Friday, December 30, 2016

Governing Board Members should not be able to use District vehicles (or break the law in any other way).

Governing Board Members should not be able to use District vehicles, which Policies EEB-R1 and EDC make clear.  Allowing such use of District resources may also be a gift of public funds, in violation of AZ statute and the AZ Constitution.  Why has TUSD's legal counsel not addressed this problem?

EEB-R1 says: "District Vehicles may be used by TUSD employees for school business only and only if the employee has a valid Arizona driver’s license."  

EDC says: "The use of District vehicles is for official District business only. District vehicles shall be operated by District employees only when they are authorized by their position, are duly qualified/licensed to operate a vehicle and when approved by their supervisor. This applies to all general purpose and special purpose vehicles."

By Az statute and Constitution, the expenditure of public monies must be for a public purpose, and the cost of the expenditure may not exceed the value of the direct benefits to the public body.

Someone (who failed to read the other, related TUSD policies) stuck a provision into EEB-R2 that allows Governing Board Members to use District vehicles (!).  The Board should not have been advised to adopt the policy.

TUSD's current legal counsel told me that he and Dr. Sanchez "discussed" the "quite a few policies that need work," and the Supt. "has asked [him] to pursue that over the next year."  He let me know that he "appreciated the work I did on these [policies]."  I let him know that I would go ahead and do my own review, that I would contiue to revise and update the policies that no one else has felt the need to go through in, in some cases, over a decade, and I thanked him for the information.  I let him know that, as I understand AZ statute (which I will continue to discuss here so that you all can agree or disagree with my perspective) the Board writes the policy.  That's what boards are for.  He replied:

"The Board is certainly the party which adopts policy.  In my experience, however, Boards rarely actually write the policy themselves – not to say that can’t be done; it certainly can be, of course.  For the past 25 years, I’ve been given direction by my Governing Boards to develop policies consistent with their expressed ideals, goals and interests (representing their community as they do), and then have been tasked with the writing function to ensure not only embodiment of their direction, but also their legality, compliance, etc.  In addition, the Board subscribes to the National/Arizona School Board policy system that provides policy support, including proforma samples also designed help ensure legality and compliance.  Please do not misinterpret my mention of these facts.  I certainly feel no territorial control over policy development, and I will certainly support the policy development/writing process however the Board determines I should.  You have obviously done a lot of work already, and I look forward to reviewing your attachments.  Thank you again for sharing them with me.  Have a great holiday season."

I am glad that TUSD's legal counsel feels no territorial control over policy development; however, I was surprised that he was not more supportive of my efforts to do the work he, his predecessor, and the previous TUSD Boards should have done long, long ago.  I guess we are all fortunate that I know how to read and write like a lawyer--and that I actually enjoy the work :)

I think EEB-R2 (currently at: should be updated to read:

Tucson, Arizona

REGULATION TITLE:  Business and Personnel Transportation Services – Use of District Vehicles

District Vehicles
District vehicles may be requested by District employees for District travel purposes only. Vehicles will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis; however, preference in the assignments of District vehicles shall be given to travel events which involve the transportation of students.

Employees Driving District Vehicles
No employee shall be assigned a District vehicle on a full-time basis. 

District vehicles shall be returned to the district assigned facility at the end of every business day.  In the case a district vehicle is taken out of town over night, the vehicle shall be returned to the assigned facility immediately following the return to Tucson.  Vehicles are not permitted to be stored or parked at an employee’s home. 

Lending or Renting of Vehicles
Vehicles owned by the District shall be used by TUSD employees only with a valid driver’s license.  TUSD vehicles checked out for daily use shall be driven at all times by the individual(s) who accept liability and are present during the check out process.  Lending or renting TUSD vehicles is prohibited.  The express permission for such use shall be given by the Superintendent or a member of the staff designated by the Superintendent.

Traffic and Parking Violations
The District assumes no liability for any employee cited for, or convicted of, illegally operating or illegally parking any motor vehicle used to conduct District business.  The employee shall be personally responsible for any and all expenses, costs, penalties, fines, or other consequences which may result form such citation, conviction or arrest.

Accidents and incidents are defined in AZ Administrative Code Minimum Standards.  TUSD has elected to adopt the same definitions to determine the type of occurrences involving TUSD vehicles, staff or students.   

Accidents are defined as any occurrence with a vehicle that results in any bodily injury or fatality to any person involved, damage to property outside of the vehicle, or damage to the vehicle that affects its integrity. 

Incidents are defined as an occurrence with a vehicle that results in no injuries, no property damage outside of the vehicle and minor or no damage to vehicle (as defined in AZ Admin Code Standard R-17-9-108.B).

Any accident or incident (no matter how minor) in a school vehicle or personal vehicle while on District business (regardless of location) is to be reported immediately to TUSD School Safety.  School Safety should respond to all accidents or incidents that involve injury, damage to vehicle or property or involve a non-TUSD party.  School Safety will notify the Risk Management Department as soon as possible after the accident has occurred and injuries are stabilized. 

Reporting Accidents/Incidents  
  1. The driver is required to report any accident or incident to the district from the scene. 

  1. Accidents/Incidents Involving a School Bus:
a.       The district must notify the Arizona Department of Public Safety after receiving notification of an accident involving a school bus. 
b.       The district and the bus driver must complete the DPS School Bus Accident/Incident Report. 
c.       The district must submit a written verification of a bus accident to DPS within 72 hours of notification.   

Employees who fail to report an incident or accident are subject to discipline, up to and including termination. 

Record Keeping
The district should retain all accident or incident related documentation for no less than three years after the date of the occurrence, or for a period of two years after the completion of litigation, whichever is longer.  Documents for events involving students must be kept until the youngest student passenger is 19 years of age. 

Post-Accident Evaluation
After an accident has occurred, a detailed evaluation of the accident and the actions taken immediately following shall take place.  These include, but are not limited to, the following:
·                      determination of the basic cause of the accident;
·    determination of the appropriateness of the actions taken after the accident by district personnel;
·                      determination of preventability of accident for TUSD driver(s) involved;
·    determination of routing or student loading or unloading factors involved in the accident;
·                      analysis of driver fitness for duty;
·                      determination of injury severity;
·                      determination of accident costs;
·    identification of lessons learned from the accident; including any necessary policy changes;
·                      identification of training needs suggested by the accident;
·    determination of records retention requirements associated with the accident; and,
·                      conformity with annual reporting requirements.

Post-Accident Substance Testing Standards
Drug and alcohol tests shall be conducted after an accident as required by the standards listed below.  Any driver who appears to be under the influence shall be immediately tested per Federal Regulation 49 CFR 382.307.  Reasonable suspicion should be determined by immediate supervisor in conjunction with trained School Safety Officer. 

Any driver who refuses testing shall be subject to discipline as outlined in Governing Board Policy GBEC.         

Type of Accident Involved
Citation Issued to Driver OR At Fault Finding through Internal Investigation
Substance Test Shall Be Performed by Employer
Human Fatality
Human Fatality
Bodily Injury with Immediate Medical Treatment Away from the Scene
Bodily Injury with Immediate Medical Treatment Away from the Scene
Disabling Damage to Any Motor Vehicle Requiring Tow Away
Disabling Damage to Any Motor Vehicle Requiring Tow Away
In Absence of Citation, At Fault Accident Determined Through Internal Investigation
Yes, with reasonable suspicion

Post-Accident/Post-Incident Training and Disciplinary Program
Vehicular accidents account for a high percentage of serious job-related injuries and are the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities.  Furthermore, accidents can result in a significant cost to the district in terms of time, energy, and money.  Accordingly, the district developed the following discipline program to help reduce the risk of vehicle accidents.

Progressive discipline and training shall occur if a driver begins to develop a pattern of traffic violations or is found at fault for minor preventable accidents/incidents.  Infractions shall be documented and placed in the employee’s personnel file in accordance with bargaining unit agreements. 

1.    First incident: written reprimand plus remedial training. 
2.    Second incident within 12 months of first incident:  additional written reprimand, plus repeat of appropriate training. 
3.    Third incident within 12 months of first incident:  possible discharge.  If management considers discharge unnecessary, suspension without pay plus repeat of appropriate training.   

Preventable Accident:
1.    First preventable accident: written reprimand plus remedial training.
2.    Second preventable accident within any 24 month period:  written reprimand, plus repeat of appropriate training, plus possible suspension with pay depending on severity of accident. 
3.    Third preventable accident within any 36 month period:  written documentation in employee file.  The employee will be recommended for discharge from district service. 

NOTE: Preventable accidents involving more serious consequences such as bodily injuries may result in more serious disciplinary actions up to and including termination.

Smoking in District Vehicles
Smoking or possession of any tobacco product is prohibited, at all times, by any person in any vehicle owned by the District.

Revision:       August 22, 2000     
Reviewed:     July 12, 2011 [Via email from Supt’s Ofc to Board]
Revision:       To Governing Board via April 10, 2015, Friday Report

Legal Ref:    

Replaces TUSD EEB-R1 – Business and Personnel Transportation Services (July 12, 2011)

Cross Ref #  EEAEAA – Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy for Commercially Licensed Drivers 
                        GBEC -

1 comment:

  1. I believe it was under Dr. Pedicone that a major project was initiated to review and revise all policies. Maybe it was under Fagan. A close friend of the Personnel Director was put in charge of the process. I don't know how it ended. That was when the policies were changed from numbered to lettered designations.