Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time to Move up the Chain of Command

I am still struggling with Linda Cobbe for public information. I have sent off for two First Amendment Foundation books to help me get the data by hook or by crook.

Ms. Linda Cobbe:

You promised to give me the names of the principal candidates before the board meeting on the 14th. You lied.

Your professional duty is to provide citizens with such public information. If you are intellectually or psychologically unable to do that duty because you think we of the public don't deserve public information about the school system, then you should resign your job and hand it over to someone who can do it.You don't deserve a public salary for a public job if you don't fulfill its duties to the public.

I use the Attorney General's 48-hour time suggestion for you to provide me with the following public information:

1. The job descriptions of the last two jobs that Dr. Hamilton held before retirement and their salaries. Include in what venues the administration advertised the jobs. I would like the salaries as well.

2. The job description of the lobbying job Dr. Hamilton held after his retirement and its salary. Give the venues in which the job was was advertised by the Board. Reveal whether Dr. Hamilton has transferred this Hillsborough account to Mixon and Associates in Tallahassee, where he is a consultant, I understand.

2. The estimate of what it will cost me to have Steve Kemp's child-abuse case file redacted so that I can have a copy of the complete file.

3. The summary account of the investigations of the previous five case files of teachers with Professional Standards charges against them preceding the case of Steve Kemp. The material you sent me on Professional Standards protocol says Ms. Linda Kipley to have been responsible for this summary.

4. Something I asked you some some time ago and got no acknowledgement that you had received the public-information request: A list of the parents' emails that Board Member Falliero said she was going to gather to inform them of what a good job the Board members were doing.
I will make a decision on paying the redaction costs for the Kemp child-abuse files when you give me the estimate of that cost within 48 hours.

Thank you.
Lee Drury De Cesare

-----Original Message-----
From: lee []
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 2:02 PM
Subject: Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Releas1

Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release

December 30, 2008
Media Contact: Sandi Copes (850) 245-0150
Printer FriendlyPrinter Friendly en EspaƱol

McCollum Calls on Local Governments, Law Enforcement and School Districts to Make Enhanced Sunshine New Year’s Resolution

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today called on local governments, sheriffs and school districts to make government transparency their New Year’s Resolution and to commit to providing enhanced access to information before Sunshine Sunday in March. In a letter sent to Florida’s sheriffs, county commissions and school boards, the Attorney General reminded local leaders that with advances in technology, government in the sunshine can be as easy as uploading information to public websites.

“As Florida is a national leader in providing public access to government records, merely responding to requests is no longer sufficient in light of the technological advances which make it infinitely easier, cheaper and more efficient to do so,” wrote Attorney General McCollum. “Open government is not only good government; it is the right of the tax-paying public.”

The Attorney General encouraged government and school officials to immediately place on their websites the email address and phone number for their public records points of contact. Additionally, the Attorney General asked the government leaders to have their contracts and current budgets posted online in time for Sunshine Week, which starts on March 15.

To ensure that open government remains a top priority in the state, the Attorney General also asked the sheriffs, county commissions and school boards to ensure their staff members receive proper training on Florida’s Sunshine Law, and he announced that the Attorney General’s Office is currently working on an enhanced website and online training resources - easily accessible and free of charge - to assist local governments. The training materials should be available over the next few months.

More information abo

I had not mailed the complaint to General McC ollum, so I am giving Linda Cobbe a break. I will see if she gets me the names by tomorrow night and gets those Professional Standards case files for me. It's like giving a student another day to get in his or her term essay. Lee

Linda, General McCollum's Web site says nothing about the public-information designee's suspending answers to citizens when she is on vacation.

You should kick that duty over to Steve when you are on vacationh; he makes twice your salary and is twice as inefficient. All I ever see him do is run up and down the board room ass-kissing any administrator bottom in his path with emphasis on board occupants in the magic half circle.

I have been in the Women's Movemen for over 40 years. I don't know what to do with women who coddle incompetent men and who take the lead jobs away from women. That's what you have done and do. Your credentials and experience and ability to write and even punctuate made you the most likely pick for head of Professional Standards. Steve had absolutely no management experience.

Elia's mistaken impression that Steve would get her good press despite his lack of managment experience since he had been a Times reporter and nothing more shows how unsophisticated she is. The Times reporters in the trenches hate Steve for abandoning ship and making more money than they do for his defection to an easier job. You insure that he just coasts by doing the hard work. Jesus, when will women ever learn? The Times people won't give Steve the time of day nor his client Elia.

The next time you apply for a top job, be more forceful. I don't know how to help women to move up if they suck their thumbs and act like ninnies. Lee -

From Linda: I had an auto-reply you should have received notifying you that I was on vacation last week. I won't have the names of the principal appointments until the board meeting. We always have copies of those appointments at our desk at the meetings. You can get the names then.

Regarding the attorney general's web page suggestion that 48 hours is sufficient "for a response," I did respond to you within 48 hours about the professional standards cases. It doesn't say that's sufficient time to provide the records. [This is clever, Linda. hats off. You will go far if you stop deferring to zilch fellows like Steve.] I will find out the status of that request.

Linda E. Cobbe
External Communications Manager
Hillsborough County Public Schools
901 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602
813-272-4602 (O)
813-493-6964 (C)
813-272-4510 (F)

Our mission is to provide an education that enables each student to excel as a successful and responsible citizen.

Dear General McCollum:

I have asked Ms. Linda Cobbe of the Public Information office of the Hillsborough County school system for five files from the Professional Standards office of closed cases that now should be available to the public.

The requests to Ms. Cobbe cover a span of approximately four weeks.

Ms. Cobbe has not answered these requests except to say after the first one, "I'll ask." I believe she meant that she would ask Mr. Dan Valdez, head of personnel, and Ms. Linda Kipley, head of Professional Standards, if she could have the files to share with me.

I believe she hesitates to answer my follow-up requests because Ms. Kipley and Mr.Dan Valdez, head of personnel to her to forward copies to a citizen. I fear also that one or both of these may redact the records before they surrender them to Ms. Cobbe for her to give to me. That is illegal, but the administration and board of Hillsborough County fancy themselves immune to the laws.

I want to review the administration's account of its treatment of teachers who have had questionable charges filed against them for the purpose of keeping teachers in terror of losing their jobs if they express opinions about how the school is run by the administration and board. The cases against teachers have been either invented or distorted. The administration, board, and board attorney, Mr. Gonzalez, have irregular ideas about the First Amendment. I once had to have the ACLU representative to come comment on their conduct as regards suppressing the First Amendment.

The last Professional Standards case against special-ed teacher Steve Kemp was so ludicrous that it would have been laughable had the administration and board not held him on suspension for over a year from the classroom on this flimsy case. They finally reinstated him but did not notify him of his reinstatement to him; he found his name on a fall class roll as a teacher.

The administration had filed a false child-abuse case against Mr. Kemp that the sheriff immediately threw out. I infer the administration, board, and board lawyer took the year to let Mr. Kemp languish and suffer in suspension from the possibility of losing his job so that they could try to find a way of wiggling out of the responsibility for filing the false charges. When they couldn't, they simply sneaked Steve Kemp's name on the class rolls and counted on its being forgotten.

The administration has gotten away with such demoralizing mistreatment of teachers so long that its members think they are immune to any legal or ethical restraints. I want to see the six files I have requested to see what the pattern is and how teachers can evade this kind of vicious, unprofessional behavior on the board's and administration's parts.

Anyone who reads the Irwin Whistle-blower court case files of the early '90s knows the lengths to which the administration and board will go to if they want to punish an underling for real or manufactured charges. Fortunately, Mr.. Erwin finally took the case to court and won it. All he wanted from the board and administration was for them to do something about the crime he discovered going on in the schools and administration.

Instead of investigating Mr. Irwin's claims, the board and administration launched a campaign to prove that Mr. Irwin was crazy and thus his claims were not to be believed. That's their template attitude toward anyone who has the courage to ask an inconvenient question.

When Mr. Erwin gave up hope of help from the board and administration in ferreting out crime in the schools and administration, he took his case to court. The jury believed him; it saw through the lies and evasions of the board and administration and their savage campaign to harry Mr. Erwin so that he would resign and lose his pension. They jury awarded Mr. Erwin $165,000 for the board's and administration's crimes. When the school lawyers (Mr. Gonzalez being one) complained to the judge about the size of the award, Mrs. Erwin told me the judged advised them that Mr. Erwin's award would have been larger if he had had a better lawyer.

The citizens of Florida paid for the Hillsborough County School Board's and Administration's criminal behavior. Yet the board and administration continue similar conduct in its present conduct. They won't have to pay the legal bill; the public will.

Please order the Hillsborough County school board and administration to obey the Florida open-records law and give me the requested files.


Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard

c: LInda Cobbe
Dan Valdez
Linda Kipley

Ms. Cobbe:
I asked four times before this inquiry for five case files from the Professional Standards Office.

These files are public information now that the cases are closed. You have not responded to any of the requests except the first, to which you said,"I will ask" about the files. You responded to none of the follow-up queries.

I also asked last week for the names of the people in the principal list that will be on the agenda on the 17th. This is my second request for that list. I await it.

The Attorney General's Web page says that 48 hours is sufficient time for public institutions to respond to public-information requests. The governor is a strong advocate of open government. The Hillsborough County school board cannot override the law but must provide public information when a citizen requests it.

Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

c: Dan Valdez
Linda Kipley


Vox Populi said...

Are you sitting down? CHARLES IN CHARGE just named Earl THE PEARL Lennard as SOE ... holy F arooney.

That passed through my mind but I thought nah even charlie won't go THAT low.

For god's sake. Phyllis (barely cold rest her soul) must be SPINNING in her grave.
To be replaced by an utter ... mouthpiece .... good ol boys have a field day.

Anonymous said...

These people drag their feet getting public information to citizens. That doesn't surprise me. They have no couth. Just look at their hairstyles. They have no clue. Elia needs to hide her ears, not show them off. Most SDHC officials wear "Poor People's Idea of What Business Chic Is" hairstyles. Kipley wears a helmet. Maybe it is a wig.