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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Former Teacher Sues Mayor Bill De Blasio For Holding a Private Meeting in a Public School

Good for you, Michael!
Your fan,
Betsy Combier
Michael Thomas

Reply to the POST article from Michael Thomas:

The article in the Post misrepresented the lawsuit.  I did not allege that the meeting between the Mayor and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) should have been open to the public.  The Education Law only provides that social, civic and recreational meetings must be open to the general public.  (An SLT meeting is arguably a civic meeting.)
However, the meeting between the Mayor and the CWA – a labor union affiliated with the Working Families Party – was a meeting sponsored by a political organization.  The Education Law does not require that such a meeting is open to the general public, but does require that the meeting is first authorized by the Panel for Educational Policy.  The lawsuit alleges that the DOE improperly permitted the meeting, and the Special Commissioner of Investigation participated in a cover up. 
I take issue with being called a “gadfly.”  We are all advocates for an educational system that does not rely solely on charter schools to correct its deficiencies.

Ex-teacher sues de Blasio over private meeting in public school

, June 2, 2015, NY POST
A retired city educator wants to teach Hizzoner a lesson.
Gadfly and former math teacher Michael Thomas says in a new Manhattan lawsuit that Mayor de Blasio broke the law by barring a Post reporter and the rest of the public from a meeting at a Brooklyn elementary school last year.
The closed-door meeting, which occurred at PS 66 in Canarsie in July, involved de Blasio backing his union pals with the Communication Workers of America during their private contract negotiations with Cablevision.
Thomas claims the huddle broke a law that prohibits the use of public space for political purposes.
Both the union and its allied Working Families Party had endorsed de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral race.
Thomas is suing the mayor, city, Education Department and CWA, demanding the union reimburse taxpayers for costs related to the meeting, including security and overhead.
The retiree said he believes the cost is in the thousands of dollars, but is asking the court to place a price on the event.
“I think it’s important for transparency’s sake,” Thomas told The Post.
Thomas, 63, of the Upper East Side, worked in city schools from 1989 through 2012. He won a lawsuit against the city in April after he was denied entry to a School Leadership Team meeting on Staten Island.
A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said of Thomas’ current case, “We will review the complaint once we are served,” with court papers.
A CWA rep did not return a message seeking comment.

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