A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Investigating the Investigators and the Gill Commission Final Report
For many years I have looked for the two investigative reports published in March and April 1990 on the corruption inside New York City public schools, aided by the incompetency of the Inspector General Michael P. Sofarelli.
On January 12, 2009, I decided to stop in the Municipal Library (see picture above)at 31 Chambers Street (corner of Centre and Chambers, directly accross the street from the Manhattan Courts and inside the building of the Manhattan Surrogate Court)and see if I could copy the two books that have not, to my knowledge, been posted online:
"Investigating the Investigators: A Report on the Office of the Inspector General of the New York City Board of Education"; and, "Findings and Recommendations Of The Joint Commission On The Integrity In the Public Schools". I was given the approval to copy both reports, and I have made both available in this article on my website:
Two Reports, "Investigating The Investigators", and 'The Gill Commission Report' (1990) Dont Improve New York City Public Schools
These two reports are eye-openers for new parents and teachers and NYC BOE employees, but to old-timers in the system, the names of the people in these reports are well-known. No one who works for the "system" is ever gone for long. A report on the sex crimes of Jerry Olshaker and the cover-up by Howard Tames in the NYC BOE Personnel office is worth reading. And look at Bruce Irushalmi.
James Gill, the father of NYC Commissioner of the Department of Investigation (Rose Gill Hearn, at right), was appointed chair of the Joint Commission On Integrity in the Public Schools in 1989. He was a superb investigator, and produced the two best reports on public corruption that I have ever read. He recommended the removal of Michael P. Sofarelli, the Inspector General of the NYC Board of Education (who, after leaving the NYC BOE, Eliot Spitzer hired to investigate Medicaid fraud. He retired in 2003, and in 2005 Pataki started a new effort to rein in the Medicaid mess).
Ed Stancik (pictured at right) was the first Special Commissioner of Investigation, and he was ruthless in his independence from anyone. (See the report on former District 29 Superintendent Celeste Miller).
Both Rose Gill Hearn and Mayor Bloomberg didn't like this, so in 2002, after Mr. Stancik's death, Mayor Bloomberg changed Executive Order 11 which created the position of Special Commissioner to EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 15, which allowed a person who was NOT an Attorney to have the job. Newspapers were told to write about how Ed purged schools unnecessarily, and created a 'witch hunt'...but Richard Condon, his successor, has created something much worse, and is commended.
(From left to right) Special Commissioner of Investigation Edward Stancik, District Attorney Richard Brown, and Schools Chancellor Harold Levy announced the indictments of six individuals in what has been called "the fleecing of District 29.
Rose Gill Hearn then appointed her dad's friend Richard Condon. Both Mayor Bloomberg and Rose Gill Hearn made it clear that the investigators had to be under their control. SCI is, therefore, an agency that is not independent of the NYC BOE, despite statements from the investigators and Mr. Condon that they are not controlled by Joel Klein.
Indeed, the website of the Special Commissioner gives misinformation to those who would whistleblow their school or anyone who works there, by stating:
"Whether you work in the system, are a parent, a taxpayer, or a concerned individual, if you suspect wrongdoing at your local public school or elsewhere within the New York City Department of Education, contact us. Your identity can be kept confidential and City employees are protected against retaliation in the workplace."
This statement traps many. Ask yourself this question: "If I say something about the wrong-doing, and there is retaliation against me, what options to I have to remedy this situation, if I am fired, re-assigned, harmed, or my family is harmed?"
Answer: "If you do not have a $trillion dollars or a friend in the Governor's office, your options to fight the retaliation that will be forthcoming are few. Find a national reporter who will expose your school, instead".
As I have written in an earlier post, "News To Use", if you go to the City's Payrolls and type in Richard Condon's name, you weill find that he is paid by the "Department of Education, Administration", the same budget line that pays for Joel Klein and the Parent Coordinators, for starters. I spoke with an employee of DOI at 80 Maiden Lane, and he told me that everyone who works there is very angry that they are not allowed on the floor that Richard Condon's office is located on. See also my previous post, "Workplace Investigations: NYC Employees are in Danger"
We now know the kind of work that Richard Condon takes pride in:
New York City Teacher Theodore "Teddy" Smith and the Perfect Storm of Injustice
Theodore "Teddy" Smith Wins His NY State Supreme Court Appeal To Overturn Arbitrator Howard Edelman's 3020a Decision and Award
by Betsy Combier, Editor, Parentadvocates.org
New York State Supreme Court Judge Alice Schlesinger throws out arbitrator Howard Edelman's decision to punish excellent teacher Teddy Smith because, she writes, "Mr. Smith is challenging the decision and penalty…of the disciplinary process and finally and most importantly the performance of the second Arbitrator who decided the controversy based solely on the transcript of the proceedings before the first Arbitrator, thereby violating his due process right to a fair and impartial hearing...…It is fundamental to the fact finding process to be present when testimony is given, testimony which constitutes the evidence upon which the determination will be made...When an individual is denied fundamental due process, an argument that substantial evidence supports the decision is irrelevant."
NYC public school teacher Teddy Smith has fought City Hall since 2004 and has won a small but precedent-setting battle against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein, Richard Condon, and New York media who blindly follow the directives of the Special Commissioner and publish false information in order to "get" someone. Anyone. It could be you next time. Teddy refused to give up clearing his name and preserving his future. We salute him.
Theodore (Teddy) Smith was born and raised in Suffern, New York and graduated from Hampshire College with a BA degree, Goddard College with an MA, attended Sarah Lawrence as a special student, and has a BS degree from Empire State College, an obtained certification as a School Administrator from Fordham University. He has lived in New York City for over fifteen years.
He currently works as a account manager and on-air personality working afternoon drive for Central Broadcasting in Worchester County, Massachusetts; on-air personality for WGHT in North Jersey; WTBQ AM/FM in Orange County, NY, and WPAT Multi-cultural Broadcasting in New York. He has also worked full-time in New York City for the Department of Education as a physical education and health teacher, currently with a Supervisory Administrator’s License (SAS), with “satisfactory” service for over ten years, with tenure in 1999. Concurrently, Mr. Smith taught part-time for the United Nations After-school Program as a physical education and martial arts teacher for thirteen years.
Teddy was harassed into teaching a part-time gym class with more than 65 children (often almost 100 at one time) at The Museum School on West 17th street in Manhattan. He also has a heart condition for which he asked his Principal (Lindley Uehling) to be accommodated – although he was and is able to perform his job - but was turned down and his needs were ignored.
1)On April 30, 2008, Teddy Smith won a decision from the Supreme Court of the State of New York regarding the attached matter against The New York City Department of Education. Entire file, documents and exhibits are filed at New York Sate Supreme Court, New York County, 60 Centre Street, New York, Index #117051/07. Attorney: Mr. William A. Gerard.
2)Richard Condon, Special Commissioner of Investigation, Gerald P. Conroy, Deputy Commissioner of Investigation and Michael Humphries, Investigator for The New York City Department of Education released a false and fraudulent report regarding Theodore Smith with respect to this same matter and arbitration.
3)First arbitrator, Jack Tillem, colluded and grievously misled the hearing and record by having off-the-record, ex parte conversations with Smith’s former attorney David Kearney of the Law Offices of Neal Brickman in New York, Teresa Europe, Deputy Counsel to the Chancellor of the Department of Education, and Susan Jalowski, Attorney for the Department of the Education. These off-the-record conversations were also held on cell phones at the point of decision and documented in the legal transcripts for the arbitration as well as in the Supreme Court decision reversing a second arbitrator’s, Howard Edelman, decision.
4)The New York Daily News and The Chief newspapers of New York City released falsified, inaccurate and unsubstantiated stories based upon a bogus report supplied by the New York City Department of Education in conjunction with an investigation led by the special commissioner, Richard Condon. The story in the Daily News was written by Carrie Melago. Carrie Melago stated that Mr. Smith made an alleged death threat to the arbitrator Jack Tillem. Jack Tillem never said that Mr. Smith had made a death threat against him. It was Smith’s former attorney David Kearney who falsely told Jack Tillem and the Department of Education attorneys in an off-the-record phone conversation, that Smith had made the alleged threat. Carrie Melago never interviewed Mr. Smith or his present attorney before having the story sent to press. In an email sent to Teddy Smith, Melago stated that she would write a follow-up story when he was vindicated. Smith was never found guilty. Richard Steier from The Chief also wrote a false and misleading story concerning Smith. He wrote that Teddy Smith allegedly threatened to kill the arbitrator, without interviewing Mr. Smith.
5)Lindley Uehling, former principal of the New York City Museum School in Manhattan and now in the Admissions Department of Hunter College High School in Manhattan has testified that Mr. Smith had oversized physical education classes of over 100 students, 75 students and other oversize classes while alone in the gym for months without any help from assistants. Uehling said that this was part of Mr. Smith’s job in documented testimony. Meanwhile, Ms. Uehling was violating the teacher’s contract by not informing the chancellor or teacher in writing that she was overseeing physical education classes in excess of 50 students.
6)Assistants that were assigned to Smith’s oversized classes three months after the school year also often did not report to the classes leaving Mr Smith alone with the oversized classes. Also, some of these assistants that were assigned to these classes were not state certified and were not certified in physical education. Uehling testified that for the first three months of the physical education program there was no gym to hold classes because there was a leak in the ceiling. The physical education classes that Mr. Smith was hired to teach was always considered a part-time program. This was considered an illegal program. In order to justify hiring Mr. Smith fulltime the principal inflated the class periods. Smith had a program where he taught 17 to 18 period per week. Former principal Uehling made the physical education program add up to 25 teaching periods per week by making Smith teach a class alone with over 100 students in the class for close to one year. By teacher’s contract, Smith was required to teach the entire school physical education and health classes at least three times per week. Uehling had him scheduled for only once per week for only one to two periods.
7)Smith and his council asked the arbitrator during his hearing in 2007 in to see the budget during the calendar year 2004-2005 to point out what must be discrepancies when he was teaching under such objectionable and illegal circumstances. They were denied access to the budget in any way by the arbitrator Jack Tillem during the hearing.
8)Teddy filed a Federal law suit against the City of New York Department of Education and individuals asserting disability retaliation, discrimination, retaliation, age discrimination, and slander.
9)Arbitrator Jack Tillem asked Smith’s former attorney David Kearney to bring a check with him for $1,600 to a hearing because Smith was sick the night before the hearing with a doctor’s note. The arbitrator had an ex parte conversation with former attorney David Kearney regarding Smith bringing the check for $1,600. This conversation was never placed in the record.
10)Principal Linda Uehling changed Smith’s grade in June, 2005. Class lists with the true amount of students in his classes were falsified.
11)Ted Smith was denied peer intervention which he requested in writing.
12)A report by the Department of Education confirms that during the 2004-2005 school year when Ted Smith was teaching 15 out of 21 left the school that year. The report shows that the school was in total chaos throughout that year.
13)An e-mail dated January, 2005 was sent from Department of Education Fay Pallen on her Blackberry device that was supposedly supposed to be sent to former principal Lindley Uehling. This e-mail was sent to Mr. Smith by mistake. The nature of this e-mail is entirely about the subject of how to simply get rid of Ted Smith by finding reasons giving him 2 unsatisfactory yearly ratings. Also, to get Victor Ramsey the former Director of Physical Education Region 9 in Manhattan, to write a negative evaluation about Mr. Smith. Mr. Ramsey did just this, however he explained personally that the class that he had observed was excellent. Upon questioning by Smith, subsequent to the bad report, he issued an updated report that was good.
14)Arbitrator Jack Tillem informed Smith’s former attorney David Kearney in front of Smith at the end of the Department of Education’s presentation of witnesses, before Mr. Smith had a chance to bring in his witnesses, that he had already made up his mind against Mr. Smith with a three to six month suspension. Smith sent a letter to the arbitrator at his office protesting this, explaining that the arbitrator was tilted, biased and partial by making such a statement before Smith even had a chance to call in his own witnesses.
15) A new Arbitrator, Howard Edelman, was assigned to Smith’s case in June of 2007. Mr. Smith’s new attorney William Gerard asked Mr. Edelman to hold another hearing because the previous record and hearing had obviously been biased and tainted. And, that in fairness the new arbitrator must hear the case himself to correctly substantiate the validity of testimony of the witnesses. This was a point in question that the Supreme Court Judge used, among others, to rule against arbitrator Edelman who without hearing any testimony ruled against Mr. Smith. The punishment was one year without pay and benefits and upholding the principal’s bogus “unsatisfactory” rating. This unsatisfactory rating, which would make it impossible to be again hired in the school system, was the only such in over ten years with tenured service for the New York City Department of Education.
16) Edelman ignored all the evidence and principal Uelhing’s own testimony that put her in gross violation of the United Federation of Teachers contract, putting the students in jeopardy with safety issues by ordering Mr. Smith to teach the oversized classes.
17) Smith wrote letters of complaint to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Chancellor Joel Klein, and his complaints were responded to by sending Mr. Smith to the Teachers Reassignment Center, notoriously known and vehemently written against about in the press, as “The Rubber Room,” located at 333 Seventh Avenue, 8th Floor, in New York City.
Read Investigating the Investigators (86 pages) and Findings and Recommendations of the Joint Commission and you will see how the system "works", even today. In fact, the corruption and fraud that you can read about in these documents are nothing compared with what is going on right now, in the hallways, offices, and closets of our public schools by administrators of the "new" Board of Education, nicknamed the "Department of Education" so that people are misled into thinking that Mayor Bloomberg legally changed the name. He didn't. We dont have any school board to complain to.
Teachers for the most part see and hear everything that goes on in a school building. Administrators who want to hide something try their best to harass those who work in their building so that no one tells anyone anything.
Teachers know that they are "mandated reporters" and must report what they see and hear, or they will be punished. The sad irony here is that teachers who report wrong-doing are punished, if the Principal has not been given a directive to do otherwise. The Online Occurrence Reporting System (OORS) is, after all, color-blind and doesn't know who's who in the "protected" category. That is why some teachers are removed immediately from their classrooms without cause (and may never know why) and some stay. Who stays and who goes really is not related to how "nice" the teacher is, or how good, or whether or not the kids love him/her. The decision is made randomly by a Principal and the "higher-ups", the people who read the OORS emails. Then the name is checked for political connections, potential whistleblower status, credentials, age, previous allegations, convictions, etc. Questions such as "How much salary is this teacher making?" "Does any politician want to give this person's job to someone?" become relevant. Tom Robbins of the Village Voice looked briefly at Regina Loughran, a Deputy at SCI, in 2005:
"Law and Disorder: Special Victims Unit
Investigators say the city's independent schools watchdog has often failed to bark
Tom Robbins, The Village Voice, December 06, 2005
Back in 1997 police arrested a man named Ronald Taylor, who worked as an assistant public school principal in Harlem. Taylor, 50 years old at the time, easily ranked as a parent's worst nightmare. His arrest came after the mother of a student walked into a local police precinct and reported that Taylor had lured her 15-year-old son to his apartment with an offer to play with his video game collection. He then proceeded to sexually molest him. When cops went to investigate they found Taylor had tricked up his West Harlem apartment as a kids' game room. They also found some 400 X-rated videos.
Unlike a score of school-personnel sex-abuse cases from that era, Taylor's arrest got little news play. The Times ran a short item on an inside page and the Daily News carried one as well, on page 79. The lack of attention was partly because the arrest did not emanate from the efficient publicity machine of Edward Stancik, the late special commissioner for investigation for city schools.
For 12 years until his death in 2002, Stancik's gaunt features were a staple on TV newscasts as he told of corrupt bureaucrats and twisted sex abusers nailed by his office. Such cases made Stancik wildly unpopular in the teachers' union offices and the old Board of Education headquarters on Livingston Street in Brooklyn, where he was viewed as a merciless inquisitor, a publicity hound whose investigations were measured mainly for their TV and news-ink potential.
On the other hand, many politicians, journalists, prosecutors, and parents adored him, viewing Stancik as a valiant warrior against an intractable bureaucracy. So what if he knew how to use the media? What better way to send a message to the public and bad guys alike that wrongdoing won't be tolerated? When Stancik died at age 47 of heart failure in March 2002, there were some misgivings expressed about his occasional overzealousness. But the editorial call was to make sure the watchdog office he'd led didn't lose its fangs.
But a few months after Stancik's death, something unusual in the world of law enforcement happened. A former top investigator in his office, an ex-detective who had been a supervisor there for five years, sat down and wrote two lengthy letters to city officials alleging that a top Stancik deputy named Regina Loughran had dropped the ball in several important cases, either delaying arrests or letting the bad guys get away altogether. In some instances, it was alleged, Loughran had changed cases from being "substantiated" to "unsubstantiated."
The complaints were investigated by city attorneys, and several were confirmed. Yet Loughran today remains as powerful as ever, serving as the $151,000 number two official in the special investigators' office. Former and current investigators, both men and women, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told the Voice they were puzzled by the inaction. "If we had caught someone in the education system behaving this way, they'd be long gone," said one former investigator.
Among the cases the investigators cited was that of Ronald Taylor.
According to the former detective and others familiar with the case, nearly a year before Taylor's arrest by police, investigators in Stancik's office had asked permission to launch a probe of the school official. The request was made after a prison social worker contacted the investigations office to say that an inmate was claiming to have been sexually abused by Taylor, his former teacher. Investigators initially dismissed the charge as one more prisoner trying to reduce his sentence. But the details of the story were disturbingly precise: Taylor had asked the student, then 15 years old, to carry a crate of milk up to his apartment. Once he got him inside, Taylor had sexually assaulted him. The inmate described the apartment in detail.
Investigators drove to upstate Green Haven Correctional Facility to interview the inmate, who convinced them that a sexual predator was loose in the schools. The statute of limitations had expired on the earlier assault, but the inmate said he was willing to wear a recording device to a meeting with Taylor to see if he could get him talking about other victims. The investigators relayed that offer to Loughran, then the attorney-in-charge of the child sexual-abuse unit and a key figure in the office. Loughran refused.
"The issue for her seemed to be, 'Why spend the time and money to get this kid out of jail and wire him up for a case that's too old,' " a former investigator told the Voice. "We argued that if we have this one person there are probably others out there at risk."
Loughran was adamant. But the investigators, most of them retired NYPD detectives who lived by chain of command, declined to appeal the decision over her head. The case was closed. Nine months later, the outraged mother of another victim filed her complaint with police. Taylor was immediately arrested and later sentenced to serve up to three years in prison. Under questioning, he said something that chilled both cops and school investigators. He said he was HIV-positive.
Ed Stancik's public posture was of a manager with a stern "the buck stops here" policy. But according to the former detective and others, the often ailing commissioner ceded wide authority to Loughran, a hardworking former sex-crimes prosecutor whose ability to turn out clearly written reports was highly prized by Stancik and his successor.
Investigators said Loughran was also often tempestuous, given to sudden rages and sulks. What made their jobs most difficult, however, was her apparent skittishness about dealing directly with outside prosecutors who were needed for any criminal referrals. "She just seemed intimidated or something," said one veteran ex-detective who worked in the office for years. "If we had a tape we needed to get to the D.A. she would have you drop it off with the officer in the lobby, rather than make a call to the prosecutor personally."
As a result, the investigators said, the case of the predatory assistant principal was just one of the instances in Stancik's old office where the system simply broke down.
There was the case of the art instructor accused of having displayed nude photos of himself to disabled students, confiding that "what a girl wants is a big dick." (The photos weren't found, and Loughran decided the students' testimony was "problematic," ordering investigators to change their findings from "substantiated" to "unfounded." When Board of Ed administrators asked for investigators to testify against the teacher to bar him from further employment, Loughran refused to allow it.)
There was the 48-year-old male teacher who admitted driving a 17-year-old female student to a funeral home parking lot in the Bronx and asking her, "What if I told you I wanted to go down on you?" (The teacher said he was trying to help her learn to fend off improper advances. The principal vouched for the teacher, and the girl later admitted she'd neglected to say they were also drinking beer at the time. Loughran said her testimony was inconsistent and ordered the case dropped.)
And there was Paul Kerner, a 61-year-old teacher at Sheepshead Bay High School who romanced an 11th-grade girl, taking her to Atlantic City casinos and a motel where he coerced her into performing fellatio and other sex acts. The investigator on the case urged Loughran to make a quick criminal referral to prosecutors, but the deputy balked. "I don't know what to do, let's hold off," she said, according to a report of the incident.
The office dithered so long that the victim called the investigator, complaining that Kerner was now stalking her, and asking why he hadn't been arrested yet. The investigator asked Loughran for permission to take the case to a friend at the FBI. Loughran expressed skepticism that the bureau would be interested, but reluctantly agreed. But when the FBI came seeking the backup documents for the case, Loughran balked again, forcing agents to get a grand jury subpoena. (Kerner was eventually convicted in federal court, where he received a 33-month sentence. Annoyed at the investigator who had called the bureau, Loughran allegedly had him transferred out of the sex-crimes unit.)
Yet another disturbing case posed an investigative challenge, one that Stancik's former detectives readily accepted, given the stakes, but which Loughran flat-out rejected. In that instance, a former city high school student, now a grown man and a member of the Army Reserves, called the office to say that his former principal had repeatedly sexually abused him a few years earlier. According to his story, he had been a fatherless youngster whom the principal had taken under his wing, bringing him on camping trips to Lake George and elsewhere where he had repeatedly molested him. On the advice of his therapist, the man had decided to confront and report his abuser. Once he did, the principal immediately resigned.
The Stancik investigators were able to get a consensually recorded telephone conversation in which the principal admitted his sexual abuse of the former student. Like the Ronald Taylor case, however, the acts were too old to prosecute. But investigators said the ex-principal (a Boy Scout troop leader who still lived with his mother) fit the profile of "a classic pedophile," and they believed he had to have preyed on others.
The next step, they proposed to Lough-ran, would be to wire up the ex-student and have him meet with the former principal to see if they could pick up leads on other victims. They would also talk to teachers and students at the principal's school to find out if other boys had been similarly "befriended." Loughran wouldn't hear of it. According to two former investigators, she said, "He is out of the system. Shut it down." (Loughran has denied using those words.)
In an effort to try to breathe new life into the case, one of the investigators reached out to a federal prosecutor he knew who was familiar with sex-crime statutes to ask if there was any other law the ex-principal might have violated. Loughran later said she was "upset" and "embarrassed" by the call, which she said duplicated her own research and had been made without her permission. Investigators said it was much more dramatic than that. "She was livid," said one of them. When the investigator was asked why the call had been made, he responded: "Because I'm trying to catch the son of a bitch."
According to the investigators, Lough-ran retaliated by shifting one of the two probers who had worked the case, considered one of the office's most productive teams, out of the sex unit. Loughran later insisted the assignment change had been made by Stancik, not her.
But it still wasn't over. The former principal, concerned at possible civil liabilities, offered to purchase a $250,000 house for the victim in exchange for a promise not to pursue further legal action. When Loughran learned of the offer, she allegedly said that the victim might be arrested for extortion, a suggestion that appalled the investigators. (As it happened, the deal fell through.)
"He had been a principal for 20 years, he had such power," said one of the investigators recently. "All he had to do was find another weak kid. We felt there had to be other victims. It was so egregious to shut it down. Pedophiles don't do it once and then go home. You don't have to be Columbo to figure that out."
The two letters detailing the complaints about the bungled past cases landed on the desk of city department of investigations commissioner Rose Gill Hearn in early 2003.
Hearn technically oversees the schools investigation unit (its offices are located in the same Maiden Lane building as DOI), but because of its sensitive mission it operates largely independently. Still, Hearn took the complaints seriously, assigning a pair of senior attorneys to look into them. Over the course of several months, the attorneys interviewed 10 current and former employees of Stancik's old special commissioner's office, including Loughran. During the interviews, the attorneys turned up another instance, in which a complaint about a Bronx teacher accused of sodomizing several young male students had been confirmed by the Stancik office but had somehow never been referred to prosecutors.
Those findings were in turn forwarded to Stancik's successor, Richard J. Condon, a former police commissioner who in the past headed investigative squads for the Manhattan and Queens district attorneys. When Condon took over in June 2002, he retained Loughran, bumping her up a notch to first deputy commissioner. A DOI spokesperson, Emily Gest, said the office hadn't ordered any changes or discipline for Loughran, but had "shared the facts and findings of its investigation, for Commissioner Condon to take any necessary remedial actions."
Condon said that he too took the complaints seriously, spending hours wading through old investigative files. "I was not a witness to this history," he said. "Most of these things happened years before I got here."
The standard he used in examining the cases, Condon said, was whether Loughran had had a "rational basis" for her decisions. In two instances—that of the art instructor who had shown the nude photos, and the teacher who had posed the obscene remarks to the student—Condon said he disagreed with Loughran's actions, but cautioned that even this conclusion was "probably unfair."
As for the failure to make a criminal referral in the Bronx sodomy case, Condon said the explanation was simple. "She screwed up. It happens." He noted that the office had handled a total of 1,800 cases during the period under review. Loughran also later told DOI's inquiry that she was "baffled" how she had failed to make the referral, but said if she was to blame so were her former bosses, Stancik and Robert Brenner, who served as Stancik's first deputy commissioner. (Brenner, now with the investigations firm Kroll Inc., did not return calls.)
At the end of the day, however, Condon said he chalked up the complaints to honest disagreements. "I am used to investigators and prosecutors arguing over whether cases should be prosecuted," he said.
Condon told the Daily News' Kathleen Lucadamo, who asked about the probe last month, that he considered Loughran "one of the straightest, most hardworking prosecutors I have ever worked with."
He told the Voice that he'd encountered none of the erratic behavior by Loughran described by the investigators. "I have been here three and a half years working next door to this woman and I have never seen the behavior these people describe," he said.
In a letter to DOI, however, Condon said he had changed office procedures to make sure he personally reads all complaints that come into the office and examines "every substantiated and unsubstantiated case."
Loughran, who declined to speak to the Voice, wrote Condon a lengthy defense of her actions, insisting that her decisions at the office had been "common-sense based and not capricious by any rational standard."
The investigators, past and current, remain unconvinced. "This isn't just disagreeing over cases," said one. "Yeah, there's always tension [in other investigative offices] between the investigators and the prosecutors. But it's always motivated by respect, and everyone understands they're a team. Here, you don't get that. And they're supposed to be about helping the kids."
I personally have brought documented proof of wrong-doing to SCI about the financial affairs at Stuyvesant High School (I was a parent member of the PA from 1999-2007), and then, in 2006, I received a telephone call from SCI Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fennell, who yelled, "SCI "would NEVER look into Stuyvesant High School's financial affairs, ever, and dont ever bring Stuyvesant back to this office."
So, when a teacher asks a question that should never be asked, such as "Where is Jane's IEP?", a Principal has to make a decision to end this teacher's career immediately or not, by reporting something into the OORS which goes to the Special Commissioner of Investigation. The person whose name is entered is now marked as 'trouble'.
How we got here is available in postings that I and others have made on this blog, my website (parentadvocates.org) and in various local newspapers. You will not find the information in the New York Times, the NY Daily News, the NY Post, Newsday, or any other newspaper owned, operated or aligned with either Rupert Murdoch or Mortimer Zuckerman.
Posted by Betsy Combier at 6:04 PM No comments:
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