Arizona Citizens Supporting Honest Representative Government At All Levels
[Editor: This is a guest columnist who fears retaliation if the name is used. AFA has checked the facts and is printing this because we believe it is important as a means of understanding the issue with the Budget language regarding the SBE. This was not written by an AFA Team member.]
Foundation to the unfortunate discovery of the untrustworthiness of a “conservative”.
For those who did not attend the Senate Education Committee on March 6, Chairwoman Senator Ward expounded ad nauseam that 2184 did nothing more than transfer two FTEs from the oversight of the SPI to the SBE. She reiterated time after time the lie that SPI Douglas requested the transfer. In fact her deprecating tone to those who opposed her amendment was unprofessional in any setting, but especially so in a committee hearing to constituents.
The major bone of contention was the concern by the public that her amendment undermined the historic authority of the elected state official by transferring supervision of personnel to an unelected board under the control of the Governor could do grave danger to the state in the future. Senator Ward dismissed questions from the public and other committee members imperiously.
Segue to the Budget Bill SB1469. Passed in the middle of the night without the opportunity for members or the public to even read the bill, SB1469 created a new separate agency and transferred 11 Full Time Equivalent positions to the SBE. In a deviation from accepted practices, that transfer of personnel was not even listed on the Summary Sheets that members rely on to give them the facts on what is in the bill.
Now to the present. One of our members had an e-mail interchange with Senator Ward on the subject (below in italics)
Subject: SBE - How did this get into the budget?
Sooo, looks like you slipped one over on “we the people”.
SB1469 / HB2671 as transmitted to the Governor and signed, made the SBE a new and separate agency and gave them not just 2 full time employees but grew it to 11 full time employees and $1,705,000 lump sum appropriation. While the legislature stopped moving HB2184 with the Ward amendment making the SBE a separate agency they put it in the budget and expanded the authorized number of employees. So it isn't about " 2 employees" as Senator Ward said in committee, they are now authorized 11 FTE.
From: Kelli Ward [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: RE: SBE - How did this get into the budget?
This is untrue – the SBE had 10.5 FTEs last year as well – there is a miniscule increase to 11 FTE. There is someone putting out very bad information to people in your group.
Actually, Senator, you are the one putting out bad information. No one in our organization has indicated that there were any new FTEs created, just that we were assured by you that there were only two positions being considered for transfer from the voter elected SPI to the governor appointed SBE. As you are aware, Committee Chairs keep close watch on the Appropriations process for their area of responsibility. These budget particulars are NEVER put on the floor for a vote without the approval of the affected Chair. While the SPI assigned certain personnel to work with the SBE in the past, they were employees of and worked under the authority of the SPI.
Senator, your latest communication that we just received at 2:29pm today, spins a different tale and denies the creation of a new agency. That does not pass muster for veracity. In the Senate Summary Sheet for SB1469 – created by the staff you identify as the source for your misrepresentation – states the following: ”Makes the SBE a separate state agency.” I am attaching the language from SB1469 that shows the SBE being funded as a separate agency.
Sec. 33. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION 2015-16
FTE positions 11.0
Lump sum appropriation $ 1,705,000 ($155,000 per position)
State general fund $ 1,325,200
Teacher certification fund 379,800
Sec. 34. SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
FTE positions 164.9
Operating lump sum appropriation $ 8,802,100 ($53,345 per position)
State general fund $ 8,263,800
Teacher certification fund 138,200
Department of education empowerment
scholarship account fund 400,100
The operating lump sum appropriation includes $683,900 and 8.5 FTE positions for average daily membership auditing and $200,000 and 2 FTE positions for information technology security services. Last, but not least, it is a concern that the positions transferred to the SBE carry with them one-sixth of the budget from the SPI with only one-sixteenth of the personnel.
As conservatives, we are outraged by the inconsistencies communicated by our “conservative” elected official. As fiscal conservatives, we are extremely concerned by the apparent largesse comprised in these eleven positions. In your last e-mail, you stated the following: (Our questioning of the circumstances) “ It leads the conservatives to have to "play defense" with our own people instead of working proactively on our conservative agenda. Frankly, it is disappointing.” Well Senator, when we cannot rely on the assurances of our “conservative” elected officials, it is more than disappointing, it is embarrassing and destructive!
[Editor: Below is another email we received and the response from Senator Ward. Some of the copy above refers to issues brought up in the Senators response below. Thanks to our members who have done follow up on the budget language issue.]
From: Kelli Ward <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 2:29 PM
Subject: RE: About the entry in the Budget
Thanks for writing. I hope I can help clarify some of the misinformation that is being circulated. According to Senate staff, the SBE had 10.5 employees last year and 11 now. There is no real change. There is no new “agency.” There are 3 policy employees and 8 employees who do teacher certification and investigations into complaints about teachers. It is not new. I'm not sure why our side continues to agitate people for no reason. It leads the conservatives to have to "play defense" with our own people instead of working proactively on our conservative agenda. Frankly, it is disappointing.
Pages 17, 23, and 32 from this document will show the new SBE and the equivalent subtraction from ADE.
Page 134 of the Appropriations Report lists the SBE numbers within the ADE budget.
Section 33 of the bill, page 24 of the document shows the new SBE budget unit starting in FY 16.
Senator Kelli Ward, DO, MPH
Serving AZ's 5th Legislative District
Senate Education Chairman
[Editor: In our view, Sen. Ward did not answer the questions asked, such as "was the clause in the budget clearly debated" which we believe to be germane to this issue.]
I don't think Ms Ward will be a suitable replacement for Johnny McStain, at least not for the peoples interest.
I'm not sure what I am reading on the links from Ward. On the second link, SBE budget is only $200 higher than this FY but they are paying for 11 more employees? I guess that starts next year. I don't see any provision for salaries in that budget so what am I missing? And the sb1469 does provide for 11 FTEs but who are they and what happened to the two fired staff members? I'm glad someone figured this out because it's very confusing. But I can do simple math and it seems the state is paying a very high dollar cost for the 11 FTEs. I'd like to apply for that job. But let me say it was nice of her to find all those links. I just don't know what they prove.
Whatever this means and whether she's telling it straight or not, I never thought she was the right person to beat McCain and I hope she comes to her senses soon. She is NOT a conservative and if you look at her performance last session you will figure that out for yourself. Plus, somewhere it says she endorsed Ducey, the Ice cream man in the primary. If that is not a waving red flag I don't know what is.
I looked at one of her links too, and don't know anymore then I knew before. The link to the info about the Dept of Ed was tweeted to Sen Ward, Gov. Ducey, and several others who follow Sen Ward. Normally a very talkative group, they were very quiet. Sen Ward did reply, calling it misinformation and requesting that the person email her. I'm rather new to a lot of this but I find it odd that the amendment specifically says that the Depart of Ed is a new agency but no one will discuss this openly.
Here is another case of a Republican calling herself a conservative while behaving as a RINO. She accuses "our group" of puting out "bad" information. Well Senator, if you think our information is so bad then why don't you level with "we the people" and directly and truthfully answer the questions put to you. We have yet to get a straight answer on any question asked. It truly concerns me that you occupy a key position as Chaiman of the Senate Education Committee which we want to believe has the best interest of "we the people" and their children in mind when conducting the peoples business. But it appears you have other objectives in mind.
I feel betrayed.
Let's review. They had to work to balance the budget but they added $1.7million to get rid of the SPI authority. They did it in the dead of night re: medicaid expansion. They ALL touted this as a great budget even though it's a decent budget. they hid this clause in the budget without so much as a whisper. There was a dispute over 2 staff and now there are suddenly 11 from somewhere with a very high cost pp. the only good thing is that Ward will enthusiastically vote for the three bills coming up this week so she can look credibly conservative - I'm sure they have counted the votes already. Do we really need the SPI now? We could cut that salary and save more money. I think there is a bit of trickery going on at the legislature and I think most of us fell for it as they expected we would so they are home free. I'd sure like to know exactly the role Kelli "I want to be Senator" Ward played in all of this behind closed doors or cloistered in the broom closet.
So should we be wondering who pays them more?
I doubt anyone is thinking there is the PERFECT candidate to run against McCain. Especially since there is no such critter. If we know going in that a possible candidate is easily swayed, does not exhibit deep seated convictions toward the Constitution AND the party platform, has shown by their record where they stand and it's not consistent with what they say, we will get more of the same in a different package. There may be nobody who fits the bill most conservatives are looking for. We can find fault with every candidate we've heard mentioned. It would be nice if we could at least start off with someone he is totally and fearlessly forthright on every issue, no matter how it makes them appear. Rational people can understand the lack of perfection easier than the lack of integrity.
Here's a link to the info where I believe the confusion initially arose: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/52leg/1r/adopted/1469biggs217.pdf
You'll clearly see that it states "Make State Board of Education a Separate State Agency". Her email explanations are in this thread & do not clearly address many concerns. When Sen Ward was asked about this on Twitter she stated "misinformation" even though she had access to the above information. Finally I have to disagree about approach to constituents' questions. Other then if she were personally threatened, she needs to address her constituents whether she thinks they are being respectful or not; after all she is a DO so she should have the professional experience to deal with the 'tough' people & their questions.
I keep looking at this and her explanations that don't answer the questions then I put that together with other things she has said or ways she has voted. Bundle that with all the people, including Breitbart, who are rushing to get in the front of the bus taking her to victory over McCain and all I can think of is that there is a mighty problem here. Ward is spreading disinformation instead of answering questions. Now there's rumors it's not just Ward but that she has gotten her marching orders from leadership maybe up to the governors office. I have long distrusted her votes that have been inconsistent with a conservative and I don't think people should be rushing to get on board with her to beat McCain. The words straw man come to my mind every time I hear her speak. Wake up those of you who have rushed to judgement that she should run against McCain.
I find it very disconcerting that when Republicans who do research and report the facts or have legitimate reservations, other Republicans who don't like the facts accuse them of BASHING. There was a time when we had free speech in this country and we certainly have it on this site and other sites. I'm a pretty current activist and have been for many years and I find this site to be straight forward and informative. But I also find they don't protect the guilty, either. Anyone who does not play namby pamby with Ward should be considered a fan of McCain? That is a very shallow accusation and unwarranted. Perhaps some people just want to look at the field first. Or maybe some people just don't want to catch the first bus going by. Maybe some people just don't want to make a mistake that can't be easily fixed after six years. Perhaps you, Annette Shuford, are a McCain supporter in-cognito pushing a straw candidate? Doesn't it bother you that some group flew in to town and selected our next Senator? Shouldn't Arizonan's do that? We are fighting common core to protect the rights of Arizonans against common core, why shouldn't we do the same with our elections? Respectfully, I find your slam on this site unwarranted and a bit self-serving if you can't handle honest debate. Just curious, do you have a special interest in Sen Ward? Some kind of quid pro quo? Relative, perhaps? The last thing I want to endure another bout of what happened to Hayworth, who was also the wrong candidate and the vote proved it. He was pushed out there just like Ward is.
Lots of people look great until you see their voting records. We have been conditioned to accept some who are not just less than perfect but who would sell out at the drop of a hat. No there are no perfect candidates, but it is a tad early yet. At least as a six year incumbent she may be easier to unseat than Sen McNasty and we will have six years to find a goodun. If there is a Republic left to elect them to.