Saturday, July 18, 2009

School Board and Ectomorphic Public Affairs Weakling Picks on Old People and Slams the First Amendment

-----Original Message-----
From: twinkobie []
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009 1:43 PM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] 7/18/2009 10:29:00 AM

At the July 14 board meeting, a young woman sat beside me new to board meetings. She asked me about the people on the podium.

"See that fellow the size of an emaciated grasshopper scampering about the board room stooping with abject obeisance at the shoulders of one then another of the board members?" I asked. "That's Steve Hegarty. He's head of Community Affairs. I examined the file of applicants for his job. He was least qualified of the finalists. Ms. Elia hired him because she is dumb enough to have thought that a guy who was a former reporter for the SPTimes could get her the good publicity for which she is so avid."

Ms. Elia made a bad guess. Reporters hate Hegarty for jumping ship and making more money than they do--over a hundred thousand a year and climbing--for a cushy tax-paid job that involves nothing but bowing and scraping to administrative higher-ups and laundering duplicitous messages sent out to regale the public on how wonderful the board and Ms. Elia are. Le Hegarty presides over an office that produces lies to the public, which unknowingly pays to be lied to. The Public-affairs office of the School Board is another rip-off of taxpayers.

Mr. Hegarty was grateful for the First Amendment when he was a reporter. The First Amendment keeps newspapers in business. The first thing a dictator does is shut down free speech and free press. The board and the ROSSAC thugs try to shut down free speech in School Board environs surreptitiously and a l so in the free-speech blogs that some teachers such as Steve Kemp have been intrepid enough to mount.

Kemp just spent over a year on suspension for running his blog. The cooked-up case against him was child abuse. Under the Professional Standards extortion racket, the administration with board approval targets teachers with cooked-up infractions to scare them and the whole teacher population into terrified silence so that they don't say anything or do anything that questions the First-Amendment crooks on the board and administration.

Teacher blogs are islands of democracy in the dictatorship of the board and Ms. Elia.

After Hegarty became a ROSSAC factoterm, he squelches free speech without demur for his ROSSAC bosses. Hegarty and Carol Kurdell, board chair, have cooked up a routine to keep me from commenting on hiring decisions made in secret. I want the board to put the names of the candidates for jobs on the Web with hyperlinks to their resumes. To keep me from saying that at the mike, Hegarty won't allow me to hand in a board-appearance request when hiring comes up on the board agenda . He had to have gotten that order from Kurdell and other board anti-free speech adherents.

I asked why he denied me the right to comment on a board-agenda item involving jobs . Heggarty said that "they" had noticed that I didn't always know what I was talking about and "got mixed up": the template Alzeimer's slur. He could have been frank and not dumped on the elderly by telling the truth: "We don't want you to mention equal employment opportunity because we don't practice it. We just put that 'We are in equal employment opportunity employer' logo everywhere to make people think we practice fair hiring."

Steve is so skinny that he looks like an ectomorphic grasshopper I weigh more than he. Everybody does. I am stronger. Everybody is.

I can waylay Steve in the parking lot to slap his silly for insulting helpless, sweet, Alzeimer's-afflicted little old ladies such as I.

Called before the court for assault and, I hope, battery, I will plead temporary Alzeimer's and say I don't remember a thing.

The accusations against the elderly that they are "confused" and "don't know what they are talking about" represent a way of saying they are in the throes of Alzeimers, an excuse to discriminate against them and pretend what they say doesn't count .

Steve Hegarty's telling me that "they," meaning the members of the board, said I "didn't know what I was talking about" and was "confused" is use of elderly-abuse slurs to deprive me of free speech so that I cannot get a place on the agenda of a public institution to comment on the shoddy hiring practices of the board and administration.

I have company at the national level:

Fired inspector general files lawsuit
(Go here to read the whole article: .)

The Obama administration has disappointed me by firing a guy in his late seventies as I am who had unearthed the stealing of government money by a supporter of Obama, a Mr. Johnson, who had filched grant money from AmeriCorps.

Mr. Walpin became inspector general for CNCS in 2007.

Earlier this year Mr. Walpin issued reports that found that St. Hope Academy, founded by Mr. Johnson, had misused some of the nearly $850,000 in grant money it received from the federal AmeriCorps program. The academy has agreed to pay back about half the money.

But his actions [inspector General Walpin] in the investigation were criticized by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence G. Brown, who said the inspector general was out of bounds in pushing his case against the mayor and hindered the prosecutor's own investigation.

Days after the firing [of Walpin], a White House lawyer wrote a letter to a small group of senators explaining that Mr. Walpin at a May 20 meeting was "confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior" that led the board of the corporation to question his ability to serve as inspector general.

Though it's not part of the suit, Mr. Walpin's lawyers said in their legal brief that the case "raises serious questions of age discrimination" because of the accusations that Mr. Walpin, who is in his late 70s, seemed unable to function.

The suit was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C.


Dear Ms. Obama:

I am disappointed in the President for firing Mr. Walpin on what is, in effect, age discrimination to keep him from punishing a man who happens to be an Obama supporter.

The "confused" accusation represents a cover for contempt for elderly y people. The president was remiss in applying it to Mr. Walpin. I bet he spoke before he had examined the situation.

I too am elderly and face similar discrimination by the Hillsborough County School board, which won't let me comment on their jobs racket when they list jobs on the agenda that the public is supposed to be able to comment on. The Public Affairs head says that "they" say I am "confused" and "don't know what I am talking about."

We elderly form a large and powerful voting block, and we won't forget President Obama's cooperation in the abuse of the elder inspector general whom he fired for doing his job. The President should be ashamed of himself. I ask that you talk to your husband about the implications of this case. I supported Mr. Obama in the election and sent him what for a poor retired teacher was a generous donation early on. I won't repeat that support if he is going to beat up on us elderly. Other elderly won't either.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Posted By twinkobie to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 7/18/2009 10:29:00 AM

Friday, July 17, 2009

EEOC to the Rescue

Forty years ago, I was able to get the EEOC to investigate the patterns and practices of discrimination against women in the Tampa Police Department. I also filed charges with the Justice Department to take away the sheriff's government grants because he would not employ women as deputies.

My charging party was a young black woman supporting two children on a nurse's aide salary. She had applied several times to the city of Tampa for a police job. Marshall Jessee, the employment thug, kept "losing" her application. Thelma needed the job to care for her two children.The police job paid a generous salary in comparison the the aide job. I have forgotten Thelma's last name.

I had convened Tampa NOW at that time, and Thelma read in the paper that we helped women who were discriminated against. She got in touch with us, and I took her case because I was the employment discrimination chair.

Don't assume the EEOC will run to the rescue with one appeal. You have to keep at it and nag the agency until it investigates your charge to shut you up. I also moved things along by asking my congressman and the two Florida senators to check the status of my charge from time to time and to inform me of its status. This is what elected officials' staff is paid to do: constituent services. Inquiries from congresspeople or senators have a big impact on such government agencies as the EEOC.

The EEOC finally threw in the towel and investigated the case. It found the expected patterns and practices of discrimination against women and required the police depart to open up to women. Thelma was one of the first women hired. My husband and I went to her graduation from the Police Academy. The sheriff opened up to women when the Justice Department threatened to lift its grants. Sheriff Beard hates me so much to this day that he will not stay in a room if I enter it. I call that power.

When I see women police officers and sheriff's deputies on the streets, I feel proud; I feel like they are my children. I gave them the boost they needed to break down a door of prejudice.

The New York Teachers' Union is a strong outfit. CTA looks like a mouse beside it. I have good feelings about the NY union's being able to stop this horrific treatment of older teachers. I am betting on it.

No matter how bad things look locally, there are good things happening in other places.

I am revving up to file child-abuse charges against five administrators from the situation of abuse revealed in Goader's manufactured charge of child abuse. lee


I, RANDI WEINGARTEN, being duly sworn, declare under penalty of perjury the


• I am the President of the United Federation of Teachers, a position I have held since 1998. The United Federation of Teachers (“the UFT”) is the sole collective bargaining representative for teachers and other non-supervisory employees of the New York City Department of Education. Of the UFT's more than 140,000 members, approximately 91,000 are teachers or other tenured or tenurable staff members (school secretaries, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, etc.). The UFT's and my principal place of business is 52 Broadway, New York, New York 10004.

• The New York City Board of Education (“the Board”) is the governing body of the public school system in New York City, and has as its principal place of business the Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, New York, New York 10007. The Board possesses the powers and responsibilities as delineated in the Education Law, including the power to employ, supervise, discipline, and terminate employees. The Board employs more than five hundred (500) people.

• The UFT brings the instant charge –that the Board has violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act– on behalf of its members over 40 years of age, who have been harmed by the Board's discriminatory use of the disciplinary system, through the initiation of disciplinary charges under Education Law §3020-a and the issuance of Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings to such teachers, as well as the Board's discriminatory pattern and practice of coercing, threatening, and harassing teachers over 40 years of age to “encourage” those teachers to leave their assigned schools.


• Tenured personnel of school districts may only be disciplined pursuant to Education Law §§2590-j(7)(a), 3020 and 3020-a. Education Law §3020 provides that “No person enjoying the benefits of tenure shall be disciplined ... during a term of employment except for just cause ....” A Board of Education may not prefer charges against a tenured employee unless it has found that there is probable cause to do so. See Education Law §3020-a(2)(a).

• Pursuant to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (8 NYCRR §§89, 100), New York City Board of Education's Chancellor's Regulations (Special Circular No. 45), and the collective bargaining agreement between the UFT and the Board, all professional personnel must be provided with annual performance ratings. Those ratings must characterize the employee's work as either Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or, in certain cases, Doubtful. In still other cases where employees are reassigned outside of their regular assignment for disciplinary reasons, the Board must give them an annual performance rating of “NA” (not applicable). The By-Laws of the Panel for Education Policy of the Department of Education of the City School District of the City of New York provide for an appeal from any rating other than a Satisfactory. (See By-Law 4.3) .


• Of the UFT's 91,000 pedagogues who are eligible for tenure, approximately 41,000 or 63.4% are tenured teachers who are over the age of 40. This statistic is relevant in analyzing whether the Board is discriminating against older teachers in preferring disciplinary charges pursuant to §3020-a.

• Upon information and belief, based upon my review of the records maintained by the UFT, as set forth more fully in the following paragraphs, for the past three years, the Board has revealed its discriminatory intent in the rate of its preferral of disciplinary charges against teachers who are 40 years old.

• During the 2002-2003 school year, I am aware that the Board preferred §3020-a charges against at least 126 tenured pedagogues. Of those charged pedagogues, 114 or 90.5% were over the age of 40.

• During that same period, the Board formally threatened to prefer –but did not actually prefer– §3020-a charges against 24 pedagogues. Of those threatened pedagogues, 23 or 95.8% were over the age of 40.

• In sum, during the 2002-2003 school year, 137 of the 150 employees threatened with or served with §3020-a charges were over 40 years old. That is, 91.33% of those threatened or served with charges were over the age of 40.

• During the 2003-2004 school year, the Board served 147 pedagogues with disciplinary charges pursuant to §3020-a. Of those charged, 132 pedagogues were over the age of 40. That is, 90% of those charged were over the age of 40.

• During that same period, the Board formally threatened to prefer –but did not actually prefer– §3020-a charges against 21 pedagogues. Of those threatened pedagogues, 16 were over the age of 40. That is, 76.2% of those threatened with charges were over the age of 40.

• In sum, during the 2003-2004 school year, 146 of the 168 employees threatened with or served with §3020-a charges were over 40 years old. That is, 87% of those threatened or served with charges were over the age of 40.

• Similarly, during the 2004-2005 school year, the Board preferred §3020-a charges against at least 143 pedagogues. Of those 143 pedagogues, 122 were over the age of 40. That is 85.3% of all teachers disciplined pursuant to §3020-a during that school year were over the age of 40.

• I am also aware that, during each of the cited school years, there are pedagogues, over the age of 40, who were not formally threatened with charges, but were apprised that, if they did not retire, would be so charged. Those pedagogues did, in fact, retire or resign from their positions. As yet, I do not have the empirical data regarding those cases.

• The Board has similarly utilized the annual performance rating process to discriminate against older tenured members of the UFT.

• For example, of the 729 tenured UFT members who received Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings for the 2004-2005 school year, 571 or 78 % are over the age of 40. This statistic is relevant in analyzing whether the Board is discriminating against older teachers in the annual performance review process.

• During the 2002-2003 school year, 549 pedagogues throughout the New York City public school system were issued Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings (U-ratings). Of those pedagogues, 348 were over the age of 40. That is, 63% of all U-rated pedagogues in the 2002-2003 school year were over the age of 40.

• For example, in Manhattan alone, the average age of U-rated pedagogues during the 2002-2003 school year was 47.79. The borough of Manhattan was divided into ten School Districts (Districts 1 through 6, District 71, District 75, District 79, and District 81) at that time, and in every single one of those school districts, the average age of a U-rated pedagogue was well over 40; District 4 had the lowest average age, 44.6 years old, of U-rated pedagogues.

• Similarly, during the 2003-2004 school year, 645 pedagogues throughout the New York City public school system were issued Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings. Of those pedagogues, 381 were over the age of 40. That is, 59% were over the age of 40.

• Again, using the borough of Manhattan as an example, during the 2003-2004 school year, the average age of U-rated pedagogues in that borough was 49.3 years old. Only District 1's average that year fell below 40 years old; that year, only two teachers in District 1 were issued Unsatisfactory ratings: one was 53 years old with 30 years of service, and the other was 25 years old with 2 years of service. However, the average ages of U-rated teachers in District 2 was 54.25; in District 3 it was 55.9; in District 5, it was 58.1; and in District 6, it was 57.37.

• Based upon preliminary findings, during the 2004-2005 school year, 314 pedagogues were issued Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings. Of those pedagogues, 129 were over the age of 40. That is, 41% were over 40 years old.

• The above statistics alone establish that the Board's application of both the annual performance ratings and the preferral of disciplinary charges disparately impacts those members of the UFT who are over 40 years of age to the members' detriment, both professionally and personally.



• Upon information and belief, for at least the past three years, the Board has knowingly permitted school administrators to employ a pattern and practice of age discrimination in various schools within New York City. The discrimination has taken the form of unjust and unfounded criticisms, abuse of the observation process to intimidate and harass teachers, blatant disregard of seniority in making classroom assignments, and even making illegal offers of giving satisfactory ratings in exchange for senior teachers leaving the school. The employment of these discriminatory practices has resulted in the elimination of senior teachers from these given schools. In some cases it appears that the discrimination is motivated by administrators' budgetary agenda: that is, seeking to reduce the schools' payroll budgets or allowing the two teachers to be hired for the price of one older, more senior teacher.

P.S. 146, Region 9

• Between September 1999 and June 2004, Principal Laura Silver of P.S. 146 in Region 9 illegally drove nearly all of the senior teachers out of the school.

• Principal Silver was assigned as principal of P.S. 146 in September 1999.

• Upon information and belief, Principal Silver arrived at P.S. 146 believing that she was charged with "turning the school around," and undertook to eliminate from the school teachers who were older and/or more senior.

• Based upon a review of the organization sheets for P.S.146 for the school years 1999-2000 through 2003-2004, at the end of each school year, approximately 20 teachers did not return to P.S. 146 for the following school year.

• Upon information and belief, based upon conversations with other teachers and UFT representatives at P.S. 146, the majority of the teachers who did not return to P.S. 146 from one year to the next were over the age of 40. Most of them also had satisfactory service records within the Board of Education prior to their transfer from P.S. 146.

• Upon information and belief, many of the teachers who did not return to P.S. 146 were threatened by Ms. Silver that, if they did not make other arrangements for the following year's assignment, she would give them an Unsatisfactory rating for the year, and possibly bring them up on disciplinary charges. Faced with this Hobson's choice, most teachers left P.S. 146, beaten, but with their satisfactory ratings and records intact.

• Those teachers who opted not to yield to Ms. Silver's illegal intimidation were brought up on disciplinary charges pursuant to Education Law §3020-a, and were placed on administrative reassignment pending disposition of the charges.

• In May or June of 2002, one teacher , who is over 40 years old, had always received Satisfactory annual performance ratings, and had been assigned to P.S. 146 for more than 20 years by that time, was told by Ms. Silver, in the presence of the UFT representative, Aida Sanchez, that, if the teacher did not agree to leave the school, Ms. Silver would give her an Unsatisfactory annual performance rating for the year. The teacher refused the offer, but did take a sabbatical the following school year. Upon her return to P.S. 146 for the 2003-2004 school year, Ms. Silver inundated the teacher ' s file with letters – another 8 letters, most generated within the first two weeks of school, which formed the basis for the teacher ' s removal from the school on administrative reassignment, as well as the basis for Education Law § 3020-a charges.

Graphic Communications Arts High School, Region 9

• During the 2004-2005 school year, the Board engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against older teachers assigned to work at Graphic Communication Arts High School (“GCAHS”). GCAHS offers students academic study and teaches them vocational skills related to graphic communication careers. GCAHS is located at 439 West 49 th Street, New York, New York. The GCAHS administration discriminated against its older staff members by scrutinizing their performance in an unfair and inequitable manner. At least 19 teachers over age 40 were subjected to discriminatory treatment, including but not limited to: (1) unannounced observations of classroom performance lasting only a few minutes and resulting in negative observation reports; (2) negative age-related comments; (3) negative age-related comments aimed at pressuring older teachers to retire and/or transfer out of the school; (4) issuance, or threat of issuance, of Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings; (5) preferral, or threat of preferral, of §3020-a charges; and (6) unfair treatment, in general, which younger teachers did not receive.

• Specific examples of age discrimination which took place at GCAHS are

enumerated in Paragraphs 35 through 49 below. All information is stated upon information and belief, based upon correspondence received by the UFT from pedagogues at the school.

• DIANA FRIEDLINE is a 53 year old teacher of Graphic Arts, who is employed

by the Board and has worked at GCAHS since 1988. Ms. Friedline holds a New York City Printing/Cold Type Composition License, as well as a permanent New York State Commercial Art License. The Cold Type Composition License has been phased out and persons newer to the profession in New York City are now offered the Commercial Art Licensure Exam in its stead. During the 2004-2005 school year, the GCAHS administration has discriminated against Ms. Friedline on the basis of age, in that it limited her to certain teaching positions based on her possession of the “older” or “phased out” Cold Type License.

• For example, in March and April 2005, GCAHS advertised a position for a teacher to update the CTE curriculum. The job posting specifically excluded persons who possessed the Cold Type License. Although she is licensed to teach Commercial Art anywhere in New York State, GCAHS's job posting excluded Ms. Friedline from consideration, on the basis of age. In September 2004, Ms. Friedline, for the second time that year, requested that student teacher, Claudio Garcia, be assigned to her classroom, consistent with Mr. Garcia's wishes. Ms. Friedline's request was denied based on her license. Because only senior teachers hold the Cold Type Composition License, it appears that the GCAHS administration once again discriminated against Ms. Friedline based on her age.

• By Verified Complaint dated March 21, 2005, Ms. Friedline filed a charge of age and sex discrimination against GCAHS with the New York State Division of Human Rights.

• FITZROY O. KINGTON is a 55 year old teacher of Social Studies who was assigned to GCAHS until June 2005. Mr. Kington is currently assigned to the Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities.

Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Kington had the highest passing rate on the Regents examination of any Social Studies teacher at the school in June 2004 and June 2005, he was informed by Assistant Principal Matt Guttman that it would be in Mr. Kington's best interest to transfer to another school for the 2005-2006 school year.

• Mr. Guttman told Mr. Kington that Principal Jerod Resnick “wanted to staff the school with ‘young energetic teachers' and wanted to see ‘young teachers' in the classroom.” Guttman further told Mr. Kington that it would, thus, be best for “older teachers” like Mr. Kington to transfer to another school.

• Mr. Kington believes that most of the older teachers at GCAHS received Unsatisfactory annual performance ratings for the 2004-2005 school year, in keeping with Principal Resnick's stated goal of staffing the school with “young teachers”. Upon information and belief, Mr. Kington will be filing an individual charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

• LEAH KONTOVRAKIS is a 67 year old teacher of mathematics at GCAHS. Ms. Kontovrakis said that she believes that the Principal is discriminating against her and other older teachers based on age. During the 2004-2005 school year, the Assistant Principal walked into her class unannounced on multiple occasions, and issued her an unsatisfactory observation report on improper grounds. Ms. Kontovrakis observed that the principal did not treat younger teachers in the same manner. Based on the observation reports, Ms. Kontovrakis was issued an Unsatisfactory annual performance rating for the 2004-2005 school year.

• Prior to the 2004-2005 school year, Ms. Kontovrakis had always received Satisfactory observation reports and annual performance ratings. Upon discussing this matter with older teachers in her school, Ms. Kontovrakis discovered that they were being treated similarly with respect to the onslaught of unannounced observations of brief durations, which negatively characterized the older teachers' performance.

• Last year Ms. Kontovrakis spoke to a 55 year old female shop teacher who reported that she had to retire because the administration "made her life miserable" by discriminating against her based on age. According to Ms. Kontovrakis, an older English teacher was similarly forced to retire because she was given 5 different classrooms per day and was unable to wheel her books and materials from room to room.

• MIDGE MARONI is a 58 year old English teacher at GCAHS. Since the commencement of her employment with the Board, 10 years ago, until the Spring of the 2004-2005 school year, Ms. Maroni consistently received Satisfactory annual performance ratings and evaluations. Before the end of the Fall Term of the 2004-2005 school year, the Assistant Principal in charge of Ms. Maroni ' s department (English/ESL) was replaced with Eric Brand.

• During the 2004-2005 school year, prior to the Spring Term, Ms. Maroni had received three satisfactory evaluations (two from the previous A.P. and one from the Principal and Mr. Brand, himself). Immediately thereafter, Mr. Brand subjected Ms. Maroni to frequent short-term visits (none lasting more than 10 minutes) to her classroom during March and April of 2005. Mr. Brand's visits were memorialized in a single observation report (hereinafter referred to as "the composite observation"), given to Ms. Maroni on May 2, 2005. The composite observation concluded that Ms. Maroni's performance was unsatisfactory on the numerous dates cited within the report. Ms. Maroni filed a grievance challenging this "observation report" on the ground that it violated the collective bargaining agreement. That grievance is currently pending. Moreover, Ms. Maroni was the only staff member at the school to have received such a composite observation. On May 11, 2005, Mr. Brand conducted a formal observation of Ms. Maroni, and concluded that the lesson observed was unsatisfactory. Ms. Maroni's grievance of that formal observation, too, is pending.

• Between April and the end of June, 2005, Mr. Brand made a number of comments relating to Ms. Maroni's age. For example, he told Ms. Maroni that she is "the kind of teacher who deserves unsatisfactory ratings because she has too many old ideas about teaching." On another occasion, Mr. Brand told Ms. Maroni he was aware that she was a lot older than he, and he said, "I know you don't like being supervised by a younger male." Upon information and belief, Ms. Maroni will be filing an individual charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

• ANDREA SHAPIRO is a teacher, 58 year old teacher, who has been assigned to GCAHS since 1984. Like Ms. Maroni, Ms. Shapiro was subjected to a number of age-related comments and negative, unfair treatment by Mr. Brand, the Assistant Principal of the English/ESL Department during the 2004-2005 school year. Mr. Brand communicated his hostility towards older teachers when he stated words to the effect that he would be having a wonderful English Department the following year because they would have no old teachers. Principal Jerod Resnick allegedly told a staff member that he did not like Ms. Shapiro and did not want to see her or talk to her because of her age.

• During the 2004-2005 school year, Ms. Shapiro was also improperly removed from her compensatory time position and was falsely accused of misconduct. Despite this discriminatory treatment, Ms. Shapiro felt that she had no recourse but to stay at the school and endure the continuing age-related harassment geared toward pushing her to retire.


• In addition to the disparate impact of the Board's discriminatory application of the disciplinary and ratings processes, and the pattern and practice of discrimination to remove older teachers from selected schools, the Board has engaged in intentional discrimination on the basis of age against a number of individual teachers. I make the following representations based upon letters and communications from these individuals to me and/or members of the UFT staff. These individuals have consented to participate with the UFT in the instant charge.

• HEATHER ALLISON is a 40 year old elementary school teacher who has been employed by the Board since 1993. When she transferred from P.S. 50 to P.S. 161 in 1993, Principal Jill Hoder issued Ms. Allison her very first Unsatisfactory annual performance rating and replaced her with a teacher in her 20's who had no experience. Ms. Allison was intimidated by frequent, unannounced visits by her Principal and other administrators. These visits disrupted her class and often lasted only a few minutes. Younger teachers at P.S. 161 were not subjected to such treatment. Ms. Allison is aware of several other older teachers who were driven out of P.S. 161. These older teachers either retired or transferred to other schools.

• MADELYN DIMITRACOPOULOS is a 64 year old English teacher assigned to Flushing High School, who has been employed by the Board since 1962. She was the only teacher in the English Department to be assigned to teach out of 4 different classrooms. After Ms. Dimitracopoulos grieved this assignment, it was reduced to 3 classrooms. According to Ms. Dimitracopoulos, most younger teachers only have 1 or 2 classrooms from which they must teach. As a result of hauling books and supplies from room to room throughout the day, Ms. Dimitracopoulos, who had informed the school of her prior medical condition, tore her miniscus ligament. When another teacher and a student assisted her, they were told to stop because the administration indicated that Ms. Dimitracopoulos was to carry her materials herself.

• Ms. Dimitracopoulos has also been a victim of unfair observations. For example, on a few occasions, her administrators observed her lesson for only the last 5 minutes of class and rated the entire lesson as unsatisfactory. The Chairman of the English Department, Ms. Burton, changed Ms. Dimitracopoulos's teaching program 3 times during the 2005-2006 school year and took away her elective class.

• During the 2004-2005 school year, an article entitled “No Time to Retire,” with the word “No” crossed out, was anonymously placed in Ms. Dimitracopolous's mailbox, obviously suggesting that it was time for Ms. Dimitracopoulos to retire. She immediately went to Ms. Burton for assistance and was ignored. Indeed, rather than receiving assistance from the administration, the article was placed in Ms. Dimitracopoulos's attendance folder. Upon information and belief, Ms. Dimitrocopoulos will be filing an individual charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

• JOY HOCHSTADT is a 66 year old teacher who has been employed by the Board since 1997. She has been assigned to Brandeis High School since 2000. At the close of the 2004-2005 school year, former Assistant Principal, Richard Weiss, issued Ms. Hochstadt an Unsatisfactory annual performance rating on the basis of alleged latenesses. Ms. Hochstadt's supervisor was acting under the mistaken belief that the 7:50 AM bell rang at 8:00 AM, and based the allegations of lateness on this misapprehension. Despite the fact that she was an experienced Biology and Science teacher, Ms. Hochstadt was denied AP/Honors classes; instead she was assigned outside of her tenure area to special education classes. Ms. Hochstadt was further discriminated against when the Board denied her a compensatory-time assignment for which she was qualified.

• The Principal at Brandeis High School also attempted to prevent Ms. Hochstadt from returning from an approved medical leave, retorting that although she may have had tenure in the system, she did not have tenure in the school. The Principal communicated his disdain for older teachers when he told Ms. Hochstadt that a teacher who cannot stand the entire day should retire. Despite the discriminatory treatment that she suffers, Ms. Hochstadt continues to be employed by the Board.

• PATRICK KANE is a social studies teacher presently assigned to Susan E. Wagner High School. Mr. Kane has been employed by the Board since 1981. Immediately prior to his current assignment, Mr. Kane was one of at least 3 teachers working at South Brooklyn Community High School, who were replaced by younger teachers. Prior to being replaced, Mr. Kane's pedagogical performance was superb. Each year, he received Satisfactory annual performance ratings and he received continued commendations for his work.

• LINDA KUZNESOFF-HERMAN is a 57 year old teacher who has been

employed by the Board since 1980, and is presently teaching elementary students at P.S. 276K.

• Ms. Kuznesoff-Herman was denied assignment to the position of teacher of a 5 th grade gifted class, despite her 25 years' experience as a teacher, 4 years as a literacy staff developer, and 2 years as a literacy coach. Instead, the position was given to a younger teacher in her 30's, Dale Taylor-Campbell, who had no prior experience teaching gifted students. All of Ms. Kuznesoff-Herman's prior annual performance rating ratings were satisfactory. In fact, Ms. Kuznesoff-Herman trained Dale Taylor-Campbell when she arrived at the school.

• Ms. Kuznesoff-Herman has grieved this violation. Principal Jonathan Straughn made specific discriminatory comments toward Ms. Kuznesoff-Herman. For example, Principal Straughn told her that he would not rehire her as the literacy coach because he needed “new blood” for that position. Furthermore, in explaining why the position needed someone else, Principal Straughn told her she was at the stage where teachers become “battle weary.” Upon information and belief, Ms. Kuznesoff-Herman will be filing an individual charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

• BARBARA LAROCCA is a 55 year old school counselor who has been

employed by the Board since 1972. She was assigned to P.S./M.S. 83 in 2005 and is presently on maternity leave. Ms. Larocca asserts that the Board discriminated against her on the basis of age in that she was shifted around a lot and was allowed no permanency in her teaching assignments. Although she was told that she could not return to her previous assignment due to purported “budgetary concerns,” it appears that the motivating factor was her age. Ms. Larocca asserts that all of the guidance counselors who have 13 or more years of experience are unassigned within the school.

• DAWN MANSON is a 57 year old Science teacher previously assigned to South

Brooklyn Community High School (“SBCHS”). She has been employed by the Board since 1970. After providing satisfactory service at SBCHS for 21 years, she and 2 other teachers, Patrick Kane and Barry Greiper, were asked to go through the School Based Option transfer program. Ultimately all three older teachers were informed at the last minute that they had been replaced by more qualified teachers.

• The teachers who replaced Ms. Manson, Mr. Kane and Mr. Greiper were all

younger than they and did not appear to possess the superior qualifications that the Board alleged. The new principal at SBCHS is Kate Garrison, who is in her 30's. When Ms. Manson ran into a former student a few months ago, the student told her that the director had indicated that the 3 teachers had been replaced because they and their teaching techniques were too old.

• BRUCE MORGAN is a 58 year old teacher who began working for the Board in

1970. Between 1980 and 2004, Mr. Morgan did not teach. When Mr. Morgan returned to teaching for the Board in 2004, he was assigned to P.S. 115K. At the close of the 2004-2005 school year, Mr. Morgan was issued an Unsatisfactory annual performance rating. Additionally, Mr. Morgan's name was placed on the Ineligible/Inquiry List, which precluded him from working within the Board. Although, Mr. Morgan was originally offered a Satisfactory annual performance rating if he transferred, he was ultimately discontinued from his position. Mr. Morgan is in the process of filing an individual charge with the EEOC, alleging discrimination based on age, sex and race.

• SIDNEY RUBINFIELD is a 56 year old teacher who has been employed by the Board of Education since 1971. Since 2004, Rubinfield has worked as a teacher of emotionally handicapped students at P.S. 721Q. Rubinfield was removed from the classroom and replaced by a younger teacher, Ann Toback. The Board falsely alleged that Rubinfield submitted IEPs late. The Board further discriminated against this teacher when it denied Rubinfield seniority assignments in all selections, withheld a Circular 6 assignment, and denied the teacher's assignment choice for this past September. Upon information and belief, younger teachers at the school were not charged or disciplined for same conduct alleged against Rubinfield.

• The Principal discriminated against this teacher in that she refused to talk to,

assist, or even provide classroom keys to Rubinfield. The Principal even refused to assist when this teacher was trying to restrain an autistic student who was acting out, even though the Principal assisted younger teachers in similar situations. Additionally, the Principal has made multiple discriminatory comments aimed at this older teacher. For example, the Principal stated that young teachers knew the proper teaching theories, and that older teachers were stuck in the past. At a May 2005 meeting with Rubinfield, the Principal described Rubinfield's years of seniority as “dead years”. In response to the continued mistreatment of older teachers, the faculty of P.S. 721Q distributed and signed a petition against the Principal.

• Sidney Rubinfield filed an EEOC complaint against the Board in August 2005.

• ROBERT DAVID VOGEL is a 58 year old Technology teacher who was

assigned to P.S. 53K and who has been employed by the Board since 1991. At the close of the 2004-2005 school year, Mr. Vogel was issued an Unsatisfactory annual performance rating and was charged with misconduct, pursuant to Education Law §3020-a. Mr. Vogel was reassigned out of the classroom, and was replaced by younger teachers. Both his Unsatisfactory annual performance rating appeal and § 3020-a case are pending. Mr. Vogel's prior performance was always previously deemed satisfactory.


• Based upon the foregoing facts, I respectfully request that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigate the instant charge of age discrimination and issue a complaint of age discrimination based on both disparate impact and disparate treatment against the New York City Board (or “Department”) of Education.


Sworn to before me this

14 th day of November, 2005



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Knock on Every Door


First Amendment Foundation:

The Hillsborough County School Board conducts most of the government business behind closed doors and not on the podium, where citizens could observe it.

The board and administration have a reputation of running a hiring scam for buddies and supporters that freezes out qualified candidates with respectable degree, For example, the Public Affairs director, Ms. Linda Kipley, has a home ec degree in a job that calls for a master's degree. She got the job with no competitors.

Recently the board approved the hiring of the Professional Standards director's husband for a job requiring a degree in accounting and experience. Four candidates had the requisite education and experience. I reviewed files in the Public Affairs office. The Professional Standards' spouse got the job, with the personnel director, Dan Valdez, assuring the board in open session that the high-school graduate's credentials were better than the degreed candidates.

The board stamps on everything not nailed down, "We are an equal-opportunity employer."

I have asked the board several times to do what General Mc Collum has advocated: use the electronic resources to make the government more accessible to citizens. I have specifically asked that job candidates' names be on the board Web site with hyperlinks to their credentials so that people can judge whether the superintendent is getting the best people for the jobs instead of the buddies and sycophants that get hired for high-paying jobs in administration or for other jobs in the system instead of qualified people.

The board and superintendent have ignored me and the chair, Ms. Carol Kurdell, board member for 18 years, talks me down if I sign in to talk about the superintendent's choices and ask for the resumes. Lately, she and the head of Community Affairs, Steve Heggarty, have conspired to turn me down altogether in address the items as they come up.

So far I have hit a stone wall. This situation explains at least for me why two school-board members have their children hired to administrative jobs.

Is there anything the First Amendment can suggest to puncture this public tax-paid hiring scam and get the candidates and their hyperlinked resumes on the Board's Web site?

Thank you.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 8902

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Governor Crist's Odious Appointment

Dear Lee,
FYI for you and your readers. You my purchase the complete (with last minute changes even) complete educational laws of Florida for each year after the legislative session. It costs about $17.00 plus S&H.
You may order them from Lexis Nexis. The last year's book was #22720 Fl School Laws.
Just google them and order 2009 or 2010 Fl School Laws.
*LexisNexis is also Matthew Binder, Knowledge Burst , Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. which are all used under the same license.
LexisNexis Matthew Binder
1275 Broadway
Albany, NY 12204-4026

Slowly but surely, you build up a database of information such as access to public records. I ordered two of the organization's manuals that deals with the open-records laws in Florida. I am grateful there is such an organization as the First Amendment Foundation. lee

Thank you for contacting the First Amendment Foundation. To answer your question, interview notes should be open records when two or more persons are there discussing matters integral to the agency. Interviews with boards are typically open as well, according to 286.11 and 119.

To further your claim, I would suggest contacting the AGs office and Alexis Lambert as she will be able to further assist you in asserting claims against the agency. That number is 850.245.1057.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have further questions.

Luke C. Waters
Legal Intern
First Amendment Foundation
336 E. College Avenue, Suite 101
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 224-4555


Governor Crist:

I read with disgust that you had appointed Dr. Earl Lennard to fill out Phyllis Busanksy's term as Supervisor of Elections. Ms. Busanksy was a worthy woman and honest politician, a field in which linking those words is usually a contradiction in terms.

Dr. Lennard and his thugs in the Hillsborough County administration savaged Mr. Doug Erwin, an administrator who discovered crime in the school and the administration and only asked that Dr. Lennard do something to clean up the problem.

Instead, Dr. Lennard set out to destroy Mr. Erwin, deprive him of his job, and strip him of his pension. Mr. Lennard's getting a lawyer finally and suing the school board under the Whistleblower law saved him. He won the charge and $165,000 from a jury who believe him, not the lying Lennard and his administration cohorts. Citizens paid that $165,000 for Lennard's and collaborators' crime.

You can't have been unaware of this seamy episode in Dr. Lennard's history in the early nineties. Everybody knows about it. It was widely covered in the press. Your advisers in Tampa certainly knew about it. They have given you bad advice on the Supervisor of Elections choice.

Your action in appointing this unethical man is why people have such distrust of politicians. They stick together despite such unsavory conduct and have contempt for voters who object to it.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

I am watching the audience comments right now from the board meeting online. "They better have started her time!" says Kurdell when she calls you up and doesn't see you immediately. I gather that since you took so long to get to the podium she thought the time should be started already. That is how I interpreted it. I don't think that is fair. They should start the time from when you begin to speak.

They also almost forgot to start public comments. That is how much they care to hear from the public. Kurdell has to be reminded that they should do public comment, and then she says that oh, yes, they
were supposed to start public comment at 5pm.

I assume that means they had gone over and had not started public comment at 5pm. Not only were
they late in starting public comment, but they almost skipped it altogether until someone reminded Kurdell. This is a sign of how much they care about any public input.

The board fawns on the sycophants who caterwaul compliments to the board, but if somebody wants to say what is wrong with the board in citizen comment time, they can't wait for the critic's three minutes of citizen input to end. What a bunch of big, spoiled babies. They don't have the moxie for the political arena. They don't have a shred of respect for the First Amendment. They are unamerican. lee

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time to Move up the Chain of Command

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

Ms. Linda Cobbe:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.
Lee Drury De Cesare

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

Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information abo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear General McCollum:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard

c: LInda Cobbe
Dan Valdez
Linda Kipley

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

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

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

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

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

c: Dan Valdez
Linda Kipley