Thursday, October 12, 2006

All Board Members and Ms. Elia:

Can y'all describe the employment protocol you used to give Dr. Hamilton a job after he had camped

out in Dr. Otero's office and refused to retire?

How can you hire a person for a job that is not on the books and just a gleam in the eye of Dr. Hamilton?

What excuse covers the suspicion that this is a make-work featherbedding berth that taxpayers must foot

because Ms. Elia and the Board didn't have the guts to tell Le Hamilton to retire as he is due to but couldn't face the loss of his grand Pooh-bah status in the school system?



The job had no description. Did you advertise it as Title VII says you should a job with no description and

no cited credentials? Send me an application. I want to apply for that job. Then I can file a Title VII

charge because you have not given me the chance to qualify for it. I have a life-time record that is coincident with being the best enforcer the school system has ever experienced.

If you don't give me an application, I shall also contact the Age Discrimination Act feds to file a complaint.

If Hamilton can park his carcass in an office with subsidization by the hapless taxpayers, then I can too.

I will donate my salary to funding those poor kids' supplies who now can't participate in their classes because they lack supplies.



Please forward me the application for Chief Enforcer sinecure. I wish to apply and urge you to advertise

the job and let others apply.That is what you are supposed to do when your Web site and all stationery

has "Equal Opportunity Employer" blazoned on it? Have you asked your attorney, Le Gonzalez,

to give you a seminar with flash cards that this pledge involves in terms of the law?

what Title VII says. Then there will be a whole bunch of people eligible to file Title VII charges if dead-wood

Hamilton gets the job.



Any mother who has run a household for several year with a large pantry can solve that so-called giant

purchasing problem in the blink of an eye. Just give us homemakers of the inventory, what's needed,

and we will clean up that problem in three days or less.



I look forward to receiving my application for Chief Enforcer of the Entire System. My bona fides will blow Hamilton out of the water.



Lee Drury De Cesare


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/schoolme/

Editor:

So your mayor is displeased that the Los Angeles school board chose Rear Admirable Brewer to head the second largest school system in the country? The mayor should count his blessings. Things are much worse in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida.

The county has a malignant tradition of treating the school superintendent job as cynosure of the inside-power mafia. Previous head of the building department and current superintendent MaryEllen Elia can't punctuate, and the 3rd-tier school that granted her a baccalaureate features grammar and punctuation errors on its Web site. The Board abolished the Ph.D. requirement so that Ms. Elia could qualify after a scam "nation-wide" search costing tax payers $35,000.

Ms. Elia's second in command, Dr. James Hamilton, does not know the difference between "you're" and "your." The Board has just manufactured him a new job because he decided he didn't want to retire.

Ms. Elia's tenure in the Hillsborough County schools' Building Department featured her presiding over a real-estate scam that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and merited a series in the St. Petersburg Times. Her overbuilding of classrooms in one community dictated that, when she became superintendent, she scrambled boundaries to cover up the error. This scramble left a thousand children weeping, clinging to their mothers' skirts.

Before Ms. Elia the in-house-bred superintendent, Dr. Earl Lennard, emerged from the bowels of the schools' vo- tech redoubt. He couldn't punctuate either and had a frail grasp of grammar.

The Board reigns a bunch of potted plants that rubberstamps the corrupt administration's orders. These include an incestuous in-house buddy hiring system that passes around bloated-pay-administrative jobs to enablers who demonstrate talent for sycophancy. The Board approves this buddy-hiring scam. These bloated-salary jobs often go to people inside the administration with home ec, kindergarten, and other academics-manqué degrees, most often from marginal institutions.

Smart people go into teaching; academic weaklings home in on administration. That's where the money is. The Board just gave Ms. Elia a raise that takes her salary to over $262,000, said to be the 3rd highest in the nation. Meanwhile, the county's school bus drivers get the 3rd-world salary of $10,000 a year. The Board deems this obscene situation satisfactory.

If your Board's admiral superintendent rankles your mayor, tell him to come across country to Tampa, Florida, and review the illiterate, corrupt administration with which the Hillsborough County School Board afflicts students, parents, and citizens.

The mayor will return to Los Angeles concluding the admirable admiral isn't so bad after all.

lee drury de cesare
15316 Gulf Blvd. 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Ms. Elia's comments in black; my remarks are in red.

***************************************************************************************
MaryEllen Elia's Online Biography

On September 4, 2002, MaryEllen was appointed to the General Director of Secondary Education, and on June 3, 2003, she was appointed the Hillsborough County School District's Chief Facilities Officer where she was responsible for all new construction for over 200 schools/educational facilities and district maintenance and custodial operations.

Put a comma after "Officer": the "where' clause is a nonrestrictive adjectival clause.

On May 19, 2005, MaryEllen was appointed Superintendent of Schools. Her tenure began July 1, 2005.

MaryEllen is married to Albert Elia and has two children, a son Albert and a daughter Tara.

Commas should enclose “Albert” and “Tara” as non-restrictive appositives since they are sole son and daughter according to the biography.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dr. James Hamilton in black; my comments are in red.

Cap’in I think that you’re molecules are spread across the universe, ‘cause the transporter is jammed!

"Cap'in" should be "Cap'n." "Your" should replace "you're," which is contraction for "you are." Mr. Star-Trek-Scott-Hamilton hasn't mastered homophones. Mixing up "your" and "you're" is not acceptable in a windbag to whom taxpayers fork over $132,000 annually in a system so corrupt that the bloated pay for this egomaniacal illiterate would hire more than four teachers who can spell and punctuate. The comma after "universe" cuts off a restrictive trailing adverbial dependent clause. **********************************************************

Dear Frank, (Frank Sanchez)

I received your fulsome endorsement of Ken Allen. He opposes April Griffin. The one who wins this seat could make a big difference in the schools for the better if the winner has enough courage and character to enact reform.

Board members forget that the public elected them to give students and the rest of the school family their allegiance, not to hop-to every time Ms. Elia and her myrmidons bark. They allow Elia et al to run the schools for the benefit of the few at the top.

The Board requires, for example, a member unafraid to say that Ms. Elia gets too much pay at $262,500 and rising since she was pre-chosen despite mediocre credentials and despite the $35,000 cynical tax-paid “nation-wide” search that produced better candidates. I examined the resumes of the finalists. Ms. Elia graduated from a third-tier school; her grammar-punctuation errors festoon the Board Web page. These replicate the ones on her baccalaureate school’s Web page. She lacked a doctorate, and her meager management experience occurred in this school system. It featured her inability to detect the real-estate scam under her nose and her overbuilding classrooms in Westchase when she headed the building department.

People interested in education to prepare children to be leaders of tomorrow believe that it’s not too much to require that a superintendent making $262,500 of tax money know where to put a comma and to how write a memo of reasonable felicity without ghost-writing help from a $91,000 spin doctor who heads the Public Affairs office and who has trouble with punctuation and rhetoric himself.

When evaluation time of Ms. Elia came recently, the Board gave her a glowing rating and one-year ten percent raise that equals more than the third-world salaries of county school-bus drivers. Jennifer Faliero, who with this statement has established herself as resident Board ninny, commented to the press that Elia was “a bargain.” A bargain, indeed: Ms. Elia represents a bargain who can’t punctuate, who produced the real-estate scandal that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars, who overbuilt classrooms in Westchase during her tenure as building supervisor, and, in scrambling boundaries after her rise to superintendent to cover up this mistake, threw a thousand Westchase tots into terrified weeping, clinging to their mothers’ skirts. Her opponents had doctorates from good schools, rich experience in varied management, and even some published analyses.

Symptomatic of Ms. Elia’s disrespect for parents’ input occurred in her shoddy treatment of the Westchase parents in setting that community’s new boundaries. These parents all seem to agree that her staged community-input scam represented a cover-up to misinform and confuse them and to propitiate an inattentive Board.

One example of the administration’s despicable stacking the odds against Westchase parents came when it had the Public-Affairs office download on them the day of the hearing a document dump of most requests for public information from the parents. This dirty trick made these data too late for parents to absorb before the meeting deciding the boundary changes.

As a result, Westchase parents now distrust the Board and administration with vehemence. Ms. Elia does not excel in public relations. She appears to make enemies of children’s parents from an undeveloped sense of fair play and a congenital lack of civility.

Despite the Sunshine Law, extracting public information from Mr. Hegarty of the public-information office involves struggle. He didn’t have the credentials for the job while his competitors did but nailed down the post based on his suck-up reporting of the School Board for the St. Petersburg Times. Le Hegarty represents just one more datum for administration buddy-sycophant hiring.

I wrote Mr. Ken Allen a series of questions and assured him I would publish the answers in my blog. He did not answer the questions. See my Web page http://www.leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com/. I asked him for his exit salary after thirty-five years in the school system. He did not answer.

If Mr. Allen won’t answer citizen questions before election, he won’t answer them when ensconced in a Board seat. Present members don’t answer my inquiries. Bunker silence obtains until election time rolls around. Only then do candidates emerge from their ROSSAC redoubt to profess themselves avid for citizen input.

Two major problems rank chief ones about which I want to hear Mr. Allen’s promises. They involve 1. vicious use of the Professional Standards department against teachers and 2. disgraceful buddy-hiring practices. Hiring at ROSSAC operates as a buddy jobs program.

Linda Kipley savages teachers in her Abu Gharib cell block while the Board and Ms. Elia look the other way. In fact, I believe she acts covert administration-appointed Lucco Brazzi. If any school employee criticizes the administration, questions a policy, has an idea to change for the better, that person is in danger of charges cooked up to land him or her in the Professional Standards office to undergo the sadistic treatment Ms. Elia dishes out.

The accused teacher enters this hell hole with no written account placed in his or her hands of rights including appeal and grievance procedures; degrees of offenses; specific offenses’ punishment. This lack of guidelines encourages SS Wermacht Kipley to act out her worst impulses.

The union shows up with the accused victim to the Kipley kangaroo court, but since CTA is in bed with the administration, its representative gives pro forma support only. The union doesn’t inform a member he or she is entitled to a grievance if mistreated; indeed, it discouraged one member from filing a grievance when the member mentioned doing so on his own. My impression is that union staff is scared to death to confront upper administration. It does the minimum at the first level but skulks away in terror from pushing the grievance higher.

The union has never asked for the written document described in the above paragraph to be put in the CTA member’s hands upon entering a Professional Standards process. It refuses to answer email about CTA procedures. It even refuses to reveal salaries of CTA officers to a member. Members—even those on the $32,000 pittance a beginning teacher makes—pay the bloated salaries of the union officers by dues of $500 a year extracted by these administration collaborators with mistreatment of teachers who pay CTA staff’s secret salaries.

The second major problem is the incestuous jobs racket that has clogged the administration with a mediocre tribe of administrators with academic-lite degrees replaced by zeig-heil obedience to the fuehrer superintendent.

The Board-rubberstamped-unadvertised-bloated-pay administrative jobs lack of competition plays into the superintendent’s toady hiring scam that features plum jobs passed around to people within the administration’s narrow hiring pool based not on high academic achievement, varied administrative experience, and demonstrated talent but on sycophancy--a record of sucking up to the power cadre that runs things.

What we are talking about in this unlovely picture is lust for power—the same motive that induced the Republican leadership to cover up the page scandal. There is also money: the power to dispense money is major power. It provides the avenue to bloat one’s salary while depriving people like bus drivers of a living wage.

A person doesn’t claw his or her through the seamy backstage politics of this school district to become superintendent because of love of learning or desire to see students enter the world with a high-school diploma not based on social promotion but on competence. The in-house person who seeks the superintendent job lusts for power and relishes its abuse.

Professional Standards Abuses

The Professional Standards Gauntlet for Teachers: I know of three illustrative cases. The particulars of the Miller-Barton cases were hard to reconstruct. It is useless to ask the school administration or Board for information that fill in the blanks. Both are more reticent to give a citizen data than is the Bush White House, and the public-records laws bedamned.

  1. Bart Birdsall
  2. Shawree Miller
  3. Pat Barton

Bart Birdsall

Birdsall’s case was the first Professional Standards review of which I became aware. Birdsall, a media specialist, is gay and joined the effort to turn back Rhonda Storms’s homophobic ordinance that, among other deprivations, diminished gays’ First-Amendment rights in the county library, at which Joe Stines, also gay, is chief. From his home computer, Birdsall complained to Stines that he had betrayed gays in Roy-Cohen-type perfidy.

Instead of responding to Birdsall, Stines either contacted Ms. Elia directly or through Pat Bean, one infers. Pat Bean had performed the unprofessional act of allowing Elia to use Bean’s name as a recommendation for the superintendent job. I complained to La Bean about this unprofessional use of her influence.

Ms. Elia apparently passed the home emails from Birdsall on to Lucco Brazzi Kipley with the instructions to have the technology department strain all Birdsall’s emails through the main frame so as, one guesses, to catch him in some fugitive firing faux pas. Ms. Elia had just assumed her new job, and my diagnosis —based on reading all of Freud’s output not to mention Miss Abbey’s—is that La Elia wanted to stretch her new power muscles and decided to pull the wings off of a little teacher butterfly person for the fun of it and to impress her buddies over at the County, who engage in similar feats of Lilliputian sadism. Both, one conjectures, are wont to swap anecdotes about these acts of administrative kick-the-underlings derring-do.

This executive diversion of the computer people’s attention came about the time the computer system messed up teachers’ pay schedules and hence likely contributed to the snafu. That the new buddy-hire director of the computer department, Jack Davis, shows no computer credits on his resume was probably also a factor in the teachers’ late paychecks.

The hiring rule seems to be that whatever skills a buddy applicant has and no matter the academic major he possesses, he gets the job if his sycophancy credentials are in good order. In Mr. Davis’s case, there exists also the puzzling circumstance that he did not major in the arcana of kindergarten pedagogy, home-ec erudition, or physical-education catechism: the usual border-line academic areas of concentration that represent slam dunks for administrative careers at the School Board.

La Kipley summoned Birdsall to her office with a CTA representative loitering behind him. One infers from what Birdsall reported of the interview that Ms. Kipley considers herself an adept at mind games. She began by asserting the possibility that Birdsall’s emails “clogged the system” and alluded to his emails to Stines. Then she said never mind, that the home emails were not a problem according to the Board attorney.

Why then did she cite them, one asks? This maneuver, as we all learned in Spy Comics for Goofballs, aims to make the suspect nervous.

La Kipley then told Birdsall that his putting information on the media bulletin board of the type the American Library Association encourages its members to post—announcing community activities relating to libraries—had offended three unnamed people. Offended people are routinely unnamed. This circumstance means they exist only in the mind of the person trying to pull off this flapdoodle.

Deep students of psychology—a skill not coming from Ms. Kipley’s academic bona fides in home economics but rather absorbed over a crack in the earth in the ROSSAC parking lot’s northeast corner--endowed her with the psychological acumen to know that such claims madden the quarry and make the wretch confess to crimes he never committed.

La Kipley continued this cat-and-mouse game until she become bored and then told Birdsall that he could leave, hinting that he had not violated the unprofessional-use-of-school-mails injunction despite mainframe computer’s comprehensive straining to capture a whiff of violation from Birdsall’s email record.

The next day Birdsall got a certified mumbo-jumbo letter of veiled threats. La Kipley hinted that, although he had not been found out this time, he was under surveillance and should not do any more of what he had not done before.

This letter contained, of course, the requisite crimes against grammar and punctuation that mark the products of this administration’s $120,000-a-year operatives. Ms. Kipley apparently took no English courses with her flapjacks-and-pudding home-ec regimen. For administrative bloated-pay specimens, one infers that bad grammar and punctuation are bona fide occupational qualifications.

The coda to this Kafkaesque Birdsall event occurred at Tiger Bay when Ms. Elia spoke. After her speech, Birdsall and I engaged her in a conversation about Kipley’s treatment. Not only did Ms. Elia evade acknowledging that she was the source of the charge—she made the incredible claim that she was too technologically unsophisticated to interpret the “to” and “from” lines of an email to determine that Birdsall’s emails originated from his home---but she also did not mention to an emotionally upset Birdsall that he could file a grievance against Ms. Kipley. Union leaders all hovered at the administration table and ignored Birdsall, who sat with my husband and me.

When Birdsall finally filed a charge, speculating that it couldn’t hurt to go on record about Ms. Kipley’s unprofessional treatment of him, Ms. Elia’s triumphant response of barely suppressed glee was that he had run out the filing time, so the complaint came too late.

Birdsall’s treatment, however, was benign compared to that of Shawnree Miller. Ms. Miller took students on a field trip to a university with parents’ permission. A Professional-Standards-Crazy-Howie ratiocination detected a violation in this field trip. Kipley hauled Miller in to her den and the rest is the stuff of nightmares.

Ms. Miller got the prison job of sorting pens in the Velesco Center until such time as Warden Kipley decided on condign punishment. La Kipley dawdled over the decision in a Pavlovian ritual of stop and go, this and that, take two steps forward and one back, keeping Ms. Miller in crazy-making suspense about when her punishment—whatever it was to be besides sorting pens—would be complete.

During this time, La Kipley told Miller that she must not reveal to anyone what was occurring during her punishment in violation of Miller’s First-Amendment rights. Nurse Ratchitt also broke Miller’s heart by allowing her to attend her students’ graduation but not to sit with Miller’s usual group. She also warned her not to tell any of the teachers at the graduation what was happening to her in Kipley’s Abu Gharib.

La Kipley ranks ready to command a rendering outpost in Graham Greene’s Liberian Journey Without Maps.

The third Professional-Standards case I am aware of involves Pat Barton’s struggle with her principal, Bobby Smith. It seems Principal Bobby took a dislike to Barton based on a Baedeker of tremendous trifles that went athwart his personality quirks and, to assuage his pique, refused to let the janitorial people clean her classroom.

The filth of the room finally evoked complaints from the children’s parents. So Principal Le Bobby had to let the cleaning staff tidy up Barton’s room. This release of Barton and her students from retaliatory dust and dirt apparently annoyed Principal Queeg. Hence, Barton found herself targeted with a dreaded Professional-Standards charge on the basis of a boy’s charge disputed by another student that she had hit him.

But lo, something odd happened at this point. Linda Kipley, usually chomping at the bit to sink her teeth into another Quantanamo-Bay enterprise, suddenly pulled back and left Principal Jack twisting in the wind.

Again, calling on the lore of Freud and Ms. Abbey, I hazard this analysis: Barton had gone to Bart Birdsall with her situation, he having become the resident notorious expert in evading the full weight of Kipley’s punishment protocol by fighting back. La Kipley got wind of this consultation and that, moreover, Birdsall had alerted the Board to Barton’s situation.

La Kipley, to avoid getting burned, pulled back on her support of kindred soul Jack, for whom she prescribed some corrective attitude-adjustment twaddle to end the case. One imagines that now Principal Jack sits on a pot of rage and would like to strangle Abu Gharib Kipley.

Occasionally and gloriously, the worm turns in the Professional-Standards cell block.

Kipley simultaneously released her pincers from Barton, who fled back to her classroom with a conflict-averse psyche.

Meanwhile and betimes, I complained to Board denizens about Professional Standards. I finally evoked a crisp response from Dr. Jack Lamb to the effect that he didn’t see why I was always picking on the Board but that he would refer the matter to Mr. Gonzalez, Board attorney.

Dr. Lamb did not direct Barton and Miller to interview with Mr. Gonzalez. Nor did he tell Kipley to hie herself to Gonzalez’s office. So there the matter rests in limbo—a favorite locale for thorny problems of ROSSAC’s Lilliputians. Recall the administration’s washing its hands of the real-estate scam and kicking it up to the Attorney General. That’s like Speaker Hastert’s handing off his responsibility for the page scandal to the resuscitated Ethics Committee.

One doesn’t know whether Dr. Lamb was being Machiavellian in the Board Attorney Gonzalez hand-off or is too dimwitted to know that The Little People are scared to death to do anything such as voluntarily meeting with the Board attorney to discuss administration skullduggery for fear of the administration’s snuffing out of their jobs or their lives.

This fear has basis. The Navy has just ended the career of the lawyer who insisted on handling the case according to the Constitution of the Muslim Quantanamo man rather than following administration desires to railroad him. This case was the one that went to the Supreme Court, whose judgment ended an indignant Bush’s right to violate Quantanamo prisoners’ Constitutional rights.

People who do good deeds often must be content with history’s vindication. Think of Doug Ewing’s crucifixion by the School Board and administration for confirmation of this sad truism.

Birdsall nor I have been able to convince either Barton or Miller to confer with Mr. Gallagher, who seems an honest officer of the court awaiting input to review so that he can render a decision. One can understand that Professional-Standards survivors have harrowed hell and are just glad to have escaped the notorious Professional-Standards hellhole with their teaching certificate intact. They want to hunker down in their post-traumatic-stress syndrome and avoid doing anything to draw attention to themselves.

I just returned from an opera trip to Canada for my ninth Ring Cycle. There, when not auditing the yodels of Brunnhilde and the Valkyrie sisterhood in Montreal’s new opera house, I talked to Canadian school people, two of whom are teacher friends. In Canada, professional-standard complaints in the school system go to the teachers’ college for an objective committee review and recommendation. Now attend this miracle: a journal publishes the cases’ findings and recommendations. So everything about professional-standards violations in Canada goes on in the sunshine and is out of the hands of the people making the complaints as is the case at the Hillsborough County School Board.

Professional-Standards malpractice cries out for Canadian-type committee review of charges. The committee must include non-administrator members to review Professional Standards in all aspects and to serve as review organ. If not stacked, this committee can put a stop to the Professional Standards department as a tool for control of and retaliation against school personnel.

This committee’s members must be school wide. I favor as member at least one of those bus drivers who make third-world wages of $10,000 a year while Ms. Elia’s signing contract gives her more than that driver’s pitiful salary as a bountiful raise even if she can’t punctuate as the head of a school system. There must also be a member of the cleaning staff. And I want the guy who cleans the gutters on that review committee, of course. Getting the short end of the economic stick hones the lumpenproletariat’s sense of fair play and justice.

The Hillsborough County schools’ hiring racket ranks a crime against people with ability and converts to bunkum the Board’s drumbeat of “Equal-Opportunity Employer.”

There’s a reason all societies forbid incest. Biological incest produces genetically flawed offspring. Professional incest produces dumb personnel. People must both marry exogenously and also hire exogenously to ensure brains and talent.

The three most egregious areas of hiring that I have discovered in the school system follow:

a. The hiring of Ms. Connie Mileto, kindergarten-credentialed candidate for school lobbyist now drawing $120,000, represents the most dramatic instance of corrupt hiring. Steve Hegarty told me that Ms. Mileto had seventeen competitors. I believe I could dig that revelation out of my emails when Le Steve denies he said it, although my computer filing system ranks a kitchen midden.

Did none of these seventeen have degrees that exceeded in academic éclat La Mileto’s kindergarten sheepskin? Logic says all did. Mr. Hegarty told me that these applications had conveniently disappeared: they were superannuated, swiped by munchkins, or donated to the lunch room as hamburger filler.

The back-story of this hiring—in the mid-nineties, I believe—was one of the great romances of ROSSAC hallway gossip.

Let’s gather around the water cooler for me recount the tale third hand with bells and whistles. It seems that once upon a time Dr. James Hamilton struck up a problematic relationship with Ms. Connie Mileto of kindergarten bona fides. One hopes that his interest in La Mileto was avuncular. But one does not know. No one has defined the exact nature of this relationship to my knowledge nor do depositions lie in legal storage. Suffice it to say the connection was such that Dr. Hamilton’s wife divorced him and retired from her job as respected principal in the school system. At least that’s the hall-logicians’ gloss on the saga.

A hilarious footnote to this tale is that, when I was columnist for La Gaceta, I heard of the divorce and asked Public Affairs for Mrs. Hamilton’s address. I wrote her, expressed my condolences, and asked whether she would allow me to interview her for a column.

I never heard back.

Now I know why. It seems that during the interim afforded him for mating activities, Dr. Hamilton had married again to—I am not sure of this number—Wife # 3, I hazard. Wife # 3 received my letter to Wife # 2 since the public-affairs people—perhaps in an antic mood--sent me Wife # 3’s address, not Wife # 2’s. In my misdirected letter, I cited such things as aging men’s getting desperate in their Golden Cialis Years to revivify themselves and hence engage in ridiculous behavior that makes them objects of universal derision.

Now I understand why Dr. Hamilton glared at me with such malignant intensity at a subsequent School Board meeting.

I committed a faux pas. I admit it. But I have been married to the same old guy for fifty-one years. How was I to know that the whole world didn’t follow this protocol? I made an honest mistake. Besides, fun was had by all. At least fun was had by me.

During this equivocal relationship of les Hamilton and Mileto, Ms. Mileto captured the cushy Chief-Officer-of-Governmental-Relations perch. Never has a kindergarten teacher come so far so fast. One infers that Dr. Hamilton, Ms. Elia’s Rasputin presently and previously Dr. Lennard’s mentor during the vo-tech marvel’s tenure, engineered this personnel feat for La Munchkin Connie. Their relationship has evanesced--alas, alack, and weladay--but Ms. Mileto today triumphs by sparkling in the halls of the capitol, charming all those panhandle solons with her diplomatic skills.

And did Mileto and Hamilton in ROSSAC administrative center stage get referred to Professional Standards for examination of whether they departed from orthodox hiring procedures? No, they got rewarded. We have catalogued Ms. Mileto’s reward. Be patient. Le Hamilton’s follows.

The current superintendent is touchy about the Board’s incestuous hiring protocols because the power to preside over them ranks pleasant for her, restorative of her ego. So when La Gaceta’s Patrick Manteiga held a conference with La Elia on other matters, she intimated with insidious guile that if he didn’t shut up one of his columnist’s carping about the Board’s buddy hiring protocols that she would encourage two of her employees who the columnist alleged enjoyed extra-curricular hiring protocols to sue La Gaceta for slander of these two women’s pristine reputations and that, moreover, the Board might shut down La Gaceta’s school-advertising revenues. Taxpayers foot the bills for such lawsuits to shut down press free speech, of course.

The term for a government agency’s threatening a newspaper's free-speech rights is extortion. The ACLU specializes in these abuse-of-power law suits.

After her insidious behavior, Ms. Elia gave an unconvincing performance to the press about her not doing anything of the kind, that she would never threaten to cut advertising revenue of La Gaceta because one of its columnist’s critiquing the Board’s exotic hiring practices and trespassing on La Elia’s droite de senorita.

I, for one, believe La Elia. No superintendent—even one who can’t punctuate--would be stupid enough to sue the Hispanic community’s beloved icon La Gaceta. The newspaper is sacrosanct because the Manteiga family founded it three generations ago when the piney-woods snoots in the downtown Anglo press would not write news about Ybor City Hispanics since they considered them inferior because they worked in cigar factories.

Enraged Hispanics would have, the day after the pristine ROSSAC duo filed the suit, dipped La Elia in a vat of calda gallega, rolled her in black beans and rice, and rode her out of town on a rail down the middle of 7th Avenue.

Even the most obtuse members of the Board would never have allowed themselves to be associated with a law suit against La Gaceta. Any stupid enough to assent to suing La Gaceta could have kissed Hispanic votes goodbye and kissed goodbye their public-servant career in perpetuity. Consent to sue La Gaceta would have been the end of political la gloire for them.

Patrick is a big softie. He tries to accommodate everybody. He assured Elia that she had scared him to death, threw his hefty self on his knees before Her ROSSAC Majesty, and promised to chastise his columnist. He did. He beat his offending columnist black and blue despite her being an aged granny and sent her packing back to Madeira Beach with the seagulls, sand, and surf. Shortly afterwards, he hired one of the black-and-blue former columnist’s good friends as replacement. Ms. Andrea Brunais wrote for the old Tampa Times, the Tribune, and was editorial-page editor of the Tallahassee Democrat. She writes “The Story Teller” in La Gaceta and pledges to have no further contact with the black-and-blue columnist.

The fairytale ending of this story is that Ms. Mileto recently had a chance to show her kindergarten diplomatic skills at Tiger Bay. When the aforementioned disgraced, black-and-blue columnist rose to ask a question, Ms. Mileto groaned loudly enough for the whole room to hear. One does not learn such elegant diplomatic skills, so needed for the public-relations work that Ms. Mileto does for the schools for a mere $120,000 a year, except by mimicking kindergarten tots who are Ms. Mileto’s intellectual and deportment semblables.

Oddly enough, no protests against the extortion of a newspaper publisher by the superintendent of schools to stop criticism of her hiring racket appeared in the press, all of which would be out of business without the First Amendment. And no demurs issued from the School Board to the suppression of free speech by the woman whom they had chosen over qualified candidates for the superintendent job who were sophisticated enough, professional enough, and secure enough to accept the responsibility of schools’ encouraging free speech from any quarter as the environment in which to nurture students for participation in democracy.

  1. The second outrageous non-advertised hiring was that of Ms. Linda Wermacht Kipley for head of Professional Standards. Ms. Kipley is admirably equipped for this job with a home-ec degree. This degree is ever so appropriate for the position since whipping up a Hollandaise sauce without lumps ranks more condign training for such employment than a degree in criminal justice, psychology, or sociology.

At first I credited Ms. Kipley’s mysterious insertion into this job without considering other candidates (Mr. Hegarty slipped up and admitted to me that there were no other candidates) due to the influence of her fortuitous relationship with a there’s-no-fool-like-an-old fool male sponsor, now sunk into the sunset of retirement but leaving in his wake Ms. Kipley to cuff teachers around unchecked by any extant rules of mercy. However, I have since replaced this theory as playing a minor part if any in Ms. Kipley’s mysterious promotion. New data have emerged.

It seems Ms. Kipley was principal at the high school from which I graduated—Hillsborough High—and performed so ill at the job that the administration, instead of firing her as responsible management would have done, stuck her in Professional Standards to solve a management problem.

  1. Finally, there is the evolution of Dr. Hamilton’s latest job perch. He refused to retire when the bell tolled for him to give up the scene of his glory: ROSSAC and its environs. Both are oxygen to Dr. Hamilton’s Hindenburg-stacked-atop-the-Titanic ego. So Le Jim bivouacked in his replacement Dr. Otero’s office and refused to clear out. I hear they got bunk beds along with two salaries for one job.

But now, lo, the Board comes to the rescue. It manufactured Le Hamilton another job that tops Otero’s. Dr. Hamilton can’t stand not to be on top, one of his favorite quotes being "I'm on top of the world, ma!" Le Hamilton today reigns the Grand Pooh-bah of Enforcement, Ta Dah!

Hamilton got this featherbedding perch even before its duties saw print. He has already farmed out a contract for some brains to come to ROSSAC for a trifling $200,000 or so of tax money to show him with a Play-doh demonstration how to make buses run on time. This is deep stuff for Le Jim. He shines at promoting kindergarten teachers to $120,000 tax-subsidized jobs, not at abstruse things like getting the buses to run on time.

The back story on Dr. Hamilton’s featherbedding job courtesy of sucker taxpayers is that Ms. Elia can’t function without him to whisper in her ear what she should do in executive decisions—the ones on which the Board just gave her a highest-possible rating and the promise of her own nuclear deterrent.

Frank, I request that you and I sit down and talk to Mr. Allen together. If he were your mentor as you say in your recommendation, I need you to bear witness for the benefit of the Beachpark schools my grandchildren now attend. I want to get from this school veteran administrator some promises about what he will do to reorient the Professional Standards office so that it does not degrade and torture teachers. I also want the gentleman to reveal how he will revise the hiring procedures to get some outside talent into the administration to fertilize the low level of intellect of the sluggards who now inhabit it.

I will call you to make a date for this meeting.

I hope you run again for public office. Your fans will still support you.

Greetings to Ms. Delia from me. Please pass this letter and the enclosed handout I passed out at the School Board candidates’ appearance at Tiger Bay. We all admire Ms. Delia as the intrepid warrior who introduced Head Start into the Bay Area, a deed for which all right-thinking citizens honor your mother.

Pax vobiscum,

Lee drury de cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

http://www.leedrurydecesarscasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com/

http://www.grammargrinch.blogspot.com/

727-398-4142

Dear Frank,

I received your fulsome endorsement of Ken Allen. He opposes April Griffin. The one who wins this seat could make a big difference in the schools for the better if the winner has enough courage and character to enact reform.

Board members forget that the public elected them to give students and the rest of the school family their allegiance, not to hop-to every time Ms. Elia and her myrmidons bark. They allow Elia et al to run the schools for the benefit of the few at the top.

The Board requires, for example, a member unafraid to say that Ms. Elia gets too much pay at $262,500 and rising since she was pre-chosen despite mediocre credentials and despite the $35,000 cynical tax-paid “nation-wide” search that produced better candidates. I examined the resumes of the finalists. Ms. Elia graduated from a third-tier school; her grammar-punctuation errors festoon the Board Web page. These replicate the ones on her baccalaureate school’s Web page. She lacked a doctorate, and her meager management experience occurred in this school system. It featured her inability to detect the real-estate scam under her nose and her overbuilding classrooms in Westchase when she headed the building department.

People interested in education to prepare children to be leaders of tomorrow believe that it’s not too much to require that a superintendent making $262,500 of tax money know where to put a comma and to how write a memo of reasonable felicity without ghost-writing help from a $91,000 spin doctor who heads the Public Affairs office and who has trouble with punctuation and rhetoric himself.

When evaluation time of Ms. Elia came recently, the Board gave her a glowing rating and one-year ten percent raise that equals more than the third-world salaries county school-bus drivers. Jennifer Faliero, who with this statement has established herself as resident Board ninny, commented to the press that Elia was “a bargain.” A bargain, indeed: Ms. Elia represents a bargain who can’t punctuate, who produced the real-estate scandal that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars, who overbuilt classrooms in Westchase during her tenure as building supervisor, and, in scrambling boundaries after her rise to superintendent to cover up this mistake, threw a thousand Westchase tots into terrified weeping, clinging to their mothers’ skirts. Her opponents had doctorates from good schools, rich experience in varied management, and even some published analyses.

Symptomatic of Ms. Elia’s disrespect for parents’ input occurred in her shoddy treatment of the Westchase parents in setting that community’s new boundaries. These parents all seem to agree that her staged community-input scam represented a cover-up to misinform and confuse them and to propitiate an inattentive Board.

One example of the administration’s despicable stacking the odds against Westchase parents came when it had the Public-Affairs office download on them the day of the hearing a document dump of most requests for public information from the parents. This dirty trick made these data too late for parents to absorb before the meeting deciding the boundary changes.

As a result, Westchase parents now distrust the Board and administration with vehemence. Ms. Elia does not excel in public relations. She appears to make enemies of children’s parents from an undeveloped sense of fair play and a congenital lack of civility.

Despite the Sunshine Law, extracting public information from Mr. Hegarty of the public-information office involves struggle. He didn’t have the credentials for the job while his competitors did but nailed down the post based on his suck-up reporting of the School Board for the St. Petersburg Times. Le Hegarty represents just one more datum for administration buddy-sycophant hiring.

I wrote Mr. Ken Allen a series of questions and assured him I would publish the answers in my blog. He did not answer the questions. See my Web page http://www.leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com/. I asked him for his exit salary after thirty-five years in the school system. He did not answer.

If Mr. Allen won’t answer citizen questions before election, he won’t answer them when ensconced in a Board seat. Present members don’t answer my inquiries. Bunker silence obtains until election time rolls around. Only then do candidates emerge from their ROSSAC redoubt to profess themselves avid for citizen input.

Two major problems rank chief ones about which I want to hear Mr. Allen’s promises. They involve 1. vicious use of the Professional Standards department against teachers and 2. disgraceful buddy-hiring practices. Hiring at ROSSAC operates as a buddy jobs program.

Linda Kipley savages teachers in her Abu Gharib cell block while the Board and Ms. Elia look the other way. In fact, I believe she acts covert administration-appointed Lucco Brazzi. If any school employee criticizes the administration, questions a policy, has an idea to change for the better, that person is in danger of charges cooked up to land him or her in the Professional Standards office to undergo the sadistic treatment Ms. Elia dishes out.

The accused teacher enters this hell hole with no written account placed in his or her hands of rights including appeal and grievance procedures; degrees of offenses; specific offenses’ punishment. This lack of guidelines encourages SS Wermacht Kipley to act out her worst impulses.

The union shows up with the accused victim to the Kipley kangaroo court, but since CTA is in bed with the administration, its representative gives pro forma support only. The union doesn’t inform a member he or she is entitled to a grievance if mistreated; indeed, it discouraged one member from filing a grievance when the member mentioned doing so on his own. My impression is that union staff is scared to death to confront upper administration. It does the minimum at the first level but skulks away in terror from pushing the grievance higher.

The union has never asked for the written document described in the above paragraph to be put in the CTA member’s hands upon entering a Professional Standards process. It refuses to answer email about CTA procedures. It even refuses to reveal salaries of CTA officers to a member. Members—even those on the $32,000 pittance a beginning teacher makes—pay the bloated salaries of the union officers by dues of $500 a year extracted by these administration collaborators with mistreatment of teachers who pay CTA staff’s secret salaries.

The second major problem is the incestuous jobs racket that has clogged the administration with a mediocre tribe of administrators with academic-lite degrees replaced by zeig-heil obedience to the fuehrer superintendent.

The Board-rubberstamped-unadvertised-bloated-pay administrative jobs lack of competition plays into the superintendent’s toady hiring scam that features plum jobs passed around to people within the administration’s narrow hiring pool based not on high academic achievement, varied administrative experience, and demonstrated talent but on sycophancy--a record of sucking up to the power cadre that runs things.

What we are talking about in this unlovely picture is lust for power—the same motive that induced the Republican leadership to cover up the page scandal. There is also money: the power to dispense money is major power. It provides the avenue to bloat one’s salary while depriving people like bus drivers of a living wage.

A person doesn’t claw his or her through the seamy backstage politics of this school district to become superintendent because of love of learning or desire to see students enter the world with a high-school diploma not based on social promotion but on competence. The in-house person who seeks the superintendent job lusts for power and relishes its abuse.

Professional Standards Abuses

The Professional Standards Gauntlet for Teachers: I know of three illustrative cases. The particulars of the Miller-Barton cases were hard to reconstruct. It is useless to ask the school administration or Board for information that fill in the blanks. Both are more reticent to give a citizen data than is the Bush White House, and the public-records laws bedamned.

  1. Bart Birdsall
  2. Shawree Miller
  3. Pat Barton

Bart Birdsall

Birdsall’s case was the first Professional Standards review of which I became aware. Birdsall, a media specialist, is gay and joined the effort to turn back Rhonda Storms’s homophobic ordinance that, among other deprivations, diminished gays’ First-Amendment rights in the county library, at which Joe Stines, also gay, is chief. From his home computer, Birdsall complained to Stines that he had betrayed gays in Roy-Cohen-type perfidy.

Instead of responding to Birdsall, Stines either contacted Ms. Elia directly or through Pat Bean, one infers. Pat Bean had performed the unprofessional act of allowing Elia to use Bean’s name as a recommendation for the superintendent job. I complained to La Bean about this unprofessional use of her influence.

Ms. Elia apparently passed the home emails from Birdsall on to Lucco Brazzi Kipley with the instructions to have the technology department strain all Birdsall’s emails through the main frame so as, one guesses, to catch him in some fugitive firing faux pas. Ms. Elia had just assumed her new job, and my diagnosis —based on reading all of Freud’s output not to mention Miss Abbey’s—is that La Elia wanted to stretch her new power muscles and decided to pull the wings off of a little teacher butterfly person for the fun of it and to impress her buddies over at the County, who engage in similar feats of Lilliputian sadism. Both, one conjectures, are wont to swap anecdotes about these acts of administrative kick-the-underlings derring-do.

This executive diversion of the computer people’s attention came about the time the computer system messed up teachers’ pay schedules and hence likely contributed to the snafu. That the new buddy-hire director of the computer department, Jack Davis, shows no computer credits on his resume was probably also a factor in the teachers’ late paychecks.

The hiring rule seems to be that whatever skills a buddy applicant has and no matter the academic major he possesses, he gets the job if his sycophancy credentials are in good order. In Mr. Davis’s case, there exists also the puzzling circumstance that he did not major in the arcana of kindergarten pedagogy, home-ec erudition, or physical-education catechism: the usual border-line academic areas of concentration that represent slam dunks for administrative careers at the School Board.

La Kipley summoned Birdsall to her office with a CTA representative loitering behind him. One infers from what Birdsall reported of the interview that Ms. Kipley considers herself an adept at mind games. She began by asserting the possibility that Birdsall’s emails “clogged the system” and alluded to his emails to Stines. Then she said never mind, that the home emails were not a problem according to the Board attorney.

Why then did she cite them, one asks? This maneuver, as we all learned in Spy Comics for Goofballs, aims to make the suspect nervous.

La Kipley then told Birdsall that his putting information on the media bulletin board of the type the American Library Association encourages its members to post—announcing community activities relating to libraries—had offended three unnamed people. Offended people are routinely unnamed. This circumstance means they exist only in the mind of the person trying to pull off this flapdoodle.

Deep students of psychology—a skill not coming from Ms. Kipley’s academic bona fides in home economics but rather absorbed over a crack in the earth in the ROSSAC parking lot’s northeast corner--endowed her with the psychological acumen to know that such claims madden the quarry and make the wretch confess to crimes he never committed.

La Kipley continued this cat-and-mouse game until she become bored and then told Birdsall that he could leave, hinting that he had not violated the unprofessional-use-of-school-mails injunction despite mainframe computer’s comprehensive straining to capture a whiff of violation from Birdsall’s email record.

The next day Birdsall got a certified mumbo-jumbo letter of veiled threats. La Kipley hinted that, although he had not been found out this time, he was under surveillance and should not do any more of what he had not done before.

This letter contained, of course, the requisite crimes against grammar and punctuation that mark the products of this administration’s $120,000-a-year operatives. Ms. Kipley apparently took no English courses with her flapjacks-and-pudding home-ec regimen. For administrative bloated-pay specimens, one infers that bad grammar and punctuation are bona fide occupational qualifications.

The coda to this Kafkaesque Birdsall event occurred at Tiger Bay when Ms. Elia spoke. After her speech, Birdsall and I engaged her in a conversation about Kipley’s treatment. Not only did Ms. Elia evade acknowledging that she was the source of the charge—she made the incredible claim that she was too technologically unsophisticated to interpret the “to” and “from” lines of an email to determine that Birdsall’s emails originated from his home---but she also did not mention to an emotionally upset Birdsall that he could file a grievance against Ms. Kipley. Union leaders all hovered at the administration table and ignored Birdsall, who sat with my husband and me.

When Birdsall finally filed a charge, speculating that it couldn’t hurt to go on record about Ms. Kipley’s unprofessional treatment of him, Ms. Elia’s triumphant response of barely suppressed glee was that he had run out the filing time, so the complaint came too late.

Birdsall’s treatment, however, was benign compared to that of Shawnree Miller. Ms. Miller took students on a field trip to a university with parents’ permission. A Professional-Standards-Crazy-Howie ratiocination detected a violation in this field trip. Kipley hauled Miller in to her den and the rest is the stuff of nightmares.

Ms. Miller got the prison job of sorting pens in the Velesco Center until such time as Warden Kipley decided on condign punishment. La Kipley dawdled over the decision in a Pavlovian ritual of stop and go, this and that, take two steps forward and one back, keeping Ms. Miller in crazy-making suspense about when her punishment—whatever it was to be besides sorting pens—would be complete.

During this time, La Kipley told Miller that she must not reveal to anyone what was occurring during her punishment in violation of Miller’s First Amendment rights. Nurse Ratchitt also broke Miller’s heart by allowing her to attend her students’ graduation but not to sit with Miller’s usual group. She also warned her not to tell any of the teachers at the graduation what was happening to her in Kipley’s Abu Gharib.

La Kipley ranks ready to command a rendering outpost in Graham Greene’s Liberian Journey Without Maps.

The third Professional Standards case I am aware of involves Pat Barton’s struggle with her principal, Bobby Smith. It seems Principal Bobby took a dislike to Barton based on a Baedeker of tremendous trifles that went athwart his personality quirks and, to assuage his pique, refused to let the janitorial people clean her classroom.

The filth of the room finally evoked complaints from the children’s parents. So Principal Le Bobby had to let the cleaning staff tidy up Barton’s room. This release of Barton and her students from retaliatory dust and dirt apparently annoyed Principal Queeg. Hence, Barton found herself targeted with a dreaded Professional-Standards charge on the basis of a boy’s charge disputed by another student that she had hit him.

But lo, something odd happened at this point. Linda Kipley, usually chomping at the bit to sink her teeth into another Quantanamo-Bay enterprise, suddenly pulled back and left Principal Jack twisting in the wind.

Again, calling on the lore of Freud and Ms. Abbey, I hazard this analysis: Barton had gone to Bart Birdsall with her situation, he having become the resident notorious expert in evading the full weight of Kipley’s punishment protocol by fighting back. La Kipley got wind of this consultation and that, moreover, Birdsall had alerted the Board to Barton’s situation.

La Kipley, to avoid getting burned, pulled back on her support of kindred soul Jack, for whom she prescribed some corrective attitude-adjustment twaddle to end the case. One imagines that now Principal Jack sits on a pot of rage and would like to strangle Abu Gharib Kipley.

Occasionally and gloriously, the worm turns in the Professional-Standards cell block.

Kipley simultaneously released her pincers from Barton, who fled back to her classroom with a conflict-averse psyche.

Meanwhile and betimes, I complained to Board denizens about Professional Standards. I finally evoked a crisp response from Dr. Jack Lamb to the effect that he didn’t see why I was always picking on the Board but that he would refer the matter to Mr. Gonzalez, Board attorney.

Dr. Lamb did not direct Barton and Miller to interview with Mr. Gonzalez. Nor did he tell Kipley to hie herself to Gonzalez’s office. So there the matter rests in limbo—a favorite locale for thorny problems of ROSSAC’s Lilliputians. Recall the administration’s washing its hands of the real-estate scam and kicking it up to the Attorney General. That’s like Speaker Hastert’s handing off his responsibility for the intern scandal to the resuscitated Ethics Committee.

One doesn’t know whether Dr. Lamb was being Machiavellian in the Gonzalez hand-off or is too dimwitted to know that The Little People are scared to death to do anything such as voluntarily meeting with the Board attorney to discuss administration skullduggery for fear of the administration’s snuffing out of their jobs or their lives.

This fear has basis. The Navy has just ended the career of the lawyer who insisted on handling the case according to the Constitution of the Muslim Quantanamo man rather than following administration desires to railroad him. This case was the one that went to the Supreme Court, whose judgment ended an indignant Bush’s right to violate Quantanamo prisoners’ Constitutional rights.

People who do good deeds often must be content with history’s vindication. Think of Doug Ewing’s crucifixion by the School Board and administration for confirmation of this sad truism.

Birdsall nor I have been able to convince either Barton or Miller to confer with Mr. Gallagher, who seems an honest officer of the court awaiting input to review so that he can render a decision. One can understand that Professional-Standards survivors have harrowed hell and are just glad to have escaped the notorious Professional-Standards hellhole with their teaching certificate intact. They want to hunker down in their post-traumatic-stress syndrome and avoid doing anything to draw attention to themselves.

I just returned from an opera trip to Canada for my ninth Ring Cycle. There, when not auditing the yodels of Brunnhilde and the Valkyrie sisterhood in Montreal’s new opera house, I talked to Canadian school people, two of whom are teacher friends. In Canada, professional-standard complaints in the school system go to the teachers’ college for an objective committee review and recommendation. Now attend this miracle: a journal publishes the cases’ findings and recommendations. So everything about professional-standards violations in Canada goes on in the sunshine and is out of the hands of the people making the complaints as is the case at the Hillsborough County School Board.

Professional-Standards malpractice cries out for Canadian-type committee review of charges. The committee must include non-administrator members to review Professional Standards in all aspects and to serve as review organ. If not stacked, this committee can put a stop to the Professional Standards department as a tool for control of and retaliation against school personnel.

This committee’s members must be school wide. I favor as member at least one of those bus drivers who make third-world wages of $10,000 a year while Ms. Elia’s signing contract gives her more than that driver’s pitiful salary as a bountiful raise even if she can’t punctuate as the head of a school system. There must also be a member of the cleaning staff. And I want the guy who cleans the gutters, of course. Getting the short end of the economic stick hones the lumpenproletariat’s sense of fair play and justice.

Buddy Hiring Racket

The Hillsborough County schools’ hiring racket ranks a crime against people with ability and converts to bunkum the Board’s drumbeat of “Equal-Opportunity Employer.”

There’s a reason all societies forbid incest. Biological incest produces genetically flawed offspring. Professional incest produces dumb personnel. People must both marry exogenously and also hire exogenously to ensure brains and talent.

The three most egregious areas of hiring that I have discovered in the school system follow:

a. The hiring of Ms. Connie Mileto, kindergarten-credentialed candidate for school lobbyist now drawing $120,000, represents the most dramatic instance of corrupt hiring. Steve Hegarty told me that Ms. Mileto had seventeen competitors. I believe I could dig that revelation out of my emails when Le Steve denies he said it, although my computer filing system ranks a kitchen midden.

Did none of these seventeen have degrees that exceeded in academic éclat La Mileto’s kindergarten sheepskin? Logic says all did. Mr. Hegarty told me that these applications had conveniently disappeared: they were superannuated, swiped by munchkins, or donated to the lunch room as hamburger filler.

The back-story of this hiring—in the mid-nineties, I believe—was one of the great romances of ROSSAC hallway gossip.

Let’s gather around the water cooler for me recount the tale third hand with bells and whistles. It seems that once upon a time Dr. James Hamilton struck up a problematic relationship with Ms. Connie Mileto of kindergarten bona fides. One hopes that his interest in La Mileto was avuncular. But one does not know. No one has defined the exact nature of this relationship to my knowledge nor do depositions lie in legal storage. Suffice it to say the connection was such that Dr. Hamilton’s wife divorced him and retired from her job as respected principal in the school system. At least that’s the hall-logicians’ gloss on the saga.

A hilarious footnote to this tale is that, when I was columnist for La Gaceta, I heard of this divorce and asked Public Affairs for Mrs. Hamilton’s address. I wrote her, expressed my condolences, and asked whether she would allow me to interview her for a column.

I never heard back.

Now I know why. It seems that during the interim afforded him for mating activities, Dr. Hamilton had married again to—I am not sure of this number—Wife # 3, I hazard. Wife # 3 received my letter to Wife # 2 since the public-affairs people—perhaps in an antic mood--sent me Wife # 3’s address, not Wife # 2’s. In my misdirected letter, I cited such things as aging men’s getting desperate in their Golden Cialis Years to revivify themselves and hence engage in ridiculous behavior that makes them objects of universal derision.

Now I understand why Dr. Hamilton glared at me with such malignant intensity at a subsequent School Board meeting.

I committed a faux pas. I admit it. But I have been married to the same old guy for fifty-one years. How was I to know that the whole world didn’t follow this protocol? I made an honest mistake. Besides, fun was had by all. At least fun was had by me.

During this equivocal relationship of les Hamilton and Mileto, Ms. Mileto captured the cushy Chief-Officer-of-Governmental-Relations perch. Never has a kindergarten teacher come so far so fast. One infers that Dr. Hamilton, Ms. Elia’s Rasputin presently and previously Dr. Lennard’s mentor during the vo-tech marvel’s tenure, engineered this personnel feat for La Munchkin Connie. Their relationship has evanesced--alas, alack, and weladay--but Ms. Mileto today triumphs by sparkling in the halls of the capitol, charming all those panhandle solons with her diplomatic skills.

And did these two in the ROSSAC administrative redoubt get referred to Professional Standards for their departing from the orthodox hiring procedures? No, they got rewarded. We have catalogued Ms. Mileto’s reward. Be patient. Le Hamilton’s follows.

The current superintendent is touchy about the Board’s incestuous hiring protocols because the power to preside over them ranks pleasant for her, restorative of her ego. So when La Gaceta’s Patrick Manteiga held a conference with La Elia on other matters, she intimated with insidious guile that if he didn’t shut up one of his columnist’s carping about the Board’s buddy hiring protocols that she would encourage two of her employees who the columnist alleged enjoyed extra-curricular hiring protocols to sue La Gaceta for slander of these two women’s pristine reputations and that, moreover, the Board might shut down La Gaceta’s school-advertising revenues.

The term for a government agency’s threatening a newspapers free-speech rights is extortion. The ACLU specializes in these abuse-of-power law suits.

After her insidious behavior, Ms. Elia gave an unconvincing performance to the press about her not doing anything of the kind, that she would never threaten to cut advertising revenue of La Gaceta because one of its columnist’s critiquing the Board’s exotic hiring practices and trespassing on La Elia’s droite de senorita.

I, for one, believe La Elia. No superintendent—even one who can’t punctuate-- would be stupid enough to sue the Hispanic community’s beloved icon La Gaceta. The newspaper is sacrosanct because the Manteiga family founded it three generations ago when the piney-woods snoots in the downtown Anglo press would not write news about Ybor City Hispanics since they considered them inferior because they worked in cigar factories.

Enraged Hispanics would have, the day after the pristine duo filed the suit, dipped La Elia in a vat of calda gallega, rolled her in black beans and rice, and rode her out of town on a rail down the middle of 7th Avenue.

Even the most obtuse members of the Board would never have allowed themselves to be associated with a law suit against La Gaceta. Any stupid enough to assent to suing La Gaceta could have kissed Hispanic votes goodbye and kissed goodbye their public-servant career in perpetuity. Consent to sue La Gaceta would have been the end of political la gloire for them.

Patrick is a big softie. He tries to accommodate everybody. He assured Elia that she had scared him to death, threw his hefty self on his knees before Her ROSSAC Majesty, and promised to chastise his columnist. He did. He beat his offending columnist black and blue and sent her packing back to Madeira Beach with the seagulls, sand, and surf. Shortly afterwards, he hired one of the black-and-blue former columnist’s good friends as replacement. She writes “The Story Teller” in La Gaceta and pledges to have no further contact with the black-and-blue columnist.

The fairytale ending of this story is that Ms. Mileto recently had a chance to show her kindergarten diplomatic skills at Tiger Bay. When the aforementioned disgraced columnist rose to ask a question, Ms. Mileto groaned audibly for the whole room to hear. One does not learn such elegant diplomatic skills, so needed for the public-relations work that Ms. Mileto does for the schools for a mere $120,000 a year, except by mimicking the kindergarten tots who are Ms. Mileto’s intellectual semblables.

Oddly enough, no protests against the extortion of a newspaper publisher by the superintendent of schools to stop criticism of her hiring racket appeared in the press, all of which would be out of business without the First Amendment. And no demurs issued from the School Board to the suppression of free speech by the woman whom they had chosen over qualified candidates for the superintendent job who were sophisticated enough to accept the responsibility of schools’ encouraging free speech from any quarter as the environment in which to nurture students for participation in democracy.

  1. The second outrageous non-advertised hiring was that of Ms. Linda Wermacht Kipley for head of Professional Standards. Ms. Kipley is admirably equipped for this job with a home-ec degree. This degree is ever so appropriate for the position since whipping up a Hollandaise sauce without lumps is more condign training for such employment than a degree in criminal justice, psychology, or sociology.

At first I credited Ms. Kipley’s mysterious insertion into this job without considering other candidates (Mr. Hegarty slipped up and admitted to me that there were no other candidates) due to the influence of her fortuitous relationship with a there’s-no-fool-like-an-old fool male sponsor, now sunk into the sunset of retirement but leaving in his wake Ms. Kipley to cuff teachers around unchecked by any extant rules of mercy. However, I have since replaced this theory as playing a minor part if any in Ms. Kipley’s mysterious promotion. New data have emerged.

It seems Ms. Kipley was principal at the high school from which I graduated—Hillsborough High—and performed so ill at the job that the administration, instead of firing her as responsible management would have done, stuck her in Professional Standards to solve a management problem.

  1. Finally, there is the evolution of Dr. Hamilton’s latest job perch. He refused to retire when the bell tolled for him to give up the scene of his glory: ROSSAC and its environs. Both are oxygen to Dr. Hamilton’s Hindenburg-stacked-atop-the-Titanic ego. So Le Jim bivouacked in his replacement Dr. Otero’s office and refused to clear out. I hear they got bunk beds along with two salaries for one job.

But now, lo, the Board comes to the rescue. It manufactured Le Hamilton another job that tops Otero’s. Dr. Hamilton can’t stand not to be on top. Le Hamilton today reigns the Grand Pooh-bah of Enforcement, Ta Dah!

Hamilton got this featherbedding job even before its duties saw print. He has already farmed out a contract for some brains to come to ROSSAC for a trifling $200,000 or so of tax money to show him with a Play-doh demonstration how to make buses run on time. This is deep stuff for Le Jim. He shines at promoting kindergarten teachers to $120,000 tax-subsidized jobs, not at abstruse things like getting the buses to run on time.

The back story on Dr. Hamilton’s featherbedding job courtesy of sucker taxpayers is that Ms. Elia can’t function without him to whisper in her ear what she should do in executive decisions—the ones on which the Board just gave her a highest-possible rating and the promise of her own nuclear deterrent.

Frank, I request that you and I sit down and talk to Mr. Allen together. If he were your mentor as you say in your recommendation, I need you to bear witness for the benefit of the Beachpark schools my grandchildren now attend. I want to get from this school veteran administrator some promises about what he will do to reorient the Professional Standards office so that it does not degrade and torture teachers. I also want the gentleman to reveal how he will revise the hiring procedures to get some outside talent into the administration to fertilize the sluggards who now inhabit it.

I was professor of English for twenty-eight years at HCC. I was president of the union for a year there as well. I am an old hand at deconstructing the morphology of administration skullduggery. Upon retirement, I started out trying to find out why my students came into a college classroom after compiling passing records in English--often with A's and B's--could not write a literate paragraph. I traced this illiteracy back to the illiteracy of the superintendents.

A truism among teachers says that smart people go into the classroom; academic weaklings home in on administration. That's where the money is. The administration recruits may not be able to tell you what Plato's theory of Ideal Forms is; but they can tell you to a dime what the highest administrative salaries are and what they are likely to be able to milk from the public coffers. The administration of the public schools in Hillsborough County ranks a text-book case of this teacher shibboleth.

I will call you to make a date for this meeting.

I hope you run again for public office. Your fans will still support you.

Greetings to Ms. Delia from me. Please pass this letter and the handout I passed out at the School Board candidates’ appearance at Tiger Bay. We all admire Ms. Delia as the intrepid warrior who introduced Head Start into the Bay Area, a deed for which all right-thinking citizens honor your mother.

Pax vobiscum,

Lee drury de cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

http://www.leedrurydecesarscasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com/

http://www.grammargrinch.blogspot.com/

727-398-4142

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