The chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee vowed today to seek the resignation of the executive director and the "entire management team" of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing after a two-hour public hearing into its handling of teacher misconduct cases and other issues.
Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said he will write to Gov. Jerry Brown, asking that the governor also consider shaking up the commission's 15-member governing board, which consists of 14 gubernatorial appointees.
"Somebody needs to be held accountable for the gross mismanagement of the commission," Lara said after Tuesday's oversight hearing that focused on a blistering audit report that criticized nearly every aspect of the commission's process of handling misconduct cases.
Lara said the commissioners are "our public stewards and need to keep management in line. They failed at that, so we need to make sure we need to have a complete change in management."
State Auditor Elaine Howle appeared at the hearing Tuesday to present her office's findings of flaws in how the commission launches investigations, updates files, gathers facts, tracks cases and revokes credentials. Auditors also found that in August 2009 there was a three-year backlog of 12,600 arrest or prosecution reports to be entered into commission records.
The public hearing also included testimony from Kathleen Carroll, a former commission attorney who persuaded Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to launch the audit by complaining of wrongdoing within the state office of 160 employees. She later was fired while cooperating with auditors.
Though the credentialing commission also licenses and sets state standards for teacher preparation in California, the audit focused almost exclusively on its role in handling misconduct cases.
Commission Executive Director Dale Janssen and Chairwoman Ting Sun tried to reassure legislators Tuesday that the commission is taking criticism very seriously and either has implemented, or plans to implement, the audit recommendations on staff training, computer tracking, case management, hiring procedures and other matters.
Sun's comments focused on the positive, pointing to a brighter and more efficient future.
"I have never found blaming and shaming to be a constructive way of resolving problems," she said.