Age Discrimination in the Hillsborough County Board Room
At the July 14 board meeting, a young woman sat beside me new to board meetings. She asked me about the people on the podium.
"Know, first of all, that the people sitting as officials on the board rotunda are first quartile of the Stanford Binet. The lawyer, Gonzalez, may be in second quartile, but I would need to see test-results proof.
"See that fellow the size of an emaciated grasshopper scampering about the board room stooping with abject obeisance at the shoulders of one then another of the board members?" I asked. "That's Steve Hegarty. He's head of Community Affairs. I examined the file of applicants for his job. He was least qualified of the finalists. Ms. Elia hired him because she is dumb enough to have thought that a guy who was a former reporter for the SPTimes could get her the good publicity for which she is so avid."
Ms. Elia made a bad guess. Reporters hate Hegarty for jumping ship and making more money than they do--over a hundred thousand a year and climbing--for a cushy tax-paid job that involves nothing but bowing and scraping and laundering board and administration skullduggery with duplicitous messages sent out to regale the public on how wonderful the board and Ms. Elia are.
Le Hegarty presides over an office that produces public-relations lies to the public, which pays to be lied to. The Public-affairs office of the School Board is another rip-off of the taxpayers by the government.
Ms. Elia's lust for good publicity explains her sacrifice of five percent of her salary--about $13,000 her recent bit of drama to get good press. She gave her "bonus money," about $38,000, to charity last year. She should abandon that is ill-gotten "bonus money" altogether. It comes from teachers' work to boost student performance. The "bonus" emerged from the sly head of Earl the
Mr. Hegarty upheld the First Amendment when he was a reporter. The First Amendment keeps newspapers in business. The first thing a dictator does is shut down free speech and free press. The board and ROSSAC thugs try to shut down free speech in the School Board environs and the free-speech blogs that some teachers such as Steve Kemp have been intrepid enough to mount. His blog explains Kemp's one-year-plus suspension after the sheriff threw out the charge of child abuse lodged by the school board against him.
Now the board, the administration, and the attorney want everybody to forget that the whole thing happened. They created such a mess of obvious teacher oppression that anyone can see why they want it swept under the rug.
However, I will do my best to see that this outrage is kept on the front burner to remind people how the board savages teachers and uses the Professional Standards office to fake charges against them as blackmail to keep them quiet and to serve as examples to keep other teachers afraid to let out a peep about the board's and administration's malfeasance for fear that a Professional Standards Scarlet Letter will be their fate.
Teacher blogs represent an island of democracy in the dictatorship of the board and Ms. Elia.
After Hegarty became a ROSSAC factotum, he squelched free speech without demur for his new un-American ROSSAC bosses.
Hegarty and Carol Kurdell, board chair, have cooked up a routine to keep me from commenting on hiring decisions made in secret. I want the board to put the names of the candidates for jobs on the Web with hyperlinks to their resumes. That's what Attorney General McCollum suggests in his recent press release about using technology to ensure citizens' knowing about what is going on behind closed doors of government. McCollum is ahead of Sink in the polls. He may well be our next governor.
To keep me from targeting the questionable hiring practices of the board at the mike, Hegarty won't allow me to submit a board-appearance request when hiring comes up. He had to have gotten that order from Kurdell and other board anti-free speech thugs.
Ms. Kurdell took an oath office to protect the Constitution. She violates it every time she refuses a citizen the legitimate right to comment on items on the agenda with a public-comment marker beside them. She has no right to try to monitor a citizen's right to comment. It is the American privilege to free speech that should deter her bullying people who come to the mike.
Steve's oath is not to the Constitution; it's to do whatever it takes to keep his job.
I asked why Hegarty denied me the right to comment on a board-agenda item. The little anti-free speech sneak said that "they" had noticed that I didn't always know what I was talking about and "got mixed up": the template Alzheimer's slur against the elderly, even if it were Einstein, who worked on nuclear projects until his death at
Hegarty could have been frank and not dumped on the elderly by telling the truth: "We don't want you to mention equal employment opportunity because we don't practice it. We just put that 'We are in equal employment opportunity employer' logo everywhere to make people think we practice fair hiring. I wouldn't have got my job if the board and administration practiced equal-employment opportunity."
Steve is so skinny that he looks like an ectomorphic grasshopper. I weigh more than he. Everybody does. I am stronger. Everybody is.
I can waylay Steve in the parking lot to slap him silly for insulting helpless, sweet, Alzheimer's-afflicted little old ladies such as I.
Called before the court for assault and, I hope, battery, I will plead temporary Alzheimer's and say I don't remember a thing.
The accusations against the elderly that they are "confused" and "don't know what they are talking about" represent a way of saying they are in the throes of Alzheimer's, a crude excuse to discriminate against them and diminish their humanity.
Steve Hegarty's telling me that "they," meaning the members of the board, said I "didn't know what I was talking about" and was "confused" is use of elderly-abuse accusations to deprive me of free speech so that I cannot get a place on the agenda to comment on the shoddy hiring practices of the board and administration.
I have company at the national level: The Obama administration has disappointed me by firing the inspector-general guy Walpin, in his late seventies as I am, who had unearthed the stealing of government money by a supporter of Obama, a Mr. Johnson, who stole grant money from AmeriCorps.
Mr. Walpin became inspector general for CNCS in 2007.
Times: Fired inspector general files lawsuit Washington
To read the whole article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/18/fired-inspector-general-files-lawsuit/?source=newsletter_politics-government_headlines
Earlier this year Mr. Walpin issued reports that found that St. Hope Academy, founded by Mr. Johnson, had misused some of the nearly $850,000 in grant money it received from the federal AmeriCorps program. The academy has agreed to pay back about half the money.
But his actions [ inspector General Walpin] in the investigation were criticized by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence G. Brown, who said the inspector general was out of bounds in pushing his case against the mayor [Johnson] and hindered the prosecutor's own investigation [my read: the prosecutor wants to curry faver with President Obama].
Days after the firing [of Walpin], a White House lawyer wrote a letter to a small group of senators explaining that Mr. Walpin at a May 20 meeting was "confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior" that led the board of the corporation to question his ability to serve as inspector general.
Though it's not part of the suit, Mr. Walpin's lawyers said in their legal brief that the case "raises serious questions of age discrimination" because of the accusations that Mr. Walpin, who is in his late 70s, seemed unable to function.
The suit was filed in federal district court in
My comment: Hurrah for Mr. Walpin for fighting back against ageist slander.
Dear Ms. Obama:
I am disappointed in the President for firing Inspector General Walpin on what is, in effect, the rationale of age discrimination to keep him from punishing a man who stole government money who happens to be an Obama supporter.
The "confused" accusation is a cover for contempt for elderly people. The president was remiss in applying it to Mr. Walpin in his press conference.
I too am elderly and face similar discrimination by the Hillsborough County School board, which won't let me comment in board meetings on their jobs racket in which they award jobs not on merit but on being buddies with the board and administration. They award jobs behind closed doors to hide their practice of flouting equal-employment opportunity that would give citizens the most skilled employees, not the buddies and sycophants and relatives of the board and the administration.
We elderly form a large and powerful voting block, and we won't forget President Obama's cooperation in the abuse of the elderly inspector general whom he fired for doing his job.
I ask that you talk to your husband about the implications of this case and have him review his actions. I supported Mr. Obama in the election and sent him what for a poor retired teacher was a generous donation early on.
I won't repeat that support if he is going to protect his supporters by firing people who to expose their crimes and beat up on us elderly in the process. Other elderly won't support President Obama either.
Lee Drury De Cesare
c: All members of School Board; all senior administrators