Tonight's SC meeting seals the deal for the mayor officially to control virtually the entire shooting match. The SC was tasked with considering the hiring of new SC legal counsel. They revealed that they had turned over the entire negotiations for this matter to Margaret, Rob & Cyndy, with the brilliant "advice" from RVC and PDR (none of his beeswax to be telling SC what they can or should do!) No real public process at all, and it was cooked up in advance to get a rubber-stamp quickie "vote" (sham) to "approve" (already a done deal) the new plan. This new "plan" involves the entire bailiwick being turned over to the mayor's control, with an advertised position (advertisement already constructed and ready to go TOMORROW (blowing off Jess who wanted to consider this more but is content to do it privately with her bestie Cyndy)--in case anyone actually thinks a true deliberative and PUBLIC process was ever intended) of an Assistant City Solicitor under the management of RVC for 24 hrs per week for $62,000 (annualized to 90,000+). The SPED/Civil Rights outside counsel (Nuttal, et al) will continue (because they've done such a bang-up job of getting more business for themselves [:|] every time they provide the abysmal advice they have been doing for many years now, that often gets overturned by higher authorities--OCR anyone???--and then they get to represent the district AGAIN for more $$$$$$ to address their screw-ups!).[:)s]
So instead of correctly opening a bid process for a new SC attorney, as should have been done something like 3 years ago when Hollender's contract expired (if memory serves--CKK brought this up a number of times), they quickly signed onto this new scheme, supposedly to save money and with the belief that a fully qualified attorney will appear (not having access to a full-service educational law firm, of course, under this crackpot plan).
This new construct effectively eliminates whatever remained of the legally mandated separation of powers in our city governance, where the mayor's office will now have control, both fiduciary and managerially, of his new employee (under the umbrella of the City Solicitor's office). This is wrong, and it is dangerous. It's been a separation of powers only in name for many years, but now even that can't be claimed.
Point by point, this mayor has consolidated his power and made himself what amounts to a unitary executive. (What's a few oil tanks buried in unused graves sold off privately, anyway....? As long as they can keep burying the bodies and the loot--even if in someone else's box, all will be well in Dodge, give or take a few stray indictments here and there....)
The SC attorney is supposed to represent the SC. The city solicitor, such as he is, has a primary responsibility of representing the mayor. They might share cross-over, especially in a small municipality, but there is supposed to be a distinct and separate line of governance. Dolan and Driscoll have just eliminated it, with the help of their crack legal advisor and the eager votes of a negligent SC. There are definite conflicts of interest, and there was not so much of a hint of discussion about this centrally critical issue. Shame on all of them! (MD just got herself another term for next year as SC dictator, by the by--she must not have scored that Biz Mgr job she's been hoofing around for.)
And this, folks, is what this dumb, asleep-at-the-wheel Melrose public has allowed to happen, over and over again. Now it's all codified. And you certainly didn't hear any meaningful SC Self-Evaluation either, the process on tonight's agenda. Instead, Margaret collected a bunch of rubrics that will go into some version of buried minutes, and it will all be self-praising nonsense anyway. Bim Bam Boom, Meeting over, heading straight for the martinis and holiday cheer....
So let me get this straight:
1. Cyndy Taymore says she needs Patti White-Lambright to get back to the business her job was "designed" for, Parent-Pupil Services (SPED). This means she admits PWL hasn't been doing this job as designated? And the claim is that PWL has been so busy running investigations for civil rights complaints, etc. Really? And how many hours a day/week is this assistant superintendent supposed to be on the job, anyway--two? Either there is a massive number of new violations and complaints or something else is really amiss, because this highly paid administrator is not just some hourly employee but rather supposedly a highly qualified and proven administrative executive who is supposed to be able to manage her ASSISTANT role (one in which she has been paid handsomely since Joe Casey brought her on) in this tiny school district that employs TWO assistant superintendents (where larger districts have only one or even none--districts that presumably aren't getting sued the way Melrose is).
2. How about this School Committee step up and tell us, the public who is writing the checks, how many lawsuits, grievances, and "investigations" are occurring, and why? If PWL is so busy "investigating," why? About what?
3. Why is it that not one of those School Committee members asked how this new "assistant city solicitor for the schools" us supposed to legitimately be the Civil Rights Officer for the district, run the "investigations" (which have proven to be done illegally under this superintendent/city solicitor as OCR pointed out in stark language) and then adjudicate/defend the very same processes/investigations when/if they are challenged in court? This is "ridiculous" (to quote the crooked pres-elect). Are we supposed to believe that this administration now does everything in "exemplary" fashion after it refused to take one shred of responsibility for the colossal failures the entire region knows about? Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!
4. Margaret Driscoll stated clear as day that one of the functions of the district's legal counsel is to "frame motions" for the School Committee! It's obvious that this is exactly how she and Thorp have used legal counsel for many years, but doesn't this concern anyone (other than those of us who are not only concerned but outraged by it!)?! What was also admitted is that the Melrose School Committee is not at all an independent branch of our local government as their oath of office requires it to be. Doesn't anyone else care that this committee has ceded its authority and responsibility to the Executive Branch? (Or course in reality MD thinks she's in charge of the whole thing, or at least Rob lets her think that....)
5. So the SPED law firm will continue doing its thing, because it's so "highly specialized," but School Committee Labor/Civil Rights/All Other District Issues representation isn't???? And if this is the same SPED law firm that advised the district so wretchedly about how to manage the district teacher (head of the teacher's union) who told the METCO boy to "go back to the plantation," why wasn't that firm summarily fired instead of given free reign to defend the district again (and extract enormous legal bills) when the complaints were filed with the federal Civil Rights agencies?
Why is it that in Melrose proven incompetence is rewarded with even more authority and money? Can Melrose citizens really care so little and be so unengaged? Apparently that's the way it is and getting worse by the week.
How exactly could a School Committee under this new structure have any independence at all and responsibly take their legally mandated independent actions if, for example, they determined something to be amiss with the legal advice stemming from the Executive Branch or if they needed to take official action against it? Their attorney will be working for the mayor's attorney.
Apparently we are all supposed to be expecting the School Committee and mayor AND BOA (since they're obviously towing the line on most things as well, demonstrating nearly zero backbone) will just continue in their Kumbaya, We are One mode.
What a mess. Maybe it's all to keep us distracted from the federal and state mess.... or vice versa....
Complicated business. Thanks for the informational update and well-informed opinions.
All of these issues raised are serious ones.
Having the city solicitor and his new staff member handle civil rights complaints in house?? Are you kidding me? This is precisely why so much money had to be spent on outside counsel in the first place. It was the city solicitor's bad advice, incompetence, poor judgement and outright violations of civil rights laws that forced the school district and thus, the taxpayers to fork over hundreds and thousands of dollars in legal fees to outside counsel in order to unwind the mess created by this man's horrific actions and incredibly bad advice:
Dressing down the minority victim of a serious civil rights violation in the local newspaper(a child, mind you) by implying that the child might have had previous disciplinary issues, while at the same time, supporting the teacher and falsely indicating that the aggressor-teacher has an exemplary record.
Threatening, intimidating and retaliating against parents and victims of civil rights violations, harassment and educator/administrator misconduct who file complaints with the school district and advising teachers and administrators to do the same; all serious violations of civil rights laws.
I was watching MMTV the other night . This guy thinks he is going to be the Civil rights officer for the District? I do not know any parent in this district who has EVER even received a copy of the district's required investigation and outcome letter (as required by the District's own policy) after they have filed a harassment/bullying/civil rights complaint against an educator in this city. That's because it is never performed because the city solicitor, school resource officer and top district administrators (using these terms very loosely here) are too busy plotting attacks against victims and their parents to get them to shut their pie-holes and disappear. Yes, that's right: Even more retaliation, harassment and bullying heaped on the children and their families in the form of false police reports, false harassment charges, drive-bys and harassing calls courtesy of the school resource officer and even the occasional retaliatory false child abuse report to the Department of Children and Families (DYS). Yes, this all does wonders for your child's anxiety. If the threat of losing your child to DYS or being threatened by a cop or a city solicitor doesn't scare the crap out of parents I don't know what will. And this is how they get complainants to go away. folks; it's part of the school district playbook. But the worse things get, the more the school committee dwerps sit on their duffs, ceding yet more power to the Mayor and his henchmen, the city solicitor, SC chair, and superintendent: Blissfully ignorant of the crimes going on right under their very noses, and this is apparently the way Ed, Christine, Jessica, Liz and Jaime prefer it: See nothing, hear nothing, do nothing.[:-|]
While home values skyrocket, MHS kids get into Harvard and Melrose continues to be one of the best places to live and raise your kids; it is amusing to listen to all of the “sky is falling” rhetoric continue on this site by all of the private school parents disguising themselves as concerned citizens.
As good as things are now; they are poised to get better under Trump. The first act by Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, will be to kick the OCR out of the classroom. Sorry folks, political correctness is going away and OCR’s misguided influence over education is going with it. This is great news for students across the nation, in particular, the students of Melrose. Making America Great again!
So we're back to the Mayor's mantra that anyone that sees things for what they are is somehow automatically a private school parent? You are completely and totally full of crap.
If I can be buried here in my plot at Wyoming cemetery without being displaced by another body or an old oil tank I will be happy.
Henny, don't think Trump's pick for DOE will have any effect on the school department's civil rights policy. They've never abided by Civil Rights law in the first place, and have never even completed a civil rights investigation and outcome letter, other than the one the OCR forced them to do.
Secondly, Civil Rights laws and their protections don't take a seat outside the doorsteps of the schools (except in Melrose, of course). Short of new legislation by congress to strip away current civil rights laws on the books, everything will stay the same. But I'm sure Trump will consult with Putin before making any important decisions. [:)s]
Are you fu¢king kidding me Henny Penny? You're a class A idiot. I don't think I've read anything more ludicrous on this site before.
...DeVos was one of the architects of the Detroit charter school system. Douglas N. Harris, professor of Economics at Tulane University, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that DeVos was partly responsible for "what even charter advocates acknowledge is the biggest school reform disaster in the country." In the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Detroit had the lowest reading and mathematics scores "by far" over any city participating in the evaluation. She designed a system with no oversight, said Harris, and where schools that do poorly can still continue to enroll students....
Moral of story: Be careful what you ask for.
Just when, exactly, was America "great"?
What a load....
Now in control of everything city side and school. CT is his puppet.