Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What's Next at TYC? Meet Brent Rumbo

Responding yesterday to news of the Coke County private youth prison's closure, the beleaguered House Corrections Chairman Jerry Madden said that everyday he wonders about the Texas Youth Commission, "What's next?"

Well, Mr. Chairman, it's Wednesday. Meet Brent Rumbo, the brand spanking new principal at the Crockett State School. Jim Hurley told the Austin Statesman's Mike Ward that Rumbo's background check "came up totally clean" before he was hired to head education programs at Crockett. A Grits commenter pointed out that TYC's background checkers apparently don't use Google. When I did, I found that the Bryan College Station Eagle reported on September 30,

Brent Rumbo resigned as principal of the high school in August, almost three months after allegations surfaced that he had chased a group of students with a stick or an ax.

A Grimes County grand jury did not find enough evidence to warrant a trial in that matter.

In May, the president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent a letter to administrators contending that Rumbo had bullied minority students and intimidated teachers and staff on campus.

Rumbo was placed on paid leave Aug. 9 after he was asked to resign but would not do so.

That same day, The Eagle obtained a Tyler police report describing a December 2005 incident in which Rumbo, who was then principal at Winona High School, was pulled over for a traffic violation and had a known prostitute in the vehicle.

Rumbo told police that he was looking for his ex-wife, who he said was "turning tricks," and needed help finding her, according to the document.

The Navasota school board accepted his resignation Aug. 27.

It should be said that Mr. Rumbo has been convicted of no crime, and perhaps there are good reasons why he allegedly chased students with an axe, angered the NAACP and rode around Tyler during the evening with a prostitute.

But what a public relations disaster! Especially after the pepper spray fiasco. And after flip flopping on keeping 19-20 year olds locked up. And after ignoring a contractor engaged in protracted mistreatment of kids. And after ignoring the Blue Ribbon Report. And after letting the understaffing crisis at state-run units get out of hand, and running dozens of good employees off. TYC could use a couple of public relations wins right now, but it's not Jim Hurley's fault. The bad news just keeps coming.

Like the pepper spray lawsuit and the controversy over 19-20 year olds, the Rumbo situation is a self-inflicted wound. The guy just started work on Monday, for heaven's sake. He was in the Bryan newspaper last week over this stuff! And it's not just the lascivious charges that concern me; the last school he was at was rated academically unacceptable by the Texas Education Agency during his tenure.

Was this really the only guy you could find to take the principal's job? It's not like this was all years ago. This is all the stuff he resigned his last job over. Did TYC not call his previous employer? They formally asked for his resignation. Have you people never heard of promoting from within?

UPDATE: Apparently, they knew. Rumbo told the Bryan College Station Eagle he informed TYC officials about allegations and problems at his last job before he was hired: "Rumbo said Wednesday that he had discussed those matters with Texas Youth Commission officials 'several weeks ago.'" Said Jim Hurley, hopefully, "He did pass the background checks. No charges have ever been filed [against him.]"

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is anybody shocked? They continue to prove that TYC needs to be completely shut down. We have an idiot in charge of more idiots.Pope proves every day how truly out of her element she is.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he should work at McFadden! We have a JCO who blinded a man by kicking him with a steel toe boot in the head. We have such winners at TYC. Just the sort of people you want around dysfunctional youth. Way to go Pope!

Anonymous said...

!!!!
????
!!!!

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

Its good to know that according to Pope.. 98% of the abuse has stopped, with people in charge such as these mentioned, I feel 100% confident that she is doing her job well!

We should all be so proud we are lead by such a great leader!

She is going to lead us all to the unemployment line.....

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG6X-xtVask

If this wont make you sick nothing will.......

Texas Legislature in Action?

This is not what our founding fathers wanted.

Your votes dont count no matter how you cut it. Look its crazy! they're just passing bills to pass them so they can get paid by the companies lobbying them.

Anonymous said...

Ok, maybe I would get promoted if I had a DWI conviction and went trolling for hookers. No wonder I can't get ahead, I have morales, and a clean record. And where is Quality Assurance at Cooke COunty. That place did not turn that bad overnight. You can't blame Rumbo and Cooke County on the old adminstraion. This happened under the reformed leadership of those 'professionals" from TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

Grits, there are some capable and qualified staff who could have been promoted to Principal at Crockett but weren't. The promotions that have taken place at TYC have been selective. All others can only be considered on an equal basis with anyone who wants to apply..their TYC experience has no weight in the decision.

Anonymous said...

Bill Bush's response seems to be the only response to all of this. I have to apply for my job again. I have a clean record, good performance, and a strong work ethic that has been proven over time. Masters, license, 25+ years of youth and juvenile experience, and yet I have to reapply for my job. I wonder who they have in mind?

Last night I felt like throwing up!!!

Honestly, I sometimes wonder::::

When I drove through one of those toll booth things, and that flash thing went off, was I mistakenly transported into some kind of alternate or dual reality?

I saw that matter anti-matter thing on Star Trek one time, and I think that TYC as we are reading about it is now just some kind of dual reality controlled by artificial intelligence or something.

You are right, Bill, it is just, !!!! ???? !!!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Spotlight Brent Rumbo. You won't last a week.

Anonymous said...

It will be very interesting to see what they (tyc,co) do with this situation.
It will be very interesting to see if this guy quits on his own or TYC ask him to leave his position. The outcome of this may have a bearing on what is already on TYC's plate at this time.

Anonymous said...

They couldn't possibly have promoted the Assistant Principal at Crockett - she knows what she is doing and has integrity.

Anonymous said...

Regarding promotion from within.

If the new management hires from within, they do not receive the same loyalty as hiring someone from the "street".

Generally people that are promoted from within believe their promotion is the result of their own hard work and do not feel as beholden to the individual that promoted them.

Another justification for hiring from the "street" is getting new blood and a fresh perspective on solving problems. Folks that are promoted do not feel the same desire to prove themselves when they first start a new job.

Anonymous said...

Eric Young cannot possibly survive this. Can he?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Rambo and Will ought to hang out together ??? After all Will is a DWI oh wait He plea barganed that one down to a class B ...
Looks like all of the new commission is got a bit of a past Huh... You know sooner or later the Feds are gonna come in and take this mess over ,, The public is not stupid they can see its a Political Firestorm lets just hope they do it before all of the good staff are not fired...

Anonymous said...

This Brent Rumbo thing is sure going to test the "AT WILL" status of our jobs. We are reminded at every staff meeting that we are all "AT WILL" employees and can be taken by the elbow and walked out the gate at any time. What is all the issue here? He has 2 elbows just like we all do.
Crockett does have a very capable Assistant Principal, who we all wanted to get the job.She has ran the school smoothly for months and has worked long hours to get the job done. She was 2nd behind Rumbo in the interview....somehow.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this blog is primarily about protecting the rights of the convicted and adjudicated, but comes up rather short on the rights of the accused. Because of all the slander this agency has received they are forced to hire anyone with a pulse, and then have to suffer the criticism of the disgruntled and self-righteous. This guy may be guilty as sin, but then again he may just have some personal problems that he's trying to work out that has been complicated by publicity. Because of all the civil rights actions of the past, former employers do not share information with other employers for fear of being sued. Therefore, the man was hired by his resume and credentials. And, just maybe, if given a chance he might be able to do a good job.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"if given a chance he might be able to do a good job"

That could be true, but if others applied who were equally qualified (like the person who'd been running things for months) who DIDN'T have a bunch of scandals and bad TEA assessments at their last job, that would have been a better hiring decision. I'm not saying Mr. Rumbo shouldn't be able to work, but right now this agency is borderline dysfunctional and suffering a massive public relations crisis. They need to bring on the highest quality people, not just whoever they can get. If they have to raise pay and/or go out of state for talent, fine, but let's stop just pulling in our buddies, whoever somebody knew at TDCJ, or other bottom of the barrel applicants for management jobs, please. Basta! Enough!

Also, lets add a Google search to the background check regimen, shall we?

Anonymous said...

"Highest quality people"

Aren't you listening to your own logic? With all the bad PR, why would quality people want to work for an agency that is getting attacked from all sides? There's nothing we can do to win these days. If we hire from within it's "busness as usual." Bring in good people we know it is cronyism. Where are we supposed to get these quality people? This man probably got the job, because he was the only one that had the qualifications that applied. TYC didn't hire within, because they did have the information about the people that they already had employed, and felt this guy was better. That's a scarier thought. I wish no one was listening to you, but it's obvious that the decision makers are, and they are just reacting. This man is probably going to be encouraged to leave, and going to be replaced by a teacher at the school they already know is incompetant. I agree with the guy who suggested you come work for Harrell. Come help, instead of standing outside throwing stones. The Deputy Ombudsman job is posted.

Anonymous said...

Tyc at CRTC education in Corsicana is as poorly led as this previous example. This school needs some close observation for proof of blatant discrimination as well as being an abusive work place with much racial discrimination. Teachers who are excellent educators are leaving due to excessive stress and the excessive verbal abuse.

Anonymous said...

I Googled my name and found out I'm a porn star. Hope TYC doesn't find out.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ 6:23 - The agency is being attacked from all sides because they aren't competently managing things. The pepper spray lawsuit - preventable by following the rules. The 19-20 year olds in limbo - Hickman has demonstrated they should have just followed the law.

As for hiring - the wave of firings of respected long-timers and the new top management brought over from TDCJ set the tone. I know for a fact a lot of qualified people would have liked to help TYC, but most of the top jobs were never even posted, and you're right, the current administration has created an atmosphere now where no one wants to work. But at some point they must begin to change it.

To your comments about hiring from within: Untrue. Since they didn't check the guy out to know his background, they couldn't adequately compare the candidates - I'll bet if they'd known, hiring from within in this case would have looked like a good option, not "scary" at all by comparison.

Don't blame me or the media for the fact that nobody wants to work at TYC - I didn't fire their talent pool or botch all the rulemaking, choose to hire Brent Rumbo, or for that matter tolerate pedophiles and child abusers in my workplace for years. Also, this blog reaches fewer than 2,000 people per day, on average, while the Austin Statesman lands in more than 200,000 driveways. Me writing about this isn't nearly as big a problem as the Statesman! Personally I think I've been more sympathetic to the agency on Grits than most of the MSM. For example, the TYC post after this one suggests that SB 103 "worked" in the Coke County case - the MSM are mainly touting the horror stories and the local backlash.

Finally, lots of people from TYC and at the Lege have told me they think what Grits does is constructive, and Will seems to be getting on fine without me. Thanks for thinking of me, though. best,

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Williams may finally get her wish, even though she really doesn't have the experience either.

Anonymous said...

This is your blog, and you should have the last word, but I feel a need to clarify. The 200,000 people reading the Statesman are of no consequence for the most part, but everyone that works at TYC is reading your blog, including the powers that be. You're blog is having more influence than the Statesman. I work at TYC, and I, for one, do not feel that any of this is constructive as it could be. Of course, you have the right to listen to only those who agree with you, and that's human nature, but I really think that you could be more constructive if you could come and see what is really going on, instead of criticizing from outside.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line regarding Rumbo - his campus was rated 'academically unacceptable' for three years consecutively. This indicates a multitude of problems- the first that occurs to me is an inability to motivate staff. This is NOT what TYC needs. Anyone familiar with the state rating system for school disctricts know that one of the most important tools available for raising scores is campus leaders who can motivate the staff to motivate the students. School superintendents will tell you that if you're looking for personnel, especially administrative personnel, at this time of year, what you're probably going to find are people looking to get out of a contract or those who have been fired or those who were asked to leave. Just my opinion based on several years of service to a local school district.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"you could be more constructive if you could come and see what is really going on, instead of criticizing from outside"

That's a catch-22, though, because if I worked there I couldn't write about it.

And I appreciate your assessment of Grits' relative influence, but I'll guarantee Gov. Perry jumps to attention when Rumbo's story is in the Statesman, but he didn't care, e.g., when Grits covered Ed Owens background in March. Indeed, since most of my advice is roundly ignored, I don't really consider Grits as influential as you say, though it's nice of you to think so.

Nevertheless, I've tried to be constructive. I've covered hearings and adumbrated documents most people don't have time to read. I've tracked agency rulemaking SNAFUs and suspect contract decisions that otherwise no one paid attention to (at least until the lawsuits began). And I've given voice to employee concerns in an environment where they're being steamrolled. I'll grant you the commenters on Grits aren't always "constructive" and sometimes devolve, but that's because people are frustrated and this is where they vent.

What do other folks think? I try not to only listen to people who agree with me (it's an ironic claim b/c 10 years ago there were hardly any), but as you say, perhaps that's human nature.

Bill Bush's comment sums up why this, IMO, deserved coverage on the blog: It's surprising and raises a lot of questions. Or we can try ignoring TYC's questionable decisions and see where that gets us ... oh yeah, we already know: Under conservatorship.

Anonymous said...

Grits, as I stated in my earlier post, this topic not only brings important issues to light regarding TYC, but school districts in general. People need to be aware of all the factors that play into hiring a good public, or private, school administrator. Kuddos to you for the tip. We, as a public, need to take it upon ourselves to get informed about the issues of our world today and quit going around with blinders on...I, for one, am grateful for what you do on this blog - I don't always agree with your position, but that is what democracy is all about anyway:) Thanks for providing a forum for education and opinion!

Anonymous said...

Why Rumbo? My guess is that in public schools, you get a contract... in TYC, you get "at will". Unless somebody, such as the aforementioned asst principal, is already in the at risk position, I suspect there are not many who will put their career on the line for TYC and the potential of a dirty bathroom or a perverted teacher costing me the job because it got publicity or D'Pope found a new friend who needs a job. Consider: guilty or no, Hernandez out at West Texas had a "clean" record when he went to work for the charter school in Midland.

Anonymous said...

8:21 - What do you mean, "Jennifer Williams doesn't have the experience"? She has been an assistant principal at two locations, and has been successfully leading the Crockett education dept for months under very trying conditions. She works hard and has integrity. Her problem is that when she was recently ordered to do something that was extremely unethical, she refused.

Anonymous said...

I think Jerome Williams and Dennis Smith should both be lead to the gate by their elbow along with Rumbo for making such a poor choice.

Anonymous said...

He fits right in.......not going anywhere as long as those in charge now stay around...( Sad but True )

Anonymous said...

Grits,
8:26 did not ask you to come work for TYC, he/she asked you to come see the facilities for yourself. Many people(leges for example) have been asked to come see the facilities and we have yet to see any of them behind the fence. Apparently DPope was at Mart on Friday but did not speak to any employees hardly,just wandered around followed by her TV crew. Also was told her dress was inappropriate for juvie males. It was rumored that the assist. superintendent at Mart I was suspended this week for a couple of days for asking her a question in the middle of all the movement of the Coke Co. youth. No questions allowed.

Anonymous said...

!!!???!!!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If that's what was meant, 9:03, why was this line included, "The Deputy Ombudsman job is posted"? I think that person was telling me to quit the blog and come work there.

Anonymous said...

Did Rumbo ever come to work at Crockett?

Anonymous said...

Crockett for the most part has a really good group of teachers. It took a long time to rebuild after the cronyism of Judy Huffty. I just hope this Rumbo character doesn't turn back the clock.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he is at Corsicana at pre-service. Looks like Jennifer Williams paid the price for having integrity in this corrupt organization.