Pima and TUSD to keep overpaid Huck and HT around: More of the same in store for 2017

One should always be careful of how the minority group is being treated since all it takes is a single election to make the other party into the tyrant. Now we have Huckelberry and HT around, and it appears that 2017 will bring about no change, no draining of any swamps in Tucson.

Huck is one of the highest paid county administrators in the nation, HT is the highest paid superintendent of the state.

In 1994, the current Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry was appointed, with only the infamous supervisor Ed Moore voting against.

It seems like a bygone era, but the 90s were when Tucson kingmakers Raul Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom rose to power and continue their reign today through their chosen successors Richard Elias and Ramon Valadez.

Ed Moore was replaced with Sharon Bronson who is now entering her 20th year of “more of the same” in Pima County.

For Supervisors Raul Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom, Democrats who worked with Huckelberry in their previous term, Huckelberry has been a welcome change if only because he has restored the access to his office and staff that Vyas had cut off.

“He’s been treating our office and Dan’s office with a degree of equality and respect that’s a real change,” Grijalva said.

The Democrats consistently criticized Vyas for answering only the Republican majority — Boyd, Ed Moore and Paul Marsh – that put him in office 14 months ago.

And Grijalva and Eckstrom said they never believed the county would start a national search – the second since 1989 – to get a top administrative officer.

“I really don’t think there was ever any intent to have that process,” Eckstrom said.

“The idea of a national search – it didn’t have a lot of feeling behind it,” Grijalva said. ” I was more concerned with removing Manoj from authority.”

Vyas remains. He took a $50,000-a-year pay cut to $55,000 and now works on special projects.

Huckelberry will likely get at least $121,000 a year, under a contract to be presented to supervisors today. The contract also will force full payoff of his salary if supervisors fire him before the end of 1996.

Only Moore is opposed to giving Huckelberry a contract.

Few are surprised that Huckelberry’s three-month performance won him support for the permanent assignment.

Huckelberry went from a $121,000 a year contract to now asking for a raise in his new 2017 contract to bring his total compensation package to $326,865 a year, 22 years after he was brought into power.

What has been created is a perpetual triangular trade; Chuck Huckelberry helping to enrichen the Don Diamonds, the Diamonds helping the Sharon Bronsons, and the Bronsons keeping Huckelberry in power with a raise. Elias and Valadez are the good house Mexicans that ensure nothing changes so they are already in his pocket.

The county could save money and time by just having Don Diamond pay for Chuck Huckelberry directly.


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Note that the complaint of Grijalva and Eckstrom in the 1994 article above was the administrator before Huck ignored the Democrats and only reported to the Republicans. Now we have the exact opposite situation happening with the Republicans being ignored and the Democrats in complete power at the County (and City and TUSD).

One must be careful of a benevolent authoritarian since one’s “benevolent” is another’s “tyrant.”

The vote to give Huckelberry a raise and to renew his contract will go down 3-2 since we all know it is Huckelberry who wags the dog with the Pima County Supervisors.

It appears that the same will occur in TUSD, as HT Sanchez manages to sweet talk incoming board member Rachael Sedgwick into keeping him around for 2017.

There was a moment when I thought that this would be a feasible solution, but then I thought of the many personal interactions with the teachers and HT Sanchez and his top henchman Abel Morado; nothing is going to change. The culture of fear will continue within TUSD, all the same players will still be in charge, and there will be no huge changes coming to TUSD.

Let’s just be honest about that at least. Yes, Cam is gone, but Sedgwick also lacks his fortitude in standing up to power.

The same teachers will be afraid of reporting incidents, the same principals, many of whom are new and who HT has a tight grip on, will also just continue the same old practices that many voters hoped would change after this year’s election.

Imagine if Donald Trump kept every single Cabinet member from the Obama Administration; is that why people voted for him? The voters would be outraged and demand change, and soon Sedgwick may be joining her fellow comadres on the board wondering why Three Sonorans keeps challenging them.

Will MAS be brought back? Ha!

MAS is banned while HT is perpetuated. If you don’t see the problem in that then you will never fix TUSD.

TUSD board member Michael Hicks was a guest on the JT Harris Show yesterday and he was asked about the new board and the change it would bring. The guest host, Yolanda Weinberger, compared HT Sanchez to a “low-energy Jeb Bush” with his “please clap” incident now begging to “please don’t fire me.” She asks Hicks “Will anybody buy it?”

Hicks: “Well… I hope not. I believe that, from what I’ve heard from other board members, that they want to give him the chance to change. I remember the past 4 years of all the stuff that’s been leading up to this and now, for one, am not in favor of keeping him… I think he’s already shown [lists a bunch of examples]… I remember these, but we have a new board member.”

Hicks implies that since Sedgwick is new, and hasn’t been attending board meetings for the past 4 years, that she doesn’t really know all that HT has done or else she would most likely be asking for his resignation also. With that said, Hicks says he does expect a “nice change” with the new board.

Instead of firing and having the stain on his record, couldn’t the TUSD board do what others do and simply ask for their resignation? Or is the half-million received by being fired really worth the tarnished reputation that HT could avoid by leaving on his own?

Personally, I think that having a “nice change” with the new board in TUSD is about as nice of a change that the Pima Supervisors will see with Steve Christy but keeping the Huckster around.

Yes, it might be nice to root for the Michael Hicks and Ally Millers who challenge their top administrator, HT and Huck, but there really will be no change unless the top administrators themselves change.

It’s nice to hope, but let’s be realistic here. Fixing our very real financial problems will require more than hope; it will require transparency and all of us working together on the problem to fix it. If we continue to have the “smartest men in the room” being the almighty overseers of TUSD and Pima, then shame on us; Shame on the elected politicians whose votes allow that to happen, and shame on us the voters for not voting for a real change.



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4 comments on “Pima and TUSD to keep overpaid Huck and HT around: More of the same in store for 2017
    • Her letter to the principals did surprise me, but then the next day she was on Facebook saying that she met with Grijalva and they made up… Whatever that means

  1. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. At least there are still a few good people left (apparently in the public minority) who speak out.

  2. I think this article and many of the others about TUSD on this site, is really about how schools choose to conduct their daily operations.

    It appears to me a lot of blame is available to be assigned. The conditions of the education system is at crisis level.

    Smart and courageous decisions are needed.

    I am not convinced that any current board member of any school district in Arizona have the ability to be smart and courageous.

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