Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Behind Closed Doors


Lee De Cesare, CRC author, stands outside Florence waiting go go commune with David and then to see Machiavelli, another, Florentine, to have him sign her copy of The Prince and to advise her how to stymie the Hillsborough County School Board administrative and board thugs in their quest to destroy black student Renee Anderson in the tangled web of pupil expuslion that discriminates against black students.


The below comment by the reader adds another dimension to the discussion of board performance. This information suggests that on reason that Ms. Edgecomb ran for the board was to protect her daughter’s career. It certainly wasn’t her goal to help black children.

Edgecomb has one goal, and that is to not make trouble for her daughter who is an Assistant Principal or maybe now a Principal. Whenever someone does or doesn't do something it is usually for personal gain. In this case she is protecting her daughter. Supposedly, her daughter worked under a principal who got arrested for drugs on campus. Word on the street is that Edgecomb's daughter knew about this and should have reported it but didn't. Corruption lives on!

Jack Lamb also has a daughter in the school system administration I believe. Candy Olson is reputed to arrange jobs for people. Mr. Lamb sits in morose inertia on the board dais. The only time he came alive in my memory was when I spoke against his using school board secretarial help and mailing procedures; he came off his seat and would have vaulted the desk to throttle me if he had not been too fat for the maneuver. He had to content himself with telling me to “Stay across the bay [my husband and I live in our condo on Madeira Beach] and don’t come over here any more as if I were a wet back swimming to the US from Mexico or some other Latin outpost.

The board-and-superintendent hiring scam ranks one of the perquisites of the board and superintendent job: it consists of hiring buddies and hangers on and creating jobs at taxpayer expense. Elia hired the former assistant superintendent Jim Hamilton after he retired, never having learned the difference between “your” and “you’re.” The marginally literate Hamilton got a lobbying slot without justifying Elia’s justifying it with a needs study.

God forbid that the board cared enough to demand a needs study for a superfluous buddy job that soaks the taxpayers. I heard the pay was between $64,000 and $94,000 a year. That’s buddy pay. The board never thinks to ask for a needs study for any of Ms. Elia’s jobs-program positions.

Hamilton’s wife divorced him because he pushed through doxie Connie Mileto’s candidacy for the Tallahassee position despite her being a kindergarten teacher.
A candidate with a political degree or a history degree should have gotten that job.

At its zenith, this irregular personnel venture was the talk of the schools. Janitors vetted the latest data in mop closets. Grounds keepers traded the latest gossip while tamping down divots. Cafeteria workers explored the most recent post while mopping up the tables.

My overview of this saga is incredulity that any woman could think "Your" "Your" Hamilton a suitable swain no matter how many jobs he can hand her. One supposes his hygiene is hit or miss. He schleps around looking like an unmade bed in suits the pants of which bag low and contain nothing. I never saw him pick his nose. But I wouldn't put it past him.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Now Hamilton and Mileto are back in Tallahassee as a lobbying pas de deux. I guess this means his poor wife, who had remarried the old goat, will now have to divorce him again.
Ms. Elia’s job-creation lockdown recently resulted in a job created for the dumped principal Smith in the Alafia brouhaha.

The Alafia parents refused to have Smith principal any more, and even Elia’s promising them that she would send both Smith and her vice principal to Eckerd for a personality makeover at $4500 a pop of tax money if they would keep Smith did not propitiate
lobotomy o because the administration and board couldn’t stand the bad Alafia publicity’s being printed by the usually somnolent press,

Elia sent Lie-about-educational credentials GED Griffin and former board member Motel-breath Jennifer Falliero out to Alafia to a secret rendezvous with Smith to lure her to resign her job with the understanding that Elia would create an empty job but at full principal pay and benefits as compensation.
The false job offer worked. Smith got the pretend job and is probably sitting somewhere in the book depository now paring her nails.

I asked for the job’s description as public information. After about two weeks had given personnel honcho Valdez the time to fake one, I got a copy of the job description; then I asked who inhabited the job before Smith: no answer.

QED: it’s an out-of-thin-air job devised by Elia at taxpayer expense to solve a bad-publicity problem. The board has endowed Elia with this create-jobs perquisite as part of the superintendent’s benefits.
Why not? We’re talking about taxpayer play money that the board and administration use to preen their power and solve their personnel problems. For them, tax money is play money. The unspoken rule is that administrators never get punished no matter what they do; but if a teacher had been discovered to know about drug activities of another school employee as was the case with Ms. Edgcomb’s daughter and if a teacher had failed to report the situation--even it were apocryphal as Edgecomb‘s daughter’s case perhaps was, that teacher would be the object of a lightening-fast Professional Standards Gestapo shake down and out the door on unemployment compensation before you could say “administrative perks.”

The Edgecomb offspring had not only the tradition of never punishing administrators to rely on but also enjoyed the protection of being the a child of a board member. Board attorney Tom Gonzalez would have temporarily ceased drinking soda and eating chips on the podium and rushed in his mouthpiece bag of tricks to construct a footnote to a footnote to make Elia’s daughter not only guiltless for covering up a drug danger but also being beatified to boot along with a Nobel recommendation signed by all the board and administration that have only recently learned what a Nobel is.

One significant way that the board and administration keep teachers oppressed is the tactic of job threats via the Professional Standards gauntlet. I asked for files on teachers’ Professional Standards charges: I got a stack. I asked for administrator files with Professional Standards charged lodged against them: zilch. Thus the board and administration have the power to keep teachers silent with a targeted program for fear of losing their jobs. This coercion cancels teachers' free speech rights.

This sicko sadistic power gives the board and administration the control of teachers’ ability to earn a livelihood. This power renders teachers quiet.
The head of Professional Standards is one Linda Kipley, whom I have observed wearing see-through plastic baby dolls on the job. She was principal at Hillsborough High, but she was bad. Teachers refused to go into a conference with her unless equipped with a recorder so likely she is to lie and manufacture things that have not occurred in an interview.

So bad the situation got at Hillsborough that the superintendent and his--this was during Earl the Pearl Lennard's hegemony-- thugs switched Kipley into the head of Professional Standards. Kipley has a home-ec degree that went out in the Pleistocene Age in the academic world yet occupies a vital, extravagantly paid position that should require a psychology or criminal justice degree. The job description did say it is a master’s-degree job, but Ms. Elia ignored the formula.

Ms. Elia can overrule any education prerequisite. Ms. Elia's puissance is such that she can negate Newton's laws of gravity. She can change Einstein's E equal MC squared to E equal MC quadrupled. She can leap tall buildings in a single bounds. She can deflect bullets with her impervious bullet-beating bracelets. You name it. Ms. Elia can do it.

One reason the board members do not challenge Ms. Elia on playing with degrees in such cases as La Kipley's is that they are not sophisticated enough to know what degrees mean in terms of academic heft and suitability ; they don't know the their relative place in the academic scale of gravity. They suspect they are out of their depth and thus avoid degree suitability at all costs, going by the instuctions of a Ouji board behind the board dais in a pinch.

The Professional Standards head job got no advertising despite the ubiquitous assurance from the board that it is “an equal-employment-opportunity employer.” This lack of competition for job hires violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and violates as well the federal contracts that the school has that all require affirmative action plans for disabled people and equal-opportunity protocols.
But what are federal laws when pitted against the fulsome powers of the Hillsborough County School Board and administration quidnuncs? Delusions of grandeur burgeon, a side affliction that the board and administration rapidly acquire.

The rule is that when little people get a little power, they act, well, little.

Meanwhile, this jobs-racket abuse is not only hurting taxpayers; it is hurting as well the marginal employees in the school system too timid or too unsophisticated to protect themselves. A reader sends this comment:

Governor Scott has invited Supt. Elia from Hillsborough County to be his advisor so to speak about education as the SDHC has been so succcessful! What has been kept quiet is that all support personnel such as paraprofessionals, bus drivers, etc. must take a mandatory 3 day pay cut and still work them because the coffers have run dry. Talk about mismanagement! The union is doing nothing about it of course. Because of the economy, no one dares stand up! They always go after the weakest.


E-mail from Renee's appeals attorney:

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom De Cesare []
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 6:39 PM
To: ''
Subject: FW:

This email below came from the attorney who argued the appellate case for student Renee Anderson.

-----Original Message-----

From: Doris Landis Raskin []

Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 11:16 AM



Renee's case is concluded unjustly and unfairly. The appellate court found a completely new fact, i.e., that the board had offered Renee an alternative placement. If that were true, we would never have filed a case. When a case is decided at the appellate level, the only thing left is an appeal to the Supreme Court. There is no jurisdictional issue for the Supreme Court. The appellate court tanked it by finding a fact not in evidence.

Thank you for your kind words. I am not proud of the writing, but I am proud of the content. Cases are not decided on how well the brief is written, but the legal issues, the application of the facts to the issues, and the rule of law. In Renee's case, I believe it was decided on personalities. Susan Bucklew, a favorite of the appellate court, and a former high school English teacher in the defendant school system who had to know all of the good old boys involved, should have recused herself, but didn't. I didn't know about her until I read her wild hair of a decision and did some research.

Doris Landis Raskin

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