By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
Emails obtained by the San Benito News on Thursday reveal that former San Benito CISD Risk Management Director Janie Gonzalez may have been untruthful with district officials during an investigation into a letter she claimed to have drafted for Board President Yliana G. Rodriguez.
“Attached is the list of our products. It was really nice having lunch with you today. Looking forward to our changes,” read an email that Gonzalez sent to Robert Champion, Jr., a representative for the Salazar Insurance Group. The email was sent at 1:22 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, and contained an attachment that included product codes and a listing of the district’s cafeteria and health plans.
However, and according to San Benito CISD Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón, Gonzalez’s email to Champion contradicts her initial claims.
“We have an email from [Janie Gonzalez] where she says she has no communication, no emails between her and the vendors,” Limón said, adding that Gonzalez was terminated Thursday, August 23, after the emails that she allegedly claimed didn’t exist were discovered. “I terminated her due to her failure to disclose the existence of the emails.”
In another email correspondence – this one sent to Champion at 1:25 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16 – Gonzalez attached what may be the first draft of the now-infamous letter that Rodriguez signed announcing Champion and the Salazar Insurance Group as the district’s “sole agents handling all medical, dental and stoploss contracts.”
But it was Limón’s name that appeared at the bottom of the first draft rather than the board president.
The superintendent said Gonzalez prepared the document unbeknownst to him. “Not at all,” Limón said when asked if Gonzalez sought his approval to include his name on the letter. “I had no knowledge she had done that or that the letter even existed until after it came out.”
Thirty-three minutes after emailing Champion the first draft, Gonzalez sent another email, this time attaching a letter prepared on school district letterhead and undersigned with Rodriguez’s name instead of the superintendent. “What do you all think?” Gonzalez asked in the email sent to Champion and to a second email address that has yet to be identified.
School district officials have also confirmed that Gonzalez filed a grievance Thursday challenging her termination. Although the News has yet to receive a copy, officials verified that Gonzalez allegedly named Rodriguez as the person who instructed her to draft the letter.
As previously reported by the News, Ronald Rowell of the Texas Education Agency informed the superintendent – via email – that Rodriguez did not have the authority to change the district’s insurance agents without the approval of the board of trustees. It was further recommended by Rowell that district attorneys educate Rodriguez and board members as to their “roles and responsibilities.”
Attempts to reach Rodriguez were unsuccessful as of 7:20 p.m. Thursday. Gonzalez deferred the News to her attorney Cindy Garcia, who said she could not comment until after the grievance process ended.
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