Friday, September 13, 2013
Betsy's comments on Reuven Fenton's report in the NY POST:
I find it incredibly sad when a "reporter" leads readers into his own misleading diatribe and pretends that he is "reporting" rather than editorializing. He should have known better, or his editor at the NY POST should have edited the article before it went to print (see below). Norm Scott was there (I was hired to be the paralegal at a 3020-a in Massapequa, so I could not attend), and here is a link to Norm's post:
Anyway, let's go over the post by Mr. Fenton:
Fenton starts out in the first sentence with how Francesco "continued to hog the spotlight"...huh? I know that Francesco is a media star right now, but the implication that Francesco asked for an open and public hearing so that he could get media coverage is absurd. Sounds like jealousy to me, Mr. Fenton.
Fenton wrote "Francesco Portelos, accused of rampant insubordination at IS 49, opened the normally closed disciplinary procedure in the hopes of extending his 15 minutes of fame." What? In my 10 years of experience observing the 3020-a hearings and now as a paralegal, most teachers ask for an open and public hearing, and it is the right of the Respondent to ask for this, pursuant to the Commissioner's Regulations and 3020-a rules. Sounds like Fenton has some sour grapes in his mouth.
Fenton's total lack of knowledge of the hearings known as 3020-a come up in his next sentence: "But the move blew up in his face, when he was not allowed to speak...." OMG, the rules of procedure at these hearings is that the Department presents their case first, and the Respondent (and all his observers and legal team), can take notes and use it against the DOE when cross-examining the witness as well as when the Respondent's case (here, FP) starts, after the Department's case is over. Then the REAL facts come out, not just gobblygook and flambergat. The Department has what is called "the burden of proof" and must prove, by a "preponderance" of the evidence, that the specifications are true and the facts support them. This is where the neutrality (or not) of the arbitrator comes to play - as he or she finds the testimony of a witness credible or not credible. In my opinion, an arbitrator who finds the testimony of a Respondent and all of his or her witnesses not credible and terminates him or her is not neutral.
Fenton mentioned this with the helpful reminder that this process is not a real trial: "Unlike a normal trial...". Thanks for that, Mr. Fenton.I just hope that at the next hearings (September 23 and 30, 10 AM, 49-51 Chambers Street, tell the receptionist on the 6th floor that you are a member of the public for the hearing with Arbitrator Busto, and she will give you the room number) you'll be back, humbled by your flubberingness.
See you then!