxpayer, and preventing corruption in government positions.  I work for a company that submits proposals to government entities, and there have been several instances where (via FOIA requests) we were able to identify that clearly some individuals on the selection were biased beyond a reasonable doubt to a particular vendor.  When your livelihood depends on winning contract awards, it kind of sucks to see that you lost because the competition paid some money or promised a job to the right people.

How would you feel if you found out one of your stories had been recommended for a Pulitzer (ha) by the selection committee, but the chairman changed the award to someone else?

Tom434
Tom434

Situation normal on Ross Ave

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

So I am not clear about it was this Report "Highly Confidential ? "

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@titusgroan If the parents get engaged, that's the first step to getting married, which would lead to fewer kids in single-parent households?

MichaelMacNaughton
MichaelMacNaughton

@oakclifftownie

I think State Law wins:

Texas Government Code - Chapter 552. Public Information


"Sec. 552.001. Policy; Construction.
"(a) ... The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.


"Sec. 552.022. CATEGORIES OF PUBLIC INFORMATION; EXAMPLES
"(a) without limiting the amount or kind of information that is public information under this chapter, the following information is public information and not excepted from required disclosure unless made confidential under this chapter or other law:
" (1) a completed report, audit, evaluation, or investigation made of, for, or by a governmental body, except as provided by Section 552.108 (Exception: Certain Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Prosecutorial Information)"

MichaelMacNaughton
MichaelMacNaughton

@CitzenKim

It appears that Mike Mile's favored vendor Concilio (and a favorite of the Regional Chamber and the DMN editorial board) did not win the RFP bid and Mr. Miles pulled the bid from a vote in order to re-bid the RFP so that Concilio would win...how is that not the very definition of public corruption?  Miles needs to be released from his contract as superintendent.

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