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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mike Mulgrew Finally Admits He, the UFT, and NYSUT Were Wrong To Go Along With Investigators Who Falsely Substantiated Misconduct of UFT Members

 I am disgusted by the "I'm sorry" statements coming from Mike Mulgrew. That is exactly what I see in his turnaround on the horrible, incompetent, and malicious prosecution of UFT members by the NYC DOE investigative agencies - and here I include the Office of Special Investigations, Special Commissioner of Investigation, and the Office of Equal Opportunity, the "Gotcha Squad" .

When Randi Weingarten hired me to be a SWAT Team member for all members held in NYC "rubber rooms" (our nickname; they were called Teacher Re-assignment Centers or TRCs in all my reports) in 2007, I was given access, with Jim Callahan and Ron Isaacs, to all the rooms and all the members who needed advice. Jim and Ron both had other responsibilities, but my work was solely to help members in need. My office was on the 16th floor sandwiched between Gene Rubin, head of the Medical Office for the UFT, and Amy Arundell, head of everything else.

A few doors down were Michele Daniels and Howard Solomon. In fact, the 16th floor had all the grievance reps, so I would call/visit them whenever a member wanted me to, or whenever I had a question. I made sure to memorize the Collective Bargaining Agreement, or UFT contract.

So what?

So, I was told that whatever the NYC DOE charged a member with was true, and the member was guilty as charged. Under no circumstances was I to look into or question any investigation, as this would be tampering with it.

But Randi, then Mike Mulgrew and the UFT crew kept "the talk" alive, that the DOE was 'going after' members and the UFT would protect anyone charged.

They did not mean it, and proved it by setting members up to lose grievances, Appeals, and 3020-a.


Just one last tip - if you are charged with 3020-a for incompetency and/or misconduct of any kind, do NOT resign no matter how hard it is to say no.

That, dear readers, is the bottom line and a call to arms.

Betsy Combier, Editor
President, ADVOCATZ

Union prez urges more transparent process for teacher discipline at NYC schools

Ben Chapman, NY Daily News, August 28, 2015

Randi Weingarten, Mike Mulgrew

Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew called for an overhaul of the city Education Department’s employee discipline procedures in a highly critical letter sent to agency officials Friday.

In a two-page missive delivered to city schools boss Carmen Fariña and distributed to the press, Mulgrew urged Fariña to create a more fair process for probing and punishing teachers.
Carmen Farina

Proof that the current system needs work, Mulgrew writes, is a report by city investigators released last week that detailed the department’s mishandling of the investigation and suspension of a beloved Manhattan school therapist whose punishment has since been overturned.

“Students should not be deprived of able educators based on shoddy investigative work or personal predispositions, and we should never permit politics and personal agendas to matter more that truth,” Mulgrew wrote to Fariña.

In the letter, Mulgrew called on Fariña to create new, transparent and objective procedures for reviewing the findings of investigations of teachers.

He cited the case of Manhattan Public School 333 therapist Debra Fisher, who got into trouble for sending an email during work hours in October, seeking to raise cash for a needy student.

Fisher, a 10-year veteran of city schools, was suspended without pay for 30 days over the incident, fueling the ire of families across the city.

But on Aug. 18, a report from the city’s Special Commissioner of Investigation found that an Education Department investigator made inaccurate statements and drew the wrong conclusions in his probe of Fisher.

Education officials reversed Fisher’s punishment four days later.

In his letter, the union chief demanded an objective review of previously closed investigations conducted by the investigator who botched the Fisher case.

Mulgrew, who has enjoyed a smooth and relatively cordial relationship with Fariña — compared to his battles with her predecessors — wouldn’t comment on the flap. Neither would union reps.

But Education Department spokeswoman Devora Kaye said the agency’s reorganization of its investigative unit is already underway.

“We hired a new overhaul the division, and every case will now have an attorney reviewing and drafting the final investigative report,” Kaye said.

Fisher, who will return to work with a clean record when the new school year begins in September, agreed that the agency’s investigative process needs a fix.

“I think that changes need to be made,” Fisher said. “This system should not be hurting good people and that’s the bottom line.”

 On an issue that is testing President Randi Weingarten's public détente with the city, a new group within the United Federation of Teachers is arguing that the union take a tough stance on the treatment of teachers who have been disciplined.