It's hard to imagine that selling jobs or trading them for subservience and iron-clad loyalty could be the motive for hiring people into the school system who are not qualified but rather who are buddies or sycophants of the board and administration. But this is what happens in Hillsborough County. In Willkesbarre, PA, in the story below, rumor says school people are selling the chance to get an interview to teachers.
Hillsborough county greedy ROSSAC denizens want to continue the power over the control of the money that the head count of students and their teachers makes pour into ROSSAC. So they hire unqualified people who are subservient to them and won't tell what's really going on behind the scenes. There's also the matter of amour propre. The board, supervisor, and administration want to feel themselves above others, and their fancy titles and bloated salaries serve that purpose. But these emperors still have no clothes. Listen to one speak three minutes, and you will see that you deal with a ninny. Being in charge of a schools job racket feeds this breed's desire for feeling important.
In the board's case, members' going along with allowing Elia et al to appoint unqualified, mediocre people to jobs that taxpayers assume go to qualified people represents the price board members are willing to pay to look the other way while unqualified, unsuitable people get jobs that qualified people don't have a prayer to get.
The board members all promised voters on the stump to clean up the schools. They have instead waded into the Augean stables of ROSSAC and become a part of the problem. Board members' pay is the community eclat they get from people who have no clue about their real role in the mess that represents the schools' management under Ms. Elia.
There is always hope that a new board member will come in and turn on the hoses to clean the ROSSAC Augean stables. One sees with delight that homewrecker Falliero has an opponent already signed up. Looky here:
2010 Election Cycle
School Board Member, Dist. 4
|Name:||Stacy R. White|
|Address:||P.O. Box 1056
Valrico, FL 33595-1056
The board has tacitly given Ms. Elia a patronage perquisite in hiring. But that file custom started before she took the superintendent job away from better candidates. I read the resumes for superintendent two years ago. Ms. Elia's was the most deficient.
The hiring of the superintendent is an out-front board job, so its members have to cover their fixing the job by a for-show nation-wide ad as they did in the Elia sham.
The board ran a $35,000 nation-wide CMA ad to hide behind. Who paid the $35,000 for the sham ad? The taxpayers, of course. Then board members made some noise about how hard it was to pick a superintendent when they knew they would hire the inside poorly credentialed, poorly experienced candidate from the get-go, Ms. Elia. Ms. Elia was a known quantity. She would do. She would not interfere with their perquisites and laziness. So the board hiring committee lowered the Ph.D. standard to her Master's and overlooked her on-site job experience, one in which she overbuilt classrooms that she later had to move boundaries when she got the job to fill to the horror of the affected communities and she also claimed never to have been aware of a real-estate scam going on under her nose that a SPT reporter walked in off the street to discover.
Notably, there is only one Ph.D. in the administration at ROSSAC. My hunch is that Ms. Elia's not want people's outranking her in any way explains that strange statistic.
The board was not confident enough and enough interested in education to hire. say, a Columbia Ph.D. with a splendid academic background and rich experience. A qualified superintendent might sneer at board members' ignorance and expect them to stay off planes flying around the country on trips to pick up plastic trophies that the school bureaucrats award each other obsessively to make them feel important. A Columbia Ph.D. might also remark that board members' only activity on the dais is to hem and haw about trifles and go about the county to all the non-stop government-funded banquets to eat and eat and eat.
I have racked my brains to understand anyone's running for the school board. It's the lowest job on the political totem pole in the county. It is so unimportant that it doesn't have term limits. One would think only people interested in education would run for the board because the $42,000 a year job is not lucrative: it's more than beginning teachers make who work for their money, however. I have decided that the people who run for the job are such nonentities that sitting on the board dais and nattering about trifles--that's all they will talk about, never anything substantive--is their idea of being important people. They trust that people in the community know no better than to think board members are leaders in education. Leaders in education, my foot. Two board members don't have even college degrees,. How's that for an interest in education? If you are interested in education, you get one.
But the jobs racket that the board lets Elia run is something that does have buyers desperate for jobs especially in an economic downturn; job selling could be going on in ROSSAC just as it is in Pennsylvania. If you read the court records of the whistleblower Erwin trial, you have to conclude that graft and money under the table at the highest level were what was going on in ROSSAC.
Unwillingness to give up that lucrative underground economy was why Dr. Lennard and his two henchmen, Hamilton and Davis, tried first to run Erwin crazy with orders and counter orders, pointing out his consequent bewildered behavior as proof that he was crazy and not to be listened to when he said there was crime at ROSSAC. Then they tried to fire him and take away his pension; but he had headed them off by at last filing a Whistleblower law suit. The jury didn't believe the lying ROSSAC crooks. They believed Erwin. Juries are good at spotting rascals.
I believe anybody who has a case against the administration and board should waltz the bottom dwellers into court and let them testify before a jury. The jury would spot the liars just as they did in the Erwin case.
If the public learns about the many ways that crooks run the schools, they will rebel in the voting booth. That's why blogging the truth is important. That's the reason I am glad even though the administration and Gonzalez tried to coerce Steve Kemp for a year into giving up his blog, he didn't. They didn't say that is what they wanted, but it is. They fear the truth.
At the end of the year one of its minions let the cat out of the bay by asking Steve not to write about a certain subject on his blog. They read our blogs. Don't ever doubt that.
They can't control what we say. Tra la la and tra la lee.
Professional Standards and stop it from terrorizing teachers with false charges.
FBI asks W-B board to check names of recommended hires
As part of a federal investigation, Wilkes-Barre Area School Board members were asked to review a list of elementary teachers hired since 2004 and put their initials by the ones they recommended for interviews, according to board members Joe Moran and Jim Height.
Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Jeff Namey requested the information from board members before Wednesday’s board meeting, the board members said.
Height said the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted the information but he did not know the specifics.
Namey supplied board members with a list of teachers with check marks by all the ones hired for elementary school positions, the board members said. He asked board members to review the check-marked names and initial the ones they had recommended for interviews, they said.
The focus was on elementary positions because there’s little competition and sometimes a shortage of applicants for more specialized secondary education and special education positions, the board members said.
Namey could not be reached for comment Thursday on several attempts.
The request was made the day after Namey testified before a federal grand jury. The FBI on Wednesday made an unusual public plea for information in its probe of possible payments made by public school teachers in exchange for jobs.
A recommendation to interview an applicant is important in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District because of the way the district’s unwritten hiring process is set up, said School Board member Lynn Evans. Hundreds of applicants apply for elementary teaching positions, so the administration relies primarily on recommendations from board members to decide who is interviewed, Evans said. It’s nicknamed the “pick system,” she said.
Evans said she only recommended a few applicants based on her review of resumes, and she stressed that none was a friend or relative.
“The names I’ve picked have been people I felt would be good for the kids,” Evans said.
Once a recommendation is submitted, it’s up to Namey and others performing interviews to recommend which person should be hired by board vote, Evans said. She said she knows of no situation where a board member put pressure on Namey to choose an applicant who did not perform best in the interviewing process.
While the pick system is ripe for criticism, Evans can’t think of a better plan because the majority of elementary teaching applicants are fresh out of college.
“Yes, they’ve gone to different colleges and did student teaching at different places, but generally they’re on an even keel. To interview 500 people every time there’s an open position is not logical,” Evans said.
The pick system also ensures that all board members have the opportunity to recommend – not just the board majority, she said.
Before the board votes on a hiring, Namey briefs members on who was interviewed and which applicants performed best in the interview, Evans said. “I wish there was an easier way to do it, and if someone has a better idea, I’m sure we’d like to hear it.”
Height said he tries to recommend applicants who have put in time substitute teaching, and he said he has never recommended a relative for an interview. “I get resumes practically every day of the week. Once graduation comes, I’ll get several a day throughout the summer,” Height said.
Board member Frank Pizzella said he bases interview recommendations on his review of resumes, with no preferential treatment for friends or family. Pizzella said he keeps files of all resumes sent to him, and he always sends a letter to applicants acknowledging receipt. “You get tons of them. These kids take the time to finish high school and go to college, and we should at least have the decency to acknowledge their application,” he said.
Moran said he’s recommended one person for an interview because of the applicant’s superior academic performance. He believes the current practice of board recommendations is fair because it doesn’t exclude minority board members. “Everyone gets a chance to recommend someone for an interview,” he said, adding that he has not recommended friends or family members for jobs.
Moran said some applicants send resumes directly to board members. Resumes sent to the school district are forwarded to board members.
Accusations of favoritism and nepotism have long plagued the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center, which is also a focus of the federal investigation. The FBI sought records on both facilities.
For example, board member Brian Dunn’s wife, Jody, was promoted to the school district’s multi-media/student safety coordinator in 1999. His brother-in-law, Robert Anthony, was promoted to principal in 2001, though Anthony had started working for the district before Dunn’s election to the board. Board member Jim Height’s brother-in-law, Kevin Elmy, was hired in 2003 as superintendent of building, grounds and custodial services at the vocational school. The following year, Height’s wife, DeizaRae, was hired as executive secretary at the vocational school.
Board member James Fisher’s brother, Brian, was hired to a custodial position at the vocational school in 2004. That same year, Fisher’s father-in-law, James Serafini, was appointed coordinator of custodial services in the school district. Dunn and Fisher could not be reached for comment.
Jennifer Learn-Andes, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 831-7333.
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