To: Barbara Nevergold
Cc: Pamela Brown
From: Carl P. Paladino
Date: September 9, 2013
Re: REVISED SUPPLEMENT TO CPP AGENDA FOR BOE MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 25, 2013
A.) Issue #42- Board Presidency.
Dr. Nevergold, I asked you to allow the Board of Education (BOE) to address the critical issues now before it, in a fair, open and just manner. Your conduct at the last BOE meeting denying me the opportunity to question Mary Guinn and Mr. Joftus was improper. You refuse to commit to transparency and appear predisposed to operate the BOE in secret. As such you are incapable of carrying out your responsibilities as President. If you cannot be impartial you must resign. I submit:
1.) That you continue to engage in improper and illegal small group meetings which you try to legitimatize by calling them “work sessions.” If they were in fact work sessions, then the entire BOE, instead of just the first 4 to arrive, would be able to participate and the meetings would be transparent and open to the public. Sub-committee meetings, open to all members and the public, are “work sessions.” Your private sessions must cease immediately.
2.) With reference to the Joint Schools Construction Committee, you have told me that I can’t sit on the committee because I asked to stop further projects pending an evaluation of needs. We have over 1,500 seats available. Why are we still spending money? I attended the last committee meeting and noted that there was not a person on the Board who had a clue about construction. Is there a BOE Member better qualified to do so? I also request membership on the team negotiating the union contracts.
3.) Your conduct in the preparation of the last evaluation of the Superintendent was improper. You were the only person who saw the scoring of the individual members who, prior to voting, acknowledged that they never saw an evaluation. I asked that the BOE be shown the calculations and individual evaluations of all members and you have refused to make that disclosure. Will you so disclose?
4.) On August 28, 29 & 30 the BPS held an “Administrator’s Seminar” at McKinley High School. The farcical event was initiated by James Williams as a device to:
a) Illegally solicit money from vendors with no accounting of the funds,
b) Retain and pay very large speaking fees to other members of the national sisterhoods and brotherhoods to speak about their great contributions to education so they can later return the favor and call on our Superintendent, again for very large fees, to speak about his or her achievements, and
c) Force principals to attend 3 days of nonsensical intimidation at a time when they are pressed to prepare their schools for opening.
Please send me:
a) the name of the person who appointed the female who illegally solicited donations from vendors on taxpayer time and the amount of money she raised.
b) a list of the vendors solicited,
c) the amounts paid by each,
d) the name of the entity to which checks were written,
e) the name of the person who controls the checkbook,
f) a complete schedule of revenues and expenditures,
g) the name and amount of compensation paid to each of the speakers, the name of the person who decided on the speakers,
h) the names of the caterers at the event,
i) how much was paid to each caterer,
j) whether or not bids were taken, and
k) a list of other similar events and activities conducted by the BPS.
The seminar, according to many who attended, was a display of arrogant intimidation with racial overtones meant to threaten principals and clearly illustrate to them that the new battery of central staff supervisors intend to micromanage the buildings from City Hall. There are incompetent principals in the buildings because James Williams and his Leadership Academy pawn spent years appointing principals, not on merit, but for all the wrong reasons, creating a morale problem with those who sought to achieve the positions by merit. There are also many exemplary principals who should be empowered to run their schools and not be subjected to disengaged centralization which failed in the past and will continue to fail. The problem with the BPS is not the teachers and principals. It is clearly the lack of competent leadership and racism.
You have allowed the Superintendent to hire many outsiders in leadership roles, exacerbating the morale problem. These appointees have not risen by merit through the system and know nothing about the BPS except who their godmothers are.
The attached video shows the demeaning conduct of the seminar.
5.) Despite the glaring unfairness and BPS’s inability to give 2,219 students a choice, you continue to sanction the BPS policy which allows suburban students to take seats from deserving Buffalo students in our test schools.
6.) You sanction the “we against them” attitude of members of the BOE, including the open comments, spontaneous blurts and eye rolling by Sharon Cottman, who also out and out lied to the BOE when describing Dr. Tiggs’ position on the Superintendent.
7.) You obviously abhor Charters, a creation of the State to assist in the education of our children, and you show no respect for the State Education Department (SED) or its Commissioner, allowing arrogant members of the sisterhood friends and family club to dominate the parent hearings at East and Lafayette with insults to the Commissioner, which denied parents the opportunity to speak. At Lafayette you said everyone in the community should be allowed to speak knowing that it was the same people who spoke at East. It’s called stacking the meeting.
8.) You have allowed the public to be misled about the competency and extent of the BPS’s almost non-existent Career Technical Education (CTE) program available only to students in the school where the program is located, as part of your effort to deny and delay outsourcing to BOCES.
9.) You allowed and sanctioned the illegal hiring, without prior BOE approval, of a number of senior executive staff persons at significant salaries without BOE approval. One was hired:
a) on a 2 year contract,
b) for $130,000/year,
c) with 26 vacation days with the right to sell back 10 days for $542/day,
d) 12 sick leave days with the right to sell back 1/3 of accumulated days at $542/day on termination,
e) 2 personal days,
f) health insurance for her and her spouse,
g) retirement benefits or an amount equal to the amount that would be paid by the district,
h) $1,000/year to belong to associations,
j) approved travel expenses and all unapproved expenses to go to any professional meetings nationally.
Her contract has a blank attachment A dangerously executed by the Superintendent presumably to be filled in with whatever and then signed by the employee. The document is not tailored and appears to be a form on which blanks are filled in. It is written unprofessionally by someone seeking to make its provisions vague and subject to interpretation which significantly favors the employee. The individual has told others that she has no intention of residing in Buffalo. She will commute 2,000 miles every week to Florida. What kind of commitment does that illustrate? What are the “special qualities” or experience of these people for their positions that could not otherwise be found with present staff of the BPS?
Mary Guinn was contracted to prop up Pamela Brown. We pay $800,000/year for Superintendent services and, like the Superintendent, Mary Guinn is also clueless and can’t submit an acceptable Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) Plan, Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) for Public School Choice, School Improvement Grant (SIG) applications, Strategic Plan, etc. Guinn simply wings it. The BOE should be embarrassed at the quality of work of its administration.
The law says the Superintendent can hire exempt employees, except when their compensation or title is changed, and in that case the BOE must approve the budget change.
10.) The BOE never approved the final EPO’s for East and Lafayette High Schools.
11.) You sanctioned the “brilliant” hiring of the new General Counsel, with highly questionable competency having advised incorrectly on 3 BOE questions presented to her. She left after three weeks on the job on family leave which must be charged to her. Her position is critical and your reckless disregard allowing her hiring is tragic.
Despite my request, the Superintendent has not told the BOE why the prior General Counsel was demoted and why our talented staff labor attorney left.
The new General Counsel has been on leave for five weeks collecting a paycheck as though she was working, chaos reigned in day to day operations and the Superintendent lied when she told the Board she was unaware of the need to appoint an interim or temporary General Counsel to fill the void.
12.) The CAP submitted to the State was rejected because the sisterhood is indifferent to the lives of the children. You sanction the attitude that the outsourcing of children to BOCES, Charters, Suburban Districts or Privates is not an option.
13.) Despite promises to the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) and a cover memo that claims that all stakeholders were engaged in the process, the 5 year Strategic Plan was prepared in secret with no input from key parental or community leaders. You then allowed it to be presented at the last minute to the BOE putting the BOE in the embarrassing position of having to again vote on a document that most members had not read. SED should have been told that.
14.) You have sanctioned the repeated lies of the Superintendent that attendance has improved during the past year when in fact you allowed her to secretly change the rules for collecting data which was the sole reason for improved statistics. Teachers no longer take attendance and a student is presumed to be present unless specifically marked absent.
15.) At the last meeting of the BOE you attempted to deny my agenda by misinforming Counsel about a material fact that would have and later did change his opinion on the matter. My agenda was adjourned at the last meeting by you when you wanted to go home at 11:30. You conveniently forgot about the agreement you made.
If you refuse to resign as President, I will ask the Commissioner of Education to dismiss you for cause.
B.) Issue # 30. Motion #16, Dismissal of the Superintendent.
1.) The Superintendent’s lack of experience in management should have been recognized by the BOE at the time she was hired.
The search criteria for the Superintendent was limited by reactionary and racist BOE members who demanded a weak, minority, female candidate from someplace else who could then be controlled by the complicit BOE members. They picked and made great fanfare over Pamela Brown’s PhD in linguistics from Harvard, which had nothing at all to do with the management position of Superintendent. She had never been a Superintendent, anywhere. No other qualified minority wanted the job of turning around a chaotic and dysfunctional school system wrought with incompetence, corruption and a collectively incapable BOE.
2.) She has failed to submit timely, responsive and proper documentation in SIG applications, EPO applications, a School Choice CAP, the 5 year Strategic Plan, etc., either to the BOE or the SED, which she has insulted and failed to engage in a healthy and constructive dialogue.
3.) She was intimidated by union leadership in Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) negotiations and then conspired with Ruth Kapsiak and Phil Rumore to fraudulently misrepresent and lie to the SED in the submission of the APPR without the MOU.
4.) Her last evaluation was highly improper. The process was faulty. Four members attested that the BOE voted on a document that didn’t exist.
5.) There exists a critical problem recognized by the teachers, their union, the principals etc. concerning the submission of highly improper information by the BPS to the SED to arrive at APPR scores, which problem has not been disclosed to BOE members.
6.) The cozy symbiosis of local and State and local Democratic politicians (Sean Ryan, Betty Jean Grant and Crystal Peoples), the Grass Roots organization and the BPS teacher and administrator union leaders with the Superintendent and the sisterhood is a breach of the public trust to protect and educate the children and is clearly the root cause of the BPS dysfunction.
7.) The Superintendent, who created a huge fanfare over the lack of money to support a music program for the children, has been on a hiring binge creating positions for the sisterhood’s friends and family.
The new principal at Bennett is her very close friend. Did that have anything to do with his hiring? He has no resume, history or “special qualities.” She never disclosed the conflict nor did she complete an ethics disclosure form.
The Superintendent has hired a number of Mary Guinn’s very close associates for executive level positions at high salaries. None of their resumes show special qualities. One was hired for a position created solely for her because she didn’t have the credentials to be Deputy Superintendent. I called the District where she last worked where she defined herself as “Chief Turnaround Officer.” The person who supervised her said that title was inappropriate. She claimed to have been there for three years. He said it was 13 months.
Another of Guinn’s very close friends was hired in a position of authority comparable to that of Deputy Superintendent. They simply changed the position’s title to improperly award the position without BOE approval. She had worked on projects for Evans-Newton, Inc., a Mary Guinn Company. I called the districts that she had claimed to have worked in. No one knew her.
Brown hired an administrative assistant without budget provision or BOE approval. All have no clearly defined rolls, were hired from someplace else depriving existing staff of the opportunity for promotion and were hired without BOE approval which is required for any budget changes, job title changes, the setting of compensation, etc., whether you call the employee exempt or not. The attempt by the Superintendent at the last meeting to justify her lie that her Reorganization Plan was saving $1 million was pathetic. People who are moved off the executive staff payroll and onto grant payroll are still on the payroll. Retitling positions adds to the hypocrisy.
Now the Superintendent’s faulty Reorganization Plan calls for her to hire as Chief of Public Relations, at $115,000/year, a woman working for the mayor’s office at $79,000/year. There has been no explanation why the present experienced and qualified public relations person was not considered for the position, nor was there any justification for the new position at all.
Why must the children of the BPS suffer even one more day for lack of competent top down leadership?
I move that the BOE discharge the Superintendent without cause under the default provisions of her contract.