Douglas cedes power to avoid lawsuit

douglasSuperintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said little to the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, as she sought to have them remove power from her office. Instead, her Chief of Staff Michael Bradley advocated for the removal of her role overseeing the State Board of Education’s staff.

The Ward amendment, offered by Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, the committee’s chairwoman, would allow Douglas to put the embarrassing episode behind her and Governor Ducey in which they squabbled over who had control over the Board of Education’s staff. Douglas had petulantly fired the executive director and assistant executive director shortly after she took office.

Ducey said that Douglas lacked the authority to fire the employees. In turn, Douglas sent a emotional letter to the governor.

Among other things, HB 2184 would remove any oversight of the unelected board and staff by changing the language defining her role with the board from “executive officer of the State Board of Education” to “executive officer responsible for the execution of policies of the State Board of Education.”

Douglas claimed that she supported the measure in order to save legal expenses for the taxpayers.

However many taxpayers were unhappy with the move. Former Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor advised his supporters in an email of his opposition to the amendment. “Under this Proposed Amendment, the Superintendent of Public Instruction – elected by the people of this state – will be required to execute whatever policies (i,e. Common Core) that are agreed to by the non-elected State Board of Education. This is a case of the elected officials abdicating their authority to unelected folks who don’t answer to the voters. Next thing you will see is the non-elected State Board of Education given fee making authority to fund education so our elected official can wash their hands of raising taxes. This is VERY BAD POLICY.”

Douglas elevated Bradley from the Arizona Department of Education’s legislative liaison to her Chief of Staff shortly after taking office. The choice caused many raised eyebrows across the educational community. Bradley, has been viewed as an advocate for private money interests who do business with or on behalf of the ADE.

Bradley was a lobbyist hired by his friend, Tom Boone of Deer Valley and Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) to push legislation on behalf of VSMG. Boone was accused later of using his role as a state legislator and governing board member to pass legislation that would benefit himself, his family and his business associates, according to an article on the Sonoran Alliance website.

Douglas appearance at the hearing surprised many, but it was her reliance on Bradley to explain the ADE’s position on the amendment that shocked many of her supporters.


  1. There was a spot on national news last night about CC and how it is being fought for and against. Big politicals are for and the people are against. One guy said it should be ILLEGAL for parents to OPT OUT!

    Guess when big $$ are concerned all who will benefit are going to demand things that will give them the opportunity to be at the trough.

  2. Ward just killed any chance that I will support her run against McCain. Quite a few conservatives I know now place her in the Ducey RINO camp as a result of her ham-handed interference in this exchange.

  3. The only elected official at ADE has been reduced to a figurehead by the Arizona state legislature. WE THE PEOPLE no longer have a voice in public education in our state. ADE is now controlled by a board selected by a governor who has turned his back on those who trusted him to fight our way out of the bondage of the federal government’s control over the education of our children. Shame upon all who voted for this, for a republic should not be run by bureaucats who are not accountable to the people. And shame upon Doug Ducey for his lack of integrity.

  4. I spoke with the Supt. just before the meeting she told me she agreed with handing over authority to the board, I said we didn’t and that’s why she was put in office, that said she walked away as I’ve seen her to so often whenever there’s a disagreement or confrontation. I then first heard her for a short minute stating this and then handed it over to her chief of staff to explain more clearly. I and others spoke against this amendment however the decision / deal had already been cut so other than having the opportunity to speak didn’t do much good. The press spoke to some of us in the lobby after the vote and we explained our side and for me we have no real representatives on that committee. God Bless You; Van

  5. This is very sad. Another duly elected official destroyed and replaced with an appointed stooge of a duopoly gone mad. If I can make it to US Senate (McCain’s current seat) I will become the ONLY elected official with legal standing (read the gist of “how” on my website and here -> )… We’re running out of time Arizona/America, it’s time someone works for the people and not a lobbyist or special interest group.

    Diane Douglas was evidently backed into a corner that we are not aware of even though she was right and her elected office has the power that Ducey claims it does not. That guy told me on the campaign trail that he was against Common Core… The GOP and Chris Christie told him otherwise.

    JL Mealer

  6. Golly Gee, a politician “accused of using his position to benefit HIMSELF his family and friends” Surely you jest? Why these kind people only think of the rest of us that they actually WORK for or are SUPPOSED TO. Just like greeddyhalfa and company, they are doing their best for their brothers and sisters in mexico, I mean pima co, errrrrr the baja area to improve theri plight. Where else will you find such glorious people willing to sell others into bondage to gain from it, I mean allow them to come looking for a better life? I guess under the table work is better than improving life in their own country but cowards are always cowards. Suck off someone else and be happy at their expense.

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