Monday, June 5, 2017


By Juan Montoya
Martin Arambula, the Policy-Records Management director for the Brownsville Independent School District has filed a grievance against Assistant Superintendent Carlos Guerra, and the BISD administration claiming a hostile working environment after he was given a warning letter over botched bids for a recycling contract.

The details of the grievance have not been disclosed and neither Arambula nor his attorney Ben Neece would comment on the case. However, the BISD is like a sieve and some general facts have emerged.

If you will recall, Arambula, formerly a Brownsville Navigation District commissioner and currently a Brownsville Public Utility Board member, was placed in charge of the BISD's recycling efforts and given a $15,00 pay increase for the additional duties. Arambula's salary before the raise was $75, 940 before the raise, and $90,061 after the raise. The BISD administration figured that if Arambula's efforts were successful, the increase would be more than offset by the income from the recycled paper and metals.

Arambula has always liked to focus on The Big Picture. At the navigation district, he liked to wax about how the explosion in the China trade that he said was coming from Manzanillo would propel the port's business and that the expansion of the Panama Canal would favor the port if it was dredged to 52 feet to accommodate those vessels. Likewise, he spoke of the $10,000s that the BISD's recycling efforts would bring the BISD.

There were some departments in the district that Arambula focused on, including his own department where paperwork is generated while keeping the records of the 48,000 students who enroll annually in the district. Others include Food Service and Nutrition, Maintenance, Transportation, etc.
Before Arambula was given the task of streamlining the district's efforts into one process, the collection, sale, and the intake of the receipts from the materials depended on the individual departments. This resulted in gross mismanagement and loss of income for the district.

In some cases, the collectors of the materials were put on the honor system. Inside BISD sources say that sometimes a collector would take a full truck of material to sell at the recyclers and come back with $3,000. Others would take the same truck full of the same materials and pay the district only $400.

In the case of metals, for example, some sources say that the son of a former BISD trustee was allowed to have first pick and take them for himself before the others collectors would have a chance to take the materials.

Arambula's grievance focuses on bids that were let out for recycling that were sent out by the district. Three firms responded and the award was given to Redfish Recycling. Unlike the bids on other products where the lowest bidder is awarded the contract, in recycling it is the bidder who gives the BISD the highest return for the materials that gets the job.

But something happened on the way to the bid and award of the recycling contract. One of the firms complained that they had been given short shrift in the selection process and complained to the Purchasing Dept. over the alleged mistreatment. Pressured by the administration to rebid, the contract was let out again and the other firms bid higher than Redfish. Since that company's bid was already known, the others bid higher (remember, it's who gives the district the highest dollar). In the furor that followed, Guerra and the administration stepped in and tried to give Arambula the written warning.

After refusing to sign the warning, Armabula had 10 days to answer, but surprised the district and filed the grievance instead. No doubt that his attorney will demand to see the system's oversight measures from before and how the bidding process was influenced by the other bidders.

One thing that has become obvious out of all this is that there is big cash in trash and someone has been raking it in Big Time.


Anonymous said...

Since there is no oversight in BISD, Arambula and Ben Neece have a great legal action. Might be good for the community to find out about the lack of leadership and poor management in BISD. But, BISD is likely to pay Arambula off or even give him a raise to stop this action.....But do the citizens of Brownsville really care about anything...NO, NO, NO.....

Anonymous said...

Study this further, Juan, for I think it all goes back to when EE was on the board and "doing favors for each" is the bigger thing behind this. Try asking Cati about this? She knew what was going on since then and she was "silenced" by EE. What goes around comes around and it seems the time is here for Arambula. Neece
better do his research before he tangles with this. Maybe Jaime can also shed some light on this.

Anonymous said...

BISD doesn't seem to learn about the hostile work environment, they just transfer their problem employees to other departments or campuses and new problems arise, sometime is easier to let it slide and forget how much damage these harassers do to the employees, some of them even pride themselves of being the meanest, hardest or strongest but they are just weaklings in disguise, they get rewarded by intimidating others because they feel terrible about themselves. The grievances will continue as well as they pay offs to the ones who dare to endure the long litigation process which causes isolation and stress, in the end, some will get a big check while others will continue to put off with the crap and wait for the harasser to leave to another department.

Anonymous said...

Write funny stuff, juan. From the bars and prostitution worlds. This is useless to me. So what?!!!!

Anonymous said...

Juan, since you Love BISD, how about checking up on whether the board members who attended today's special called meeting at 12 noon made out an absence report at Rio Hondo, fire Dept, TSBE, court house where they were suppose to be working. Only Joe and Minnie are available to bother people during the day without having to report an absence.

Anonymous said...

Juan, submit a public information request for Martin's job description. Martin and Kenneth Lieck never supported a recycling RFP process.

Anonymous said...

Well why read it then, pendejo?

Anonymous said...

What if D-O-G really means cat?

Anonymous said...

Because you are useless.