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Southeast Bexar County Awareness: Ricardo Vela on indefinite suspension, Loren Brewer angry

Updated on November 15, 2015
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I've lived through many wars starting with Vietnam. Some would call me old, I call myself seasoned.

Southside ISD Administrative Offices and Board Room.
Southside ISD Administrative Offices and Board Room.
Ricardo Vela, aka. Richard Vela, suspended Superintendent at Southside ISD.
Ricardo Vela, aka. Richard Vela, suspended Superintendent at Southside ISD.

The second time was the charm

The Southside ISD held a board meeting a week ago, the agenda topic was to suspend Ricardo Vela as he does not hold a certification to hold the position and had been rumored to not have been working at the required pace to achieve the required goal in a timely manner. The newly elected members of the board, inexperienced, were seen as being bullied by Mr. Brewer and Mr. Chavez; at which time, instead of suspending Mr. Vela, they tabled the motion to another meeting. While the media erroneously stated that Mr. Vela had been extended for another year.

The board president, Julian Gonzales and Ricardo Vela posted an agenda for a meeting to be held on June 4, 2015. Twenty minutes afterwards, Mr. Vela, allowed Mr. Brewer to post his own agenda for a meeting to be held after the regularly scheduled meeting, something that goes against board policy, showing that Mr. Ricardo Vela cannot be trusted to follow policy.

The reason is not clear as of yet as to why Mr. Vela was suspended indefinitely or if he will be paid during his suspension, as his contract allows the board to suspend him without pay at the whim of the board, a contract stipulation put in by the former board and that Mr. Brewer brought forth when he and the "team" hired Ricardo Vela. The board voted 5 -2 to suspend Ricardo Vela. Mr. Brewer plead with the board to allow Mr. Vela to stay on until the end of his contract, then asked to hold off until after the summer conference and finally asked that he be given 90 days. After an hour in closed session, Mr. Vela's future at Southside ISD was sealed and the board returned to closed session to discuss the hiring of an Interim Superintendent.

Mr. Brewer was angered and was less than cordial with the media when they attempted to interview him.

Daniel Rodriguez, appointed member to Southside ISD, lost his attempt to hold on to board seat.
Daniel Rodriguez, appointed member to Southside ISD, lost his attempt to hold on to board seat.

Mr. Rodriguez gives Academy Award Performance

Many of the supporters of the "team", were in attendance and spoke in support of Mr. Vela and all his achievements. One supporter, known in the community as the sister-in-law of Theresa Balderas, spoke to the media defending Ricardo Vela. Theresa Balderas was fired from the district for failure to achieve certification after well over a dozen attempts, ran for the board and served a term. Ms. Balderas campaigned for the "team" and was awarded a high paying position in the district, working alongside the wife of Ricardo Vela. Her husband whom was released from employment at the district was also hired as a "bodyguard" for Mr. Vela.

Ousted board member, Daniel Rodriguez was the highlight of the evening with an Academy Award performance. Mr. Rodriguez cried crocodile tears for the audience, just before he "innocently" attacked former board member Lisa Salazar in a room full of community members. Mr. Rodriguez, addressed the board, then attacked by reading a Face Book conversation between Ms. Salazar and another member of the community, which he printed and read aloud in the board room. The conversation was between two members of the community concerning the upcoming elections in which one asked the other whom she was supporting. Ms. Salazar stated her support for the 5 members she supported and their religious affiliations. The conversation then turned to the candidate, Norberto Chavez, who had been all over the media for his inappropriate selfie's. After reading this conversation, Mr. Rodriguez made it clear that the individual whom he was refereeing to was standing in the board room.

Mr. Rodriguez's actions were nothing more than a bully tactic.

Did the board make the right decision?

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New Board -- New Firm

At the new boards 1st meeting after being inducted, they attempted to hire a new law firm, according to Mr. Rosendez, of the current law firm, he understood that new board members sometimes want to start fresh and agreed to stay on while the board hired a new law firm. Mr. Brewer's grandstanding, set the inexperienced members aback, and they relented to hold on to the firm, even if temporarily, while they transitioned. Mr. Brewer requested that they look into other firms and not just one. The board agreed.

At the June 4th meeting, the board decided to hire a new law firm, while they allowed Mr. Brewer to bring forth his own suggestions, he did not get the votes required.

The new law firm, O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath. O'Hanlon, a UT Austin Graduate in 1974 has served in many areas of the law and worked as Assistant Attorney General from 1983-1990, when he then served as General Counsel for TEA. The firm specializes in many fields:

  • School Law & General Finance
  • Economic Development incentives
  • Employment & Discrimination Law
  • School Personnel
  • Construction Litigation
  • Personal Injury
  • Constitutional Law & First Amendment Issues
  • Public Policy Litigation
  • Business & Technology Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Open Government

Interesting and well rounded credentials.

Joe E. Gonzales, Interim Superintendent
Joe E. Gonzales, Interim Superintendent

Do you support this decision?

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Fatigue or Inexperience

At the wee hours of the morning, the Southside ISD board chose to give the Interim Superintendent to Mr. Vela's friend and "compadre" as Mr. Vela's child is married to Mr. Gonzales'. The two have worked together since their days in McAllen Texas. It's like the "fox guarding the hen house".

Mr. Gonzales was indicted on 8 counts of misuse of funds, he plead on 7 counts and made restitution on one while working in San Angelo. In McAllen, he was released for similar activities to include creating disruption and being antagonistic.

At Southside ISD, he has allowed his family to be paid for services in the amounts of over $50,000, by using fuzzy math to keep from having to go out and put the items up for bid. His wife created a company in late 2014 and quickly began receiving payment for contracts and services. Vela's daughter and Gonzales' son reaped rewards as well.

The board made a hasty late hour decision to allow Mr. Gonzales to take over, even temporarily. A "good ol' boy" mentality can not be trusted to make honest decisions when helping to find their own replacement. What other "team" player will they bring to the district?

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