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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Laura Brantley Becomes Director of The NYC DOE Gotcha Squad

Theresa Europe has been moved from the Gotcha Squad and Laura Brantley has become the Director of the Administrative Trials Unit (ATU) of the DOE:

Administrative Trials Unit

The Administrative Trials Unit is responsible for the prosecution of disciplinary cases.
ATU is available for trainings and advice on how to discipline a tenured employee or permanent civil servant and also to review documentation as it relates to the discipline process. If appropriate, ATU may draft charges under Education Law, Section 3020-a or Section 75 of the Civil Service Law against the subject employee. This process entails a joint effort by the principal and/or supervisor along with the ATU attorney to litigate a case against the employee either for the purposes of progressive discipline or to seek the employee's termination. Should you seek charges, you must schedule a Technical Assistance Conference (TAC) with ATU for a complete review of the employee's personnel file and any related discussions.

David Pakter and Rudy Giuliani

We all now know how the frame-up works: 
 The Gotcha Squad is empowered by the absolute immunity given to NYC BOE managers, administrators, and lawyers, who are defended in court by the Corporation Counsel, the Law Department of the City of New York...nice free legal help. Additionally, the arbitrators and NYC BOE Attorneys in the 3020-a proceedings ignore the "Labor FAQs" of the collective bargaining agreement policies established between the NYC BOE nd the UFT, all the time. I know, because I have attended the open and public 3020-a hearings of tenured teachers since 2003.

The entire process is fueled, edited, created, guided, and managed, by the lawyers at the Office of General Counsel, or the group that I call "The Gotcha Squad". 

 Remember, Union members and administrators are treated very differently in the New York City public school system. A principal who discriminates or does something else that is illegal or corrupt does not get the same punishment as a teacher or staff member, who, more often than not (especially if the individual is not 'politically connected'), is removed from the school - either fired immediately if this person is not tenured, or re-assigned to a "rubber room" if he/she has tenure - the minute a principal wants him/her ousted. Reasons are made up after the fact.

At 3020-a, anyone with tenure is "reviewed" by the NYC "Gotcha Squad", charged, and scheduled for a Hearing at which there is a disposition. Teachers and other staff are treated differently than administrators. This is a business, and the buyer is the City of New York. 

Now let me tell you about Laura Brantley quitting as a DOE Attorney during the 3020-a of David Pakter:

In my 2008-9 article David Pakter, a NYC Teacher and Whistleblower of the NYC Board of Education's Corrupt Practices, Sues in Federal Court on, I wrote an update:

A timeless article re-posted from 2009: Four years and four New York City Board of Education re-assignment centers ("rubber rooms") later, David Pakter completes his journey to hold the New York City Board of Education accountable for taking him away from his very successful career in the New York City public school system as an excellent teacher, and dumping him into the dungeons of the NYC rubber rooms. For what? For trying to expose racial discrimination at one school, and buying plants for the lobby at another. I've been there to see it all, and it's quite a story of retaliation and vindictiveness by the NYC BOE against a teacher who did the right thing and would not be silenced. by Betsy Combier


Betsy's note: David Pakter is a teacher who will teach again. His lesson will be perhaps not for the children he taught at the High School of Art and Design in New York City, but for adult learners who need to know how to stop the abuse by the New York City Department of Education of teachers who whistleblow what is happening in the City Schools.

UPDATE January 2013:

About 5 years ago David taped the disciplinary meeting about the plants with Principal Nieto of Fashion Industries, (where he was appointed after he was freed from the rubber rooms). Nieto and Michael La Forgia were recorded as they asked him about how to accept his offer of giving the school $10,000 as a donation, without incurring any repercussions from the NYC DOE. When the charges came in that he was being accused of selling watches and bringing plants into the building, he knew that he had a gem in his little digital recorder. Principal Nieto came in to testify for the NYC DOE about the "horribly insubordinate" employee named David Pakter, and David made sure that he had the tape in his jacket pocket. He also brought a tape playback machine. I attended all of his hearings.

The Hearing Officer for the Pakter 3020-a was Doug Bantle, in my opinion the absolute best arbitrator I personally have ever watched. Why do I think that? Because Mr. Bantle is fair to all parties, listens to all testimony, asks relevant questions about the testimony if something is left unclear, and makes decisions outside of the political forces which could, if he allowed, influence him. He doesnt allow anyone or anything to divert him from the facts in the case, and everyone - except the Gotcha Squad - praised him for his work. He was fired during the Pakter case because he would not allow David Pakter to be charged and appear for a third 3020-a. 

Principal Nieto settled in as her NYC DOE Attorney Laura Brantley started the direct examination. Nieto testified that she tried to get David to abide by school rules, in vain. She spent alot of time on the "meeting" at which she admonished David for bringing in plants, when the school had rules to follow. And she went on and on, oblivious to the fact that she was totally not truthful. She was quite credible in telling her lies under oath.

Betsy Combier and Chris Callagy
Then, it was David's NYSUT Attorney Chris Callagy's turn to cross-examine. Chris is a very handsome, talented actor ...opps, I mean lawyer...who loves to be 'on'. In that sense, he is one of the best attorneys that NYSUT has, as he can ask great questions without the party being asked these questions realizing they are not able to, or dont want to, answer, He started by asking really simple questions, and then switched to a style whereby he asked at the start of every question, "Isn't it true that....." as in, words to the effect of, "Isn't it true that the meeting that you just described was not held to discuss David Pakter's insubordination, but a huge, generous gift of money?" "Isn't it true that you did not discuss discipline?" etc.

Nieto just did not get it until several minutes into the cross. Suddenly, she sat up and, looking straight at Chris, said, in effect, "Wait a minute.....was this meeting taped???"

Chris said, "could be...."

DOE Attorney Laura Brantley stood up and said to Arbitrator Doug Bantle and Chris, "come outside with me now!."

Chris, Doug Bantle and Laura Brantley went outside. When Chris and Doug Bantle came back in, Bantle announced that Laura Brantley had quit the case, and that he had to adjourn until the NYC DOE found another attorney to take her place. Approximately two weeks later, Phil Oliveri came in as Brantley's replacement, and he did the best he could. The Department wanted to bring in a third set of charges which would be heard at the third 3020-a, but Bantle combined the new charges into the on-going hearing. Ms. Brantley was made ATU Director Theresa Europe's assistant.

Evidently the UFT and the DOE Gotcha Squad(s) didn't like Arbitrator Bantle not wanting to have David go through another 3020-a, and, stunning news came into the hearing when Arbitrator Bantle brought in his letter firing him from the NYC Panel. 

More recently, I heard Dennis Da Costa yelling at 3020-a Arbitrator Anne Powers that she had to change her ruling that a Respondent didnt have to pay for an adjournment. He said that Ms. Powers had to do what he told her to do, as he was her "boss" (he is Assistant Director of the Teacher Performance Unit). The door to the hearing room on the 7th floor was open, and I was walking by. NYSUT Attorney Jennifer Hogan was sitting with Powers and Da Costa.

Later that day, the Respondent, who had hired a private attorney to replace Ms. Hogan, told me, he was emailed a bill for $4800 from Arbitrator Powers, overturning her earlier ruling that he did not have to pay anything. The Respondent worried that he better pay her or he would be punished, by termination. He did not pay the amount. He was terminated.  

The Gotcha Squad MUST remain in control at all times.