To: Buffalo Board of Education
From: Carl Paladino
Date: June 26, 2013
Re: An Open Memo Demanding The Resignation Of Superintendent Pamela Brown.
My first motion as a member of the Board of Education (BOE), at the first regular meeting of the newly elected BOE when it is seated after July 1, 2013, will be to immediately seek the resignation of Superintendent Pamela Brown, failing which the BOE will begin proceedings to terminate her employment contract for cause, for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
The people of Buffalo unequivocally proclaimed that they’ve had enough of the incompetency of the Board of Education (BOE) and its Superintendent, whose lack of any discernible leadership skill and pathetic and amateur performance in her short tenure has created a systemic chaos evidenced by the current morale crisis and the breakdown of the basic structure of the system.
Pamela Brown has failed because she was never competent to lead a School District of 30,000 students. The BOE touted her Ph.D. from Harvard, but a degree does not make a leader. A degree is what you complete. A District is what you lead. She had no history of supervisory skill. The BOE wanted a weak African-American Superintendent from out of State who they could control to protect their influence over the bloated budget and jobs. The BOE has a history of filling (some important and some unnecessary) positions with the unskilled, like a social services agency. The District suffers systemically from the appointment of idiots to critical jobs. The BOE and Pamela Brown are fully aware and have been all too willing to sacrifice competency and proven ability to preserve the status-quo. If they were true to the children, they would have hired the best proven and capable person, regardless of color.
Brown had no experience supervising or managing school systems. She isn’t certified in New York. She doesn’t know New York Education law. She’s had 11 jobs all over the country, primarily as a linguistics teacher. Being from out of State, she was clueless about the system’s problems and the competency of the staff. She had no experience in how to get to know the lay of the land, connect with the business community, etc. She was discharged from a failed position in upper school administration in the central office of the Philadelphia school system. There is no known Performance Agreement or evaluation between the BOE and Pamela Brown.
We pay for her chauffeur and car. She earned $217,000 plus an undefined amount the district would have paid into the State retirement system had she belonged plus a $5,000/year annuity, a $7,500/ year grant for belonging to organizations whether she belongs or not, an expense account for travel and the cost of an annual medical exam, etc.. She received 40 sick days on hiring and gets 14 more per year thereafter in addition to 4 personal days per year.
Brown avoids communication with her bloated staff. She screams at people over the phone and walks out of meetings that don’t please her. She continues to employ the likes of Mark Frazier, who installed less-than-qualified, first year trainees as principals in critically failing PLA schools instead of promoting qualified assistant principals on merit. He also converted to his personal benefit thousands of dollars in Leadership Academy funds. He is now mucking up the Special Education program.
The aloof Brown doesn’t have staff meetings. She has met with her CFO infrequently this year, (despite the challenges of a $50 million budget deficit) and will only meet her and other key staff by appointment. She literally hides from the press and denies interviews. She advanced a budget that she did not understand with any depth and which incredibly sought to cut and centralize the school counselor Student Support Team (SST) program which would have destroyed a vital tool of the principals and teachers. She would have disassembled a system that supports students most at risk. She did destroy a good part of the music program but she didn’t touch the waste, fraud and abuse of the over-layered administrative bureaucracy of incompetent former teachers and members of the friends and family club of the sisters.
The students, principals, teachers and the community have suffered enough. For decades the working middle-class with children have fled to the suburbs for lack of a functional public urban school system. For those who couldn’t flee, their lives were destroyed. Why should our children suffer even one more day with the trial and error of a less than capable leader?
Being a Superintendent is about supervising, managing people and implementing policies and programs. It’s about the skill of engaging and motivating others to reach for a clearly defined vision.
John King, the State Commissioner of Education appointed Judy Elliott as the Distinguished Educator to give an objective analysis and support and advise the Superintendent on correcting the problems. Staff was admonished not to give Dr. Elliott any information that would make the Superintendent or District “look bad”. Only complete transparency and an atmosphere free of intimidation and recrimination will reform the system.
Brown’s lifeline has been with the insular and incredibly oblivious BOE President, Ruth Kapsiak. Brown’s weaknesses are so glaring that her irresponsible handlers have propped her up with expensive outside consultants like Mary Guinn instead of putting in place strong, top down leadership. “Say Yes” is trying to influence the system which should be a positive, except, to get influence, they had to yield to failed and corrupted BOE leadership and play politics which ultimately will lead to their failure.
Regardless of the merits of the APPR, at present it is the law and there was no justification for Brown’s complicity with Crystal Barton, Phil Rumore and Ruth Kapsiak to fraudulently misrepresent to the State, to obtain over $100,000,000 in aid. On January 17, 2013 the APPR, with an executed certification of its completeness, (a copy executed by conspirators Pamela Brown, Ruth Kapsiak, Phil Rumore and Crystal Barton is attached,) was submitted to the State Education Department (SED), without disclosing to the SED the January 15, 2013 illegal side letter MOU which basically made the APPR ineffective. Only after discovery and inquiry by the SED was the illegal MOU disclosed and forwarded on January 25, 2013.
This was not cognitive dissonance. It was an outright criminal fraud and breach of fiduciary duty sanctioned by the President and other members of the BOE. Brown hid the debacle from the public and when confronted, she incredibly said she didn’t know it was illegal. Then why have a side letter at all? If she didn’t know, she’s incompetent. If she did, she’s unethical and criminal. She is now scheming to tell investigators that she did it on advice of counsel. They will now look for a scapegoat.
Brown has now failed to timely and professionally implement the APPR. Other Districts across the State are 8 months ahead of us.
Why does the present BOE need a national search for a Deputy Superintendent? Simply put, it allows them to control the person and the money. It’s about abuse of power.
Despite spending $26,900 per student per year, less than 20% of black males graduate. The graduation rate in 2012 was 46%. Twenty-six percent (26%) of all students passed the statewide English and thirty-one percent (31%) passed the statewide Math proficiency tests. Forty-four (44) of fifty-seven (57) schools are failing. All that and there is no sense of urgency, no pulse. Time goes by and the same people on whose watch the system has so miserably failed are still there fumbling, mismanaging and making bad, ill-informed and unprofessional decisions. They are incapable of making an impact and, in fact, are spreading the dysfunction. Most Administrators did not earn their jobs by merit but were promoted beyond their level of competence which results when the only required credential is membership in the friends and family sorority and fraternity.
It’s time for strong and experienced leadership from our WNY community where we have extremely competent people who have demonstrated their abilities and commitment to Buffalo. The miserable failure of experimenting with national candidates like Harris, Williams and now Brown brought the dysfunction, corruption and racketeering that today pervades the current BOE and the unions.
Our children deserve much better. We can again have the leadership that gave us a school system that at one time was the envy and model for the rest of the country.
Change must start at the top. Pamela Brown must resign or be discharged now.
Please feel free to forward this memo to all of your friends and relatives. You are encouraged to contact BOE members to express your opinions on the subject matter.