Friday, January 16, 2009
A Communication from the Floozy Community; the floozy genus is dwindling, thank God, Buddha, and Mohammed
Pray let’s get something straight, young lady. I am not an “elderly” woman. I am a woman older than time, a Pre-PreCambrian crone who makes The Ancient Mariner and King Lear look like teenyboppers.
Cleopatra and I are both Geminis. Shakespeare said that “Age cannot wither nor custom stale Lee’s and Cleopatra’s infinite variety.” Moreover, I am as cute as a bug: always have been, always will be.
I appreciate your sending me this splendid pile of email names for my blog revelations. How happy these folks will be to get unexpurgated commentary about the back-street and Star Chamber goings-on among the Hillsborough County school board and administration lower quartiles.
I know you have been sanitizing these data before passing them along to the folks on this list; but Casting Room Couch prints the skinny unexpurgated.
Blogs never publish anything but the unvarnished truth. We also publish gossip if it is irresistible. Our ethics are ad hoc; our goal is to have fun, fun, fun until Daddy takes our T-bird away.
I have corrected the punctuation errors in your little essay below. Get out your grammar primer. You need work for basic literacy. I know the kindergarten degree that you possess does not require Greek and Latin, but it must require that you learn punctuation. What diploma mill gave you a degree? I shall write the president to ask how come the outfit graduates illiterates to clog school administrations.
The ability to seduce geezer administrators does not count toward a degree even at NOVA, which hands out degrees if you can breathe and pay the extortionist tuition.
See my evaluation of NOVA-degreed Dr. Clayton Wilcox’s thesis: http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=6520837584997793196&postID=3328796914433574826
Le Wilcox was the, former superintendent of Pinellas County schools. A school board member told me his wife wrote his NOVA thesis. I guess he rebuked the poor woman after I told him in a Democratic meeting that his thesis should have barred him from the job of superintendent of schools or any job that required the ability to read and write. He hissed at me, “Bitch!” as he exited in a huff. He gets an A for vitriolic diction.
I am glad for this opportunity to tell you how women such as you who creep to the top by seduction, not qualifications, sets back all women’s progress. Y’all floozies make me want to puke. Hussies' sabataging women’s employment progress concerns me.
I have worked for.the Women’s Movement for forty-five years to advance womankind for my daughters and granddaughters: indeed for everyone’s daughters and granddaughters. This work I will do until I die. But don’t get your hopes up. I come from a long line of Georgia land-grant nonagenarians.
Dr. “Your”-“You’re” Hamilton’s slipping you past qualified candidates for your Tallahassee job accoutered with only your kindergarten bona fides continues the casting-room-couch tradition that puts all women in the same category in many men’s minds who have power in the job market. Your behavior has harmed all women. I condemn you for that.
I have heard gossip that Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton have regrouped. She loves the old toad. Imagine that. My source says they are reunited in Pensacola.
My analysis says his lovability quotient is 75 below zero. But degustibus non est disputandum.
Lee Drury De Cesare
Hi, y’all E-mail-address Hostages to Fortune and Mileto’s ignorance. You are going to love me. ldd
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I hope everyone received the information on the House's economic stimulus package? It contained a LARGE Don’t use all caps for emphasis. That is a sophomoric practice. attachment and Comma before “and” for compound sentence it may not have been accepted Don’t use passive verbs; they make you sound pussyfooting. by your email servers. Let me know if you didn't get it and Use a comma before the coordinating conjuction in a compound sentence.I will send you just the educations portions of the package.
In response to everyone... Don’t use ellipses promiscuously. They have limited, special uses. Look the ellipses mark up in your grammar book.
Ms. DeCesare is an elderly woman who was really quite delightful "in her day" (I actually still find her humorous).
This This pronoun lacks an antecedent. has been going on for years now but Use a comma before “but”: compound sentence. she just recently found our web email Hyphenate “web link” for two or more words acting like a single adjective before a noun. link and that is how you got on her list. All the Bay area counties know her. I'm sorry that she keeps spamming you.
Well, we survived the special session...have Another abuse of ellipses. Look up the mark in your grammar book. a great weekend and I'll see everyone again in a couple of weeks!
A Tale of Civic Collapse
HOW A CLUSTER OF PETTY CROOKS TOOK OVER HILLBORUGH COUNTY SCHOOLS AND RUN THEM TO SATISFY THE LUST FOR MONEY AND POWER.
Everybody cares about our schools: that’s where our children and grandchildren get their start in life. But the Hillsborough County School Board and administration run the schools like a racket to augment their own power and to pump up their sense of importance. The devil take our children and grandchildren is the attitude that underlies the board-and-administration narcissism.
The truth is that the board and administration
treat our children’s teachers like serfs.
The public should refuse to accept this corruption of education.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Up and at 'em":
You are right. No one has made a dent in the school district [Hillsborough County]. It is run by the most arrogant and unethical people you can imagine. They will never admit to wrongdoing and never change their ways. These people crave power and could care less about anyone but their pocketbooks.
Publish this comment.
Reject this comment.
Moderate comments for this blog.
Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch
Response from Lee:
We can’t give up. To do so would mean ceding the school system supposed to educate our children and grandchildren to some subset of crooks that the local board has allowed to spawn in situ and has even joined itself to these crooks. There is not one board member who has a sense of the system’s failure of the students, teachers, and community. Not one board member has enough intelligence and courage to stand up and challenge the other board members on the administration outrages. All board members robotically press the green button to support the criminal administration.
We are Americans. We don’t give up to dictators be they political hooligans who pose as school board members or their myrmidons called the administrators. Never.
We have our mouths. We have our emails. We plant ourselves squarely in the holy precincts of the First Amendment and tell the story of what is going on in the Star Chambers of the school board and administration. We spread these data everywhere. Nobody has done that before. They have rolled over for the school-system crooks.
Notre femmes and gentilhommes: We have the can-do American drive. We have the state and even national political community to bring in to help us. And there are a lot of good people out there in the immediate community who care about the schools and don’t want them made into mafia-lookalikes that destroy the beauty and importance of educating the young in our society.
All that it takes to rally supporters is spending enough time in front of a CRT screen. Remember that the school board is a bunch of politicians posing as supporters of education. We know differently because we have observed them at close range in the tribe’s lair, the school-board meeting room. And we can let enough people know through our blogs what is going on. Better candidates will challenge the crook collaborators on the board and replace them.
We can do all that and more. It’s a haul, but it is well worth our time. Would the Founding Patriots have given up to King George thugs? Never. Nor will we. We arm ourselves with the Firs- Amendment powers that our democracy gives us and go into battle.
Lock and load.
Lee Drury De Cesare
Information distributed through the Web: http;//www.leedrurydecesarscasting.
A Tale of Hillsborough County Board and Administration’s Misrunning and Exploiting the Public Schools for Profit and Power While Feeding the Public Sustained Cover-up Spin About What’s Going On Behind the Wizard-of-0z Curtain.
Email Number One to Secretary of Education:
Dear Secretary of Education Smith:
I solicit your assistance in regard to what I believe to be gross negligence on the part of the Hillsborough County School board in a matter of hiring.
The board claims it fulfills its duty to maintain equal-opportunity practices. It blazons everywhere, “We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer.” Yet the board cedes to Superintendent MaryEllen Elia a patronage perquisite to hire unqualified friends and sycophants to high-level, bloated-salary administrative jobs without advertising these jobs as Title VII and federal funds require.
The board even tolerates Ms. Elia’s inventing jobs as she did for a buddy. Dr. James Hamilton was due to retire last year but was loath to leave the cotton wadding of school-system administrative employment. So Ms. Elia took the brazen step of inventing this cozened fellow a job out of whole cloth. It had a fancy title and salary of $140,000 a year siphoned from tax money that should have gone to students’ needs.
A deep-throat clerk told me that Ms. Elia attached Dr. Hamilton’s name to this fancy-titled job before it went on the books. The superintendent conducted not even a pretense of we-are-an-equal-employment-opportunity-employer cover-up by advertising Le Hamilton’s boutique job.
The board and administration have gotten away with murder so long in buddy hiring that both assume that they are free to commit crimes in the open and that nobody will care or rebuke them.
When Dr. Hamilton recovered sufficiently from his fantoids about the terrors of retirement and life outside the ROSSAC administrative cocoon, Ms. Elia discovered for him yet another job with no advertising as lobbyist in Tallahassee for $65,000 a year. With this stealth freebie, Dr. Hamilton joins the board’s two double dippers, Dr. Lamb and Ms. Edgecombe. Both get pensions and salaries in the school system. I have rebuked these board members for their greed, but they are shameless.
Worth noting is that Ms. Elia according to my open-records inquiry to the Public Affairs Office did away with the special, temporary, $140,000 fancy-titled slot when Dr. Hamilton left it to assume the second special lobbying job. This first show-job had been a temporary ruse for Le Hamilton’s comfort, not a real job. But that show-job cost taxpayers $70,000 for the time Le Hamilton occupied it.
One infers he used the leisure of this faux job to sit in the Otero office and cold-call chumps at seven schools to suck into his lobbying scheme. Dr. Hamilton’s name appeared in pencil above Otero’s on the Web site.
The Hillsborough County board’s lack of vigilance let both jobs slip by on the Consent Calendar without open discussion for citizens’ right to open government. I doubt oblivious board members knew why they were pressing the green light on these jobs. Board members usually don’t know and don’t care why they are pressing the green light.
Citizens deserved to see open board discussion of Ms. Elia’s needs study for the Hamilton boutique jobs. Citizens needed to see played out in discussion on the board podium why the board gave its approval of the Hamilton-specific jobs. The board should have satisfied itself and citizens that Ms. Elia had advertised the jobs, a required step of an equal-employment-opportunity employer.
The board took neither precaution. But board and superintendent do not believe in open government. They only pretend they do to fool the public. And if it’s the public’s money for show jobs, they throw it around without a thought and believe the public doesn’t know what’s going on. And it doesn’t. That’s why the board and administration can rob the tax kitty for selfish uses instead of expending on the schools and students.
I have three times brought up the impropriety if not illegality to the board of Ms. Elia’s using tax money to create jobs for Dr. Hamilton. Its members received these remarks with glassy-eyed disdain, ignored them, and moved back to the solace of the Consent-Agenda conveyor belt. I think they keep their fingers on the green button in rubberstamping Ms. Elia’s unexamined agenda to avoid the work of
choosing between red and green.
Thus, Dr. Hamilton retains his Tallahassee lobbying job at present, one infers. I hope, Commissioner Smith, that your analysis of this job’s circumstances will end this sinecure that drains taxpayers’ pocketbooks during an economic downturn.
The Hamilton lobbying job is duplicative because the Hillsborough schools have a Tallahassee factotum in Ms. Connie Mileto to lobby for the Hillsborough County schools.
This Mileto job situation proves interesting on social, personal, and moral levels in addition to the undertow of its professional dimensions. This seamy saga gives insight into how Hillsborough county administration and board handle personnel needs with lackadaisical élan.
Dr. Hamilton guided his protégée, Ms. Mileto, former kindergarten teacher, into the job of Chief Government Relations Officer for the schools in Tallahassee. La Mileto’s fellow candidates for the position had superior credentials. But they did not have the pivotal credential: Dr. Hamilton’s warm personal regard.
Ms. Mileto is a diminutive woman half Dr. Hamilton’s age and size. I have on occasion called her “The Munchkin” in columns I used to write for La Gaceta newspaper. I regret my Munchkin attenuation of Ms. Mileto’s pint-sized dignity and regret as well my lack of awe for her knack to shake rattle and roll into snagging a job that the logical person would say she hadn’t a prayer of getting. La Mileto had down cold the weakness of her quarry.
Hence, Dr. Hamilton, acting out the ancient there’s-no-fool-like-an-old-fool ritual, slipped La Mileto past qualified candidates with a wink and a nod to the superintendent. Ms. Elia winked back. The board as usual slept. So La Mileto now works in Tallahassee, and Hamilton’s recent lobbying job that Ms. Elia assigned him without advertising makes possible his repairing thither to associate once again with his trophy prodigy with their occupying joint and identical jobs.
This situation gouges the unsuspecting taxpayer as usual. But throwing good money after bad is pro forma Hillsborough-County-School-Board mode of doing public business.
That Board Member Susan Valdes threw away $50,000 on board junkets in one year while thousands of the county’s poor children can’t afford supplies to participate in class projects says something about a board member’s money sense and sense of ethics. Candy Olson also spent a ton of money going to Alaska for God knows what one can’t imagine except as a tax-subsidized junket to the tundra to satisfy her geographical curiosity. The rest of the board followed not far behind with its habitual throwing money to the winds on junkets, spending thousands of tax dollars gadding about to cities such as Las Vegas with no obvious benefits for the schools.
Board travel should consume no more than a thousand dollars a year each if that much, especially with the governor’s making noises about budget cuts in the current financial crisis.
The talk of the schools at the time of La Mileto’s elevation from kindergarten to Tallahassee government representative concerned the consequences of Ms. Mileto’s getting a job for which she lacked bona fides through Dr. Hamilton’s intercession. The sinecure paid $130,000 a year the last I checked as compared to kindergarten-teacher pay in the $35,000 range. Mileto’s new job has climbed to more than $140,000 because she has received several raises since she snagged the job instead of better-qualified candidates. The administration operatives have in the last couple of years copped a nine percent raise while teachers got a 2 percent pittance with a crisp note from Superintendent Elia that implied they should be grateful to get even that much and should thank their lucky stars that she had looked out for their benefit.
Two percent of $35,000 compared to nine percent of $130,000 presents a stark difference in distribution of raises by the Hillsborough County School Board: about $1200 versus $700.
It is worth noting that the potted-plant board members awarded themselves salary that exceeds that of an entering teacher’s by $10,000.
From the board room to the mop closets to the satellite reaches of the Hillsborough County school community, the startling Mileto promotion drew comment. Revealed in this nonstop commentary came news that there existed a victim in addition to rejected qualified candidates for the position that La Mileto bilked them of with her deficient credentials but with Hamilton’s backing.
This victim was Dr. Hamilton’s heartbroken wife. She too suffered.
Commissioner Smith, this injured wife divorced Le Hamilton and retired from her principal position. Can you blame her? I don’t. My heart goes out to the poor betrayed wife.
In return for the loss of a qualified, hardworking, no-gossip-about-her principal, citizens got stuck with her priapic former husband, one whose writing reveals that he doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re, ” and one La Connie Mileto, munchkin femme fatale when it comes to climbing the employment ladder with meager credentials.
A delightsome rumor says that TV executives approached ROSSAC authorities to stage a TV mini-series of a saga entitled K12 Peyton Place. The ROSSAC bunker becomes K12 Peyton Place’s sound stage.
We know too little about the prospect of K12 Peyton Place to comment definitively, but talk says that Board Member Falliero has hired an agent to negotiate the leading role for her. She would be a natural. Why you will later learn when we recount her board career. But we must not underestimate La Mileto’s competitive instincts. Le Connie may aim for the star role of most bodacious floozy in the K12 Peyton Place series with Dr. Hamilton’s lubricious sponsorship.
Le Hamilton reputedly is lobbying for the part of a Music Man character. He sees his stage persona as blowing into K12 Peyton Place singing “Seventy-Six Trombones” in an insinuatingly lascivious manner and jumping right into the middle of the K12 Peyton Place’s staged hanky panky, for which he claims to have a special talent. Long-time observers of Mr. Hamilton’s proclivities do not gainsay him.
Ms. Elia plays a sour bed-and-breakfast owner who gives the mail man and gardener scalding rebukes every time she gets a chance. Carol Kurdell, current school-board chair, portrays Elia’s housekeeper. She never lets go of her mop handle and wears a racist Aunt Jemima head scarf that black civil-rights groups complain about and rightly so. Steve Hegarty, head of Public affairs, portrays the owner of the only gay bar in the county who can’t get a date because local girls think he is not heterosexual. Homosexual civil-rights vigilants condemn Steve’s affected lisp and his degrading of gays by wearing a pink shirt all the time. The opponents of gay-bashing have labeled Le Steve as a Homophobic Pig. We cannot disagree.
K12 Peyton Place is so far apocrypha. But everybody knows the script and has fingers crossed that the series comes out and is faithful to the story line.
Scuttlebutt says Ms. Elia will donate proceeds from the K12 Peyton- Place production to charity in desperate hope to get good press for a change. Money and good publicity are Ms. Elia’s twin obsessions, with good press image’s beating out money by a hair.
I would like the Office of the School Superintendent for Florida to examine the dual job-creation by Ms. Elia for Dr. Hamilton and the Hillsborough County board’s toleration of it and then to inform me and all citizens who pay taxes for the schools whether it is legal and whether you sanction it in any case. Pray tell us how the equal-employment opportunity laws impact this situation and how they affect schools’ employment generally.
And if it is illegal to create jobs for a buddy’s convenience and charge the taxpayers, Dr. Hamilton’s job odyssey requires a written explanation from Ms. Elia and her board. Both must address why creating jobs and hiring Le Hamilton for them without advertising does not violate Title VII and the equal-opportunity riders on federal contracts.
The bottom line for me, Commissioner Smith, is how is this two-job-creation swindle for Hamilton different from run-of-the-mill theft?
Meanwhile, I shall ask the Public Affairs Office for a summary of Dr. Hamilton’s work product as school lobbyist and price tags for tasks allegedly performed thus far. These tasks shall not merit compensation were they to consist of toustoying Ms. Mileto in a dark corner of the Intime Trysting Hole-in-the-Wall in the state capital.
Dr. Hamilton must hire a secretary to do any writing for him in his new enterprise because he has trouble with the English tongue when it deals with matters outside administrative courting rituals. This inability with the English language exists although he got a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, where, I believe you received your terminal degree as well.
Sooner or later I must write a citizen inquiry to the president of the University of Florida and ask him to have valid scholars do a forensics review of the thesis compared to Dr. Hamilton’s unedited writing to determine whether the thesis committee that passed Dr. Hamilton’s terminal product goofed off when it did so to the detriment of the reputation of Florida’s major state school.
Pray let me hear from you soon on this matter of the lobbyist scam that concerns not only the Hillsborough County School Board but also school boards of seven other negligent school districts. Your decision will provide a heads up to other of Florida’s unsuspecting school administrations to review Hamilton with rigor before they hand him a lobbying job.
Lee Drury De Cesare
C: Hillsborough County Board Members and administrative staff
All Members Commissioner Smith’s Leadership Team
All Members of the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation
Alafia Parents’ Association
Florida Education Legislative Liaisons (FELL)
Florida Department of Education (DOE)
State Board of Education (SBE)
National School Boards Association (NSBA)
Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS)
Florida School Board Attorneys Association (FSBAA)
Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA)
Florida School Finance Officers Association (FSFOA)
Florida Association of School Personnel Administrators (FASPA)
Sunshine State School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA)
Florida School Boards Insurance Trust (FSBIT)
Florida School Labor Relations Service (FSLRS)
All Florida school boards
Florida Educational Negotiators (FEN)
Florida Schools’ Boards statewide
Tampa City Government
Hillsborough County Government
West Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Selected PTAs statewide
To: Dr. James Hamilton-Have-Scam-Will-Travel Peripatetic Lobbyist and Eminent K12 Peyton Place Music Man Star
Dr. James Hamilton, Lobbyist Esquire and Habitual Bloodsucker on the Taxpayers of Florida:
Sirrah, pray send me as public-information a list of schools for which you now lobby as described in your contract with the Hillsborough County schools. Send me as well your contracts with seven other schools that I understand you have sucked into your scheme.
Ms. Linda Kipley, Hillsborough County member of the Public Affairs Office says that you must provide these data as the Hillsborough County Schools does not have it.
Also send me the lobbying tasks you have performed for each thus far for these schools, paid for in accordance with the contract that you have with each one. Also list how much money you have collected for these fugitive services.
And pray give me as well, the name of the person who hired you at each school. I want to have a taxpayer word with these functionaries and to report in to the Commissioner of Education and the Governor Crist on this questionable enterprise.
With all due respect,
Lee Drury De Cesare
Follow-up Email Number 2 addressed to the Education Commissioner on the matter of featherbedding job creation for Dr. James Hamilton by Ms. MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of schools of Hillsborough County, and approved by elected board members Jack Lamb, Doretha Ethridge, Candy Olson, Susan Valdes, Carol Kurdell, Jennifer Falliero, and April Griffin. There will appear, in addition, animadversions on the Hillsborough County board members’ and administration’s behavior that show appalling management protocols.
The board and administration appear to run the schools like a franchise for their own benefit, not for the community students. So desperate is Ms. Elia for good press in order that that she keep hold of her franchise behind duplicitous spin downloaded on the public that she gave $42,000 to the school foundation to get a mention that was not critical in news papers.
La Elia did not admit that this $42,000 came from a scam that former superintendent Dr. Earl the Pearl Lennard and the board had cooked up that gave the superintendent “bonus money” for the teachers’ work of raising student scores. Teachers do the work, but the superintendent gets the money for their labor. Isn’t that some species of slavery?
Ms. Elia presently makes almost $300,000 a year doing a disastrous job as superintendent that features such outrages as downloading a class on teachers with the board’s silent complicity to balance Elia’s budget without letting teachers know about this outrage until they opened their schedules; forcing teachers to practice grade inflation to make her performance look better in state rankings and to make possible her making more “bonus” money; and blowing $30 million in tax money on the Spring gimcrack commercial replacement of books for math and English. I sense a disdain for books from both Elia and the board. Adoption of this thirty-million dollar-gimcrack gadget certifies this belief.
The Spring had failed in other venues and now shows signs of abandonment by the Hillsborough teachers, whom Elia and the board did not consult before she signed the contract for this faux-education thingamabob cooked up by a bunch of hustlers who could not identify who Plato is if their lives depended on it much less Sophocles.
The board, of course, was bereft of knowledge of the Spring before Ms. Elia bought it and is still ignorant of its lack of value and history of failure in other venues. The board excels in self-imposed such ignorance. Board members probably have not heard either that Hillsborough teachers regard the program with increasing disfavor and that Elia operatives solicit some teachers to stage show classes when a wandering state or other biggie blows through Hillsborough County and wants to see how the teachers and pupils relate to the Spring and whether this reaction ratifies Ms. Elia’s decision made without board or teacher consultation. If the board ever holds Ms. Elia’s feet to the fire for any of her mess-ups, its desultory members should ask her why she bought this program on her own without consulting teachers who have to implement it.
Making the whopping tax-funds salary of $300,000 a year, Ms. Elia doesn’t need bonus money purloined from ill-paid teachers, some of whom work second jobs to get by. The average family of four in Hillsborough County makes do on $35,000, and a majority of the children require subsidized lunches. But despite these Dickensian circumstances, the let-them-eat-cake board punches the green dais button every year that ups Ms. Elia’s salary to whatever she says it should be. Observers predict that next year Ms. Elia will demand and get her own nuclear deterrent.
For a blog that complements this one on assessing Ms. Elia and the board’s louche running of the schools, consult http://alafiaelementary.blogspot.com/. This Alafia Elementary parent blog provides insight into Ms. Elia’s and the board’s inability to handle a situation involving an errant principal of Alafia, one Ms. Smith, who could not perform her duties because she does not know how to treat people as if they were human beings. That happens as well to be Ms. Elia’s management flaw. Maybe that’s why she condoned it in Ms. Smith’s case.
Alafia parents rebelled at Elia’s maladroit fix of paying $340 (I think that was the newspaper quote) an hour tax money for an Elia buddy, Ms. Grace Ippolito, to act as “mentor” for this principal to model how to behave in human fashion. And if this mentor cure were not inept enough, Ms. Elia imposed an additional proviso costing $4,500 each for the manners-bereft principal and her vice-principal to go to Eckerd for a people’s skills seminar.
Mr. Hegarty, of Public Affairs, revealed that in the recent past there had been four of five such rescue-an-administrator-at-all-costs resuscitations... He said that in addition to pricey redemption measures of $340- an-hour-mentor hand holders and Eckerd personality makeover seminars, other restorative activities for the Alafia principal were workshops, etc, etc. etc.—all costing big bucks one hazards. Ms. Elia spares no tax funds in dealing with these rescue-a-failing-administrator aerobics.
That the administration appointed such fodder as principal says much about its hiring skills. Ms. Smith’s hiring came, I bet, from Dr.Lamb’s friendship with Ms. Smith and her husband, a retired principal, and Ms. Elia’s friendship with the mess-up principal as well. The buddy circle is ubiquitous, incestuous, and powerful in the Hillsborough County administration.
To give a flavor of Dr. Lamb’s temperament, this corpulent specimen once almost leaped the podium to confront me when I complained about the ethics of his using board secretarial services and stationery to ask the mayor to give his condo association a break on its water bill. Dr. Lamb—whose thesis I have yet to scrutinize—ranks most virulently loyal board member to Ms. Elia or whoever sits on the supervisor’s throne. Dr. Lamb would not scruple at a Superintendent Goebbels, executing a smart “zeig heil” with the aplomb of a born toady.
I have asked as public information how much money the Smith debacle has cost so far. I am prepared to be startled.
I found out that such principal rehabilitation programs as Smith enjoyed are pro forma for flunking principals, who are of the administrative genus, principal species. But that rescue seems to depend on whether Ms. Elia likes the mess-ups or not. I heard that an administrator—Mr. Dicks, one of the torture principals against Mr. Erwin--got kicked out recently for rubbing Ms. Elia the wrong way. Dicks got no therapy whatsoever.
I doubt that Louis XIV had more absolute prerogatives than does Ms. Elia. My diagnosis: board leadership cowardice. All current board members have the guts of a butterfly.
That Ms. Elia throws away public money in this illogical manner on a personality not suited for principal job models chronic administrative inability to solve problems in a sensible manner and instead to fall back into the taxpayer-money mosh pit. Not one taxpayer would approve of this bizarre scheme of administrator rehabilitation if he or she knew about it.
In contrast, if a teacher makes the least little mistake, no mentors or charm schools get offered to redeem the wretch. It’s out the door in a trice for the lowly teacher. Elia and the home-ec graduate in Professional Standards’ top job home in on any teacher for firing who has a blog or who says anything the least critical of the schools. Then they build a case on him or her and wait like spiders for some small contretemps to trap the teacher into a firing paradigm. A special-ed teacher named Steve Kemp languishes in that situation now.
Steve Kemp, suspended and awaiting a hearing on his already-decided entrapment case, has a blog that sometimes makes critical comments about the schools. Blogs tap into Ms. Elia’s bad-press terror. In the board’s and Ms. Elia’s book, blogs are not free speech; they are traitorous bases for off with the blogger’s head.
I plan to write about Steve’s horrendous treatment by the administration and board as soon as I extract public information needed that one Mr. Dan Valdez, Assistant Superintendent, has declined twice to yield up.
The administration has ignored the public, the students, and the teachers for so long in its collective onanism that its members think any outsiders are peripheral to their incestuous world and that they don’t have to recognize any request they make under the Florida public-records law. The Attorney General might have different ideas for Master Dan’s duty to obey the Florida Public Records Law.
Section 24. Access to public records and meetings.
(a) Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf, except with respect to records exempted pursuant to this section or specifically made confidential by this Constitution. This section specifically includes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and each agency or department created there under; counties, municipalities, and districts; and each constitutional officer, board, and commission, or entity created pursuant to law or this Constitution.
Who else is covered? Members-elect of boards or commissions are also subject to the Sunshine Law. Private entities doing business on behalf of a public agency may also be subject to the law.
This invidious administrator-teacher standard the board and administration apply to disesteemed teaching staff and others not part of the magical administration-and-board circle. This is another example of the board’s and administration’s running the schools as if they were their own personal satrapy and a pig’s eye to teachers, students, and public. Keep them all—especially the public-- ignorant and keep the board-administration racket going for perpetual benefits of bloated salaries and power perquisites are the board’s and the administration’s aims.
Review the Alafia parents’ remarks in the comment section of their Web page (http://alafiaelementary.blogspot.com/). They reveal the contempt the administration has for parents.
Mr. Ken Otero, vice superintendent, was dismissive when the Alafia parents called him since he was putatively in charge of Ms. Smith. One parent says he declined her call, telling the office clerk to inform her that he had heard enough from Alafia mothers. I think Mr. Otero should quit his $150,000 benefice, the work for which he shows no talent, and go work in Dillard’s men’s department. You have to be pleasant to customers to make any money there.
These intrepid Alafia parents determined to protect their children didn’t give up and accept Elia’s ameliorative dodges. They forced Ms. Elia to move Principal Smith out of Alafia and replace her. Ms. Elia claims Ms. Smith nobly resigned herself. That’s spin twaddle. Not only Ms. Elia pressured Smith, one is sure, but two board members and parvenus of soi-disant diplomacy anxious to protect their board franchise from the public’s learning how badly they perform on the board also did a stealth diplomatic mission to Ms. Smith. A blog reader and fan of Ms. Griffin’s reported their diplomatic adventure. She also rebuked me for not worshiping Ms. Griffin.
Ms. Elia’s publicity was getting worse in the Alafia dust-up, and she can’t stand bad press. It makes her crazy. She dumped Smith.
But the ritual of cosseting even terrible administrators kicked in after Smith left Alafia to the delight of its parents and many teachers. This erring principal goes for R& R to the administration building doubtless while La Elia finds a higher-paying job for Smith that befits the Hillsborough County teachers’ shibboleth, “If you mess up, you move up.”
It makes me ill that Mrs. Smith will now be awarded a posh position downtown with her ROSSAC pals doing who knows what. Why, why, why is it tolerable to harass and worse mere teachers when they either exhibit a flaw, run afoul of the wrong administrator, or rub someone with clout the wrong way by simply telling the truth in publics forums while a principal who very obviously is a shining example of "The Peter Principle" and almost destroys a school is rewarded for the willing incompetence and refusal to just do her job?????
BTW—What’s the status on Steve Kemp? He seems to be quite a guy and probably a pretty good teacher, too.
Mr. Secretary, the public harbors a romantic notion that people who work for schools are all saintly. The public is thinking of teachers when it applies this false assessment while it laments with pious hypocrisy that teachers get such low pay for the vital work they do. The public never demands that school boards raise teachers’ meager pay and lower administrators’ bloated compensation and stop throwing money away on such things as created jobs for buddies. It never insists that arrogant, self-isolated, imperial, dumb-cluck school boards and administrations include teachers and students in the dialogue about the way to run the schools.
The public does not demand redress for students and teachers because it does not know how some boards and administrations like those in Hillsborough County consider the schools their own personal money-and-privilege precincts and consider students mere headcount that insures the state’s sending bales of money for the board and administration to trifle away in self-indulgence and power games.
In fact, the Hillsborough County School Board does not even allow students and teachers a slot on the board agenda; if either comes to board meetings, board and administration make both feel as if they were outsiders who disturb the tranquility of the professionals that adorn the raised-board dais. For the board and administration, the schools are all about them.
I note that one Florida county school boards has two student representatives as official members of the board’s staff. How intelligent. That idea has not got a snowball’s chance in hell with the hostile mindset of the Hillsborough County board and administration to students and teachers. Students are the last thing they want to see in the holy precincts of the board room.
In Hillsborough County, teachers and students must sign up in the “Citizens’ Comment” section that comes at the end of board meetings as if they were peripheral to the running of the schools. I have asked the board several times to rectify this omission that diminishes teachers and students, the heart of the schools. Its haughty members have ignored me. None bothers to disguise the wish that I would go away quietly and just die in some corner out of their purview when I bring up proposals like this to get the students and teachers inside the decision-making process that runs the schools.
I have as well written emails requesting that two board members—April Griffin and Susan Valdes—effect this change. I thought that as the two newest members they would bear the least contamination of the arrogance that afflicts the board. I was wrong. Griffin and Valdes didn’t even answer my email. They have become apostles of board arrogance that shuts out anything that comes from outside their incestuous nest of privilege and imagined omniscience.
In addition, the public wrongly believes that all people who go into education love children. The public has not closely examined whether the administrative class that runs schools supports this supposition. Recall how Vice-superintendent Otero refused the call of an alarmed parent about a child’s welfare in Alafia Elementary School under the leadership of Principal Smith.
Alert people know that administrators comprise a different breed from teachers. The minute administrators get their usual academic-light degrees from most often third-tier universities, they home in on administrations because that’s where the money is. They are in love with their financial perquisites, not with students. They are enamored of their chance to wield power over former classmates in college who became teachers and whose academic achievements and brain power put administrators to shame.
For all students mean to the administrative class, they could be factory-produced tires or rubber grommets. Administrators lord it over students as well as teachers; worship-hungry administrators do not scruple to triumph over even the low-level staff of the lunchrooms, janitors in the halls, and gutter cleaners on the roofs while their bloated administration paychecks keep rolling in.
Some administrators such as Dr. James Hamilton get addicted to these overlord perquisites. Thus, this hanging-on-by-his-fingernails former administrator has post retirement set up a lobbying scam ensnaring eight schools to keep his hand in the till of the public tax kitty and to continue to inhale at a distance the worship racket that continues apace in the schools. I don’t know if this worship addiction is analogous to cocaine addiction. It’s probably worse.
The lust to dole out tax money that students bring into board coffers burns hot in the administrative breast. Administrators take their inflated pay before a penny gets to the schools themselves, not that the management of an administration such as Hillsborough’s deserves big salaries because of its routine incompetence.
One example from many: The Hillsborough County schools’ buses fell into dire straits. The head of transportation was a former bus driver—not that there’s anything wrong if it is a smart bus driver who goes to USF to take courses toward a degree. But I don’t think this one that messed up was that type.
I inferred that this bus driver’s getting the unusual appointment covered a tale of sycophancy because the position was way out of her league. But people terrified—and that includes everybody-- that Ms. Eli would fire them for lese majeste would not say as much. We know who received the bus driver’s fawning attention because the bus driver head of transportation’s bad performance satisfied the superintendent. Ms. MaryEllen Elia does not want competent administrators surrounding her. She wants servile specimens that bow low in her presence. Competence she can do without. Worship she requires.
Milton in Lycidas summarizes the psyches of such people as bow down to the world’s Elias:
Anow as such these bellies sake,
Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Or other care they little reck’ning make,
Than how to scramble to the shearers feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest,
This is the kind of poem about which my students used to say, “Oh, Lord, Ms. De Cesare. What’s this guy talking about?”
“Hold on,” I would caution. “You don’t say that about those incoherent rap lyrics you all know by heart. Let’s give one of the world’s supreme geniuses of literature a chance. First, tell me who is the person giving the feast? Who is the ‘worthy’ bidden guest?’ Who are the ‘Blind mouths’”?
And you know what? The rap fans figured out the lines of a difficult pastoral poem during the fifty-minute class; they and had discovered the identity of some of Milton’s universal characters of which they all said, “I know people like that.” Then they streamed out feeling proud of themselves for rubbing shoulders with a genius before convening in the lunch room to discuss rap metaphysics and what a bitch Ms. De Cesare was.
I often felt when my semi-literate but intelligent students entered from the area high schools that I would be a better high school or middle-school teacher than a college teacher. If I could have caught these students early enough, I think I could have prepared them in both grammar and also Milton. I was always a competent teacher. Some days I was even inspiring.
The solution to the bus debacle was not an abstruse one, but it was one that the board and Ms. Elia believed outside consultant brains must solve. Hence, the board as is its wont summoned a pricey consultant. These consulting geniuses looked the situation over in ho-hum-manner and charged taxpayers $350,000 for their cursory examination. I read the report. It said amidst a plethora of grammar and punctuation errors that the bus people should do two things: get routing software and park the buses in more convenient spots.
Any head of transportation with her eyes open who thumbed through one of the monthly journals on transportation could have solved the dilemma. My guess is that the poor woman was too unsophisticated to know that such journals existed. College educations dissolve such ignorance. Like most of the ROSSAC administration and board, the bus-driver head of transportation, one infers, was not a reader and should have continued her education.
This transportation-department example defines the paradigm that typifies the board’s and Ms. Elia’s attitude toward such crises. They don’t hire professionals. They pass job out like favors. They hire incompetent people with non-applicable degrees from their buddy and sycophant pools for big-pay administrative sinecures. Then when these shallow-talent creatures mess up as they inevitably do, the board sends out of town for flossy consulting firms to ride in and teach the incompetents their jobs with flash cards.
Consultants cost big money. But what the heck, it’s only tax play-money, and flinging it to the winds in double-paying unequipped administrators and pricey consultants to perform the same job is no concern to the administration and
Rumor reports that Board Member April Griffin’s behest prodded Ms. Elia to advertise the top busing job after the bus debacle and to hire an outside professional to head up transportation instead of the usual incompetent insider. This was epochal management for ROSSAC. Ms. Elia, of course, touted this outside hire as her idea. Ms. Elia is not averse to handling the truth loosely when it supports the elevated concept of her majesty or clinches some scam she is executing.
I have myself witnessed firsthand Ms. Elia’s penchant for lying.
I determined this tendency to lie when the first time I talked to La Elia shortly after she became superintendent. The incident had to do with a young media specialist that she and the infamous Professional Standards head, Linda Kipley, had cooked up a charge against to terrify him into giving up his First Amendment rights to write emails from his home critical of the county’s policy of denying gays full library rights.
Ms. Elia did not want her school-system plantation besmirched with uncomfortable discussions of gay rights. That might stir up the aborigines in the fens and the bogs of bigotry on the edge of the county to march on the administration for a shouting session with press coverage. The press is always a round heels for shouting matches. These critters are the ones who called Muslims “towel-heads” in a board showdown after which Ms. Elia gave up on her plan to extend religious holidays to the Muslim student population. Such situation gives her some of the terrifyingly bad publicity she cowers before.
Ms. Elia sent the Birdsall (the media specialist’s name) emails the county had routed to Elia because the cowardly gay head—Bart is gay too-- of the county library, Joe Stines, was too gutless to answer citizen Birdsall’s complaints. Elia sent the emails to home-ec Professional Standards head Linda Kipley for any whiff of a reason to fire Birdsall to be found in a fishing expedition in the school email archives
The superintendent uses the Professional Standards office to keep tabs on any teacher or staff member who dares express an opinion on the schools that does not deify Elia and the board. She and La Elia then build a case against the naysayer and lie in wait for a trifle to turn up on which to fire. This Gestapo tactic is the reason the whole school system is terrified to speak up and say what its members think about Elia’s hegemony. This tactic constitutes psychological blackmail. And it works in the Hillsborough County schools, alas, even with people who have read The Bill of Rights and Milton’s Areopagitica.
When the media specialist and I challenged Ms. Elia at a political meeting about the frivolous charge against him by Professional Standards, the $300,000 superintendent said she sent his emails to La Kipley because she didn’t know what the “to” and “from” lines meant on an email. I am not making this up. We do not deal with Machiavelli here. Ms. Elia is not smart enough to construct a cunning lie. She indulges in Romper Room fibs because they have worked for her. And she has so far got away in the schools with the junior-league tactic to my astonishment.
The superintendent chooses as administrators with big salaries those who are her supporters, buddies, or downright slobbering toadies. They have mostly academic-light degrees that have no relation to their administrative assignment.
Ms. Elia recently ordered the hiring of Professional Standards home-ec credentialed Kipley’s husband for a job that required an accounting degree. Kipley’s husband has a high school diploma and no experience in accounting. I examined the applicant file. Four of the rejected candidates had requisite degrees from decent universities and experience also. One had the protection of the People-with-Disabilities Act. The problem is that these people don’t file against the discriminatory employer like the Hillsborough County Schools. Somebody must test the law. I tried to get the woman with the disability to file against the school, but she was timid. Mr. Valdez, the personnel guy and vice superintendent, swore that Kipley was the best qualified candidate. Valdez wants to keep his job. I believe Kipley’s name stands third in line after the accounting crew for the schools. He will be a whiz-bang auditor one bets.
Ms. Elia doesn’t cotton to scholarship or high-level competency of any kind. In fact, I suspect she views scholars with disdain mixed with fear. Ms. Elia’s root degree comes from a small New York upstate college with grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors on its Web page two years ago when I examined it.
The administrative ciphers in Hillsborough’s administrative ranks are not the brightest and the best that the board should hire to assure taxpayers get their money’s worth. They instead are the most accomplished toadies from the gang of Milton’s “blind mouths.” There now is only one Ph.D. in the administration. I haven’t found out yet if it is a valid degree or one that comes from the ubiquitous diploma mills that too many Florida school bureaucrats resort to and count on the taxpayers’ not knowing the difference between a good school and a sham one.
I think Ms. Elia is trying to reduce all administrators to her level of academic bona fides. The board had lowered the superintendent degree to a master’s from a Ph.D. so as to hire Ms. Elia, the insider who had plotted and lobbied to snare the job from the minute she stepped through the schools’ doors. She must have psyched out these shallow board characters and had their weaknesses down cold so as to manipulate them when she entered for her interview
The rejected candidates from the “nation-wide search”—I reviewed the applicant files--were superior to Ms Elia. My read said this board of incumbents had an understanding expressed or understood with La Elia that she would not disturb their incumbent comfort or trip money, and these shysters who pose as board members couldn’t get that kind of sleazy deal with outsiders, didn’t, in fact, dare suggest it to them. People with Ph.D.s from Columbia don’t engage in such squalid deals to get a job in educational badlands of Hillsborough County.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the board socked the taxpayers $35,000 for the faux ad to cover their backsides for having picked Elia before they sat down to conduct the play-acting selection of her for a job in which she has performed abysmally. That horrid performance by Elia is not the board’s assessment since she mounted the throne of the superintendency. But it is the teachers’.
I have heard repeated rumors and received them on my blog that Ms. Elia curses out underlings in her office, making liberal use of the “f”- word. The board must know of this practice by the superintendent be it true.
In fact, the board knows everything going on in the administration but pretends to be ignorant to avoid responsibility. The test case of Doug Erwin’s crucifixion by the administration in the early 90’s defines the board’s policy of maintaining deniability. I would expect all of its members to preserve this pretense of ignorance to any expletive practices of Ms. Elia. The board does not boss Ms. Elia; she bosses it. The board does not want to work for the betterment of the schools; it wants to play at being important on the board dais, to be incumbent celebrities around town, and to have the state fund its members’ travel adventures.
The board does not represent the public; it represents support for the poisonous witches’ brew that steeps this administration and gives the board what it considers to be the élan of power. And if the superintendent curses out underlings in office tirades be-sprinkled with the f-word, then the board upholds that too by averring it does not know about such things. If board members were savvy enough, they would invoke the rhetoric of Chaucer as analogue to Elia’s cursing, but they think Chaucer is the truck driver who delivers cupcakes for board teas.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Answer to the Puzzle":
Elia definitely could teach you how to curse. When she berates one of her ROSSAC people in the privacy of her office she drops the F bomb right and left. The woman would make any sailor blush.
She's not the type to invite to an elegant dinner.
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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 6:00 PM
I infer that Ms. Elia’s supervisory style uses as role model Captain Queeg. Next she will get some of those steel balls that he kept in his pocket to roll at times of stress. Captain Queeg had as does Ms. Elia a quick temper and a tendency to vituperate. But give Queeg his due: he didn’t curse out and use the “f” word to the men on his ship.
I recently emailed Ms. Elia and asked her if the cursing and f- word rumors were true. She did not answer me. Unfortunately, the incidents if they exist are verbal, not written down, so I can’t invoke the open-records law. But I will persist with verbal and email inquiries until the question becomes part of the public dialogue. Sooner or later she will have to answer this question. And so will the board.
A superintendent should be ready to answer any question a citizen asks her. Citizens pay her salary. And citizens vote in or out public-servant board members.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Beat Goes On":
Many ROSSAC supervisors whisper about Elia's gutter mouth. She is as raunchy and foul mouthed as they come. Sailors would blush! Add to that her mullet hairstyle, and you've got total white trash.
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I think if this cursing rumor be true, we have encountered pathology in the superintendent’s office that is not acceptable leadership style.
I took psychiatric training for my nursing degree at Seton Institute in Baltimore. I didn’t have money to go to town on my off days, so I spent them in the hospital records room reading patients’ histories. I had read all of Freud and much of Jung by then, so these patient histories put meat and bones on the theories of the founders of psychoanalysis.
A recurring theme turned up: that of the patient’s suffering as a child physical or verbal abuse by a powerful adult—usually a parent. This abuse left mental scars that haunted the patient for life and left him or her with a twisted psyche. During their lives, the records testified that abused patients often exhibited the pathology of the repetition compulsion of engaging in acting out this childhood abuse on others as if to externalize the wound and purge it from their souls.
Some of these abused children landed in psychiatric institutions. But most did not. We all know that pathology walks the streets every day and inhabits all corners of society. Some of the abused children might become school board superintendents to act out their trauma on those below them.
I would say that Ms. Elia’s purported cursing out of underlings and besprinkling them with the f-word taps into some childhood trauma.
But psychological trauma needs therapy, not repeating it by re-enacting the wound on helpless and bewildered underlings. If Ms. Elia curses out employees in her office, the board should fire her. Sympathy for childhood trauma and mental illness is one thing; letting a high-level official in a school system take it out on subordinates is another.
I trust you agree, Commissioner Smith, that there is no excuse for a superintendent in one of Florida’s school systems to curse out an underling with profanity laced with the f-word in her office. In anybody’s book, such performance is an abuse of power that compels dismissal.
Seton Institute when I was there had a special patient population: priests and nuns who had become mentally ill. One angelic-looking former sister threw me against a wall with such force that my injured shoulder aches fifty-four years later. I played tennis every afternoon with an elderly former priest who called me “Sissy.” I never read his history because had I done so I sensed that I would not play tennis with him again.
The public does not have open access to unexpurgated school-board business. Board and administration business in Hillsborough County runs through Public Affairs to sanitize it and sever any connection to the unpleasant truth before it becomes public. The board and administration want to protect their incumbency, their jobs, and their power. Public information is a fairy tale that has little connection with the reality that goes on behind closed doors of the ROSSAC Star Chamber.
I think the press’s understanding of this situation explains the scant and pallid comment about schools that local papers make in Hillsborough County. The St. Petersburg Times joins the Tampa Tribune in shallow reporting on the schools. And neither does investigative series on the ubiquitous wrongdoing in the schools because, I hazard, many of the school administrators and school board are buddies with press management. They rub elbows at Chamber of Commerce hoedowns or at Palma Ceia Country Club.
Local reporters languish at board meetings and robotically take down verbal dross that issues from board members and administration stale choreograph as controversial issues sail by on the Consent Agenda. The waning of the print press has also made reporters more timid about what they write. They are afraid of losing their dwindling jobs. The choreography of the board and administration does not make for lively writing especially for reporters whose jobs have bumped up against the reality of their industry’s history. Thus reporters write nothing or little in their shallow mid-paper commentaries. None is revelatory of what goes on in the schools behind the pallid rhetorical gloss.
Guess what is replacing the waning print press? We Knights of the Blogs, that’s what. And you can count on us bloggers to write lively stuff. Has this recital bored you so far? Of course not: it tells things like they are: no evasions, no euphemisms, just what happened and what the writer thinks about the mess.
What did Ms. Elia do with the incompetent bus supervisor and her sidekick? Did she fire them? Lord, no. When it comes to flatterers, Ms. Elia responds with social welfare. She tucked both into some corner office, doing what in this featherbedding administrative fun house one can only guess. She kept their salaries at the same level as those they got while head of transportation and head-of-transportation side kick.
The taxpayers once more played the dupes of this squandering of tax money. In a gesture of reversed social Darwinism, Ms. Elia pays the two failed administrators to this day undeserved salaries out of the dwindling hard-times tax kitty because they are her toadies.
“Official and indispensable Elia toady” should be the bus division rejects’ job descriptions.
The two’s salaries, I understand, are close to $100.000 each. They brought these over from the time when they held down the top jobs in transportation. I bet they got the nine-percent raise that the other administrators got and now make $109,000 each. The board does not fire or even lay off failing administrators at Hillsborough County Schools; they keep them on with false job descriptions. Or they promote them. You have already read what the board and Ms. Elia do and how much they spend to rescue a failed principal.
I once asked Dr. Lennard when he was going to let go a superfluous administrator that the state-audit people had singled out. He said he was thinking about it. I bet that administrator served until pension time rolled around. What the board and administration count on is that if they lie low and pretend you never asked them anything that you will give up and go away.
Do the board members that promised to “guard every taxpayer penny” on the stump object to Ms. Elia’s keeping the bus toadies on the dole? Does a ton of bouillabaisse, not Cuban sandwiches, get sold in Ybor City every day?
Private businesses would never repeat this disastrous pattern. Why? They don’t have the Florida state government subsidizing their idiocy.
As sequel to the complaint I addressed to you in Email One above, sir, on Ms. Elia’s creating two jobs for Dr. James Hamilton and billing the taxpayers, I append a blog-reader comment below affirming that Dr. Hamilton has acquired contracts to represent seven more school districts in Florida.
From: Anonymous [email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2008 3:15 PM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on The Beat Goes On.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Beat Goes On":
FYI, Hamilton now lobbies for 7 other school districts plus the Florida Association of School Administrators. Seems he has parlayed his position into quite the racket.
Since he enjoys a no-bid contract with the district, do you think it is ethical for school board members to accept campaign contributions from him or his company? I believe it is unethical, and probably should be illegal.
Ms. Elia did away with his first created job when he resigned it and signed Le Hamilton on to the lobbying job for Hillsborough County schools to which he has apparently added seven other schools. I wouldn’t be surprised at his having refused to quit his first created job in the Hillsborough County schools until she put him on another taxpayer non-job. For some reason, I intuit that Dr. Hamilton has the hex on Ms. Elia.
I doubt that the board members knew what they were doing when they pressed the green “yes” button on the podium for Hamilton’s second job. They were oblivious on the first one. My guess is that Dr. Hamilton’s has corralled the lobbying sinecure for the eight most prosperous schools in the state. I don’t know their names, but you can count on me to find out.
This wily, language-challenged parasite will make over a half million dollars a year from this racket if the other seven schools pay him the $65,000 of wasted tax money. I fear the Hamilton example is not atypical but rather typical of state K12 bureaucratic practices of employment and money management.
I asked previous superintendent Dr. Lennard once if school jobs came under Title VII; he said yes. I didn’t think to ask if a superintendent’s creating jobs for buddies with the board’s collusion came under any law’s reach. It never occurred to me that Ms. Elia would create two jobs whole cloth for Dr. Hamilton and that the board would sit in silence as the jobs passed on the Consent conveyor belt despite the board’s putative mission of representing taxpayers. If the discussion does not concern members’ travel budgets, Hillsborough County’s board slumps in ennui on the dais.
That a man who can’t tell the difference between “you’re” and “your” lobbies for schools set up to ensure literacy in our children symbolizes offensive misuse of state education dollars. This situation is immoral and should be illegal. School administrations should not hire marginally literate people to lobby for school systems established to ensure literacy in state’s children and pay the frauds with state tax funds.
That practice mocks the purpose of education and abuses taxpayers who pay for it without their knowledge. I trust that it will not continue in Dr. Hamilton’s case with the Commissioner of Education’s knowledge. And if this administrative gaggle of seven school districts engages in this practice along with Hillsborough County’s unethical participants, they are all enemies, not sponsors, of education.
You, sir, as Secretary of Education should cite these obtuse members of the state school bureaucracy for malfeasance and kick whichever among them fell for Hamilton’s scam out of the school system that they have shown themselves too ethically deficient and mentally obtuse to be a part of.
The secondary school bureaucracy reminds me of accretionary organisms that paleontologists call stromatolites.These are great rods of layer upon layer of mats that look like sticky pastry but are one-celled primitive forms of life that began in the Precambrian period. To show how durable stromatolites are, geologists have recently discovered stromatolite mats in Australia in some remote bay. A significant trait held in common with school administrators is that the Australian stromatolites survive because there are no competitive bacteria to kill them. In the Florida bureaucratic case, there is no outside talent allowed into the school system to compete with the stromtolite inferior regulars.
The stromtolite community of state education parasites defines the situation of Florida K12 bureaucrats who set up bogus tax-paid rackets after retirement to bilk taxpayers as double dippers in perpetuity by tapping into the K12 stromatolite buddy system of which they have been a part.
Analogous to the Precambrian and now Australian stromatolites, over-the-hill K12 Florida bureaucrats such as Dr. Hamilton continue feeding off the state system with lobbying schemes, draining money that should go to the students.
The stromatolites model a metaphor for the hiring patterns for the sloths of the state school bureaucracy. Upon graduation from college, smart graduates go into teaching; obtuse ones head for administration. These latter may not have made Phi Beta Kappa, but they know where the money and power are in K12 education. These slapdash scholars spend their administrative careers hiring fellow members of the stromatolite community for any job that comes up in the state bureaucratic employee word-of-mouth racket with bloated salaries that milk taxpayers for the feeble service of this bureaucratic dead wood.
The K-12 stromatolites never advertise jobs to get the smartest, most well-educated, most experienced people to do the best job for schools. This state stromatolites network is a closed-system buddy-and-good-ol’-boy-word-of-mouth bureaucratic hiring plot that rips off taxpayers, students, parents, and teachers, Bureaucratic dumb clucks get school jobs regardless of their basement IQs and blah transcripts to cheat taxpayers with abysmal job skills that require consultants to come in and teach them their jobs.
As Dr. Lennard told me, school jobs are liable to Title VII. This hiring of buddies and sycophants for bloated-pay administrative jobs without advertising them as Title VII requires is a specialty of the Hillsborough County School Board and administration. They ignore that these job scams are illegal because nobody has yet challenged them. The board members think that their getting elected immunizes these civic do-nothings to the laws. So they enact no-bid contracts and ignore equal-employment-opportunity laws. They are, they think, made invulnerable by the power of office.
All those who sit on the Hillsborough board do not have even a bachelor’s degree. Reviewing the credentials of boards across the state made me aware how deficient in academic credentials the Hillsborough board is in comparison to many schools across the state.
Nor does the local board do much reading as is apparent from their remarks in board meetings. These remarks reveal that they are unsophisticated in many areas about which a competent board member needs to know. I bet they couldn’t explain the equal-employment-opportunity laws if their lives depended on it although they invoke them with ignorant aplomb. Even learning Robert’s Rules exceeds their brain power.
When new board member April Griffin asked that one of the customary no-bid buddy deals come off the consent agenda for discussion, 16-year-veteran board member and administration super toady Carol Kurdell accused Ms. Griffin of dishonoring the professionalism of the staff. Candy Olson joined Kurdell in excoriating Griffin.
Candy Olson represents the Beach Park district that my family lived in for twenty years when our children went to Grady, Coleman, and Plant. Every time I visit the old neighborhood, I lobby to get somebody to run against Olson. She was one of the three on the board that knew about yet did nothing to halt Mr. Erwin’s crucifixion by Lennard, Hamilton, and Davis for Erwin’s trying in the 90’s to get the administration to clean up the crimes of bid-rigging, theft of school property, faked time cards, and leaking, poorly built new schools.
The board voted down Griffin’s motion to begin the practice of open bids to get the best price for the schools.
Five of the seven board members voted against Griffin’s motion that only she and Valdez supported. Attorney Tom Gonzalez, dormant legal sloth who sits through meetings and contemplates his cuticles, leapt to life to deliver a ringing endorsement of the no-bid practice. He recited legal stare decisis a-go-go gibberish that was equivalent to medieval theologians’ discussions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Gonzalez’s firm has held the school-attorney indulgence for 37 years. Gonzalez himself got his perch from Dr. Lennard ratified by a handshake.
No-bid contracts are the only issue that grabs Attorney Gonzalez’s attention in his board nest. This handshake, no-bid member of the legal priesthood but no ornament to it is indifferent to the board’s abusing citizens’ First Amendment rights in audience-comment time and allows the board to wander into a Roberts Rules labyrinths and make fools of themselves without giving its stumbling members any help at all.
I got the ACLU to lecture on the First Amendment after Chair Jennifer Falliero kicked me out of a meeting for using a person’s name, which she said violated Roberts Rules. This chair was so bereft of knowledge of Robert’s Rules and so flat-out dumb that she thought wielding the gavel gave her the right to invent rules on the spot.
I have asked a half dozen times that the Board fire Mr. Gonzalez for incompetence, sleeping sickness, or being homely for the audience to have to look at for the hours of board sessions; I have asked that the board give other area attorneys a chance at the job. But Gonzalez’ firm’s 37 years on the public dime has given Le Gonzalez immunity because he knows so much about the administration’s checkered history that both it and the board are afraid to turn him loose to chat with citizens about the realities of the way the board and administration run things and even perhaps write his memoirs.
Gonzalez’s was the firm that lost the Erwin whistleblower case to a local young woman attorney whom Erwin engaged after the administration had worn him down with its torture tactics. She mopped up the floor with Gonzalez et al, won the case, and her client walked away with a $165,000 settlement. Thank God. But, of course, the taxpayers not only paid for the lawsuit but for the settlement as well. That’s the price of keeping thugs on a payroll who torture people like Erwin for reporting wrongdoing.
The Hillsborough County School Board that blazons the shameless lie of “We are an equal-employment-opportunity—employer” in any empty space it can find, rubberstamps Gonzalez’s endorsement of Title VII-violating hiring and cheer-leading of no-bid contracts. This behavior is a shameless lapse in ethics on both the board’s and Gonzalez’ part. See this Web entry for a hilarious account of my ethics charge against Le Gonzalez with the Florida Bar: http://floridabarethicscomplaint.blogspot.com/.
To the apparent satisfaction of the five board members who voted for the no-bid outrage to continue, the case’s no-bid recipient was a former stromatolite administrator starting up his consulting business with Hillsborough County School Board seed money.
But in my book, the most egregious case of education bureaucrats’ stromatolites hiring practices is Dr. Jim Hamilton, the fellow for whom Ms. Elia created two jobs.
Dr. Hamilton’s writing is not that of a man literate enough to preside over schools or their business if we want children to become literate. His other gifts for being lobbying face of schools display flaws as well.
I taught college English. When I got a class of the county’s high-school graduates its members did not know basic grammar and punctuation; nor could they write a literate, organized, logical paragraph that displayed a modicum of intelligent analysis or commentary. Forget essays. Writing a standard five-paragraph essay went beyond Hillsborough County high school graduates’ ken. These beautiful, bright looking, verbally impressive students proved so inept in the written word that instead of teaching Yeats and Shakespeare to them, I spent half the classes doing catch-up on writing deficiencies, leaving Yeats and Shakespeare to the worship of the ages.
After observing the school board and administration for the past two years, I now see a big part of the problem. Too many of those supervising the schools can’t themselves write the English language at the level of educated men and women. I have cited Dr. Hamilton; the first communications I saw of Ms. Elia’s showed her deficient in basic grammar and punctuation. I complained. I suspect she has since got an amanuensis to doctor her work.
Board Member Jennifer Falliero lament the depredations that blogs inflict on the board and administration, but she resorted to the Public Affairs office for editing help to convert her essay to par to send to the newspapers. I have a mind to write USF president Genshaft to demand why that university hands out diplomas to people like Ms. Falliero who can’t write Standard English without an editor. One of the Public Affairs employees is the only person in ROSSAC that I am aware of who can punctuate. She credits a high school teacher with her expertise as I recall. I suspect she is run off her feet correcting illiterate essays.
My read says these elected board officials don’t themselves possess zest for scholarship. They have not experienced nor are likely to experience the ecstasy of learning. Their indifference on the board of a K-12 school system to learning seeps into all corners of the administrative bureaucracy and contaminates its decisions so that they are antithetical to learning.
Here follows a sample of Dr. Hamilton’s writing ability that appeared in school-wide emails after the computer program bought via some board member’s relative according to rumor broke down. It left the system unable to distribute pay checks to teachers, not however administrators, but teachers, the least-valued but most vital members of the school system. Dr. Hamilton expresses his illiterate opinion of the situation in this system-wide email brimming with illiterate hilarity. I was then columnist for La Gaceta. Here’s part of my column that week:
Just the Facts, Ma’am
Lee Drury De Cesare
From La Gaceta Column
From: James Hamilton
Subject: Back in Margaritaville
Well COMMA fans I am happy to report that the Ca'pin CAP’IN has survived the failure of the Dilithium crystals. While atomized across the vast reaches of space between Margaritaville and the Starship Enterprise COMMA I encountered two Klingon birds of prey COMMA lying in wait in cloaking devices. I even had MISPLACED MODIFIER: “EVEN” GOES HERE. photon torpedo fly through my parts while I was waiting for Mr. Scott to reassemble my parts.
They are now reassembled COMMA and I have landed in Margaritaville again. While on my way over to Louie's Backyard, I thought it would be helpful if we took a brief moment to return to Lawson Land and remember that we have more of our hard HYPHEN working people getting paid tomorrow, and some will need help understanding their check.
And don't tell them it's them ADMINISTRATOR RED-NECK SOLECISM FOR “THOSE”; SO HYPHEN and HYPHEN SOs downtown because my phasers are not on stun, Mr. Spock.
This Dog Patch lucubration catalyzed me to file a charge with the Professional Standards office complaining about Dr. Hamilton’s unprofessional, illiterate misuse of the school emails. Ms. Kipley, the office’s Abu Ghraib camp director who has a home-ec degree and whose high-school-diploma husband beat out four competitors with the B.A. accounting degree called for, turned it down as non-applicable to an administrator, all of which breed is immune to Professional Standards rebuke in addition qualifying for pricey rehabilitation programs if they mess up big time as Ms. Smith’s Alafia case shows. Steve Hegarty, Public Affairs head, had a more paper-over-the-warts read: He responded, “That’s just how Dr. Hamilton is.”
In the school board of Hillsborough County’s twisted system of justice, a teacher’s making a minor error results in a case build-up by the administration’s Gestapo Professional Standards office for firing; but an administrator’s errors, big or small, get a pat on the head and a fond assessment of “That’s just how he is.”
Mr. Hegarty became head of Public Affairs after Ms. Elia and her henchpeople fired the previous head, Mark Hart, to protect board member Jennifer Falliero’s “reputation” after the messy affair she had initiated with Hart by haunting his office, not giving up her stalking until she had tapped into Hart’s endocrine system and snared the big dope. This Falliero, whom I call “Pole Girl,” for her hussy inclinations, broke up Hart’s marriage and inflicted financial and psychological suffering on his two young children. One child had an existing medical condition that the break-up of her parents’ marriage exacerbated; a younger child changed from being an excellent to a failing student.
Now Ms. Falliero whines that she is “a human being, too” and says people should go easy on her for this affair. She never mentions the two child victims of her sleazy sexual diversion are little human beings still suffering from her immoral behavior on school property. They will suffer all of their lives. All studies on the subject show that children never get over parents’ divorces.
And La Falliero hasn’t done badly in people’s overlooking her floozy past and damage to the school system. After Ms. Falliero had cooperated in Hart’s firing for their joint adultery in school settings, board members made Falliero chair of the board despite her moral unfitness. I bet parents would have a fit if they found this out. And Attorney Tom Gonzales’s chivalric code kicked in for a woman with a heart of gold: he rebuked me for calling Falliero “Pole Girl.”
Mr. Gonzalez is erratic in his legal pronouncements. He once threatened me with an extortion law suit for my saying in citizens’ comment time that I would ask for a federal compliance review if the school board did not begin to honor the equal-employment-opportunity laws and equal-opportunity riders on federal contracts.
To the extortion lawsuit threat, I invoked the SLAPP law that makes citizens’ excoriating their government immune to retaliatory legal action aimed at shutting them up. Tom, Esquire, has not mentioned a lawsuit against me since (http://slappprotectionlaw.blogspot.com/). I would welcome a Gonzalez lawsuit. My ten grandchildren would be enchanted if their granny languished in the pokey for the First Amendment. I could use the jail time to do some serious needlepointing on my third granddaughter’s wedding rug. ACLU would knight me despite my being a woman.
I suppose that it goes without saying that Steve Hegarty was not qualified for the job and a number of competing applicants were (I reviewed the files), but Ms. Elia lusts for good publicity to cover up the stench of what’s going on in ROSSAC. Thus she hired Hegarty because he had been the Times reporter who had written puffballs about the board and administration during his time on that beat and had kept in touch with administrators in sycophant fashion after his editor relocated him.
Ms. Elia is oblivious to the venerable behavioral ritual that says any fellow who deserts the ship merits hatred for his defection and extra hate if he makes more money than the deserted crew of—in this case—reporters.
Ms. Elia hasn’t got a decent word of press for the time Hegarty has been on duty and resorts to writing editorial rebuttals to counter the local paper’s bad opinion of her. Some collaborating board members have chimed in as well in rebuking the editors who write their negative opinion about Elia and her administration and the board that props her up. Hegarty, meanwhile has got a $10,000-plus raise in the two years he has been on the job, making his loot $101,000 per annum while beginning teachers get a mere $35,000: pretty good for a fellow who takes all day to write a paragraph.
For more of Dr. Hamilton’s literacy and behavioral buffoonery, let’s look at a snippet of a white paper he had a year to write in a ROSSAC swan-song performance in which he was supposed to lay out for new board members decorum befitting their august role.
The erstwhile ROSSAC Mr. Manners opines:
As elected officials [sic] Board Members [sic] have established expectations for appropriate attire. Board members have established an expectation for business attire for Members [sic—two errors: superfluous capital and possessive before a gerund] attending official Board meetings and functions at which the Member [sic] represents the Board. Business casual dress has been an established [established by whom?] minimum expectation for certain workshops, office visits, etc. The Board [sic] has established the same standards for modesty and good taste for themselves as they have established in their policies for students and employees.
This couture-and-grooming advice and invocation of “modesty and good taste” rank bizarre, given Dr. Hamilton’s own dress, grooming, and uncouth manners.
I am sorry to be frank, but I must speak as I find. Dr. Hamilton’s grooming is what one would term slept-under-the-bridge-knight-of-the-road louche. His dress is such that the clothes adorning his considerable girth show no signs of the kiss of an iron since they left the factory. His shoes are as bereft of polish as are his attire and manners.
I am a registered nurse licensed to practice in the state of Florida among other states. If Dr. Hamilton were admitted to my ward, where I was customarily head nurse, I would make a professional decision to apply treatment specific for Dirty Old Men. I would roust the orderly to supervise a bath for him in a hot tub of water with Lysol soap and a scrub brush. The orderly would not neglect Le Hamilton’s hair, which would benefit from a vigorous shampoo with Lysol shampoo with dandruff-defying ingredients.
The orderly, after rescuing the patient from the hot tub, would dry him off, powder him down, and put clean underwear on him. It must not be jockey shorts. Dr. Hamilton’s anatomy does not coincide with the rigors of jockey shorts. The orderly should have the lobbyist for eight school districts in Florida pull on a pair of old-fashioned, roomy boxers, which bag low and contain nothing. Then the orderly, after presenting Dr. Hamilton with a nail file for him to get to work on his fingernails, would adorn Dr. Hamilton’s newly clean body with his dry-cleaned suit and polished shoes with clean socks and thence let him loose to roam the state of Florida drumming up lobbying scams to rip off taxpayers.
In ways too numerous to count, Dr. Jim Hamilton ranks thuggish. That Dr. Hamilton was Dr. Lennard’s chief henchman in crucifying Mr. Doug Erwin twenty years ago in the infamous case in which the administration led by Dr. Lennard harried Mr. Erwin and made his life a living hell after Mr. Erwin discovered widespread theft, bid-rigging, and inferior construction in the schools with top payments by the board to contractors out of tax funds for new schools that leaked like sieves and demonstrated multiple flaws from the day the last nail went into one of these contractor rip-offs..
For about two years, Erwin vainly tried to get the administration and board to do something about the outrages of bid-rigging, employee theft of school property, faking of employee time records, and shoddy building construction of leaking and otherwise compromised brand-new schools by contractors who got a ton of tax money as if they had built exemplary schools. Erwin’s efforts did not result in gratitude or in board-administration clean-up of these evils but rather in the administration’s and board’s efforts to give him the runaround, shut him up, and make his life hellish. Part of this treatment was to convince him and those around him that he was crazy. They aimed to fire Mr. Erwin and deprive him of his pension. This is administration court-press savagery. The present tribe of administrators and board members are fully capable of replicating it.
A psychiatrist might diagnose this response as administrative-board immorality and evidence that the administration’s throwing tax money at on-site crime as behavior which betrayed a willingness to put up with criminal behavior as the cost of doing business at taxpayers’ expense so that soi disant administration muckety-mucks could continue to raise and draw their bloated salaries and wield power with a potted-plant board’s approval to stride about the community as power potentates
The administrative lords of the universe also possessed the power to award no-bid contracts with the strong probability that money moved under the table from contractor to administrator. They wanted to continue without surcease absent a messy crime investigation to contaminate the community grandeur that they clutched to their mediocre bosoms. They lusted to gad about town in royal mode to civic hoedowns at which they got microphone mention as being swells on the school board and in the school administration. They wanted credit for feigning allegiance to the grandeur of their being enlightened people desirous of improving education for the community children when, in fact, they didn’t give a fig about the children or learning. It was all about them and their tax-paid perquisites and community-ratification applause. Let’s face it: the Hillsborough County School Board and administration are a subset of SAT lower-percentile toads.
My observations of the current Hillsborough County School Board members say that not one reads a decent book despite their participation in the education racket that they and the K-12 bureaucrat stromatolites have concocted. They can’t model on the school board what they know nothing about in their personal lives.
I speak as a professional educator, as a former 28-year college professor, and as a person who has lived a long life and acquired the ability to spot erudition in people who value it. You can’t fool us teachers in this area. We are experts in whether students have done required reading. The board and administration have not. We deal with individuals of wafer-thin educations. How can such specimens promote education in our children and grandchildren?
When board members objected at the ritual workshop that followed Dr. Hamilton’s board-deportment labored exegesis to the tone and content of Hamilton dicta on board deportment, including the way its members dress, Le Hamilton stormed out of the room in a giant pout, his un-ironed duds flapping behind his large and inelegant figure as he slammed the door behind him.
Now that’s the kind of decorum taxpayers must pay a half million dollars a year for since this old coot has snookered eight dingdongs in eight school stromatolite districts to hire him as Tallahassee lobbyist.
Such puerile behavior as storming out of a room does not promise that Hamilton possesses the poise and aplomb to be the lobbying face of the eight schools that have been unwise enough to sign him up for the posh lobbying job he cobbled together for himself for half a million tax dollars per annum. I wonder who came up with the bloated figure for doing this job at each school and how it compares with that of other lobbying firms outside the stromatolites network. Wouldn’t a savvy hiring officer check for such data? I want the people’s names who hired Hamilton in the seven schools besides Hillsborough. I want to have a word with them all.
Each of the eight schools’ community firms could have lobbying professionals if they show their schools need them who appear in ironed attire and who do not slam out of rooms in a pout. I recall my mother’s standard of correct behavior as not acting as if one were raised in a barn. I am sorry to report that Dr. Hamilton looks like a datum in that barn-raised file of maladroits. That kind of person should not be a lobbyist for schools who value their image and reputation—not to mention money in a time of budget cuts.
Do the eight schools that have signed up Dr. Hamilton to lobby for them at the events he puts in his contract letter want a fellow representing their schools who not only can’t write with a minimal degree of correctness or rhetorical élan but who also demonstrates vile manners that ill fit the dignity that educational institutions need purvey to deserve the approval of the public that supports them?
NOVA is the usual Ph.D. factory for the obtuse of the education bureaucracy, but Gainesville is culpable as well in Dr. Hamilton’s case is my conviction after the university’s turning him loose to roam the k12 bureaucracy where nobody has the intelligence and the guts to kick him out. (See my deconstruction of former Pinellas Superintendent Dr. Wilcox’s semi-literate NOVA doctoral thesis: http://wilcoxilliteratethesis.blogspot.com/.)
A forensics review of Dr. Hamilton’s unassisted writing above suggests that the gentleman was not the author of the following HBEC corporate letter below, which one assumes went to the other seven school systems hooked into his lobbying scheme. My guess is that a minimum-wage clerk penned this for the lobbyist of eight of the state’s school districts peopled by obtuse administrators who do not know their asses from their elbows when it comes to assessing qualifications for lobbying jobs
HBEC Group, Inc.
4031 Teal Way
Pensacola Florida 32507
May 27, 2008
MaryEllen Elia, Superintendent
School District of Hillsborough County
P.O. Box 3408
901 East Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa Florida 33602
Re: Letter of Engagement
Dear Superintendent Elia,
This is a letter of engagement to continue to provide professional services in the area of governmental and educational consulting to Hillsborough County Public Schools. We will work with the Superintendent, School Board Comma and Chief Government Hyphen Relations Officer to provide professional services to support the needs of the District for the period from July 1,
2008 Comma through June 30, 2009. The capitals in this paragraph are arbitrary and do not conform to capitalization rules.
These services will include, NO COMMA but are not limited to, NO COMMA attendance at and reporting of state and agency meetings, commissions and task forces as requested by the District. Additionally, during specified activities of the Florida Legislature, NO COMMA including committee weeks, special sessions, and regular sessions, the firm will provide on-site support in Tallahassee, Florida.
As our work progresses COMMA it is understood that the nature or the scope of the services we will render may change. Should that No PRONOUN ANTECEDENT occur COMMA it might be necessary to seek a modification of this agreement. It is also understood that either party may sever this agreement upon 30-day notice to the other. Monthly payments will cease upon severance.
For services rendered by HBEC Group, Inc., Hillsborough County Public Schools will be billed a total of $65,000 payable in eleven equal monthly installments of $5,416 from July 31,2008 comma through May 31, 2009, and one monthly installment of $5,424 comma billed on June 30, 2009. The firm will assume responsibility for housing, meals COMMA and travel costs associated with services provided. We PRONOUN-ANTECEDENT DISAGREEMENT will send you an invoice for our fees each month. Please call if you have any questions or concerns about our the firm’s invoices or services.
If these terms are satisfactory, please sign the enclosed copy of this letter and return it to the firm at your earliest convenience. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.
James P. Hamilton
Accepted and agreed to this ______ day of _______________________, 2008.
The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida
MaryEllen Elia, Superintendent
From the Hillsborough County school system, Connie Mileto, Dr. Hamilton’s protégé gets a $130,000 salary now increased by the 9 percent raise of the last two years to $141,7000 in the job no-fool-like-an-old-fool Hamilton finagled for her despite her kindergarten degree’s not measuring up to the professional degrees of competing candidates. La Mileto is supposed to perform jobs Dr. Hamilton cites above for $65,000 more dollars he wants to extract from taxpayers. This is featherbedding, nothing more or less.
What will both’s doing the same job be like? Will it be Ginger-and-Fred-It’s-Like-Old-Times Pas de Deux? Will La Mileto and Sugar Daddy Hamilton share an office from which to rip off taxpayers with Hillsborough County’s board’s blessing?
Check HamiltonBizStatement.blogspot.com. The money information in Hamilton’s Hillsborough contract does not appear to conform to the information there. I have asked the Public Affairs department of Hillsborough for a summary of Hamilton’s work product thus far and the fees paid him. I shall post these when I receive them. I will not rest until I receive them.
Pray, Commissioner Smith, determine the extent of Dr. Hamilton’s lobbying activities for the seven other schools as well as Hillsborough’s that Dr. Hamilton has sucked into this taxpayer rip-off. Please as well determine their necessity, propriety, and ethics.
Dr. Hamilton used the five or so months of the first created job in the Hillsborough County school system for $140,000 per annum for his personal benefit I infer for setting up lobbying jobs. This first created job gave Dr. Hamilton respite to lure from his ROSSAC office seven school systems besides Hillsborough County’s to participate in a half-million-dollar yearly scam to enrich himself. The job he describes replicates the duties of Ms. Mileto in my opinion.
Seduction appears to be Dr. Hamilton’s signal attribute, odd, given his physical and mental deficiencies and given his being a maladroit who slams doors when he is opposed. This old stromatolite charmer seduced a total of eight inattentive or complicit School Board Association co-stromatolite members to cooperate in a taxpayer rip-off. These eight schools must not care about the quality of the stromotolite hires its members connect to the taxpayer kitty of Florida. Dr. Hamilton’s will be the face of these schools that the lawmakers see in Tallahassee.
I wonder how carefully these seven schools besides Hillsborough’s reviewed Dr. Hamilton’s credentials including his 1. competency in writing the English language literately; 2. ethics record of slipping an unqualified candidate past better-qualified candidates into the Tallahassee government-relations job despite her lack of credentials and despite his broken-hearted wife’s divorcing him and retiring from the schools at which she had done a competent principal job according to what I hear; and 3. his part in crucifying a man like Mr. Erwin and attempting to fire him and deprive him of his pension even though Erwin had served the schools well and honorably for a long time and was trying only to get Hamilton et al to deal with on-campus crime.
And were these hirings of Hamilton as school lobbyist by the seven schools conducted at an old-home-week bar rendezvous, and was the talk about the job itself or down-memories-lane gabfests with Hamilton’s getting the job taken for granted, given his long tenure in the rip-off system that such government-stromotolite bureaucracies conspire to produce and perpetuate?
Does this gaggle of seven other school administrators care that Hamilton acted as Earl the Pearl Lennard’s chief thug in terrorizing Doug Erwin to shut him up about theft in the Hillsborough County schools? Or would that be for them, as it was for the ROSSAC administrators and school board, mere business as usual of the shutting up and firing of people who speak out about wrongdoing because, if the real information gets out, citizens will start to ask leading questions.
Citizens might turn over rocks that show scampering out of their holes board parasites and administration vermin who suck up money and privilege supplied by duped taxpayers who think these poseurs support the schools.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Message to School Board Candidate Kurdell":
The payoff did not occur on Elia’s watch. It happened during the Leonard administration. Leonard’s enforcer Hamilton did the dirty work along with a couple of other top level cronies.
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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 8:11 PM
If one reads through the boxes of the whistle-blower court papers that catalogue the despicable behavior of the Hillsborough board and administration during the Erwin crucifixion, that person finds bitter comments by Hamilton on Erwin in depositions.
The reader finds as well a deposition of Hamilton’s grandiose assessment of his soi-disant masterly oversight of contractors who built shoddy schools and got paid for first-class schools by an oblivious board—or perhaps a profiting board. Hamilton says in these depositions that he was rough and tough with contractors. This braggadocio I doubt. The leaks about shoddy school construction negate this claim.
I suspect that the reason Hamilton disliked Erwin involved Erwin’s knowledge about the slovenly performance Hamilton did on overseeing the building of one of the sub-par schools—( Blake Performance Art School , I believe). Hamilton, I infer, wanted the man who knew facts about Hamilton’s careless protection of the taxpayers’ investment out of the way so that Erwin could not tell anyone of Hamilton’s careless oversight.
If the eight schools cited in my informants email all pay Dr. Hamilton $65,000 each and allow a parasite on tax revenue to make over half a million dollars a year in addition to his pension, these schools do the state nor their reputations any good. This staggering amount represents a killing for a con man lobbying for education who can’t distinguish between “your” and “you’re” and who displays the manners of a hooligan.
Dr. Hamilton double-dips into the citizens’ tax kitty with his pension plus this half-million-dollar lobbying windfall while lacking the skills to justify his entering into this lobbying activity or establishing that it is necessary especially in an economic downturn.
Obtuse administrative-school-employee-stromatolite complicity has opened the door for him despite the probability that their seven schools have an employee in Tallahassee such as Connie Mileto already doing the job Hamilton proposes to replicate.
I ask, Commissioner Smith, that you extend your investigation from the Hillsborough County School board and administration to the seven other school systems that have hired Hamilton to lobby for them. Taxpayers fund this fiasco, but they don’t know about it. I shall do what I can to change that situation and advertise the scam via my blog, urging other school blogs to do the same.
Since it involves public information, I shall ask the seven complicit schools for the work product of Dr. Hamilton as well as how much they have thus far paid him for it when I can find out their names from Dr. Hamilton in a public-records inquiry. I will ask Dr. Hamilton himself for those data. This information on his putative work for public schools --work that he claims he has done and will do—is public information. I shall shine a light on this skullduggery by among other maneuvers alerting the hometown papers of the seven complicit schools.
I note that a financial statement on Hamilton’s corporate Web blog does not appear coincident with that of the Hillsborough County agreement with him. I ask you to check for discrepancy.
I ask as well for what my reader requested: information that deals with the no-bid contract that Hamilton finagled with the Hillsborough County School Board, which must make it illegal for him to donate to school board candidates.
Ms. Carol Kurdell, on the board and who did nothing about the reported crime on site, in her recent board run had numerous contractor donations on her supervisor-of-elections donation site. I wrote Mrs. Kurdell that her accepting these donations was unethical, but she didn’t return any so far as I know. I think such behavior is diagnostic of the K12 school-racket mentality that flourishes with nobody’s reining in its practitioners. I suggest that’s your job, Commissioner Smith. I wager that the governor thinks so too.
I will post your responses on my blog so that more citizens can know the answers that you give to the questions and to requests that I submit.
Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Money, Crime, and Divorce Gossip
From: Anonymous [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 10:42 AM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Mystery, Mystery.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mystery, Mystery":
Since I mentioned your name on another blog, thought I would send you a copy for your thoughts. Here it is: (from St. Pete Times article): I'd eliminate the School Board meetings altogether before I'd eliminate the Math Homework Hotline," said board member Candy Olson, after learning at a recent workshop that the district is paying about $250 per hour to broadcast the meetings live with two replays."This is not the best use of our resources at this time."
How about eliminating the television commercial ads for School Choice running on BayNews9 that contained no real substance? How much did THAT cost the district? School Choice is publicized well through print media, newsletters, websites, post card mailings, and the automated phone system. How much does a 15-20 second ad (with only music for audio, BTW) cost the district every time it runs?
When it comes to matters that affect students, the district always seems to be looking at the bottom line. But when it somes to Mrs. Elia's pet project, School Choice, the budget seems endless.
Thanks to Mrs. Elia for her tireless commitment to promoting school choice, regardless of the financial climate. She is now the recipient of the Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice Award and also a half scholarship to Nova Southeastern University for the Doctoral Program (this should make Lee DeCesare very happy).
I forgot...why can't we afford the Math Homework Hotline?
From: lee de cesare [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 1:55 PM
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Subject: RE: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Mystery, Mystery.
c: all hc board, administration, various school proletariat; all hc school- board, press
I didn’t know about the school-choice foofarah. If Elia wants it, nobody will say a word of opposition. People in ROSSAC and on the board have the guts of butterflies. Everybody is afraid of Elia. Why, I don’t know. I could face down an interview besprinkled with the “f” word any day of the week.
Irate patients in various states of pathology called me some pretty vivid things—often in French or other non-US languages-- when I was a psychiatric nurse. I got a thorough acquaintance with indigenous verbal abuse when I was local leader of the Women’s Movement forty years ago. My favorite came from a right-wing Christian passing out Bibles at the Women’s Million-Women-March for Choice in Washington a couple of years ago. He called me a “Jezebel.” A septuagenarian grandmother of ten loves the implications of that accusation.
You never make any headway in life unless you are willing to deflect expletives with your Wonder-Woman bullet bracelets.
The county school board is all inhabitants of the Dark Side. Even the two board members whom I supported with money and encouragement—Griffin and Valdes-- have morphed into ROSSAC clones once they were elected. The two turncoats wouldn’t even answer my email about getting an official place on the board agenda for teachers and students. Even HCC, my pre-retirement stomping ground, has that privilege, and put the students and teachers at the beginning of the meeting.
I can put that Choice question in at the board meeting. I won’t get an answer, but I can get it into the public dialogue.
I think the board should have the guts to eliminate Hamilton’s featherbedding job for $65,000 a year for both ethics’ and also budget’s sake. Failing to get any response from the board except a cold, glassy stare, I have taken that situation state wide on my K12-bureaucrat-list blog outreach. I am still working on that project. This is publicity of a higher order and takes time to seep in.
Elia not only invented Hamilton a job when he retired and sat in probably Otero’s ROSSAC office long enough to cold call recruits for his lobbying scam to compile a quorum; but later she hired him as the schools’ lobbyist without discussing it with board or advertising the job is my bet. Now Dr. “Your” “You’re” is set up to double-dip the taxpayers for his pension and also it looks like half a million a year via the eight schools that he scammed for his lobbying coup-d-etat.
A clerk told me that Ms. Elia had put Hamilton’s name on that $140,000 super-dupper-administration post-retirement job before it went on the books. I learned via public information that she eliminated this ad-hoc job when Hamilton finally left after costing the taxpayers about $70,000 for his sitting on his gluteals speed-dialing his lobbying chumps.
It looks like Le Hamilton wants to be in Tallahassee, where Ms. Mileto plies her job got through his influence against qualified degrees and experience. Dr. Hamilton’s wife divorced him during this exotic personnel exercise. I can’t figure out why she married him in the first place. Such deficient specimens fill the administration, though none as rank as Le Hamilton. Also, none is as big a fool as Hamilton. He is stupendous in both fecal and idiot categories.
Since we can’t get valid information from the administration, I don’t scruple to report gossip. I heard Candy Olson wants to sell her house and is getting or will get a divorce, contingent, apparently, on unloading her house. I hope that means she will relocate out of the school district. She has done enough damage to merit her a condo in the infernal regions. If I were her husband, I would divorce Candy with pleasure and run off with a cocktail waitress not as ugly as Minnie Pearl.
PS: Check my analysis of the illiterate NOVA thesis of “Dr.” Clayton Wilcox, former superintendent of Pinellas, who has moved on to some highly paid job in an education testing outfit if I heard correctly.
Illiterate people always move up the administrative ladder in anything to do with administration of the schools, usually with a ghosted thesis or gimcrack diploma-mill credentials.
NOVA is the state’s most active diploma mill. It would be a perfect fit for Elia’s academic talent. The NOVA president wouldn’t even answer me when I wrote him to explain how such a pitiful thesis as Wilcox’s merited a NOVA terminal degree when the “university” has a Web spiel on how NOVA requires the highest literacy.
A significant number of people in education are bound on turning it into just another racket. This quotient is high in Hillsborough County.
I don’t know how the Hillsborough County School Board and administration differ from the Halliburton’s half-billion dollar rip-off of in Iraq except that Halliburton scammed more money. The only difference is that the school cheats were not in the arms and other death-and-destruction accoutrements biz, which they would have just loved for its chest-pounding bravado, but are confined to ripping off the oblivious taxpayers in as many ways in the local school enterprise as the lower-quartile specimens in ROSSAC could think up. If the school crooks had the chance, they would have overcharged the US army for Cokes in Iraq too.
The reason the local press avoids this ugly schools-management situation is that the print press is dying, and its top press brains—oxymoron -- think that avoiding controversial issues such as management school theft and writing piffle in as bland a way as possible with no punchy diction will prolong their demise.
They had better start lining up as gofers for Slate.
Wilcox’s Romper Room Nova thesis: http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=6520837584997793196&postID=3328796914433574826
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Dr. Wilcox, Superintendent of Pinellas Schools, Produces a Marginally Literate NOVA Thesis
I viewed problems with education from the inside while teaching college English for 28 years.
One doesn’t hear critics’ citing the biggest problem afflicting schools. It’s the mediocre minds that clog education’s bloated, overpaid bureaucracy. My experience confirms the faculty-lounge shibboleth that smart people imbued with the ecstasy of learning go into teaching; dumb ones absent that tendency head for administration.
Academic weaklings home in on administration because that’s where the money is. Administrators craft school budgets and with somnolent boards’ ok award themselves bloated salaries. When applying for jobs, members of the country-wide administration cartel cite each other’s pay bloat as base and demand even higher salaries. This flim-flam has gone on so long unchecked that administrators will soon surpass the pay of the president of the
Significant is that there is never a shortage of administrative job seekers but always a shortage of teachers. The administrative money scam lurks behind this equation.
Teachers must pass language-skills tests to get their jobs, but not administrators. The writing of marginally literate superintendents in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties shows they have not mastered basic punctuation and grammar. Yet Elia’s almost-$300,000 pay is more than the
Education’s chief goal is mastery of words. The world considers no person educated bereft of the ability to write correct language. “Let me hear the man speak so that I may know his mind,” says Dr.
Both Elia and Wilcox should have taken the same language tests as teachers to get their jobs. Administrators must by law in
There exists an absolute connection between the quality of the superintendents in
My assessment of Dr. Wilcox’s grammar-punctuation deficiencies comes from his Nova dissertation and a smattering of his office writing. Grammar-punctuation errors riddle both. These are not abstruse linguistic conundrums that grammarians fight over at conferences; they are ordinary ones that public-school teachers weed from the writing of students in order for them to graduate and get a job. Yet Dr. Wilcox harvests close to $200,000 a year in tax money plus a car to lead a school system supposed to imbue students with writing abilities Dr. Wilcox himself lacks.
Despite his crippled grasp of language, Dr. Wilcox’s lordly $200,000 makes invidious comparison with the entering teacher’s $34,000. The public gives pious praise to teachers but elects obtuse boards that award superintendents and featherbedding administrators big money. Boards never think to say, “You know, with all these administrator candidates lining up for jobs, we have a buyer’s market and can offer a reasonable salary, not the bloat that the administration cartel has pegged the going rate. Who knows?
This step might lead to a downward spiral of the administration cartel’s hiking salaries to Enron executive levels.
Pointing out Dr. Wilcox’s lack of competence with language gets no thanks. When this superintendent worthy appeared at the Pinellas Democratic Club and made a speech that made not a whit of sense, my fellow Democrats booed me when I questioned the literacy of Republican Wilcox’s Nova thesis. Charged with identifying questioners, the Pinellas Democratic chair said she would never call on me again because my question was rude. The Pinellas school board member present to whom I brought up the problem snubbed me. Democratic women followed me into the parking lot to tell me I was unladylike to point out that Dr. Wilcox’s thesis was marginally literate. Dr. Wilcox spat some epithet at me as he exited. He may not know commas, but he knows invective.
Literacy standards get grim enthusiasm when it comes to students but horrified revulsion when applied to an overpaid superintendent. One could more easily get a pass for being a grave robber than for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes in this administration pay scam.
Email to Dr. Wilcox:
Dr. Wilcox: I request Information below. The first four come under the state's public-records law and require timely response; the additional ones rank questions from a Pinellas citizen interested in the
1. What is your base salary and your annual salary's worth with all perquisites added?
2. What is the beginning teacher's salary in
3. Can you confirm that a
4. I would like to see the folder with the unsuccessful candidates’ applications who competed for the job. Where can I review it?
5. Do you think a superintendent's academic achievement matters as an indicator of intelligence and hence ability to lead the schools? Would a better superintendent have core-academic degrees in, say, history, mathematics, or philosophy rather than degrees in courses such as curriculum instruction, instructional technology, or urban education?
6. Have schools of education that provide such exotic studies as the three cited trivialized education for school administrators and teachers?
7. Do you think it’s important that a school superintendent has read core literature of Western civilization such as Aeschylus’s Oresteia, Shakespeare’s Richard III, and
8. Your Nova Ed.D. award shortly preceded your hiring as Pinellas superintendent. Would the Nova records people report that you did Ed.D. coursework there and that your Ed.D. process required the three to seven years needed in most universities? How long did it take you to earn a Nova Ed.D.?
10. What is the highest salary made by a teacher in the Pinellas school system?
lee drury de cesare
Excerpts from D
CITATIONS ARE REPRESENTATIVE and do not include all errors.
Dissertation title page note to a
Verb: illiterate present participle: lie-lay-lying-lain. A sentence precedes the ellipsis, so it needs an extra period.
Page 3: “The specific research question was: What technique…”
Misused colon: a sentence should precede it.
Page 5: “…the British, French, and Confederate flags have been flown…”
Passive verbs afflict the document throughout.
Page 26: “Some individuals may believe that the resources and improvements which come with these programs within a school magnet program, most of which were located in predominantly Black inner-city schools, were as important to the Black students located in these schools as was increasing the number of non-black students to desegregate the school.” 52 words
Edit: Some believe the magnet-program resources were as important to Black inner-city schools as desegregation. 14 versus 52 words
Page 43: “Teaching methods which complement the magnet curriculum theme, need to be identified with and also accompanied by state-of-the-art staff development to assure that teachers understand and utilize the teaching methods.” 30 words
Redundant comma separates subject and verb. “State-of-the-art” is a moss-grown cliché.
Edit: Leaders should stress magnet teaching methods and staff development that ensures teachers learn and use them. 16 words versus 30
Page 61: “All data collected for this process objective was qualitative as represented by the three curriculum documents.”
Subject-verb disagreement: “data were.”
Page 70: The quantitative data was… Disagreement of subject-verb: “data were.”
Page 75: “As a promotional technique, Astronaut Tracy Caldwell was in attendance, as was the
Redundant comma cuts off restrictive trailing adverbial clause. “
Edit: Astronaut Tracy Caldwell, the mayor, and Chamber-of-Commerce dignitaries attended to promote the event. 13 versus 24 words
These bloated construction display educationese as does the thesis throughout. Educationese sounds as if computer androids manufactured it. This odd dialect seems to have emerged from schools of education: it never employs one word when it can use two; it shuns a single-syllable word if it can blow one up to a sesquipedalian monster. The spread of this educationese faux-academic glop has given academic writing a bad name.
Revision: “Teachers’ methods complement curriculum; staff development helps teachers achieve goals” 11 versus 30 words
“…the likelihood of their within-a-school magnet program being successful…”
“Program” should be “program’s”: possessive before the gerund.
Page 80: “There are likely a myriad of possible reasons parents of non-Black children may not send their children to these schools, many of which these parents may not share with others” 29 words
Subject-verb disagreement: “myriad ‘is,' not ‘are.’” The structure of this sentence ranks so defective that reading it is like riding a spavined horse. Both experiences give you a crick in the neck.
Edit: Non-Black parents do not send their children to magnet schools for myriad unknown reasons.” 13 versus 29 words
Specimen wordy sentence like those found throughout: “A condition beyond the control of the researcher was that the enrollment within a school magnet program is voluntary and is impacted by many variables for only which children’s parents are knowledgeable,” 32 words
Sense: “for only which” should be “for which only.” This is another riding-a-spavined horse sentence.
Translated to plain English: “The magnet program is voluntary, and only parents know children’s needs.” 14 versus 32 words
Page 76: Terminal objective one was: Techniques will be identified….
The writer should review colon use. The above colon is dead wrong. It splits a linking verb and its predicate nominative.
Page 79: “…magnet program being successful at attracting…”
Program’s being: possessive before the gerund
“…within-a-school magnet program, regardless of actions taken by staff.”
Redundant comma cuts off a restrictive adverbial prepositional phrase.
Page 80: Another limitation was that students within a school magnet program only contributed to a part of the school’s racial composition.
Misplaced adverbial modifier should go before “to.”
Page 81: “Programs within a school magnet program has been ordered by the Federal court as part of a desegregation plan.”
Subject-verb agreement: Programs…have been ordered
Page 82: “Indicated” appears three times on this page alone. The writer substitutes “indicate” for “say” throughout and “utilize” for “use.”
“The same is true for the Recruiter for the Office of
Lower-case “Recruiter.” If there is only one recruiter, the “who’ adjective clause is nonrestrictive and requires a comma before it.
“Thank you for sharing this information with me which will provide the opportunity…”
Comma after “me” for nonrestrictive adjective clause
“You expressed concern about students missing two days of school.”
Possessive before the gerund: students’ missing
“Thank you for your letter and your “hand” made thank you notes.”
Dr. Wilcox invents an exotic use for quotation marks. No known rule sanctions the ones around “hand.” He also splits a closed compound (handmade) and would do well to hyphenate “thank you” as two words before a noun acting as a single adjective.
“From your letter and from my conversation with others it has become clear…”
Comma after “others” for long introductory prepositional phrase
“The administration and Sarah’s peers feel differently.”
“Feel” is a linking verb. A predicate adjective, not an adverb, follows it: “different,” not “differently.”
“I am in receipt of a copy of your letter dated
Comma after 2004 for conventional material
“You asked, ‘What lesson was this supposed to teach (your) daughter?’”
Dr. Wilcox must mean “my” instead of “your. The parentheses should be brackets for an author’s interpolation in a quotation.
“Well, I am not sure it is “supposed” to teacher her….”
Dr. Wilcox applies idiosyncratic use of quotation marks here. One would like his citation of the rule for these.
“I hope she learns that her family loves her and will support her, but they also know when to let go because sometimes it’s just time to move on.”
The redundant comma after “her” splits a compound noun-clause direct object of the verb “learn”: “that her family… but [that] her family….” Pronoun reference: “They” should be “it,” referring back to the collective noun “family.” It’s possible but rare to treat “family” as its individual members, but that rare use does not appear to be the sense in which Dr. Wilcox employs “family.”
The above quote comes from the only extended piece of Wilcox office correspondence that I have. I thought it a good letter, compassionate and psychologically adept, until I arrived at the clichés “to move on” and “let go” in the exit paragraph. This hackneyed psychobabble converted Dr. Wilcox’s letter into template banal condolence missive. When a person invokes “move on” and “let go” to persuade the person addressed to forget about the injury the latter suffered, it invokes suspicion that the moving on and letter go are for the person-doing-the-addressing’s convenience, not for the comfort of the person addressed.
“…about the toll it has placed on Sarah and your family, and about what it has cost us as a school family.”
The comma after “family” is superfluous: it separates two adjectival prepositional phrases modifying “ordeal.” The “and’ joining them obviates the need for a comma.
The one-and-a-third-page letter from which the above quote comes is part of the non-dissertation writing that convinces me that separate people wrote the dissertation and the letter. The forensics are too different to believe one person wrote both in my view.
Email to the president of Nova:
I inquire about what academic rigor Nova applies to approval of its doctoral dissertations.
This question interests me since encountering the 2003 Nova dissertation of Dr. Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Pinellas County Schools.
Your online dissertation guideline 4.1
(http://www.scis.nova.edu/NSS/pdf_documents/Diss_Guide.pdf) cites strict standards for grammar, punctuation, and writing that the Wilcox dissertation does not display in my opinion. The slender 83-page dissertation cites only 12 items in its bibliography and lacks footnotes.
I question authorship since my rhetorical forensics say the style varies from the one displayed in Dr. Wilcox's Pinellas superintendent’s office communications.
I know that Nova's credit stands behind each dissertation it accepts to fulfill the doctoral requirements of the university. Universities that don’t exercise care about the quality of their students’ dissertations get the reputation of being diploma mills.
I attach a partial list of the grammar-punctuation-style errors in the thesis and office communication for your review. I attach the only extended piece of office writing I have by Dr. Wilcox. Comparing it to the style of the thesis is basis for my inferring that different people wrote the dissertation and the letter.
I would appreciate your sharing with me your assessment of whether Dr. Wilcox's dissertation is coincident with Nova's dissertation standards.
Lee Drury De Cesare