Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Once Again, Betsy Combier Questions the Delay in Getting Information About the Feb. 24, 2015 Plenary Meeting About 3020-a Prosecution by the DOE

Betsy in her office at the UFT, 16th floor, 52 Broadway circa 2009
As many of you know, I filed a Freedom of Information request to the DOE FOIL office, headed by Joe Baranello, for information about what has become a "secret policy meeting" for 3020-a arbitration:.
Betsy Combier Files a Freedom of Information Request to Obtain the Information Given Out At The NYC DOE February 24, 2015 Secret Meeting on 3020-a Hearings

Joe Baranello and His New Facebook Comment on the City, as Well as His Refusal to Answer Betsy Combier's FOIL Request #11,129

Another Request Sent By Betsy Combier Concerning F11,129 For Records of the Mandatory 3020-a Meeting Held on February 24, 2015
Betsy Combier Asks FOIL Officer Joe BaranelloTo Clarify the Fees of $29.95/hr For F11,129

You are probably wondering why I am posting all of my requests for information relating to the February 24, 2015 plenary meeting held at Tweed, NYC Department of Education headquarters for all NYSUT and DOE Attorneys as well as all the NYC 3020-a arbitrators.

After investigating the procedures used at 3020-a for the past 12 years, and now working as a paralegal/advocate for Respondents charged with 3020-a, I need to know what the current policies are for 3020-a according to the "Star Chamber" folk.

One of the private Attorneys who works with me on 3020-a cases for almost 5 years asked the DOE General Counsel, Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, if we could attend the February meeting, and she told us that no, there was no space, and there would be another meeting for private attorneys at another time. That was the last we heard. Can we, the general public accept the fact that there is too much secrecy surrounding 3020-a and getting good people charged with frivolous charges?

 The fact that the public has been shut out of how DOE employees brought to 3020-a are to be prosecuted is alarming.

On May 8, 2015 I received an answer from First General Counsel Judy Nathan to my appeal of the denial of access to the information about the plenary meeting and about the fees. See below for the email reply from Ms. Nathan as well as my response to her, sent May 9, 2015:
May 9, 2015

Dear Ms. Nathan,

Thank you for the timely reply.

Ms. Nathan, your title is "First Deputy Counsel," and  you are listed underneath Charity Guerra, whose title is "Chief Deputy Counsel."

Please see the "Contacts" listing below.

I copied it from the Office of the General Counsel page on the website of the NYC DOE.


Courtenaye Jackson-Chase
General Counsel

Charity Guerra, Chief Deputy

Judy Nathan
, First Deputy

(Please note that General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase's email address was omitted from the "Contacts" listing on the webpage, so I will put it here:
I am concerned about your attached May 8, 2015 denial of my appeal, for the following reasons:

General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase and Chief Deputy Counsel Charity Guerra know very well that I have the facts on Ms. Guerra's jumping from the CSA to the DOE while defending a principal against the DOE in front of Arbitrator Joel Douglas.  I believe that your denial of my appeal is directly related to my knowledge about that case.  (Respondent J.K.)

And, I am currently suing Joseph A. Baranello, Esq., for FOIL violations.  I am in the New York State Supreme Court and my complaint concerns unreasonable delays by Mr. Baranello and his office when I requested the contract of former Chancellor Dennis Walcott.  I received nothing for almost two years. 

You state in your letter that my appeal is denied.

What part of my appeal is denied?  The part asking for a specific fee for records, which you now say you will give me a "cost breakdown" of (with respect to hard copies and/or recordings) "prior to the duplication and preparation"?  I think I won that point.

Or are you denying that the highest-ranking attorney in the Office of the General Counsel, Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, Esq., at your location, held the meeting that I am requesting documents for, and that all the documents are physically located in the Office of the General Counsel?

I think we are both aware that General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase (Chief Deputy Counsel Charity Guerra's boss, and, therefore, yours as well) was the person who headlined the meeting on February 24, 2015, and obviously has all the documents I am requesting.  I noticed that although I appealed to Ms. Jackson-Chase (who is also Joseph A. Baranello, Esq.'s boss, as well as being the same person who hired Charity Guerra, Esq., while she was defending Respondent J.K. against the DOE for CSA), she is not copied on the letter of "denial" of my appeal.  Why is that?

I am also quite concerned about your statements below:

"However, at this time the exact volume of responsive hard copy records and/or recordings remains unclear.  Once these records are located and reviewed, I direct the CRAO to provide a cost breakdown to you based on record type prior to the duplication and preparation of these records."

On March 17, 2015, I filed a freedom of information request for the documents, emails, videos, and all other relevant information concerning the February 24, 2015 meeting held in your office by Courtenaye Jackson-Chase and Adam Ross, UFT Attorney. The meeting is not for DOE personnel only, but the many different groups involved in NYC 3020-a arbitration. Two months later, you are claiming that you have no idea how many documents and/or recordings exist, and have to locate them. Did you ask Ms. Jackson-Chase?

Can you please spend five minutes on getting the documents and recordings I request from General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, and let me know within the next five business days?  If not, why not?

I will then pay $.25/page and the cost of the CD.

Or, in the alternative, I suggest that the FOIL Unit use a file-sharing service such as to eliminate the need for a CD.

Here is some information about the service:

Please clarify all of this for me, as I remain confused, and see only deliberate delay once again.

Thank you,

Betsy Combier
NYC Rubber Room Reporter

cc:  Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, Esq.
      Joseph A. Baranello, Esq.
       Robert J. Freeman, Esq.