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Sweetwater Superintendent Replaced

Above: Jesus Gandara will leave the district after nearly five years as super...
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Above: Above: Jesus Gandara will leave the district after nearly five years as superintendent.

The Sweetwater Union High School District has fired its superintendent after disclosures that he billed taxpayers for meals and invited contractors to his daughter's bridal shower.

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that Jesus Gandara billed hundreds of meals to a district credit card despite an $800-a-month allowance for that purpose. Gandara has defended the meals as part of an outreach campaign.

The newspaper also reported that he invited contractors to the bridal shower, complete with a "money tree," and directed the district's general counsel to hire public-relations contractors without the school board's knowledge.

The district's board decided unanimously on Tuesday night to replace Gandara with Ed Brand, a former superintendent. Brand worked for the district for 10 years and will act as the interim superintendent for up to a year, or until a permanent replacement is found.

A Tuesday press release from the disctrict announced that Gandara will get 18 months' severance pay, which The Union-Tribune estimates amounts to $416,675. The board decided to place Gandara on administrative leave until Sept. 1, when Gandara's separation from the district will become permanent. For the summer months, Gandara will use his remaining vacation, sick leave and administrative leave.

Criticism of Gandara as superintendent is nothing new. Since taking the reigns in 2006, Gandara has been criticized for his handling of new reforms and management style. By 2009, all six employee unions had cast votes of no-confidence in him.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | June 22, 2011 at 2:19 p.m. ― 5 years, 8 months ago

How the hell can anyone justify his salary? And what's up with the severance package? He's being let go for poor performance and poor judgment, so why are we paying him for that? It'd be interesting to see what other perks he will get from the taxpayer. This is another example of why we should learn what city and government posts pay before appointing someone to the job. In this way we can determine if the taxpayer is in agreeance with what the job offers.

And don't even think about fighting with, "We get what we pay for." This is supposed to be a service to the community, not a gold ticket to overpay.

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Avatar for user 'bankalchemist'

bankalchemist | June 24, 2011 at 2:34 p.m. ― 5 years, 8 months ago

dr Brand is the interim proctologist consulting to the district on this matter. he was previously with the district which paid a whopping $600,000 settlement in 05 for the wrongful dismissal of a teacher under Brands supervision. He is truly the symbol for ED so the board members have done well by going back to making an easy choice. Watch out for Tom Hassey to show up as they run in a pack with one another to do deals. bankalchemist.

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