INSURANCE MESS: Citizens outraged by trustees’ inaction

Staff Writer 

Yliana G Rodriguez

San Benito CISD Board President Yliana G. Rodriguez

Three months and a failed attempt at requesting an investigation later, San Benitians are left to wonder why School Board President Yliana G. Rodriguez bypassed district policy and procedure to “immediately” instate a new insurance agent for San Benito CISD.

Consequently, citizens are displeased, at least according to those polled on the matter Thursday.

On May 18, Rodriguez issued a retraction to Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón at approximately 5:40 p.m. rescinding a letter she signed two days prior announcing that, “effective immediately,” Bob Treviño Insurance Group would no longer be the insurance agent to SBCISD. The original letter declared, thereafter, Robert Champion, Jr. and Salazar Insurance Group would be the “sole agents handling all medical, dental and stop loss contracts” for the district, this despite Bob Treviño Insurance Group remaining under contract with SBCISD for at least another year.

By May 25, board trustee Oscar Medrano filed a formal request to launch an investigation into the board president’s letter. The letter was in clear violation of district policy BDAA Local, which states that the duties and requirements of the board president are to preside at all board meetings unless unable to attend and to have the right to discuss, make motions and resolutions and vote on all matters coming before the board.

However, it was not until July 2 that Medrano was met with an answer from Limón. The request was denied on the grounds that “only the board, collectively” can request such an investigation.

It appeared Medrano was standing alone.

As many recent discussions at school board meetings have been held in closed session, not to mention board trustees and district officials proving difficult to reach, citizens are left without answers; some have even concluded that the school board is skirting the issue in hopes of dropping the matter altogether.

Medrano said, of a Finance Committee Meeting held on Tuesday, August 9, that serious concerns were raised when Glenn Hillyer, the school district’s insurance consultant, would not disclose the name of an insurance company, which he was recommending SBCISD utilize going forward.

The aforementioned company was later unveiled as the same Salazar Insurance Group Rodriguez had hastily announced was being adopted in May’s controversial letter.

“In my opinion,” Medrano said, “this raises serious concerns on the credibility of Hillyer and his negotiations while representing the SBCISD. This has also jeopardized the validity of the bidding process on this item,” and by item he was referring to the bid for any new insurance providers.

Medrano requested a laundry-list of credibility checks on Hillyer, reportedly stating that he felt Hillyer was being untruthful. Hillyer, meanwhile, has emphatically denied these allegations and has gone on record stating that he was not legally bound to reveal the name of the company he was recommending.

Where Hillyer may or may not be obligated to disclose such information, Medrano argued that there was no reason for Hillyer not to disclose the name of the insurance company he was recommending to the board.

In an email to his colleagues and the superintendent, Medrano invited, “Please accept…my recommendation…in support of terminating all relations with Mr. Glenn Hillyer as the school district’s Insurance Consultant, effective immediately.”

Medrano offered to make additional research available to his colleagues, which he claimed would help “collaborate my assertions…. I will gladly provide this information at your request.”

Over two weeks have passed since Medrano’s offer, but as of presstime, School Board Vice President Anna Cruz said she had not requested this research from Medrano. When asked why, Cruz had no comment.

Members of the community, however, did have something to say.

Medical professional Chara Kamins said, “I don’t think the [school board] should change insurance [providers. People] that work in the medical field, we have to [handle] insurance companies and deductibles. Patients get upset [when their plans change]. Every time something changes like that, it’s going to [entail] stressful situations for medical facilities. What she did, President Rodriguez, I don’t know why she decided to switch it on everybody [with no warning]. She really should’ve [included] everyone in the system. It was wrong to do it on her own.”

Regarding whether or not Cruz felt Rodriguez should be investigated on account of breaking procedure, Cruz said, “No comment.”

On the same issue, Omar Castro, 20, a San Benito restaurant industry shift leader, said this about Rodriguez: “I feel that it is very unprofessional and un-procedure like, what she’s doing. A leader should follow procedures and be communicative with the City of San Benito.”

When asked if they supported Medrano’s request for an investigation into Rodriguez’s letter and intent, School Board Trustees Fatima Huerta and Hector Leal also refused comment.

Contritely, Henry Peña, 36, who works with the ambulance service of San Benito, said, “As a working citizen for the City of San Benito, I think [Rodriguez] should be investigated. If something of this nature happens in the city, it needs to be dealt with by the commissioners or school board.”

Peña went on to add, “President Rodriguez needs to be investigated. She needs to come forward and say, ‘I did this.’ The outcome may be for the good, may be for the bad, but it’s got to be dealt with.”

Still, Huerta is not convinced an investigation is necessary. “The [May 16] letter was retracted,” Huerta said on whether she supported Medrano’s request to investigate Rodriguez. “Nothing went through.”

But San Benitians did not appear to be quite as forgiving.

Gerardo Gutierrez, 30, a professional massage therapist, said, “It’s not only a school board thing, it’s a public thing. I think [Rodriguez] should be brought to the public, to let us know what her purpose was. We deserve to know what the outcome is going to be.”

Superintendent Limón had no comment on Medrano’s request to investigate Rodriguez. Limón also did not wish to discuss Medrano’s request to immediately fire Hillyer as SBCISD insurance consultant.

At present, Medrano is seeking answers regarding Hillyer’s motivations to recommend the very Salazar Insurance Group Rodriguez broke policy to recommend in May.

Of the same issue, Pedro Villarreal, Jr., 25, who works in the movie industry, said, “Something was going on there. It shouldn’t happen like that. [This] should get checked out. And it is wrong, what happened. Justice needs to be [served] on that school board.”

Even if not all members of the community stand aware of the issues, they still hold a voice. Jim Coppinger, 74, a retired member of the community, admitted, “I really don’t pay much attention to the local stuff, but it sounds like she did something wrong. Breaking procedure isn’t right.”

Board President Yliana G. Rodriguez, Secretary June Aguilera and trustees Julian Huerta and Oscar Medrano were not reachable for comment by presstime.

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    • Ralph on September 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm
    • Reply

    The 16% that voted for the current board president got exactly what they voted for.
    Don’t blame me… I didn’t vote for any of those ladies.
    Wake up voters!!!

    • Richard on September 1, 2012 at 10:23 am
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    I seriously doubt that rodeo Chuy requested thru PIA all of the information on his banner. Some of it maybe? The attorney information I don’t think so. The disputed amount remains to be verified. My opinion is that rodeo Chuy is going around visiting campuses and departments and pretending to be a board member. What does he have to gain? He was so upset at the previous principal at Miller Jordan because he was going to lose money on his shirts he said so during the rodeo Chuy show ( public comment) . 16% of registered voters voted this last election and about 100 of those votes are from the elderly that the politiceras round up for a price. Everyone needs to vote !

    • voice of reason on September 1, 2012 at 9:19 am
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    Finally someone responded to the email. Two out of three is not bad, but please consider my responses to your email. 1. be clear on this the District did not formally accept the lowest response or vote for it. The Board voted to renew with the old products which were considerably higher for each product. What chuy showed were the spread sheets created by the San Benito Staff and Consultant and approved for the presentation by the superintendent. Then bob agreed to use the majority of these products after the fact. So the employees are getting a better price and the Board did not approve these products. But Chuys statement that the board voted for higher pricing is 100% accurate. 2. his statement is still accurate as is yours that it is less than acevedo, but they picked the highest option. FYI Rodeo Chuy received this information from the District from an open records act. Try to stick to the facts.
    3. The District consultant provided information on the overbilling issue and it was blessed by the board and the current attorney Juan Cabrerra. His information is accurate.
    4. I don’t know about
    5. is just opinion based and your response was not based on anything factual.
    6. I don’t know about
    7. Was just opinion as well.

    I appreciate your response and welcome your response.

    • Rodeo on August 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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    I am sure Chuy’s misleading banner has information her baby brat June gave him. I really don’t think he requested the information through Open Records. hmmmm … Wouldn’t that be an unethical violation by Ms. Aguilera. I think so. As for the banner, we all just have to take a look at the source. How credible can a town bully be?? You can’t even read the stupid banner. haha! All Chuy and his little girl June care about are selling t-shirts for their business. Talk about conflict of interest!!! Watch out what you ask for you Chuy!!!!

    • Donald on August 31, 2012 at 6:50 am
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    Do your research. Do the math. Why doesnt his “banner” mention that the district is SAVING money with this new law firm? The insurance is also cheaper. It’s all a matter of public record. Best of all & THANK GOD, we did not end up with an insurance agent who is shady or under investigation. I’m glad i stay involved and know what is going on, so that when I read stuff like that banner, i can decipher the facts from the lies. I encourage EVERYONE to get involved in your city and schools. Don’t keep yourselves in the dark because you will easily believe the lies.–.html

    • Richard on August 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm
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    Half truth # 1 insurance is actually Less than what district was paying before . Half truth # 2 attorney fees are less now than when Acevedo and other firm were employed. Half truth # 3 the amount claimed to be over billed is disputed. Half truth # 4 employees are only paid for hours worked if late they don’t get paid . Half truth # 5 big red letters … Easy to hide behind when accusations are made without a name. Half truth # 6 check mailed out to retired employee didn’t happen Half truth # 7 Chuy needs to feel important and sell t shirts so he keeps things stirred…

    • voice of reason on August 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm
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    I can see why most people don’t reply on this BLOG, because when presented with the truth. it doesn”t fit their version so it is dismissed. Cruz, I challenge you to give me and the people on this Blog 3 exact things on Chuy’s banner that are half truths or misinformation. Should be real easy for you there are at least 15 things on the banner, coming up with three should be a piece of cake. I keep challenging the people on this blog to produce FACTS and no one has answered with even one, Come on chonito, FYI, Richard, Crux and the rest I can’t be that good!!!!!!!!!! or are yall drinkinking the Medrano cool aid………

    • Cruz on August 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm
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    That “banner” you speak of has some misinformation and half-truths. If this man is going to parade around with all this information, the least he can do is GET IT RIGHT! Someone needs to correct him! And A certain employee sending these emails on work time??? Lol! Busted! Someone should request HIS emails! Better yet, someone should open up a thorough investigation into this whole insurance fiasco. The people deserve to know who exactly was in on this mess.

    • Richard on August 30, 2012 at 9:51 am
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    Chuy is at it again. Thinking he is on board. Putting up banners will information that he has no real knowledge about. I viewed the you tube video and misinformation was presented. Hopefully newspaper will get all emails they requested.

    • voice of reason on August 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm
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    28 hours since the banner went up and NOBODY is asking questions about what was on it and is public record. Everybody replaying the same tired old illianna, illegalana, jeez chonito, fyi, and the rest. How about this one real, real simple. Get rid of all agents, and your prek problem goes away……yes it is that simple $200,000 K right to the old bottom line……I am listening??????????

    • DelaSera on August 29, 2012 at 7:55 am
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    What a mess and we will never know because Illegalana has all the votes to prevent her ouster. If she denies wrongdoing why keep the truth away from us.
    Do taxpayers a favor and resign Illegalana.

    • Ray on August 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm
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    I was at proposed tax increase tonite . I have never spoken in front of a hearing/board but i did . I have always been terrified of speaking in public . I tried to keep it together anyway looking around I was amazed .How many people pay taxes in the city and how few people were there . Now I say to everyone here,if u were there great! If you werent and you like to voice your opinions only here,then nothings gonna happen folks. If every one of you here, were to go to these meetings things would change !!!

      • Denny Crane Jr. on August 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm
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      Couldn’t agree with you more Ray.

      If people don’t speak up, politicians like the city commission and the mayor will do as they please. Budgeting twenty thousand dollars for over seas trips is a slap in the face to the taxpayers!

      Wake up San Benito!

    • justthinkabout it on August 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm
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    Why would it be that during the election campaign all of these newly elected board members were everywhere, now that the time has come to justify actions no one is available for comment. Step forward and confirm your actions, be all that you can be.

    • senior analyst on August 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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    When I saw a couple of business people (an insurance agent and an a jewelry shop owner) with Yliana/Huerta political signs this past election I wondered why they were supporting them over such an outstanding candidate like Bob Tumberlinson? And right after election she wants to change insurance carriers on her own. Hmmm. Sometimes whom we vote for turn out out be be BIG dissapointments don’t they mr. business people. And I don’t suppose you will admit and say you made a mistake in not supporting Tumberlinson, Lllanes, Smetter. Though I do have to admit Ms. Cruz seems to be doing a good job. And it seems that Ms. Huerta is also trying by attending all meetings. If she would need any guidance I am sure Mr. Leal would be more than willing to assist her. As he said from the beginning, he was new at it at one time.

      • Ray on August 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm
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      You know ,I think its unfair of certain people to call every”new board members”, names or denigrate them . To pursue a Public service job,because you want to make things better or try to oppose “career politicians” is to be commended. Every job hires new people and learning it ,sometimes by being thrown into the fire is part of the deal.
      It is easier to preach from outside about their inexperience,but wouldnt keeping the same people be a worse proposition?
      Power tends to corrupt
      Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely.,,L.Acton

    • Wendy on August 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm
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    How in the world can this woman stay on the school board? She is a principal in Los Frenos and behaves like this in our hometown? Come on lady…. Have some class and step off the board. Bad news just continues to follow SBCISD. Only in our city of San Benito!!

    • Yliana is bad people on August 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm
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    It takes a lot to oust a school board member, but this one should be easy. What an unrighteous fool she is. Step down ill-e-anna and do us all a favor.

    • Wind on August 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm
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    I hear that the lady “Janie” is a non-degreed employee. How in the world can someone make these kinds of decisions and not be degreed? I am all for people that work their way up to the top, but come on. Sounds like she worked her magical way with “board friends”. Just saying…….

    • Richard on August 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm
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    The SBNews asked for copies of emails … What will they find out?

    • Chonito on August 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm
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    Legally I think you are correct. I also believe a crime has been committed here. Yliana Rodriguez should be investigated! I also heard she doesn’t live here in San Benito but lives in Harlingen. That would also disqualify her from serving on the board. I am sure there are more skeletons in her closet!!

      • Blue on August 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm
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      The BOARD PRESIDENT doesn’t live in San Benito, but LIVES in HARLINGEN??? What???? There is something wrong there. Does that mean the BOARD PRESIDENT DOESN’T PAY TAXES??? Now, people are asking questions. Someone should have been asking these questions in May. What a MESS SBCISD!!!

    • Crystal Perez on August 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm
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    I have never posted here before. But I just want to thank Mr. Medrano for his leadership on the school board. I have never met him, I’ve seen him but he has earned my respect for bringing out the truth behind this mess. I also think he should be president. Mr. Medrano will always have my families vote come election time. Thank you sir! Keep up the good work!

    • Its plain and simple on August 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm
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    I agree with NO TALKING..WHY do they refuse to talk about issues that affect sbcisd employees??…I didnt vote for them either….I still personally believe that those board members winning was part of a rigged election….why didnt the president show up at the covocation on Monday?….was she scared of being confronted in person?….lol….lol….SO……next time voting takes place people should learn from these bad experiences….Im not much into po litics but if previous members plan to challenge at the next elections I just might campaign for them!!!!………. Im tired of reading/hearing of whats becoming of this district…..Medrano…..keep your stand dont let them kick u out tooo…, if u trully believe and work for students…best interest fight for them and those that work with them (teachers, t.a’s…staff…etc.)

    • FYI on August 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm
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    Good!!!! This lady Jaine Gonzalez need to held accountable for what she did. She was known to be very unprofessional and very,very rude to Employees & Co-Workers. She would walk around laughing with an attitude to everyone, “like I can Do What Ever I want” Because I have the support of the Presidant (Yiliana Rodriguez). She has always been a Bully to her Co-Workers that is why she mention in the (insurance Work shop meeting) “It use to be Three of us now it’s just two of us, My self and Lucy”. Well, because No one Else wants to work with her. One of her Ex. Co-Workers is now working at Transportation department and she would treat that lady like Dirt. Just because she didn’t like her and wanted to bring in a “Comadre”. After so many years, of bad mouthing her in front of every one, Jaine Gonzalez got her way. That Co-Worker was removed by her recommendation and her Comadre “Best of Friends” was transfer in her place. Then it took about a few years until she started to get the same treatment or maybe worst!!! Then, Jaine Gonzalez recommend that she be Fired. Her so call “Comadre”(Best Friend) found out and ask for a transfer from that department. Jaine Gonzalez has been known to use and abuse her Title as a “Manager” to her co-workers an it had gone to her head. To the point, that she thought with this attitude to her co-workers that she was untouchable. Plus, really Lucy Garcia is the only one really working in that department. She is a very nice,helpful and polite to all employees. Jaine Gonzalez did Nothing!!! when employees came in for help or question she would send them to Lucy and really a lot of employees did not want to deal with her because they would complain that she was very Rude and unprofessional. The only reason she was so involve with this “Glenn Hillyer the School District’s insurance consultant” was to make sure her corrupted political promises and deals would get done. Yiliana Rodriguez, Jaine Gonzalez and Glenn Hillyer are involved in this illegal scam. 

    • Legally Brunette on August 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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    Aren’t Yliana’s actions illegal?! By directing an employee to write that letter, isn’t that abuse of power?? Am I wrong here?! This needs to be investigated!!!

    • WeThePeople on August 25, 2012 at 12:29 am
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    Several points to make here…
    1) This consultant works for the DISTRICT and the taxpayers…not individual employees or individual school board members. By withholding information, he is in violation of ethical standards, and should be terminated….IMMEDIATELY.
    2) Individual board members HAVE NO AUTHORITY! The board votes as a group. Individual members have NO administrative say-so WHAT SO EVER, and cannot give directives to ANYONE as individuals.
    3) State law has been violated at this point…several times, and in several ways. There needs to be an IMMEDIATE investigation to get to the bottom of this!

    • Chonito on August 24, 2012 at 11:41 pm
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    Yliana Rodriguez should resign from the school board. They should get her out as president and ask her to resign. Put Medrano as president! What a mess!!

    • No Talking on August 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm
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    Getting sick and tried of these board members not commenting. We, the citizens of the great City of San Benito, elected them and they cannot speak. But don’t blame me and my friends…we voted for the “qualified” people that were running for office.

    • Samantha on August 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm
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    I sure hope this board president pays TAXES like the rest of us. What a mess this all is because of HER actions. Can not even imagine what was going through her mind.

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