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New woes for Mount Diablo school chief

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Chevron subsidiary is among the firms likely to bid on a big solar energy contract for the financially-troubled Mount Diablo Unified School District inimage the East Bay worth millions of dollars. In fact, earlier this summer, Mount Diablo’s superintendent, Steve Lawrence, and other district officials had planned to offer Chevron Energy Solutions a no-bid contract for the project until public scrutiny prompted them to back off. Now, Matt Krupnick in the Contra Costa Times reports on a golf outing involving Lawrence and a company executive at Lake Tahoe in which the executive procured green fee discounts for some of the superintendent’s friends. The executive, Jim Davis, had earlier bought Lawrence drinks at Oliveto, a restaurant in Oakland’s Rockridge section. “It was just a golf trip with a bunch of guys,” Lawrence tells the newspaper. But at least one ethicist sees it differently. Says Hastings College of Law professor Michael Salerno:

"Ethically, it's a slam dunk. You shouldn't be recreating with companies from whom you're seeking a bid."

Add: With the state hinting it might take over the troubled district, it’s been a rough year for Lawrence. Earlier, he apologized after hiring an elementary principal who had to be let go when parents discovered the principal’s criminal record through a Google search.

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