Lambert cuts class offerings at East, Desert Vista campuses but uses resources for Sanchez
In a last ditch effort to save the legacy of Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez, political and education leaders were called on to offer their support including Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert.
On Tuesday Lambert directed Pima Community College (PCC) staff to deliver a statement of support to the District’s Governing Board. At the time, the chancellor knew that Sanchez was not going to be at the meeting because he had opted to resign. By the time Lambert’s executive assistant presented the letter of support to the District’s Board, Sanchez’s resignation had been approved in a 3-2 vote by the Board.
Those “leaders” and their representatives, who had believed the propaganda that the District was spreading in order to prop Sanchez up, were left to defend a man who had already bailed on them.
Now, Lambert is under fire due to the fact that he issued the letter without PCC Board approval. The staff member he sent to deliver the message stated that she was there at the behest of the of the chancellor and the Board, much to the surprise of Board member Luis Gonzales.
Because the letter was a policy decision, Lambert clearly should have secured support from the PCC Board. In what appears to be a clear violation of protocol, Lambert unilaterally sent a letter in support of the embattled and highly controversial superintendent.
PCC Board member Mark Hanna, who worked as a teacher’s aide and the College and Career Readiness Coordinator at TUSD’s Catalina High School, before retiring in 2014, claimed he “asked the Chancellor if he would consider a letter of support (explicitly not a Board endorsement) for Dr. Sanchez.” Hanna claimed in an email to Gonzales, “If indeed Ms. Duarte voiced support for the Superintendent from our Board, that was not authorized by me.”
On March 1, PCC Board member and former State Senator Luis Gonzales wrote a letter to Lambert:
You need to know that I am disturbed by you taking the liberty to send this letter out in behalf of PCC on PCC letterhead that gives the impression that the entire board is in agreement. I am not aware that the Governing body of PCC gave you direction or authority to do so. To get involved in a political dog fight where we have no jurisdiction is not only shortsighted but fraught with all kinds of political fall out against the College and our Governing body. To be clear, I would have no problem if you had sent a letter in support of Dr. Sanchez as an individual as is your right.
I am even more disturbed by your sending your executive assistant, Ms. Duarte in your stead to last night’s TUSD meeting to testify in your behalf and that of the PCC Governing board. If you review the TUSD video at the 2:08:49 real time, you can see and hear where Ms. Duarte also testified that she was there at your direction supporting Mr. Sanchez at the behest of Dr. Lambert and the Pima College Governing Board. I look forward to your legitimate explanation of why you choose to inject yourself and PCC into such a hostile, harsh, and divisive political issue in our community involving another jurisdiction that has the distinct possibility of future controversy that will further divide our community.
Please be aware that by your sending out your letter to the TUSD Board and your assistant to testify at a public hearing, that this is all in the public domain. I wish you luck in dealing with it effectively.
Luis Gonzales, District 5
Community members, who share the same concerns, are expected to address the PCC Board at its March 8 meeting.
For years, TUSD and PCC have served as cornerstones for Congressman Raul Grijalva’s political dynasty. From illegally siphoning money off of much needed educational programs to creating jobs for cronies, the congressman’s operatives have used TUSD and PCC as a source for money and favors.
The loss of control by the Grijalva’s in the 2016 Election lead to the resignation of Sanchez, and represents a revolt of sorts by the residents of the 5th poorest metropolitan area in the country against the Grijalva powers-that-be for whom the status quo favors.
Lambert’s letter, like the show of support for Sanchez from so many who have benefitted by the secretive dealings of what has become known as the “G-crew,” is indicative of the desperation that existed to save Sanchez and maintain control of the District.
Lambert also faces scrutiny from the PCC Board members such as Gonzales for shutting down the class offerings at the East Campus, and the Desert Vista Campus on the southwest side without input from students, staff, faculty or the community that would be affected. This substantial decision was also made without Board approval.