I can’t think of a more recycled person in Laredo than Webb County’s newly appointed human resources director Ernesto Guajardo. Nor can I think of a less qualified person to be given a job that pays $69,500 in tax dollars, yours and mine.
In 1992, Ernesto Guajardo was sanctioned by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for falsifying the Texas Teacher Appraisal System records of five teachers.
In addition to admitting to the falsifications, Guajardo admitted that he had continued to conduct his teaching and school activities in violation of state law. The TEA ordered Guajardo to surrender his Texas Teacher Certificate as a “Temporary Assistant Principal.” Guajardo agreed to the cancellation of all administrative and supervisory fields on his teaching certificate.
In 1995 LISD Supt. Vidal Treviño recycled Guajardo into an elementary music supervisor, and eventually he became coordinator/director of the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts in the St. Peter’s Historic District.
Former LISD trustee Armando X. López recalled that in 1995 Guajardo assisted then-assistant superintendent of purchasing Tony Gutierrez (who had enjoyed a nice revenue stream from LISD magnet school landscaping purchases through Gutierrez’s floral company) to take part in an all-night and early morning paper shredding event as news of the outrageous LISD spending practices had become a matter of interest to the Texas Attorney General and the FBI. López said the two reportedly shredded construction documents relative to the costs of refurbishing the turn of the century magnet school buildings, documents sought by watchdog activists Hector Farias and Manuel Menchaca.
In the revolving door epoch of LISD superintendents here now-gone tomorrow, Guajardo was banished by then former UISD, now LISD, Supt. Dr. Jerry Barber to Lamar Middle School as an assistant principal.
Guajardo would come back as LISD’S human resources director in 2007, making a barnacle of himself to the power wielder of the day, then-superintendent Veronica Guerra.
As henchman/waterboy/mandado man, Guajardo was one of the most pernicious characters in Supt. Guerra’s dark tenure of retaliations and reassignments. He leveled accusations and spun cases from whole cloth, humiliating and besmirching good educators in life-altering, career-smashing paybacks of demotions, pay cuts, and reassignments.
His greatest career achievement was not recently being named Webb County Human Resources director. It was the role he played with neither honor nor dignity — Torquemada to Supt. Guerra’s Pope Sixtus IV of the Spanish Inquisition. Guajardo, it seemed, kept the racks and fires of Guerra’s inquisition primed with relish, vigor, and accusations.
Don’t be fooled by Guajardo’s obsequious demeanor as he appeared before the Webb County Commissioners Court on December 21, 2017. That’s his manner when he’s courting power. He’s got his own agenda.
And don’t be fooled by his word to act in the best interest of Webb County and all its employees. He’s the man who pulled the trigger on demoting LISD Athletic Director Sylvia Barrera, a 26-year veteran educator, to become an assistant elementary school principal while she battled cancer and was in chemotherapy.
Under Guajardo’s watch, the value of skilled lifetime educators was trumped by retaliation. A perceived snub, a failure to genuflect and kiss the slob-coated ring of the hand of power, the wrong kind of breakfast tacos, could bear terrible consequences. Ask Cigarroa High School principal Mario Guzman who was removed and sent to count textbooks in a warehouse; Cigarroa’s head coach and youth mentor Ricardo Alaniz who was reassigned to be a campus testing coordinator; Memorial Middle School principal Lupita Perez who was reassigned to oversee Pregnancy, Education and Parenting (PEP).
It was a jaw-dropper to see the Webb County Commissioners Court name Ernesto Guajardo, a man with four years of HR experience (and questionable experience at that) to the position over the other two candidates — Ana Laura Botello and Sara Soto Hinojosa — who came with far more HR experience and sterling reputations.
Was it my imagination, or was Neto’s biggest recycled moment fragranced by the fecal tones of Eau de Popó Done Deal Discussed in Advance?
Oh, did I tell you Neto promotes himself as a vote harvester?
And P.S.: Guess which two of the three Commissioners who voted for Neto are running for reelection.