Robert S. Mueller III
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Dear Mr. Mueller:
I read about the
Corruption at the top has gone on so long that the school administration and board believe they are entitled to continue it and never face punishment for their deeds.
The administration and board participated in a cover-up of crime in the early Nineties which involved administrator Mr. Doug Erwin's discovering stealing and graft in administration ranks.
When Mr. Erwin asked the superintendent and board to do something about this crime, the superintendent with the board's collusion instead tried to convince people that Mr. Erwin was crazy.
Superintendent Lennard and other collaborators made Erwin's life miserable. Nobody supported him. Not one soul in the schools came to his aid or offered sympathy, so fearful had the board and administration made school employees, especially teachers, of retaliation for the slightest challenge to the board-administration dictatorship.
Mr. Erwin was quite alone. His medical records show that this solitary struggle affected his physical as well as his mental health.
In the distorted ethics of the political class, it was natural for Governor Crist recently to appoint the retired graft-taker Dr. Lennard to the Supervisor of Elections position, made vacant by the brief tenancy then death of the woman who had replaced Buddy Johnson. Phyllis Busanksy was an honest politician trying to deal with the pile of lost money Buddy Johnson's sleazy tenure made disappear.
When the "he's crazy" gambit didn't work to quell Mr. Erwin, Dr. Lennard and his administrative ghouls sought to discover other ways to fire Mr. Erwin and deprive him of his pension.
These tricks included sending him on wild goose chases to produce more data to authenticate his charges and whatever other wicked schemes popped into their evil heads.
The school lawyer, one Mr. Gonzalez, not an ornament to the bar, chipped in his talents.
When Mr. Erwin approached the then board chair for help, mistakenly thinking her ethical, she led him to the lawyer's den. Mr. Gonzalez added his talents to undoing the poor man. One way was to hire a firm to investigate the Erwin complaint and then shut it down when it began to discover that the plots revealed the administration's attempt to trap Mr. Erwin into some contretemps to get rid of him.
Mr. Erwin finally gave up on the people with whom he had worked thirty years in an honorable career attested to by people who knew him. He mostly served as a principal, I believe, before Dr. Lennard lured him into taking an administrative job, expecting him to toe the line.
When finally convinced that he would get no cooperation from Dr. Lennard and his coterie, Mr. Erwin filed a Whistleblower law suit, won it, and escaped with his pension to
Only a total innocent would conclude after reading through the boxes of Erwin case literature that the administration at the highest levels and probably some board members as well were receiving graft and didn't want Mr. Erwin's discovery to interfere.
Three of those Erwin-era members still sit on the board: Lamb, Olson, and Kurdell. Ms Olson was particularly hostile to Mr. Erwin when he approached the seated board for help. She told him that he better have rock-solid evidence for his accusations.
The DNA of that crime spree and getting away with it, leaving the taxpayers holding the bag for paying for administrative and board crooks' conduct, still runs deep in the subsequent administration and board. The Erwin-era members got away with the graft and an attempt to crucify the man who discovered it.
Not one person received punishment, not even Dr. Lennard, so obviously head crook.
The incestuous situation was that the board responsible for meting out punishment was itself complicit.
Taxpayers footed the bill for administration crime by paying Tom Gonzalez for defending the people of whom he was one who had savaged Mr. Erwin for his discovery of the crime.
When the lawyers--Mr. Gonzalez's firm--who lost school side complained to the judge about the size of the settlement, he retorted that it would have been bigger had Mr. Erwin had a competent lawyer.
When I retired from teaching college English, I decided to read a different kind of literature than that which I had read in my field. I turned from Keats, Chaucer, and Aristophanes to current books about the FBI, a subject that intrigued me when I saw the many FBI books reviewed in the New York Times. I read J. Edgar Hoover, the Man and the Secrets, Curt Gentry; The Brother: the Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case, Sam Roberts; " I Heard You Paint Houses" Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Closing of the Hoffa Case; and Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, Bryan Burrough.
The Gentry massively researched book made me marvel at the job Mr. Hoover did in building the agency despite his weaknesses and wrong ideas; The Brother, by the NY Times guy, convinced me that the Rosenburgs were guilty; that Judge Kaufman erred in sentencing Ethel Rosenberg to death along with Julius; and that the FBI's gesture of assigning an agent to the Greenglass family when David got out of jail after ten years to help family members disguise their identity and deal with other problems of anonymity defined admirable agency chivalry and citizenship; the Hoffa-murder book educated me on how Mr. Hoover prevented an investigation of the Kennedy Assassination in Dallas to protect the FBI's reputation and hence thwarted the Warren Commission's constructing a valid account of the Mafia's role in that deed. The Public Enemies book I read before going to the Depp movie. From it I learned that FBI agents murdered Dillinger on the
But despite clay feet attached to the glory of the FBI agency, it is still the law enforcement entity that most of us consider top choice for getting to the bottom of things and doing something about them if they are criminal.
So I write you to ask for the FBI's help in dealing with the long-time corruption in the
I further ask that another field office rather than
The FBI Tampa field office has a reputation for colluding with local politicians and the power set and not having, as people expect, a firm commitment to their agency's reputation and dedication to justice. See below the newspaper column enclosed and representative comment from my blog readers.
If you say that transferring this request to
Your Web comment on how corruption undermines democracy is cogent. I hope that the FBI realizes that corruption that affects the schools and its children is much the most pernicious kind of corruption.
Corruption's poisoning the school environment harms our future citizens and diminishes the integrity of their educations, a fact that injures not just our children's and grandchildren's futures but that of the country's.
I have heard also that the local
I include my complaint to an FBI office and expect you to judge whether to send it to the
In either case, I shall feel free to consult you if I don't sense the agents are being ethical and objective about an investigation.
Please inform me what office you are sending this complaint to and what its head agent's name is.
I look forward to your response.
Lee Drury De Cesare
Dear FBI Agents:
I read online about the FBI’s investigation into the corruption in the
I began monitoring the school board about two years ago when the Professional Standards office falsely charged a gay friend and school media specialist with using the school email for private purposes. I infer the real reason for this false charge was that he is gay and protested the shutdown of gay privileges in the county library due to an homophobic ordinance by then
Mr. Stines didn't respond to Bart’s complaints and apparently gave Bart’s emails to Patricia Bean, head county administrator and chum of new superintendent MaryEllen Elia. Superintendent Elia passed them on to the head of Professional Standards for some kind to warning action against Bart it appears. My intuition says this gesture was to strut her new power over teacher peons for the admiration of buddy Bean and as warning to teachers that the old rules of their suppression would get vigorous action from La Elia.
The corruption ethos of the Hillsborough County school system began at least as far back in the early '90s, when administrator Doug Erwin discovered widespread crime in ROSSAC and asked Superintendent Earl Lennard and the board to do something about it. Instead, they mounted a campaign to make people think Mr. Erwin was crazy and sent him on wild goose chases ostensibly to strengthen the charge but really to contribute to his manufactured reputation of mental pathology. When the crazy schemes didn’t work to shut him up, they buffeted him among the administration and board collaborators until the poor man became almost crazy indeed. He finally gave up on the people with whom he had worked for over thirty years and filed a Whistleblower lawsuit.
Mr. Erwin won. The jury didn’t buy the administration lies and cover-up. Mr. Erwin got a $165,000 settlement, and the judge told the complaining school attorneys of the Tom Gonzalez firm that Mr. Erwin would have got more had he had a competent lawyer. The taxpayers paid this settlement and the Gonzalez-firm attorney fees for administration crime.
The most innocent of observer could figure out that all levels of administration and certain of the board too were practicing graft and didn’t want Mr. Erwin to interrupt the money flow. Yet not one person received punishment afterwards. The board should have fired Dr. Lennard at a minimum as well as his administrative henchmen Hamilton and Davis. Getting away with this vile crime only encouraged the survivors to continue it in other forms.
Mr. Crosby Few, then board attorney in his waning years in that role, had passed the Erwin court case on to Mr. Tom Gonzalez, current board attorney. My theory says that Mr. Few intuited the Erwin Whistleblower case was a loser for the board, didn’t want that blot on his exit record, and so gave the case to attorney Tom Gonzalez as access to the board job. Even though he lost the case, Mr. Gonzalez got the board-attorney job with a good-ol’-boy handshake, a wink, and a nod from Dr. Lennard. He now makes about $275,000 a year, almost as much as the superintendent pulls down, for sitting on the board dais during meetings, often eating chips and drinking soda in this tax-paid sinecure while delivering ad hoc opinions that wrap any tainted board or administration actions in the cotton wadding of legalese. If the FBI people—most of whom I understand are lawyers accept this request to investigate the schools of
Since nobody got punished for that obscene assault on the public trust, the board and administration discovered that if they lay low and kept up the flimflam of "What, me? I don’t know anything, anytime, anywhere, "they could hunker down and last out the crime. They trusted that the public would turn to another political scandal, always plentiful in the
The DNA of the Erwin case has saturated the board and ROSSAC denizens with a conviction of invulnerability to punishment no matter their behavior. It continues potent to this day. Crime pays, they learned, especially when the taxpayers subsidize it.
I have observed two areas in which the tendency to cheat and obfuscate manifests itself : hiring and punishment of teachers.
It’s hard to know how widespread the hiring scam is without access to all records, but I suspect that the ones I cite are indicative, not inclusive, of the scope of misuse of hiring as a power perquisite that the board hands off to the superintendent. She ignores equal-employment-opportunity laws and gives plum jobs to unequipped buddies, relatives, hangers on, or somebody who strokes her ego. Ms. Elia has a ravenous need of approval. The result is an administrative staff of marginal qualifications and too often outright stupidity. These specimen hang on the superintendent’s every word and make up in sycophancy what they lack in credentials and IQ. There is only one Ph.D. in the administration , and I suspect that comes from none of Ms. Elia’s obtuse candidates for administrative jobs with bloated salaries' being able even to fake minimal computer skill.
The result of corrupt hiring, of course, is that the taxpayers don’t get their money’s worth in the administrative talent market and get a dumbed-down staff that makes C-student decisions such as not getting enough insurance so that when a wall of a new school collapsed, the taxpayers got stuck with paying for it to be rebuilt because of board and administration lack of administrative acumen.
Following, I cite to the best of my knowledge major hiring perversions of an organization that stamps on every piece of paper that emanates from its authority “We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer":
Maryellen Elia: The Board wants to appear to have searched for the best candidate, but it picks an insider every time. The apparently unspoken but understood deal between the board and the insider superintendent is that the board will not interfere with his or her running things, and the superintendent will not interfere with the board’s perquisites or incumbency. The perquisites are things like the $50,000 that board member Susan Valdes spent in one year’s travel to pick up those gimcrack awards school bureauracraies shovel out to each other to prove how wonderful they are. During the Valdes travel spree, poor county children couldn't afford materials to participate in class work. Ms. Gonzales had run on a platform of "saving every penny of taxpayers' money."
When hiring Ms. Elia, the board (only Griffin was not then on it) lowered the Ph.D. requirement to her Master’s and counted as commendable experience her not seeing a real-estate scam under her nose in the department she headed that a SPTimes reporter walked in off the street and spotted for a profile in the paper. She also overbuilt classrooms so that when she became superintendent she had to move school boundaries. Angry, desperate parents filled the board room to bursting to protest on that mess-up. The board remained tranquil in the face of the parents’ noisy, desperate protest, having got the deal its members wanted with the substandard superintendent and to hell with parents’ and children’s discomfiture from her mismanagement.
These school board public servants had dished out $35,000 of tax money for a for-show nation-wide ad for the position to cover their incestuous deed. These political survivors had no intention of hiring some uppity Columbia PhD. with both knowledge and experience who would expect them to pull their weight for a change and would not let any funny business involving tax money’s waste on these public rogues’ part. I reviewed the applicant file: Ms. Elia was the least qualified.
James Hamilton: Dr. James Hamilton is a constant feature of school administrations: a parasite who battens off taxpayers while doing nothing positive in his job, always one with a sky-high salary. This specimen of administrative dross's emails revealed that he doesn’t know the difference between homphones “your” and “you’re” or “there” and “their.” I wrote the president of the
A school mole told me that
Tom Gonzalez: Mr. Gonzalez is board attorney. When Mr. Few retired six years ago, the job passed to Tom Gonzalez with a good-ol’-boy wink and a nod. No advertising took place despite Title VII’s having passed forty years prior. Gonzalez had tried and lost the Erwin case in the early Nineties. Anybody who reads through the boxes of Erwin court files discerns that the school attorney was complicit in undermining Mr. Erwin while putting on a show of objectivity. Gonzalez hired a firm to investigate the complaints, then fired it when the firm's investigators found that the current administration and board’s aim was to discredit Mr. Erwin and pooh pooh his claims of crime.
Mr. Erwin finally got his sea legs, fighting alone.I recall that in his desperation to get somebody to pay attention to his outing the crimes, Mr. Erwin took reporters up on the roof of a recently built school to show them that the roof leaked like a sieve. I believe that was my favorite moment in this board-administration criminal odyssey.
The jury didn’t believe the rehearsed administration lies and found for Mr. Erwin. He got a $165,000 settlement. The taxpayers paid for thar board-and-administration crime. Had those who committed the crime had to pony up for their foul deeds, we would have a different board and administration today, and I would not be writing to the FBI to investigate the board and administration's lust for power and money that the school franchise represents to them.
A rational conclusion says that since the opposition to Mr. Erwin’s disclosures emanated from Dr. Lennard with eager assistance from Dr. Hamilton and Mr. Davis and board mute backup, the top people were taking bribes. Ms. Olson, still board member today, was hard on Mr. Erwin when he approached the board for help. She is an automatic superintendent supporter.
Ms. Olson's own story is not without pathos: She has some kind of abdominal lump that looks like ascites to me, and her former husband, a judge I think or some species of high-powered lawyer, recently sent out notice to the town's flossiest, most snooty and racist, sexist club, Ye Mystique Krewe, that he has come out as gay and has "never been happier." Ye Mystic Krewe besides indulging in tacky orthography also mimes nose-in-the-air pretensions of aristocracy despite its members' being one or two generations away from share-cropping forebears who migrated from the Old South to Florida to take on a new social identify in the Bay Area. With one or two generations' having sufficient to eat and a couple of changes of clothes, these transplants dominate Bay Area society and designate themselves as coming from "old families." A daughter of the Old South--that would be I--counts as "old families" those who got land grants via Queen Anne.
Linda Kipley: Ms. Kipley was such a bad principal at Hillsborough High and so prone to lie that some teachers refused to go into a conference with her unless equipped with a recorder one hears. Bart Birdcall’s experience with her in his cooked-up Professional Standards charge confirms this lack of veracity. Instead of firing her after the teachers at Hillsborough High rejected her leadership, the administration put her in the top position at Professional Standards. The job got no advertising. Ms. Kipley’s academic credentials for this sensitive job are risible. For a position that should require a criminal justice, sociology, or psychology degree. Ms. Kipley brings a home-ec diploma. Lord knows from where. Credible universities stopped handing out sexist home-ec diplomas in the Pleistocene Age. However, Ms. Kipley has a talent for obsequiousness to the superintendent and board wedded to a streak of sadism that she indulges in this job by torturing teachers. More on this issue comes below in discussing the Professional Standards Abu Ghraib gauntlet teachers must run.
Linda Kipley’s husband: So grateful are the board and administration for the Professional Standards dirty work Ms. Kipley has performed at their behest that when an administrative accounting job came up with a degree and experience as prerequisites, the personnel department gave it to Mr. Kipley. La Linda's spouse. He had a high school diploma and no accounting experience. Invoking Public Records law, I reviewed the applicants. Four had the requisite degree and experience. One was a handicapped woman whom the federal government says in its grants language should have in addition to the usual equal-opportunity privilege a special one on file for grant recipients to benefit from: an affirmative action plan covering the handicapped on file.
It does not exist.
In an open meeting, Board Member Valdes asked Personnel czar
Steve Hegarty: Steve used to be a reporter for the SP Times. He now heads Community Services in the school administration after Marc Hart’s firing (see below). Mr. Hegarty as reporter believed in the First Amendment because his SPTimes bosses did. He now does not believe in the First Amendment because his school bosses don’t. Hegarty and board chair Kurdell collaborate in confiscating my requests to address board items because the board and administration don’t like what I say.
I reviewed the applicant list for the job Steve Hegarty got. Hegarty was close to the bottom in qualifications. He can’t punctuate and writes poorly. I wondered how he got a newspaper-reporter job. He also did not have requisite supervisory experience cited for the schools job while a number of others did. The rejected candidates wrote better too.
So avid is Ms. Elia for positive publicity that she hired Hegarty, I believe, to head the Community Services department because she was naive enough to think that other Bay Area news people would be friendly to Hegarty’s saccharine press releases that whitewash the board’s and administration’s clumsy leadership and criminal behavior. Press members are more likely to despise Hegarty for getting a job paying two or three times what they make after abandoning ship (about $110,000 and counting).. The public pays to be lied to by Hegarty and his assistants, all of whom act as the board-and-administration Public Affairs Laundromat.
Marc Hart: former head of Community Affairs. Now here is a sad case. Marc told me that Mr. Valdez called him into his office and told him to resign or to get ready for some rough times. The poor chum complied and resigned.
The ostensible reason for Hart's pressured resignation was alcoholism but the real cause was his ongoing affair with board member Jennifer Falliero, whom I call Pole Girl for her Motel 8 ethics. Board Member Jennifer mounted a long-term stalking of Hart. She visited his office so often and stayed so long that even Dr. Lennard told her to stop it. She didn’t listen. She said she sought “mentoring” from Mr. Hart, who was married with two little children.
La Belle Dame Sans Merci Falliero wasn’t satisfied until Hart divorced his wife and injured his two little children: his boy’s grades plummeted; his girl’s chronic illness exacerbated. Ms. Falliero followed Hart to New Mexico, where he had found a job but returned to Tampa, apparently found another source for her mentoring need, and dumped Hart. The poor man acknoledged that he loved her.
I think his bitterness over this dumping because the poor fellow had no better sense than to love the tramp resulted in his visit to me. His treatment prompted Mr. Hart to call for permission and came out to my beach home to show me the deposition that confirmed the two’s adultery. Hart has had a tough time trying to get a local job so that he can help his wife support their children. The firing from the schools on false charges has caused the interwoven locals employment community to blackball him. The board named Ms. Falliero its chair after Hart’s demise. I expect if the parents knew that a an adulteress chaired the board, they would be up in arms.
Hart's rejoinder to Valdez's threat of rough times if he didn't docilely resign should have been, "OK, pops, if you dare fire me on these trumped-up charges, expect me to picket ROSSAC, handing out leaflets that detail mine and Falliero's case and the administration's failure to guard the public's right to expect the school system to act in an ethical manner."
Connie Mileto: My read says that Ms. Mileto comes from that ancient x-chromosome line of male-manipulators who tap into men’s weaknesses to play the game of romance in employment now that feminists have hammered down the doors of discrimination to admit women to formerly male jobs. Such include ambitious ones with frail scruples.
La Mileto is a cute, bubbly. screechy little munchkin of a woman getting long in the tooth in her forties who used the venerable there’s-no-fool-like-an-old-fool protocol to get the administration’s moldy Geezer Don Juan Dr. James Hamilton to slip her past qualified candidates for the job of political rep in Tallahassee. Her academic credentials: a kindergarten degree, this for a job that should have a political science, a history, or even a psychology degree. Her Mata Hari bona fides: nonpareil.
The whole school community knows this story. Dr. Hamilton’s wife, and a good one by reports. She had her heart broken by the munchkin's conquest, quit her job, divorced the old goat, and moved upstate. News filtered down that she has remarried the old him. Meanwhile, the administrative stair- climber-absent-credentials Mileto makes $150,000 a year for flitting around the halls of state government flirting with Panhandle gallants while beginning teachers subsist on a meager $33,000, often making a second job necessary. Now, lo, Ms. Elia has created a superfluous lobbying job in perilous economic times for Dr. Hamilton for Old Times Sake, which sends Le Hamilton up to Tallahassee to bask in the orbit of Man-killer La Connie redux in the capital. The board has signed off, of course. Its members never want to thward True Romance. Thus Ms. Elia has thrown this old specimen of gone-to-seed skirt chaser back into Mata Hari Connie’s lethal environs again.
The wife probably gets little sleep.
Two School Board children: I noted in the
However, the worst corruption that goes on in the school administration (ROSSAC, acronym for the building that houses the school board and administration) in my view is its terrifying teachers into silence about school administration mess-ups for fear of losing their jobs. The school board is silent partner in this outrage. Board and administration want no teacher advice on how to run the schools. They have evolved a pattern of rituals of corruption and expediency that extract the maximum control of power that adheres to the tax monies that pour into ROSSAC from the state based on student head count. They don't want any disruptio of this seedy arrangement.
The tax money-pot students, however, must have teachers, so board and administration perforce suffer the presence of teachers but make them subject to a state of abject fear of losing their jobs if they don’t keep quiet. Teachers muffled their rage when Ms. Elia downloaded an extra class on them to solve her budget problems, made them practice grade inflation to make her look better in the state education bureaucracy, and impulse bought a multi-million-dollar program called The Spring that had failed in other venues without consulting teachers, who have to teach it. I don’t think La Elia even checked in with the ever-compliant board on this misguided purchase of The Spring Its members didn’t care in any event. They are content to luxuriate in their ceremonial posts and parade around the community as beneficiaries of education.
The Professional Standards office is the board’s and administration’s weapon of suppression of teacher comment. If a teacher even whispers a complaint about the conduct by the administration and board, an administrator sics the Professional Standards office on the teacher to file a false charge or to attach one to a minimal action with a whiff of rebellion.
The board looks at one as if the person is crazy (a reputation board quidnuncs try to support in my case by hinting I suffer from Alzheimer’s because I am old) if she or he suggests teachers and students should have a permanent place on the board to comment. Even if I were in the last stages of Alzheimer’s I could see these ROSSAC characters work against the community children’s wellbeing, not for it.
Corruption goes on daily in the
The professional and political corruption that I infer from two years of observation and analysis of the school board and administration breaks the bond of trust that should exist between the board and administration and the community that puts its children into these people’s care, not aware of their shoddy ethics to horde power at any cost with the children’s becoming hostages to fortune.
Breaking the bond of trust that deals with a community’s children’s wellbeing and the people who are supposed to guard them is the most serious breach in the political ethos that prevails in
This malignant betrayal by the administration and the board should call on the FBI's Prince-Valiant-most-chivalric-handsomest-bravest agents to investigate and correct this horror. People love teachers. Think back to school years and recall your own favorites, the ones that fulfill John Adams’ legend that teachers affect eternity. You can never tell where their influence stops.” In contrast, people don’t love administrators. Name one whom you recall and love. Students-- youngsters are always sensitive to the behavior of adults who control the--in this vilely run system must smell the aura of villainy that surrounds their teachers because they sense their teachers are put down, harassed, cowed. The ROSSAC administrators sadistically subject the county’s teachers to pressure to keep them quiet so that ROSSAC can continue its outback Machiavellian reign to hoard power.
Professional charges against teachers appear from nowhere often based on nothing more than the aim of the board and administration to quell whoever it senses with its octopus snitch network appears to be a rebellious teacher in the making. The Professional Standards gulag under Ms. Elia’s prompting makes up a charge against a teacher whole cloth or takes a marginal situation and bloats it to a full-blown charge of Professional Standards violation. These have the effect of terrifying and isolating the teacher charged: others teachers are afraid even to speak to the victim for fear of contamination. Such was the experience of Bart Birdsall, falsely charged for using the school emails for personal reasons. A more recent story of teacher oppression via Professional Standards is Steve Kemp, a special-ed teacher whom the administration targeted because he had an education blog. Their community image obsesses administration and board. The worse their behavior is that needs cover-up, the more obsessive their concern. One suspects that Ms. Elia got no praise as a child, hence her lust for it now.
The board and administration want to commit deviant practices behind the scenes but have the Public Affairs office cover the villainy up with a fairy-tale gloss as press release to the lax community press and gullible public.
Here follow two cases of teacher oppression of free speech which I have closely observed.
Bart Birdsall: Two years ago just as Ms. Elia assumed her superintendent duties, the Professional Standards office issued a charge against Bart for using the school emails for personal purposes. Bart had protested on his own email from his home about the diminution of gay library rights at the county library as a result of an ordinance by the homophobic then county commissioner Ronda Storms (now state senator, woe betide). He had also participated in demonstrations against the ordinance. As I recall, he read gay literature on a megaphone at one of these demonstrations from a banned book that gave a benign interpretation of gay rights. Birdsall had posted on the school division community board notice of the speak-out against the anti-gay library shutdown of access to the library. One infers that such posting to be the kind of thing one posts on a community board. I would like to see an explanation in writing of why it is not for this purpose. . This display of shutdown of free speech was so bad that it made the national news.
Head of the library, Joe Stines, gay like Bart, refused to answer Bart’s email complaints about gay diminution of library rights and instead routed the emails to Ms. Elia via Pat Bean, head county administrator.. The SP Times as token from its awakened slumber on public crooks recently called for La Bean’s resignation for greed.
The greedy Ms. Bean added to her negative image for when, in an economic downturn, she advocated the firing of a thousand county employees while raising her own salary and those of top administrators. A news story currently describes her raising her salary surreptitiously again without notifying the
Ms. Elia, eager, one supposes, eager for trying out her tyrant wings in a job noted for tyranny, experiencing a whiff of homophobia, and perchance fearing an uprising from right-wingers who inhabit the fens and bogs of the county's political periphery ready to lock and load to march on any justice for gays, routed the Birdsall emails to Ms. Linda Kipley of Professional Standards. One infers La Elia included the advice to do a fishing expedition on Birdsall’s school email account. Ms. Kipley, always eager to sate her bosses’ lust for shows of sadistic cruelty to non-administrative plebian teachers, set the schools’ tech people on Bart’s email to discover a microscopic sliver of evidence for which to fire him. The computer technicians discovered nothing but the notice Bart put on the community board for gay demonstrations against the library. Ms. Kipley took this questionable wisp and turned it into a firing offense. She called Bart into her office and scared him out of his wits about losing his job on this trumped-up charge.
When Ms. Elia spoke at
Worth noting is that at a
La Connie continued her diplomatic tour de force while I asked Ms. Elia a question in citizen question time. La Mileto squawked and cackled to drown me out. We saw more of the kind of diplomatic behavior one would expect from a kindergarten teacher whose deepest learning involves the words and lyrics of “Encie Wencie Spider.”
After all the CTA people sat with the administration in objective correlative to their in-bed collusion , one crept at the end of the program over to our table, where Bart sat forlorn and abandoned by CTA brass with my husband and me. The CTA functionary whispered a furtive "hello" to Bart before scampering back to the court followers’ cortege that formed behind Ms. Elia as she swept out, secure in the knowledge that the state tax monies would continue to pour over the transom at ROSSAC to authenticate her importance and power. I judge at that moment that Ms. Elia exuded more raw power than Mussolini did during his stem-winder speeches from one Italian balcony or another before the allies muffled him.
When Bart’s Professional Standards Scarlet Letter information seeped out to the schools—such always does for spreading panic to the teacher proletariat as a constant Professional Standards tactic—all of Bart’s “friends” deserted him. They wouldn’t even speak to Bart much less offer support. This defection devastated Bart. It forms analogue to the German populace’s conduct when Jews suffered isolation in Nazi
I think the district has fifteen thousand teachers. If even a dozen formed a truth squad to challenge board and administration at every board meeting, these intrepid few could revolutionize the district. I once heard Margaret Mead say at
When Professional Standards had made Bart an example for the rest of the teachers of the dangers of using even innocuous expressions of free speech, the administration let him off after Kipley had conducted mind games on him in her office that featured, Bart reports, the outrageous lying that had evicted her from the Hillsborough High principal’s office. She hinted with malicious glee of worse to come if he did not assume the position of belly up and do constant obeisance to ROSSAC’s storm troopers. La Kipley sent him a registered letter confirming his bleak fate. Bart has lobbied ever since to get a written apology with no luck.
The poor fellow had to go to counseling to overcome the trauma
Steve Kemp: The latest Professional Standards outrage is the still-running case of Steve Kemp, special ed teacher done in by the ambition, I infer, of two special-ed administrators who lust to advance themselves in the administrative hierarchy, perhaps even as far as the Valhalla of ROSSAC. by using Steve as their sacrificial lamb. Lying defines the way to the top in ROSSAC corporate ethics. Even the majority who, I want to believe, don’t practice it knows of lying's efficacy in a scoot up the administrative ladder. Special-ed administrators District Supervisor Smiley and Principal Morris latched on to the lying route to climb the administrative Great Chain of Being to ROSSAC's
Mr. Kemp’s specialty is teaching children who can’t read well to read better. That skill doesn’t mean that he has global skills in administering to the needs of all special-needs children. Proof is that the district has seminars in certain special-ed specialties. However, either District Supervisor Smiley and Principal Ross didn’t know these data that define their jobs or didn’t care. When the two needed a teacher to throw into a classroom of severely retarded students, they told Mr. Kemp that was his teaching assignment, his training bedamned.
Not only did the special-ed leadership throw untrained teachers into a classroom for severely retarded students, these louche characters housed special-ed severely retarded children in a junk room (picture attached) with stuff piled up precariously against the room’s side walls. A door opens to an adjoining classroom from the junk classroom that Steve Kemp said held unknown medications or medical substances in it. Policy dictated keeping all classroom doors open even though two retarded boys, weighing 175 pounds each, constantly tried to run away through the unlocked doors or pull down the junk stored on the periphery of the room, endangering both themselves and others.
When one attendant—the senior teacher—left the room and Steve couldn’t keep both boys from running away, he found a TV cord to run through the back loops of the bus restraint that one boy still wore in the classroom. Steve wanted to secure him to the desk while he chased the other boy bent on escaping out the door to the hall. The seated boy on whom Steve used the cord looped to the back of the bus restraint was supposed to have this bus restraint removed when he arrived in the classroom according to state restraint law, this removal should have happened before Steve entered the room. But the people then in charge left the restraint on the boy—perhaps for their convenience since they wouldn’t have to replace it when the class day was over. Mr. Smiley and Ms. Morris tolerated this violation. They turned no one in to Professional Standards for the restraint defection athwart state law. In contrast, with Steve, ignorant of restraint law and getting no briefing from Smiley and Morris, got targeted.
In summary, Steve knew zilche about state-restraint policies. Smiley and Ross did not inform him as their job description required they do. They flubbed their duty when they didn’t brief a new teacher unacquainted with restraint protocols.
About the time Steve looped the cord through the back of the boy’s bus restraint, in waltzed Smiley and Morris. Morris testified to the Professional Standards investigator she raised a big fuss with Steve about the restraint’s violating state policy but acknowledged nothing about the bus restraint that previous attendants had left on the boy. Steve says she did not raise Cain as she reported to the Professional Standards investigator. Kemp says that Morris said to him in a quiet voice that she didn’t want to lose her job about the illegal restraint he had ignorantly used. She told him to remove the cord. He did. Smiley, who Steve testified said nothing. insisted afterward that the cord that Steve had hooked in the back loops of the bus restraint went all the way around the student. A rehab person who was unwilling to confirm Smiley’s insistence the that the cord went all the way around the boy. Steve insists it looped through only back rungs of the bus restraint.
I believe Steve. I believe Smiley and Morris both lied to frame Steve to embellish their careers as Hillsborough administrative toughs who belong in the ROSSAC fortress, where their talents could be put on display to a wider audience.
Six days elapsed with Steve still on duty in this same classroom. I suspect that Smiley or Morris or both heard during that time that the administration had Steve Kemp on a watch list for a Professional Standards charge to put the screws to him so that he would drop his education blog. Smelling promotion for rat work, Smiley went down the Sheriff's office and filed a child-abuse felony complaint against Steve six days late. How he could explain leaving a child abuser in the classroom for six days with the same students who he says threatened them remains a mystery of the administrative mind. This train of events illustrates Smiley’s administrative slovenliness in not debriefing Steve on the rituals of the care of these profoundly retarded children before he placed the novice teacher in the classroom.
My judgment says Smiley was the one who deserved a Professional Standards charge, not Steve.
The Sheriff's office threw out the case the same day Smiley filed it. The administration didn’t let go, however. Its experience has been that it can bring teachers to their knees to grovel ever afterward as cringing co-ops of such administration sadistic treatment. The Professional Standards office kicked into gear and put Steve on suspension. It kept him there for more than a year. Why? a logical person asks. The necessity of being logical has for so long been kicked to the curb because nobody challenged the runaway administration behavior that significant parts of administrative operatives have lost the talent to construct logical answers to questions.
Observers who have scoped out the administrative rituals of abuse know that the administration via Professional Standards aimed to squeeze Steve about losing his job to the point at which he would abandon his teacher’s blog. The administration intended to use Steve as a negative example of the danger of having a blog. The administration can’t tolerate comment on its doings from any source except the Community Services Laundromat that pretties up all news about the school board and administration. Control of school information ranks a fetish with these insecure, badly educated, power mad pretenders in the education racket they have constructed.
So the administration locked Steve out of the classroom to squeeze him to abandon his blog for fear of losing his job. He didn’t, thank the Lord. But the administration backed up only after a year because constant references to the Kemp case came up in the public comment section of School Board meetings. That bad press ranks key to the administration’s readmitting Steve Kemp to the classroom with one administrator's cautioning him via phone not to discuss a certain subject on his blog. The administration retains this Damocles sword to exercise the power of residual terror over Steve, especially now that he has addressed the board on his case’s being treated differently than was the case of an administrator at King High whose psychosexual status led him to manipulate pubescent boys' feet and toes behind the closed door of his office.
To keep the pressure on Steve even after grudgingly readmitting him to the class room but adding as final fillip of five days unpaid suspension , Attorney Sonny Tom Gonzalez refuses to submit the closing narrative of Steve's case that completes it for the file drawer. Pausing in podium his chip eating and swilling Coke, the ROSSAC board mob counselor opined that Steve's 'challenge to the disparate treatment of him and the Toe Cracker that it was possible for the school to reopen the case and have a hearing if Steve were dissatisfied with the culmination of the case as it stood. This is what I label administration-board blackmail with which teachers have long contended.
Contrasted to the harsh treatment given to teachers because of peripheral or manufactured reasons, the administration does not punish administrators no matter the severity of their professional defections.
I asked Community Affairs people, handlers of Public Information, to send me five cases of teachers and five of administrators whose conduct Professional Standards investigated during the last couple of years. The teachers’ files came right away. The administrators have yet to show up. Why? My read: Because erring administrators receive no punishment.
In fact, in a recent case of Principal Smith, of Alafia primary school against whom the PTA rebelled for her toxic administration, Ms. Elia and board members cozened her to a faretheewell. First, Ms. Elia made papal visits to the school to present the case for tolerating the mismanagement of Principal Smith. She planned to send Ms. Smith and her vice principal to Eckerd for the $4500- a-pop personality make-over course on how to act like human beings.
When these maneuvers failed to assuage the parents’ rebellion, Ms. Smith mysteriously resigned after an off-the-agenda diplomatic visit from board members Griffin and Falliero, who volunteered to help Ms. Elia protect the franchise from more bad publicity. Ms.
The most recent case of administrator coddling turns out to be that of the Toe Cracker administrator at
A teacher had called me about six months ago about the problem for the mother of one of the boys; I told him to tell the mother not to trust the local administrators but to take it to the Secretary of Education, Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith is not the most helpful person in the world of the K12 education abyss, but if you cc the governor and the attorney general, that wakes him up a tad.
Evidently the mother got tired of waiting for the phlegmatic state system to kick in and called the press.The press, always ready to feature a kinky story of toe-cracking to bump up circulation, unearthed that the toe cracker had been at this sick little acting out of his illness for a couple of years without the administration gendarmes noticing it, the ones who nail teachers on a whiff of misdoing. Had a teacher been the toe cracker , the administration would have burnt him at the stake in the ROSSAC parking lot and sent the wretch's ashes to the state crime lab.
Did the administration file a Professional Standards charge against the toe cracker or punish him in any way? Did it refer him to a psychological evaluation? No, the board and administration attitude was “ Ha! Ha! Ha! Isn’t he a card? Oh, that witty, care-free rascal!"
The Professional Standards office does not investigate administrative misbehavior. It covers it up, supports it, and defends it with all administrative prerogatives.
Here ends the recital of the tale of long-term corruption in the school system’s leadership in
The principals are the administration abetted by the school board, the members of which have promised the voters to clean up the school system. Everybody senses that the school system needs cleaning up. That is why cleaning up the school system is such a perennial favorite on the campaign-promises list of all school-board candidates, including the two—April Griffin and Susan Valdes—whom I was dumb enough to support with money and encouragement in their races.
Did that pair of second-rate pols make a monkey out of me? Indeed they did.
I hope the FBI, with its efficiency, glamour , and éclat demonstrates as the top of the law-enforcement community with the salutary fear it generates, will not shrug off this petition to do what it promises online: to treat corruption such as practiced by the school board and administration of Hillsborough County as an offense that injures the education of the Bay Area’s children. I trust that the FBI will launch a salutory investigation.
(Ms.) Lee Drury De Cesare
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Dear Mr. Duncan :
As a retired teacher 0f 28 years, I hear with indignation the media's and politicians' ritual blaming of teachers' unions--and by extension teachers--for causing all the problems in education. I never hear the administration's responsibility for trouble in the schools.
There would be no teachers' unions if teachers didn't need protection against greedy, power-hungry administrations filled with C students. Smart college graduates with valid degrees from decent universities go into teaching. C students with marginal degrees from 2nd and 3rd-tier institutions head for administrations to bloat their salaries and to lord it over their intellectual superiors, teachers.
I was union president at the college at which I taught. What we spent our time doing was trying to guard teachers against power-hungry administrations which; were there no union, the administration would find ways to fire teachers with any spunk who spoke up about administration abuses and mismanagement and replace them with docile specimens who gave the administration no trouble. The administration would have fired me within a matter of days without the buffer of the union.
The K12 board and administration in Hillsborough County illustrates this malignant ethos to a T.
My four children and two grandchildren have attended school in
When I read that the FBI had taken on the job of cleaning up the graft and abuse of hiring going on in the Wilkes-Barre schools, I said, "That's what Hillsborough County needs: the FBI to investigate board-administration buddy and family hiring and the abuse of teachers to keep them quiet about the problems in the schools by using the Professional Standards office to file false are peripheral charges to threaten teachers with job loss if the use their free-speech rights to criticize the running of the schools.
I have written Director Mueller of the FBI and asked him to recommend the investigation of the
I ask that you assess my description of the Hillsborough County problems with board and administration abuse of authority and recommend to Mr. Mueller that he sees that the case get FBI investigation.
Please tell me if you will honor this request to help clean up the pathology in the
(Ms.)Lee Drury De Cesare
Congressman Bill Young
Dear Congressman Young:
As a retired teacher of 28 years, I hear with indignation the media's and politicians' ritual blaming of teachers' unions--and by extension teachers--for causing all the problems in education. I never hear the administration's responsibility for trouble in the schools.
There would be no teachers' unions if teachers didn't need protection against greedy, power-hungry, vindictive administrations filled with C students.
Smart college graduates with valid degrees from decent universities go into teaching. C students with degrees from 2nd- and 3rd-tier institutions head for administrations to bloat their salaries and eat up tax revenues in too many featherbedding jobs to lord it over their intellectual superiors, teachers, whom students can't do without.
I was union president at the college at which I taught. What we spent our time doing was guarding teachers against power-hungry administrations which, were there no union, would have found ways to fire teachers with any spunk who would speak up about education problems and replace them with docile specimens who gave the administration no trouble. Without the union, I would not have kept my job for a week.
A case in point now is the K12 board and administration in
But I am now your constituent since my husband and I retired and left our
I still take an interest, however, in the schools where my children and grandchildren attended.
When I read that the FBI had taken on the job of cleaning up the graft and abuse of hiring going on in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, schools, I said, "That's what Hillsborough County needs: the FBI to investigate board-administration buddy and family hiring and the abuse of teachers to keep them quiet about the problems in the schools with the administration's using the Professional Standards office to file false or peripheral charges to threaten teachers with job loss if they use their free-speech rights to criticize the running of the schools. The board and administration deny teachers their Constitutional right to free speech and find ways to fire them if they do not toe the line.
I have appealed Director Mueller of the FBI and asked him to recommend the FBI investigation of the
I ask that you assess my description of the
Please tell me if you will honor this request to help a constituent clean up the mess in the
(Ms.)Lee Drury De Cesare
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sounds Like This [Wilkes-Barre] Area Has Troubles Similar to Ours...”:
HIS LINK is why we need OUTSIDE FBI. No fraternal brother-ism. I happen to know that at least one of these guys being investigated here has FAMILY in the Tampa FBI office. Even fellow firefighters were talking about how bad these three guys were but THE LOCAL FBI FOUND A WAY to make them not guilty of ANYTHING. Oh yeah? If they’re not guilty then why did they quit their BIG, FAT jobs and why were fellow firemen trashing them?? Tampa is a CESSPOOL.
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PMEx-Tampa fire marshal inspectors cleared in FBI probe of gift taking
By Kevin Graham, Times Staff Writer
Posted: Sep 16, 2009 04:45 PM
Trib online: TAMPA — Three former Tampa Fire Marshal inspectors won’t face criminal charges after a federal probe into whether they improperly accepted gifts from a sprinkler system company.
“The FBI did investigate, and we decided to decline any prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Steve Cole.
Federal authorities and Tampa police decided to investigate last year after questions arose about two longtime inspectors taking unauthorized gifts from Advanced Engineered Systems.
The scrutiny prompted inspectors Manuel T. Perrone and Toy K. Pelaez to retire. Carlos Llerandi, a third inspector, retired a month later, in January 2008, after a demotion to firefighter.
All three were in charge of reviewing and regulating work plans and permits for Advanced Engineered Systems authorities said Llerandi accepted hockey tickets from AES. Officials said Perrone accepted entry fees for golf tournaments and the use of a 30-foot boat made available by AES. Pelaez was accused of accepting hockey tickets from AES several times in one year.
“We reviewed the information that was provided. After the review, our investigation did not identify the violation of federal law,” said Tampa FBI spokesman Dave Couvertier.
Times staff writer Janet Zink contributed to this story. Kevin Graham can be reached at