Sunday, October 12, 2003

School Districts - It's Your Integrity at Stake

Over the past few years I have ruffled quite a few feathers in quite a few k-12 school districts, mainly in adminstration. My quest for better supplemental retirement plans for educators has sometimes led me down the path of criticizing people in leadership positions in k-12 & community college districts. As you might imagine, this hasn't endeared me with these districts. Suddenly, a 5'8" 155 pound man becomes a "threat," and the "enemy." This line of thinking by these districts is very distressing to me because it means in some way that I have failed. I have failed to educate them enough to help them clearly understand the issues involved so that they can make a wise decision. In reality, I don't think I am the failure, the truth of the matter is that these districts NEVER allowed me the opportunity to share my thoughts or expertise. I will never target a district without first approaching management and asking them to hear me out. It is only after a district has made it clear that they don't want to hear from me that I begin the task of taking the issue to the people of their district and ultimately begin ruffling feathers.

In the past few months I have targeted quite strongly the Capistrano Unified School District. Up until 2003 I had adored this district. I loved working with educators in the district and loved working with the few people I knew on staff. However, a few very poor decisions were made by one of the leaders and I questioned them about it. I offered my expertise and guidance free of charge. I explained to them that I was a completely unbiased source as I don't accept money from anyone but my clients for the services I provide. Furthermore, my clients interest always come first. I even went and stood for four hours at the board meeting waiting for my two minutes to speak to the board and explain to them the problems they were about to face. Not a single member of the board contacted me, nor did the adminstrator who had made the final decision to hire a company by the name of Envoy Plan Services The district now believes I have put them in my crosshairs and that I want to somehow destroy them - the truth is that I only want them to do what is right for their employees. You see, it is my opinion that the district's very Integrity is at stake in this situation. Integrity is something is gained with the little decisions and if the little decisions are made without the employees interest in mind, what will happen with the big decisions?

The Capistrano Unified School District has an incredible opportunity to show what it is made of and to show the public and their employees that they have integrity even in (what they percieve) as the small decisions. It is time to simply admit they made a mistake in hiring Envoy Plan Services, correct that mistake by firing them and then do what is in the employees best interest by hiring another entity (my vote at this point is OCTFCU). There are a number of reasons why this move is best and I will get them at a later writing. The point of this message is that the decisions the districts make every effect their integrity. It is O.K. to make a mistake or a bad decision, Lord knows I make my share of mistakes and bad decisions, afterall we are only human. I am not out to make enemies or to put a "target" on anyone's back, only to see to it that my clients and the employees of this district have their voices heard and their interests protected. I know that Capistrano Unified will right this wrong as I have faith in the person who made the decision initially. Carleen Wing-Chandler made the recommendation to the board to hire Envoy and I believe she made that decisions in her heart believing it was the right one. In fact, given the facts she had Envoy must have seemed like her only choice. I believe that the victims in the case are both the employees of the distirct and the district itself - with Envoy being the responsible party. I believe Carleen was lied to by Envoy Plan Services, or at the very least not given the whole truth. Only a partial picture was painted. It is my belief that when the full picture is presented that the district will make the right decision - I have faith in them that they will do what is right. If you are from the district or are on the board and reading this, I once again extend my services free of charge to educate you on the real issues involved so that you can make a decision based upon all the facts. I don't want to sell you anything or recieve any recognition, I only want to do what is right for your employees. I don't make any money spending time on issues such as these and to be honest, they drain me and hurt the growth my business, but I have a deep belief that if I do what is right for the teachers that it will come back to me in some fashion at some point. Please contact me at 949-916-6238.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP
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