Sunday, July 02, 2006


-----Original Message-----From: Montolino@aol.com [mailto:Montolino@aol.com] Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 9:59 AMTo: tdecesar@tampabay.rr.comSubject: Re: (no subject)


Mrs. Olson,



I read the following passage below from an article in the St. Pete Times with interest. I was in New Orleans at the American Library Association conference, so I read this late.

It appears that you blame Elia for changing your vote on the calendar issue. I believe you should take responsibility for your own decision and your vote and not put the blame on Elia. This appears to be an attempt to get off the hook for your vote by throwing a colleague or friend or whomever to the wolves.

I experienced that same personality trait of yours when you yelled loudly at me at the gym (public place) that I violated school district policy for posting a library censorship message to librarians on a library message board, something that the American Library Association encourages. I know you yelled at me simply because you lacked an answer/response/action for Linda Kipley's lying to me. You wanted to take ZERO action in helping me against a totally corrupt Professional Standards investigation.

It boggles the mind that you can sit by and allow an unprofessional person who abuses teachers to sit as head of Professional Standards. It is actually scary that you don't care about this. You don't want to harm acquaintances or friends or whomever, but teachers are expendable. And back when you yelled at me in a public place, I was expendable in your mind b/c I was not a "friend."

However, you have known me for a long time, and you know I do not lie and that I have worked to help students for years on an unpopular topic, namely GLBT teens. How many teachers do such a thing so loudly? I am a rarity....something to be treasured since I speak for an unpopular yet necessary topic. I hear that you hissed that I could have been fired at Tiger Bay. I guess you believe someone who is a librarian who posts a library censorship issue on a library message board for other librarians to read deserves firing. Fire away! I will probably get an entire article in Library Journal for that.

Think about this. If the shoe were on the other foot, and you were a teacher and you had been pulled into Professional Standards on trumped-up charges I would look into the matter regardless if I liked or did not like you. I would have answered your email. I would not have yelled at you at the gym. The fact that this case has wider implications for all the teachers in the county who could be at the mercy of Professional Standards really makes the whole thing scandalous.

You lack courage in everything you do, and that is the reason I am trying to be a wake-up call to you. Believe it or not, I am a shy and quiet person, but I have never lacked courage in my life. I will never let any acquaintance or any job deter me from doing what I feel is the right thing to do. I wake up every morning liking the person I see in the mirror, and I don't think you can do the same. My view of myself is because I have ethics and stand by them.

The Westchase community is furious with you. Every single teacher I have ever known has disliked you from your attitude and personality on the school board telecasts. I have never met a teacher who says positive things about you, and I have rarely met an administrator who has anything good to say about you. When I bring up your name, teachers immediately roll their eyes. I am not making this up. It has been my experience time and time again.

This is a wake-up call. Start listening to your gut and acting on your gut and start doing the RIGHT thing. Stop being "friends" with people (for example, Elia) and covering up for them and then throwing those same friends to the wolves when it suits your needs (an unbelievable thing!). Stop being selfish. Have a vision! Do your job! Constituents in your district (like myself) deserve much more. If you took stands and stood by them and did what you felt was right instead of attempting to straddle the fence, you would not need to blame Elia for your vote. People can criticize Superintendent Elia about a lot of things but not for YOUR vote. You control that.

I believe true leaders do what needs to be done and do not waver and change votes and then blame someone else for their vote.
Bart

Within a week, Elia backed down. She asked the School Board to reverse itself, saying the fuss was distracting from the education of children.

Board member Candy Olson was among those who changed her vote. But she's not sure Elia made the best decision, saying it kept elected officials from an open debate.

"Sometimes she's a little too quick to respond," she said. "But that's an awfully good problem to have in a large, bureaucratic district."

Bart Birdsall2309 W. Bristol Ave.Tampa, FL 33609(813) 258-8817 (home)(813) 362-7937 (cell)Montolino@aol.com




Yearly dinner-on-the-grounds at the little church at the Drury family cemetery at Burnt, Fort Georgia


My family built the church on English land-grant land, and it was at first Episcopal. Then the randy Baptists of the family outbred the phlegmatic Episcopalians, who now go to church in St. Mary's.

The itinerant preacher who preaches the sermon on Homecoming Day is of the more demonstrative sort. His performance always puts my Catholic husband into a state of shock. I love the Baptist hymns and know all the words by heart. You just can't sing Episcopal songs. They are too esoteric for common folk.


Our Civil-war dead rest in the back of the cemetery. The most opulent tombstone belongs to my bachelor cousin who was the little town's school master for many years. His name was Buie. His mother was a Drury. He had nothing to do with his money but buy timberland. When he died, he made several of his newphews rich with timberland.


My family always honors its teachers, of which the family boasts quite a few from the original school master right down to the young people in the family. They go to prepare for their teaching careers to the University of Georgia--go Bulldogs! Beat them Gators!






Teachers' Rights

The URL below discusses a retaliation case that went through appeals to the Supreme Court, which gave its support to the worker in its ruling.

The case evokes the absence of a CTA working-conditions agreement that would rein in Linda Kipley’s sadistic treatment of teachers. Before teachers agree to anything when the new school year starts and the CTA presents them the new contract, they should review CTA’s loyalties by asking about a working-conditions agreement on appealing punishment and demanding that the teacher receive this information in writing before she or he meets Kipley for the first time. That doesn’t happen now. I know, from following Bart Birdsall’s case from beginning to end.

I found troubling the loyalties of the CTA as demonstrated by its conduct of sitting with administration at Tampa Tiger Bay instead of Bart Birdsall, a CTA member retaliated against by the administration. This seating arrangement provided a graphic demonstration of where CTA’s loyalties lie. All Birdsall got for his $500 yearly fee to CTA at Tiger Bay was a walk-by hasty greeting from a junior CTA official on his way out as he trailed like a camp follower after the administration contingent that had come en masse to hear Elia orate at Tiger Bay.

Go here for a Supreme Court decision on a retaliation charge in a worker’s EEOC filing: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=40760&searchresults=1.

EEOC discrimination cases have doubled in the past year. So workers are showing more guts in protecting their rights on the job. Note the reference below to the bargaining agreement for appealing disciplinary actions. When Birdsall asked Elia about this issue when she spoke at Tiger Bay, she fudged the answer and didn't inform him of the time limit for appeals but later told him the clock had run out on his appeal time period when he filed an appeal. Neither administration nor Kipley had provided him with any appeals information. So how is a person charged with a professional-standards violation supposed to know that he or she can appeal and that there is a time limit for such appeals? The answer is that the person can’t, and that is how the administration wants it: deny information to people. That policy is the reigning policy of the administration to keep people—employees and citizens—in the dark so they can’t protest anything because they don’t know what is going on. The Board abets this policy.

La Elia showed herself a practitioner of slippery dirty pool with a teacher from the get-go in the Birdsall case. Elia was the one at the behest of county buddy Bean, shilling for library director Joe Stines, I infer, who told Kipley to have the Tech Department screen Birdsall’s emails on a massive fishing expedition to find any little tittle of possible misconduct by Birdsall so that the administration could manufacture a charge against him for violation of professional standards. This was a terror tactic. The tech department diverted its energies at Elia's behest from solving the teacher-pay problem with computers to chasing retaliation information against a teacher.

Meanwhile, Le Jim-You’re-Your Hamilton, sent illiterate, vulgar emails around the system, and Kipley didn’t respond to my professional-standards abuse-of-system-email charges filed with her against him. Neither the Board nor Elia answered my charge of double standard when I complained about Kipley’s not answering my charges against an administrator whilst eagerly prosecuting charges against a teacher.

As far as this citizen is concerned, my charges against Hamilton for professional-standards violations abuse are extant.

Continued comment on the retaliation case with the Supreme Court: White [person discriminated against in retaliation for her filing an EEOC charge] filed charges of sex discrimination and retaliation with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on October 10, 1997, and again on December 4, 1997. On December 11, 1997, White was involved in a dispute with a supervisor and was suspended without pay for insubordination. White made a timely request for an investigation within the fifteen-day period provided under the applicable collective-bargaining agreement for appealing disciplinary actions. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, BNSF reversed the suspension. On January 16, 1998, BNSF reinstated White with full back pay and expunged the suspension from her personnel record.

If the CTA didn’t spend most of its time sucking up to the administration, it might bestir itself to bargain that the administration provide a reasonable-working-condition appeals procedure in writing to present to a charged teacher to outline his or her appealing disciplinary actions against teachers such as those Linda Kipley perpetuates in the Abu Gharib Cell Block.

I have asked both the School Board and Ms. Elia’s office for the manual that outlines employee information on the professional-standards process with no answer. I have repeatedly asked Clements et al of the CTA for a copy of what provisions it has bargained for teachers to appeal disciplinary actions such as those Kipley enacts with nobody’s monitoring her sadistic impulses. I get no response from the CTA minions, which must mean that they have not done diddly about the obscene procedures Kipley engages in when she gets a teacher in her sadistic clutches. I know CTA doesn't follow up with the teacher and doesn't bother to monitor how Kipley treats him/ her during the punishment process. I have read accounts of how Kipley treated teachers in her clutches that were demeaning for a professional person. The CTA was AWOL.

Repeated complaints to the Board from two citizens—Birdsall and me-- finally got Dr. Lamb to charge the school attorney with investigating Kipley’s cruel behavior. I await the results: a cover-up, I fear. I heard that the attorney is an ok guy, but I want to see the Kipley decision to judge.

I have asked the CTA repeatedly for its salaries, which I hear are six figures, as extraordinary as that seems since it extracts $500 a year from teachers making the $31,000 pittance of beginning teachers. I wish a CTA member would demand the information and tell me what it is so that I can raise hell about the CTA extortion with the correct figures.

I hope the teachers don’t roll over in gratitude for the crumbs the Board and administration have finally dribbled out this year after over twenty years of miniscule raises. The best way to judge this raise is to divide it by the twenty years in which there have not been pitiful raises.

And another marker of the significance of the teacher raise after twenty years is to compare a beginning teacher’s salary to that of a couple of illiterate administrators. A beginning teacher’s new salary of $35,000 will compare to Elia’s quarter of a million salary and perquisites shakedown as 14 percent to Elia’s bloated take; a beginning teacher’s salary compared to Dr. Hamilton’s (who doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re”) $132,000 plus perquisites that probably put him at $150,000 is 23 percent.

I got this excerpt from the end-of-the-term Supreme Court decisions through my subscription to the NYTimes Select:

Employees' Rights

The court gave employees substantially enhanced protection against retaliation for complaining about discrimination on the job. Justice Breyer wrote the opinion in the case, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company v. White, No. 05-259, which interpreted the anti-retaliation provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [This case is the one discussed above.]
The court defined retaliation broadly as any "materially adverse" employment action that "might have dissuaded a reasonable worker" from making the complaint. Eight justices joined the majority opinion, and Justice Alito filed a separate concurring opinion.


Addressing the free-speech rights of government workers, the court ruled 5 to 4 that the Constitution does not protect public employees against retaliation for what they say in the course of performing their assigned duties.

Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in this case, Garcetti v. Ceballos, No. 04-473, drew a distinction between public employees' official speech, which he said supervisors were entitled to control, and their speech as citizens contributing to "civic discourse," for which they retained constitutional protection. The dissenters were Justices Stevens, Souter, Breyer and Ginsburg.
If the CTA were on the ball, had a scintilla of intellectual curiosity, and cared about protecting teachers’ rights, it would immediately request that the administration give it an opinion via its attorney on how the Board interpreted the “official speech” and “control” issues in the decision as it applied to teachers of the Hillsborough County school system.

I know the school lawyer told Kipley when she was trying to shut down Bart Birdsall’s free community speech on the gay issue--with the school’s trying to make a professional-standards violation against Birdsall to accommodate Elia’s buddy Bean and her protégé Stines at the county-- that Birdsall had a right to make complaints from his home email to Joe Stines as part of his free-speech rights as a citizen’s engaging in public discourse.

It’s important to nail down the administration via its lawyer’s definition of “control” and “official speech” to determine whether the administration can shut down all employee criticism of the administration itself and the Board on the job, which it now effectively does with covert and overt intimidation that keeps teachers mum from fear of losing their jobs or retaliation. The CTA should demand explication of what the administration and Board defines as “official speech” with concrete examples and what they consider violation of the official-speech curbs with concrete examples. CTA should demand explication and concrete examples of how the “official speech” restraints harmonize with academic freedom.

Please don’t think that I discuss such issues as the above as one who just fell off a watermelon truck. I was union president at HCC at one time and a twenty-eight-year member of FUSA. See http://www.fusahcc.org/ for what kind of union it is. Note especially the academic-freedom work.

I suggest it's time for the teachers of Hillborough County to consider changing to a union that represents its rights, not the wishes of the Board and administration.

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