Friday, January 31, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: Cafeteria Manager Placed on Leave After Utah School Lunch Seizures - Updated

"Upper level" School Board Management remains inexplicably "unscathed," so far at least

Via BenJoe Markland
Just as we might have predicted, there's been immediate blowback to this week's Uintah Elementary School lunch room debacle, wherein "dozens of children at a Salt Lake City elementary school had their lunches seized" and tossed in the trash.  Seems a couple of Utah legislators marched straight on over to the school and held a press conference, and the cafeteria manager (low "man" on the administrative totem pole) has now been placed by the school district on "administrative leave":
Added bonus: Check out the Trib's embedded video, a true marvel of ex post facto public servant anxiety and angst.

We'll also put the spotlight on this great material from the ever-savvy Holly Mullen, who neatly frames the overall issues in this story, even at this still-early juncture:
Really. So Uintah Elementary starts with going after the "lunch lady?" I hope we use this mess to dig down deeply into Utah's "culture of mean." Policies of taking a child's lunch for lack of payment don't just pop up out of nowhere. Why don't we start looking at Utah policies based in general on the notion of "I got mine, now go get yours." It starts with changing a whole culture, people.
Needless to say, we'll continue to keep a close eye on this story as it develops, folks, whilst "responsible" Utah elected officials hastily scramble for political cover.

Special thanks to our online pal BenJoe Markland, over at the From Where I Sit - In The World blog, for the great graphic which we've shamelessly "incorporated" from yesterday's most excellent writeup on this topic.

Update 1/31/14 7:00 p.m.:  The Trib's Pat Bagley knocks it outta the park with this afternoon's "inspired wditorial cartoon":


Doug said...

There needs to be lots of time and discussion before kids are denied lunch BECAUSE their parents will not pay. Yanking the lunch abruptly from kids getting ready to eat what they were served is really dumb! This story has gone national, BTW.There needs to be lots of time and discussion before kids are denied lunch BECAUSE their parents will not pay. Yanking the lunch abruptly from kids getting ready to eat what they were served is really dumb! This story has gone national, BTW.

rudizink said...


Steve G. said...

Yanking a lunch away from a kid who's already been served it and is ready to eat is needlessly mean, whatever the reason. It speaks to power issues and general assholery. I hope that whoever decided this is school policy gets reamed for it nationally...though I suspect what will happen instead is someone lower in the pecking order and with no say in how things are done will get thrown under the bus.

CJ said...

The "lunch lady" may have been the instigator but where were the other adults who watched this happen?

rudizink said...

The "lunch lady" ain't the problem here, methiks

rudizink said...

No. Even though Cathy McKitrick was there, taking her usually careful notes, the Staanrd won't post her writei-up. Go figure, folks.

Barry said...

Profits from the DABC stores provided $36 million this past year toward the school lunch program. Just think, if they hired someone to stock those stores with what people actually want.

BenenJoe said...

Love the shout out. This is a crazy crazy story

Catherine said...

That's what I keep saying. It takes one asshole to do it but how many to just allow it. Wrong at every level.

Ben said...

policy across the board. This same thing happened at Fremont High
School in Weber County right before the Christmas break. My daughter
watched them dumping lunches for lack of payment. It's Bullshit and it
has become ingrained in our local culture.

Dan S. said...

I won't be surprised if she still does a story. Sometimes these things take a few days to do right, and obviously she's been distracted by other assignments.

Danny said...

Why should we be surprised?

The bankers and consultants fleeced the city so easily last time around, will the nodding acceptance of the city council, why shouldn't they come back to for more, and more, and more?

After detailed analysis by Dan Schroeder and others showing that the last round of bonding wasn't needed, the City Council voted it right in anyway, with only Amy Wicks voting no.

And the city managers got to skim 7% of the resultant rate hikes right off the top of the water bill increases, for their own budgets.

So the bankers, consultants and bureaucrats are back for another trip to the trough. This unholy trinity will keep fleecing us until the corrupt SOBs are fired.

And the moronic Doug Stephens and the butt kissing Bart Blair got voted right back onto the council in spite of it. But I should not single them out. Except for Amy Wicks, they are all addled suck ups. I don't know why the bureaucrats even bother with the city council anymore. Those people can hardly chew their own food.

Only solution: MOVE.

Dan S. said...

Update: The master plan does not appear on the agenda for this coming Tuesday's council meeting, so it appears that the council leaders and/or staff have changed their minds about the timing. This may or may not be a result of my communications to the council members.

Smaatguy said... in the hen house. From my recollection, hasn't there been talk of the deteriorated condition of Ogden's water system a decade ago? How in the world does a professional engineering company miss a $30 mil problem that was staring them in the face?
And...what's that old contingency fund up to now???
what a racket!

Dan S. said...

I can easily understand how the cost of the "10-year plan" for fixing water infrastructure could change by a few million dollars as a result of the recent, detailed analysis of which pipes, exactly, have been leaking. What I can't understand is how the change could be anywhere near $30 million. That means someone screwed up badly the first time around. The blame falls partly on Sunrise, but also partly on the city officials they were working with.

Not sure what you mean about an old contingency fund, but the water fund has more than $10 million cash at the moment and the sewer fund has even more. The city's general fund, I'm pretty sure, is extremely short of cash.

Dan S. said...

It'll be very interesting to see what happens to the utility fund cash balances in the coming years--and to see what LYRB recommend in terms of bonding to avoid depleting the cash balances. In general, LYRB and the city administration seem to like large cash balances. But as the balances continue to grow, at some point you would think the council would realize it's getting ridiculous. The cash is just sitting there, earning 1% interest or less.

Dan S. said...

Here's McKitrick's article, which will presumably appear in tomorrow's (Monday's) print edition:

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