Mike Miles Calls the DISD Audit that Criticized His Top Hires a "Witch Hunt"

Six months into his tenure at DISD, it's now official: Superintendent Mike Miles is hellbent on squandering whatever good will he was granted upon his arrival. Case in point was his news conference Wednesday to more fully address findings in a recent internal audit concluding that he and top staff had flaunted hiring rules and ignored financial rules when paying top hires' moving expenses. This was the report that led to the resignation of Dora Sauceda, the executive director accused of submitting fake moving expenses.

One might expect Miles to apologize for the infractions and promise to make sure they never happen again, but that's not his style. He's pugnacious, so he came out swinging.

Miles, according to the Morning News, called the audit "incomplete and error-filled" and likened it to a "witch hunt or ambush."

"Yes, I acted with a sense of urgency and changed some past practices to get things done," he said. "These changes in processes were permissible under law, policies, and the permission given to me by the board in my service agreement and contract."

Granted, Miles was trying to cobble together his team in an insanely short period of time and deserves leeway for not following district hiring procedures to a T. More concerning is the finding that he overrode basic financial controls when reimbursing top hires, then showed complete disdain for the people and process that caught him doing so.

What Miles needs is some good PR advice. As superintendent of a major urban school district, he's a public figure now, essentially half-politician. He needs to act more like one, and any politician worth his salt knows how to deal with a minor scandal: Act contrite. Promise to do better in the future. And then let people forget about it.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson