Donna school board member's role as doctor for district questioned
Fri, 12 Aug 2011 04:13:14 GMT —
A school board member for the Donna Independent School District said it was a conflict of interest for a fellow board member to be hired as the district's athletic team doctor.
"This is the only district that I have heard of," Efren Ceniceros said. "That tries to employ a board member in that capacity."
At issue is the team doctor position recently filled by Dr. Michael Flores.
It's the same man who's been serving on the school board for the last two years.
Ceniceros calls it "unethical" across the board.
"I feel there is a definite conflict of interest when we have a team doctor standing around at the practices and every time a kid gets hurt... That kid has to go see me."
Board members must sign conflict of interest disclosure forms.
They also cannot, in most cases, vote on related issues.
Doctor Flores said he not only complies with all policies, but plans to go above and beyond to save the district money with his $36,000 dollar labor contract.
"Anything that I see here in the office... physicals or things coming from the district... workers comp... I don't make any extra money on it," he explained.
Flores was the medical director at Donna I.S.D. before resigning from the position back in March during cutbacks by the district.
Ceniceros said there were conflict of interest questions back then as well.
The board terminated the position on March 10th... We had a volunteer doctor that was not a board member in place," he said.
Despite steep district budget cuts and questions surrounding Flores' employment with the district, Superintendent Roberto Loredo hired him on August 4th.
Ceniceros said the deal went down just hours before the superintendent's contract was extended at a board meeting.
Superintendent Loredo claims he sought legal council before hiring Flores and cited the board member's past positive work as physician for bringing him back.
He also vehemently denied the allegation that a backroom deal was struck.
Reporter: Is that just a crazy coincidence?
Superintendent: "That is what it is."
Coincidence or not, the superintendent received unanimous support on his 1 year contract extension.
Ceniceros said he would not have voted in favor or it If he knew another board member had been hired as team doctor earlier that day.
He's calling for the position to be filled by someone other than a school board member.