Issue #3. Motion # 38– Reorganization and Mary Guinn.
Mary Guinn is a sub-contractor of Cross and Joftus, which entered into a vague, duplicitous consulting contract with the BOE sometime after July 1, 2013, which contract is undated with many blanks. It fails to provide a description of services to be provided, outcomes expected, hours to be worked, capacity, etc. The contract has an attachment, obviously prepared after the contract, but not incorporated into the contract by reference. There is no BOE or Superintendent grant of authority to Mary Guinn to act in any capacity in the BPS. She is merely a consultant. When asked, she told the BOE that she had received oral authority from counsel that she could execute documents and supervise BOE sub-committee meetings, executive staff cabinet meetings, etc. She even acknowledged sitting in with the interview team to interview candidates whose applications she initiated. Her statement that she was authorized by counsel was supported by the Superintendent and sanctioned by the BOE President. The statement was an out and out lie. As is the case with her supporters on the BOE and the Superintendent, she too believes that she can make stuff up and rewrite history and it then assumes some sort of reality.
A consultant cannot hold a position of authority in the BPS.
I asked for three months for a copy of the Cross and Joftus contract, Mary Guinn’s job description, a schedule of all compensation paid to her, her assistants or others on her behalf, directly and indirectly, the name of the Grant charged with her compensation and the “special” qualities that she has that are not presently available from the staff of the BPS. At yesterday’s sub-committee meeting the contract, the grant and her resume were finally presented however Sharron Cottman, the committee chair denied me the opportunity to ask questions of Mr. Joftus, the Superintendent and Mary Guinn. Joftus, after admitting that the contract did not provide for a daily rate, had submitted a bill for Mary Guinn’s time at $1,300/day for 45 days between July 1 and August 31. There were only 39 working days in that period and staff has advised that she was only in Buffalo for 2 to 3 days a week. Another lie.
The Superintendent defended the $14,000 raises to each of the 4 Chiefs of school leadership saying their job descriptions were expanded. Do the math. We started with 3 Chiefs for 57 schools which amounts to19 schools each. We then added a new position to get 4 with responsibility for 14 schools each and also created 5 new positions of Supervising Principals to assist them. Where did we specifically give expanded responsibilities? I request citations to the budget line items that provided funds for these changes without BOE approval. The fact is, Mary Guinn wanted to hire her good friend and pay her more money than the job called for, so she gave all of them raises.
Also why did “Superintendent” Guinn hire principals from outside our system? The morale of all those principals who worked hard for merit promotions was skewed in prior years by a pawn of James Williams, who appointed incompetents from the Sisterhood friends and family club, most of whom are now located in failed schools. Now, under the Guinn regime, they have been shoved to the back of the line again to allow the hiring of a cast of misfits from someplace else.
All that and at the same time the BPS sought to deprive its students of a music program and other basic services.
I move that the complete Reorganization Plan and all requested information on Mary Guinn be submitted to the BOE for its review and vote on all the particulars.
Issues #1 and #31. Motions #3 and #37. Outsourcing and Vouchers.
BPS union leaders feel entitled to extraordinary benefits and outrageous control of work rules that they bargained away from weak, union inclined, Boards of Education in the past. Good and well intentioned teachers and principals fail to keep their self-absorbed and corrupted leadership under control. Considering the web of contractual rights, laws and rules and the lack of interest in changing the status quo by our complicit and disengaged legislative delegation, citizens who seek to reform the dysfunction have few weapons to employ. One very powerful tool to achieve productive education and allocate resources to the children is to dismantle the dysfunctional BPS and outsource education.
Retiree Health Care costs have skyrocketed to $66.6 million for 4,000 plus retirees amounting to $16,600/retiree/year. Union leadership in current negotiations demand more and use as a tactic the art of standing in the way and filing grievances on everything imaginable. BOE insurance consultants should be requested to advise whether the BOE can discontinue its health insurance benefits paid for employees and retirees, send them all to the Obamacare exchange and pay only the penalty, which appears to be a much lower cost.
Inept BOE members are rife with complacency and bias to union leadership. They indulge the union leaders who have bought them with money and support at election time. Such complicit and compromised people should not be representing the community and the children.
BPS spends $28,000/year/student after payments to Charters and still can’t make ends meet primarily because of a bloated bureaucracy and waste. Charters receive and must operate efficiently on only $12,000/year/student. As a result 45 of 57 schools are failing and the graduation rate is 46%.
Andrew Cuomo claims he wants to do something about the tragic failure of Urban Education in upstate New York, “but” we have to wait until January. He doesn’t have a plan, and there is the problem of walking between the raindrops so as to not get Sheldon Silver and his favorite union, NYSUT, upset.
Cuomo doesn’t have the backbone to consider doing what Governor Jindal did in Louisiana. He gave parents of students in dysfunctional schools in urban school districts vouchers so that they too can choose the school to educate their children. Cuomo is in the wind because he and his liberals want to keep the urban poor captive and dependent so they will continue to vote for liberals and elitists like him who live in the big houses in suburban school districts and send their children to private schools. He is a demagogue who seeks to extend the hypocrisy that NYSUT and the urban poor have something in common.
The sisterhood members of the BOE have the same lame philosophy and game plan. Sam Radford and the DPCC are too timid to say it. There is absolutely no hope of structurally changing the BPS from within. Regurgitating the same old promises and hollow plans with new titles and faces is simply kicking the reality can further down the road. The present “reform-less” reorganization of the BPS will just delay the inevitable and destroy another generation of the urban poor.
I move that the BOE request that the Governor immediately convene the New York State Legislature and sponsor a bill allowing vouchers to every parent of the 27,000 students in the 45 failed schools in the BPS and every other failing school in New York State.