At the 2/14/17 CUSD Board meeting, Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz spent considerable time during her report explaining the oath debacle. Here is a video segment of the Superintendent’s explanation. It’s 20 minutes, but worth watching. The feeble, compliant performance of Anjali Kausar, Phyllis Vogel, and Soma McCandless is unnerving. This is an open discussion. It is where Board members are supposed to ask questions of the Superintendent on behalf of the public. Yet, their focus is on defending the Superintendent from Liang Chao’s attempts at transparency and accountability.
Let’s take a closer look at some of Superintendent Gudalewicz’s comments in the video above.
1) 00:17 – Superintendent Gudalewicz said: “We had one of those elections where we had a recount, and so our certification came in to us at a late time. So, normally we get that right after the November election. This year the letter that we received was actually dated December 8th. However, our mail goes to the Vista site not the Mary site. So by the time everything came over to us, it was past our oath night.”
Debunk: The letter from the Registrar of Voters (ROV) dated 12/8/16 (found here) was addressed to 1309 S. Mary Ave and was sent via postal mail. How could it have gone to the Vista address? So does someone at Mary Ave send all the mail to the Vista address for opening and sorting?
Also, a community member spoke with ROV point of contact, Shui Ling Chu, on 2/14/17. Ms. Chu said that in October the ROV sent a letter to CUSD notifying them that ROV would require the full 30 days (allowed by law) to certify the election results from the 11/8/16 presidential election. The letter stated that CUSD could pick up the packet at ROV’s office in San Jose on 12/8/16 or it could be emailed upon request. Ms. Chu further said she had never heard that an untimely arrival of the certification results would affect a swearing-in ceremony because the oath sent in the packet comes directly from the constitution.
2) 01:19 – Superintendent Gudalewicz said: “So as we approached [the oath ceremony], we didn’t have that packet, and….the mistake was that I should’ve probably called the ROV and asked for the oath. Instead, I asked for the oath from someone else. And the oath actually came from the Oak Grove School District.”
Debunk: How many oaths has the Superintendent administered or recited in her career? She knows the standard oath comes from the state constitution. She or someone in her staff could have googled an oath in seconds. But let’s assume she wanted an oath previously administered. OK. Why didn’t the Superintendent simply pull up Anjali Kausar’s oath found here, or Soma McCandless’s oath found here, or Kristen Lyn’s oath found here. Heck, she could have even searched the files for her own oath found here. All 4 of these oaths were produced by the District in response to a Public Records Request (PRR). Maybe she wanted a recent oath. OK. Why didn’t she just use the oath found here that her office sent to Liang Chao on November 10th as part of the new Board member packet?
“I asked for the oath from someone else.” Who is that someone else? The Superintendent refuses to say whom she asked.
“And the oath actually came from the Oak Grove School District.” In response to a recent PRR, the District did not produce a single document regarding the “doctored” oath or swearing-in ceremony. There has been no evidence that Oak Grove sent anything to CUSD.
3) 01:38 – Superintendent Gudalewicz said: “We did not know at the time that the oath had an added line to it, so we took you through the oath.”
Debunk: How could the Superintendent *NOT* have known an extra line had been added to the oath? The “doctored” oaths which the Superintendent administered on 12/13/16 can be found here. The added line is in the Superintendent’s handwriting. These documents were released by the District and are assumed to be what the Superintendent read at the ceremony on 12/13/16. If this isn’t the oath which the Superintendent read from, then where is the mystery oath provided by Oak Grove School District?
4) 02:21 – Superintendent Gudalewicz said: “We then made contact with the Oak Grove School District to say – ‘hey, we have this, what’s the history of your oath? what went on with this?’ And to be quite honest, they didn’t even know – so that was terrible.”
Debunk: The Superintendent is a master at diversion and deception. Notice how she chooses her words very carefully. “Hey, we have this, what’s the history of your oath?” Why didn’t she just say, “Remember that oath you sent us? When have you used it?” Regardless, the oath that Oak Grove uses is irrelevant to CUSD. What is relevant, however, is the email containing the “doctored” oath that Oak Grove supposedly sent to the Superintendent before 12/13/16.
According to a letter from Oak Grove Assistant Principal Andy Garcia on 2/10/17 found here, the Oak Grove District was not aware of any communication with Superintendent Gudalewicz regarding an oath.
5) 03:04 – [After refusing to tell the Mercury News where I got the oath from…] Superintendent Gudalewicz said: “I emailed the Superintendent in Oak Grove, Jose Manzo, and let him know that I would have to now state that it came from Oak Grove. He responded, ‘Thank you for the heads-up.'”
Note: this email has been requested from the District, but not yet received.
6) 10:05 and 12:47 and 14:19 and 15:47 and 18:25 and 19:16 – Board member Liang Chao asks multiple times for the Superintendent to share the email she received from Oak Grove before 12/13/16 – the one which contained the “doctored” oath. Both the Superintendent and Board President tried to divert attention to a different email and change the subject. Ms. Chao asks repeatedly for the source of the oath to be placed on the agenda at the next meeting.
7) 13:57 – Board President Anjali Kausar told Liang Chao, “If you want a clarification…this one, she has an answer to it. If you want to put it on the agenda for next time, we can do that.”
YES, Anjali Kausar, the public wants the Oath Discussion on the agenda for next meeting!