(Please see Carl Paladino Agenda for October 9, 2013 Board of Education Meeting at bottom)
To: Dr. Barbara Nevergold
From: Carl P. Paladino
Cc: John King, Commissioner, State Education Department, Buffalo Board of Education, Everybody
Date: October 1, 2013
Dr. Nevergold, I urged you to allow the Board of Education (BOE) to address the critical issues before it in a fair, open and just manner.
Your performance to date shows you are incapable of carrying out your responsibilities as President of the BOE. As a disgrace to the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS), you must resign both as President and a member of the BOE.
I am submitting a proper petition with a tape of the September 25, 2013 meeting to Commissioner John King requesting that he remove you from office. I submit the following deficiencies in your conduct:
1.) At the September 25, 2013 BOE meeting you willfully and knowingly neglected your duties by inciting malevolent zealots from your Friends and Family Club (F&FC) to falsely accuse me of being a racist, violating BOE rules and the law. Your failure to control the meeting was a tortious neglect of duty. You shamed yourself, the African-American community, the BPS and the City, by demeaning the deliberations and intimidating a member of the BOE. Devoid of any plausible defense for the Superintendent’s inadequacies and lack of ability, you intentionally and maliciously, allowed the speakers to play the race card. Your efforts to deny truth and transparency on the issue of the Superintendent’s competency do not serve the interests of BPS children.
2.) At the September 11, 2013 BOE meeting you willfully neglected your duties and denied me the opportunity to question Mary Guinn and Scott Joftus about:
a.) the illegal Cross and Joftus contract, which had not been drawn or put on the table at the June 26, 2013 meeting, whether or not the contract was voted on and approved as you allege, and
b.) the illegal activity of Mary Guinn acting as an employee with the authority of a supervisor.
3.) You willfully and knowingly, without transparency, allowed the Superintendent to appoint outsiders to exempt and non-exempt leadership positions, violating the law and exacerbating the BPS morale problem. The new appointees from outside the BPS were appointed ahead of those who earned the positions by merit. You also allowed compensation terms totally out of sync with existing compensation levels established in prior and the present BOE budgets without the required BOE approval. All of those appointments were as illegal as the attempted hiring of a public relations director.
One person in particular was hired:
a) on a 2 year contract,
b) for $130,000/year,
c) with 26 vacation days with the right to sell back 10 days for $542/day,
d) 12 sick leave days with the right to sell back 1/3 of accumulated days at $542/day on termination,
e) 2 personal days,
f) health insurance for her and her spouse,
g) retirement benefits or an amount equal to the amount that would be paid by the district,
h) $1,000/year to belong to associations,
i) approved travel expenses and all unapproved expenses to go to any professional meetings nationally.
Her unprofessionally drawn contract, not tailored to the position, is a form on which blanks are filled in, written by someone seeking to make its provisions vague and subject to interpretation which significantly favors the employee. The individual has told others that she has no intention of residing in Buffalo. She will commute 2,000 miles every week to Florida. As with all of the out of town hires, she illustrates no commitment, “special qualities” or experience that could not otherwise be found with present staff of the BPS.
You knowingly, willfully and without BOE approval allowed “Consultant” Mary Guinn to be contracted to prop up Pamela Brown. Without authority and to the detriment of the BPS, you allowed Guinn to be a supervisor of District employees and supervise executive staff and other meetings. BPS now pays over $770,000/year for Superintendent services. Like the Superintendent, Mary Guinn is also clueless and unable to submit an acceptable Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) Plan, Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) for Public School Choice, School Improvement Grant (SIG) applications, Strategic Plan, etc.
You have willfully and knowingly failed to enforce NYS Education Law Sec. 2554(2) which states that the Superintendent can appoint exempt employees only within the amounts budgeted for such positions. The BOE must approve the budget changes.
4.) Counsel has advised that all of your prior small group meetings violate the Open Meetings Law and are illegal because they are not transparent and open to the public.
5.) You continue to refuse to appoint me to the Joint Schools Construction Committee, because I asked to stop further projects pending a re-evaluation of needs. With 1,500 seats currently available why are we still spending millions constructing? BPS should be consolidating schools. For 12 years there has not been one person on the Committee who has a clue about construction. Is there another BOE member better qualified than me? What are you covering up? The above constitutes a willful neglect of duty to make appointments to committees, in the best interests of the district.
6.) You have also denied my request for membership on the team negotiating the union contracts. Is there someone better qualified?
7.) Counsel has advised that your conduct in the preparation of the last evaluation of the Superintendent was illegal. It must be redone. I have asked you for the members’ submissions and documents showing calculations and you have refused admitting that you were the only person who saw the scoring of the individual members, four of whom, prior to voting, acknowledged that they never saw the evaluation.
8.) In August, you knowingly supported the BPS’s farcical three day “Administrator’s Seminar” originated by James Williams as a device to:
a. Illegally solicit money from vendors with no accounting of the funds,
b. Retain and pay large speaking fees to national minority speakers about their great contributions to education so they can later return the favor and call on our Superintendent, for large fees, to speak about her achievements, and
c. Force principals to attend 3 days of nonsensical racial bias and intimidation at a time when they are pressed to prepare their schools for opening.
I requested and have not received:
· the name of the person who directed the female who illegally solicited donations from vendors on taxpayer time and the amount of money she raised
· a list of the vendors solicited
· the amounts paid by each
· the name of the entity to which checks were written
· the name of the person who controls the checkbook
· a complete schedule of revenues and expenditures
· the name and amount of compensation paid to each of the speakers and the name of the person who decided who would speak
· the names of the caterers at the event
· how much was paid to each caterer
· whether or not bids were taken
· a list of other similar events and activities conducted by the BPS
The seminar was a display of arrogant intimidation with racial overtones and dancing to the “wobble” (obscene lyrics attached), meant to threaten principals and clearly illustrate to them that the new central staff supervisors intent on overkill, intend to micromanage the schools from Central Administration, which has failed the BPS in the past and will continue to fail. The attached video shows the demeaning conduct of the seminar.
James Williams and his Leadership Academy pawn spent years appointing incompetent principals, not on merit, but for all the wrong reasons, creating a morale problem with those who sought to achieve the positions by merit. Those principals should be removed. However, the many exemplary principals in the system should be empowered with responsibility and accountability to run their schools and not be subjected to disengaged centralized oversight, designed to deal with the bad appointments of the past. Principals can then be judged on the school’s performance. The problem with the BPS is not the teachers and principals. It is clearly the lack of competent central office and BOE leadership.
9.) Despite the glaring unfairness and BPS’s inability to give 2,219 students a choice, you willfully continue to allow the BPS policy which allows suburban students to take seats from deserving Buffalo students in our test schools.
10.) You willfully allow the “we against them” attitude of members of the BOE, including the open comments, spontaneous blurts, interruptions, contorted face making, staring and eye rolling by Sharon Belton-Cottman.
11.) You knowingly and willfully lied and neglected your duty to be truthful when at the September 11, 2013 meeting, after failing to put off my agenda, you asked me to adjourn my motion to dismiss the Superintendent for two weeks to have a special meeting to discuss a “soft landing for the Superintendent.” At that special meeting you instead dominated the discussion with your assertion that we should give the Superintendent a corrective action plan and on the job training, essentially agreeing that she was not up to the job and showing little regard for the 31,000 kids suffering in chaos and dysfunction every day. At the end of the meeting you abstained from the straw poll saying that you would need until the following Monday to speak to the Superintendent. We never heard from you. Obviously you were buying time to arrange the ambush at the September 25, 2013 meeting to intimidate and influence the swing vote of Dr. Tigg. At the special meeting Ms Cottman lied to the entire BOE and counsel when she said she had spoken to Dr. Tigg, who had told her that the meeting was unnecessary and she wasn’t coming because she wanted to give the Superintendent more time. Dr. Tigg later denied to a BOE member having talked with Sharon Belton-Cottman. Regretfully Dr. Tigg was not present to hear the candid discussion about the Superintendent’s deficiencies at the meeting.
12.) Neglecting your duty as President, you have knowingly and willfully allowed the Superintendent to deny any support for the creation and operations of Charters, (a creation of the State to assist in the education of our children) by submitting a Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) that was stretched to three years so as not to consider Charter opportunities.
13.) Neglecting your duty as President, you willfully show disrespect for the State Education Department (SED) and its Commissioner, allowing the same arrogant and racist members of your F&FC, who stacked the September 25 meeting, to dominate the parent hearings at East and Lafayette with a battery of insults to the SED and the Commissioner, denying parents the fair opportunity to speak. At Lafayette you said everyone in the community should be allowed to speak knowing that it was the same F&FC who spoke at East.
14.) As part of your effort to deny outsourcing to BOCES, you have willfully supported lies about the competency and accessibility of the BPS’s insufficient and almost non-existent Career Technical Education (CTE) program available only to students in the school where the program is located.
15.) With reckless disregard, you allowed the appointment of the new General Counsel, with questionable competency and integrity, who clearly advised incorrectly on 3 BOE questions presented to her. She was out of work for 5 weeks and was allowed to approve and falsify her own payroll. You allowed the secret demotion and intimidation of the prior General Counsel and have not required the Superintendent to disclose why our talented staff labor attorney left.
You allowed the Superintendent to lie when she told the BOE she was unaware of the need to appoint an interim or temporary General Counsel to fill the void when in fact she was aware, having been told by a staff attorney.
16.) You willfully and knowingly continue to promote the perception that the outsourcing of children to BOCES, Charters, Suburban Districts or Privates is not an option.
17.) Despite promises to the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) and a cover memo that claims that all stakeholders were engaged in the process, you knowingly and willfully have allowed the Superintendent to lie and misrepresent to the public the truth that the 5 year District Improvement Plan was prepared by consultants, in secret, with no input from key parental or community leaders. You then insultingly allowed it and the Strategic Plan to be presented at the last minute to the BOE, putting the BOE in the embarrassing position of having to again vote on a document that most members had not read. SED should have been told that.
18.) You have willfully and intentionally allowed the repeated lies of the Superintendent that attendance has improved during the past year when in truth it has not and she simply changed the rules for collecting data which was the sole reason for improved statistics. Teachers no longer take attendance and a student is presumed to be present unless specifically marked absent.
19.) At the September 11, 2013 BOE meeting, you willfully and knowingly attempted to deny my agenda by intentionally misinforming Counsel about a material fact that would have and later did change his opinion on the matter. You conveniently forgot that my agenda had been adjourned by you when you wanted to go home at 11:30.
20.) Your “group” of BOE members knowingly and willfully conspired to hire a minority Superintendent, because as Florence Johnson said in public, minority children should only be taught in a district supervised by a minority Superintendent. You knew that Dr. Brown was unqualified and lacked any experience managing a school district and the chances of her successfully turning around the chaotic and dysfunctional BPS were slim to none. You admitted that there were 28 applications short listed to two minority outsiders, and, only to show diversity, the acting Superintendent to whom you only gave lip service. You had no intention of appointing her because she rejected all of your back room “suggestions” for hiring and contracting, ie: making the former principal at Bennett her deputy.
For the first 8 months Dr. Brown hid in her office from the public, press and her staff. The CFO and senior staff were required to make an appointment to see her. She infrequently attended an executive staff meeting and when she did, and did not like what she heard, she would scream and intimidate individuals in front of others. Noting her inadequacies you attempted to prop her up by retaining the services of Mary Guinn who has been the “Acting Superintendent,” making virtually all day to day decisions.
21.) You knowingly and willfully joined the Superintendent in the lie that her reorganization plan and barrage of hirings and pay increases saved the District “over $1 million” when in fact it cost the BPS over $3 million. Re-titling positions to avoid BOE approval only added to the hypocrisy.
22.) To the embarrassment of all constituencies of the BPS, you knowingly and willfully allowed the Superintendent’s failure to submit timely, responsive and proper documentation in SIG applications, EPO applications, a School Choice CAP, the 5 year Strategic Plan, etc., either to the BOE or the SED and its Commissioner, who she has insulted and failed to engage in a collaborative dialogue.
23.) You have knowingly and willfully failed to sanction the illegal activity (defined by counsel) of the Superintendent who, intimidated by union leadership in Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) negotiations, conspired with Mary Ruth Kapsiak and Phil Rumore to fraudulently misrepresent and lie to the SED in the submission of the APPR without the MOU.
24.). You knowingly and willfully authorized the Superintendent to hire an administrative assistant without budget provision or BOE approval and another supervising principal from outside the district without proper care in calling references. With one phone call I learned that the man had been denied tenure and accused of other sordid activity at a prior employer and was previously discharged and taken out of Turner Carroll High School in handcuffs.
You have knowingly and willfully allowed, covered up and approved of the Superintendent’s incompetent, illegal and/ or failed behavior and you have neglected your duties as President and a member of the BOE.
Why must the children of the BPS suffer even one more day for lack of competent top down leadership?
Carl Paladino Agenda for October 9, 2013 Board of Education Meeting
To: Buffalo Board of Education
From: Carl P. Paladino
Date: October 7, 2013
Re: BOE Meeting of October 9, 2013
The following is a table of my agenda items for the next BOE meeting
which are numbered as a continuation of my original agenda.
My motions and action items are:
A.) Issue #3. Motion #45. Pursuant to arguments made in my prior memos
and agendas, it has been established that the budget contemplates all
line items and is not limited to department allocations. The June 26
budget did not set out the creation or compensation of new exempt and
non-exempt positions in the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) which then
requires the approval of the Board of Education (BOE). I therefore:
“Move that all appointees hired since July 1, 2013, not included in the
budget of June 26, 2013 and all employees given raises or new titles not
contemplated in the budget, be declared illegal and, pending
re-submittal to the BOE for approval, all such appointees be suspended
B.) Issue #12. Motion #42. Pursuant to arguments made in my prior
memos and agendas, it has been established that the alleged contract
between Cross and Joftus and the BOE is void insofar as the process for
approval was not proper and the document is lacking material terms
required in binding a contract. In addition the activities of the
consultant were improper, if not illegal. I therefore:
“Move that the Cross and Joftus contract be declared void and legally
inoperative and that the firm be immediately discharged from any further
activity with the BPS.
C.) Issue #4. Motion #46. Pursuant to arguments made in my prior memos
and agendas and on advice of legal counsel, the Superintendent
evaluation approved by the BOE at its June 26, 2013 meeting did not
follow proper process and is invalid. I therefore:
“Move that the BOE declare the Superintendent evaluation of June 26,
2013 invalid and require that the Vice President for Executive Affairs
be charged with redoing the evaluation immediately.”
D.) Issue #19. Motion #40. Pursuant to arguments made in my prior
memos and agendas it is now apparent that, when asked whether new job
titles, compensations and raises were included in the budget, the
Superintendent, with intent on deceiving the BOE and avoiding BOE
scrutiny of her executive level appointments, circumvented the law and
basic accounting principals by creatively defining the term “budget” as
allocations to Departments and not including the line items below the
Department allocations which include descriptions of all positions,
their compensation and job titles. I therefore:
“Move that the Superintendent be admonished for her creative attempts at
deceit, and that hereafter the term “budget” be defined as the entire
line item budget.”
E.) Issue #32. Motion #41. Pursuant to arguments made in my prior
memos and agendas and on the advice of legal counsel the use of “small
group” mini-meetings, outside of the view of the public and press,
violates the N.Y. State Open Meetings Law. I therefore:
“Move that the use of small group BOE meetings be discontinued
F.) Issue #42. Motion #43. Pursuant to my memo to Dr. Barbara
Nevergold of October 1, 2013, attached, and my prior memos and agendas
to the BOE, and Dr. Nevergold’s undated response to me, also attached,
Dr. Nevergold’s performance as President of the BOE has been severely
lacking. She has clearly illustrated partisanship and bias. Her
response shows she is in denial. The last meeting was a circus. She
allowed dialogue which violated decency, decorum and fairness allowing
one BOE member to be intimidated. I therefor:
“Move that Dr. Nevergold be removed as President of the BOE.”
G.) Issue #43. Motion #44. Pursuant to my memo of September 23, 2013
to Sharon Belton-Cottman, attached, and my prior memos and agendas, Ms.
Cottman’s behavior at BOE meetings and sub-committee meetings has been
devoid of the commonly accepted manners and decorum expected and
required of her position on the BOE. I therefore:
“Move that Sharron Belton-Cottman be admonished and sanctioned by the
BOE for her untoward behavior.”
H.) Issue #36. Appointment of Carl Paladino to union contract
negotiating team by the Superintendent.
I.) Issue #24. Appointment of Carl Paladino to Joint School
“It is easier to repair strong children than to fix broken men.”