The vendor is DTI, a computer-sleuthing firm in Atlanta, and according to Education Department spokesman Doug Cohen, city regulations govern employees’ dealings with vendors such as DTI, which is now known as Epiq.
“It is inappropriate for employees to endorse vendors in their advertisements,” Cohen said. (see Ben Chapman's article in yesterday's NY Daily News, below).
I think this is not the story.
The real story is the lack of supervision at OSI.
Here is Mr. Danko's Linkedin profile:
NYC schools investigator pulled from post after appearance in ad
A senior schools investigator has been yanked from his job after appearing in an advertisement for a vendor the city uses.
Gerard Danko, a Department of Education confidential investigator, was removed from his post Feb. 1 after the Daily News inquired about a probe of his appearance in marketing materials for computer-sleuthing firm DTI.
Atlanta-based DTI received nearly $100,000 in city contracts for tracking school employees’ improper computer usage — including pornography — from 2014 to 2017.
Danko, 53, crowed about the company’s services in a “case study” published on DTI’s website that said the city struggled with a backlog of employees’ internet misuse.
“When misuse, such as viewing pornography, is brought to the department’s attention, they are responsible,” the case study read. “The DoE had a backlog of computers.”
But, according to the ad, DTI helped end the backlog.
“Working as an extension of the DoE Special Investigations Unit, DTI is able to provide the DoE with the information they need to discipline or dismiss rogue employees,” the ad said.
“To quote Gerard Danko, DoE Supervising Confidential Investigator, ‘the investigatory skills of the DTI forensics team and reports they generate represent a grand slam’ for his unit.”
Danko is a former New Rochelle cop who continues to draw his $74,635 salary, from a rubber room, while his case is being investigated by the Special Commissioner of Investigation and the Conflicts of Interest Board.
Education Department spokesman Doug Cohen said city regulations govern employees’ dealings with vendors such as DTI, which is now known as Epiq.
“It is inappropriate for employees to endorse vendors in their advertisements,” Cohen said.
Cohen also denied the city Office of Special Investigations has a backlog of misconduct cases.
“OSI has a talented and experienced team of investigators who work tirelessly to thoroughly review each complaint in a timely manner,” he said.
Danko investigated hundreds of cases of improper employee behavior over his special investigations career that began in 2010.
He didn’t respond to calls for comment.
Epiq spokeswoman Jill Brown said Danko wasn’t paid for appearing in the DTI case study.
“Mr. Danko was not compensated for appearing in our marketing materials, nor is Mr. Danko a current or former employee of Epiq (formerly known as DTI),” Brown said.
But Brooklyn College and City University of New York education professor David Bloomfield said Danko is in a delicate position, whether he was compensated or not.
“DOE employees are supposed to seek out opinions from the ethics office before entering into questionable practices, even if the activity is subsequently deemed permissible or the conflict is waived,” Bloomfield said. “Should have happened here since the red flags are there in terms of a relationship outside the scope of the employee’s job.”
And then there is the story of Wei Liu (2015):
The key to any case of misconduct brought to Arbitration and/or Court is the investigation.
Working as I do in solving the puzzle of what really happened in a matter involving a person charged with misconduct of some sort, I am very familiar with the investigators in New York City's investigation units - the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI), or Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). All are, in my opinion, under the control of "legal" at the New York City Department of Education, ranging from total control (OSI) to less control (SCI).
For the most part, the investigators are former policemen working on their second pension. Most are good at their jobs, (and that is substantiating whatever the principal or Superintendent wants), but some are not so good. In 2015, Wei Liu became one of the latter.
In 2014 he made, in my opinion, a bad mistake. See the article I posted in 2014:
The story posted here about how teacher Deb Fisher helped Aaron Philip, a student with cerebral palsy, published in the New York Times will disgust and disturb you.
The corruption and malicious prosecution of the New York City Department of Education is oozing from the walls of secrecy behind which the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) , Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), the Sturmabteilung "brown shirts" - Department of Investigation, Office of Special Investigations, Special Commissioner of Investigation, and Office of Equal Opportunity have hidden their collaboration and approval.
This website and other blogs such as NYC Rubber Room Reporter, New York Court Corruption, and National Public Voice have highlighted the actions of these groups and the individuals within them, such as Chancellors Joel Klein, Cathie Black, Dennis Walcott, Carmen Farina, the Gotcha Squad (here and here) and the attorneys - Adrienne Austin and Jade Fuller, Arbitrator attorneys Haydee Rosario, Doyle Pryor, just to name a few - who convict people without facts or the law behind them. Particularly disturbing is the tainted actions of the investigators who should be honest and fair in their investigations, and are not, deliberately and maliciously. The stories of teachers Natalya Sokolson, Glenn Storman, Lucienne Mohammed, Glen Fox, and countless others have been written about on this website and the blogs mentioned above. Their lives were destroyed for no reason, and I know each of their cases extremely well. This is again evident here in the story about Aaron Philip, posted below from the article in the New York Times.
We all must expose all the corrupt acts of those who take public money and then attack innocent people, and not let bias get in the way.
Anyway, the story of Aaron Philip and Deb Fisher must be distributed, and we all must take notice that Deb Fisher was wrongfully suspended, yes....and that she would have been fired if she did not have the protection of tenure.
We need to protect the public school teachers like Deb Fisher, and keep tenure rights in New York City, just as we need to get rid of the brown shirts and leadership of the NYC Department of Education. The NYC DOE is not interested in putting the needs and achievement of children above the false charges against innocent people who challenge their fraud and corruption.
Bureaucracy Turns a Hero Into a Rogue
This is a story of an almost unfathomably mindless school bureaucracy at work: the crushing of an occupational therapist who had helped a young boy build a record of blazing success.
The therapist, Deb Fisher, is now serving a suspension of 30 days without pay for official misconduct.
She raised money on Kickstarter for a program that she and the student, Aaron Philip, 13, created called This Ability Not Disability. An investigator with the Education Department’s Office of Special Investigations, Wei Liu, found that Ms. Fisher sent emails about the project during her workday at Public School 333, the Manhattan School for Children, and was thus guilty of “theft of services.”
The school system has proved itself unable to dislodge failed or dangerous employees for years at a time.
Ms. Fisher’s case seems to represent just the opposite: A person working to excel is being hammered by an investigative agency that began its hunt in search of cheating on tests and record-keeping irregularities. It found nothing of the sort. Instead, the investigation produced a misleading report, filled with holes, on the fund-raising effort.
By omitting essential context, the report wrongly suggested that Ms. Fisher was a rogue employee, acting alone and in her own self-interest.
In fact, the entire school, including the principal, was involved in the Kickstarter project, with regular email blasts counting down the fund-raising push. And the money was to be used not by Ms. Fisher, but by Aaron, who is writing a graphic book and making a short film about Tanda, a regular kid who is born with a pair of legs in a world where everybody else has a pair of wheels.
Aaron has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to navigate the world. Ms. Fisher has worked with him since kindergarten.
“It’s beyond measure, the greatness, of how she has exposed Aaron to so many things,” Aaron’s father, Petrone Philip, said.
Aaron writes a lively Tumblr blog called Aaronverse. He has addressed all the employees of Tumblr as a guest of David Karp, who created the platform. He was taken under the wing of Fred Seibert, the founder of a hugely successful animation studio, Frederator, who had mentored Mr. Karp when he was a teenager inventing Tumblr. On his blog, Aaron urged Good Housekeeping to make sure that its research arm included disabled children in its testing of toys.
All of this was possible because he is a powerful presence, and he had Ms. Fisher at his side, according to the boy’s father. “She goes above and beyond the call of duty,” Mr. Philip said.
During a brief period of unemployment for Mr. Philip, the family moved to a homeless shelter. Learning this by chance, Ms. Fisher began a relentless campaign to get them permanent housing in an accessible building. She helped set up swimming lessons for Aaron. Ms. Fisher, 55, is passionate and hard-driving; her phone calls and emails can be like buckshot. She and another therapist started “Master Arts” for children with disabilities, devising tools to help their painting efforts. She received a mayoral commendation.
Last year, when Aaron wanted to create the book and the film, he and Ms. Fisher realized he was too young to run his own Kickstarter drive. Instead, Aaron told the investigators, they created an organization to help children like himself.
“We are all very excited to share our partnership with ThisAbilityNotDisability.org,” P.S. 333’s principal, Claire Lowenstein, wrote in an email on Jan. 11.
The goal was to raise $15,000. The school’s office regularly sent out updates like these: “7th Grader Aaron Philip is Almost 2/3 of the Way to His Goal”; “Aaron Philip is $1,621 Away From His Goal.”
In the end, he raised $16,231. The school celebrated at a town hall session.
In the meantime, a co-worker with whom Ms. Fisher had had continuing disagreements made a series of charges against her. Ms. Fisher had complained that the co-worker was physically bullying and taunting her. The special investigators found that none of the serious allegations against Ms. Fisher were true, but said she was guilty of fund-raising for “her own charity.”
The report made no mention that the entire building had been involved with the effort, nor did it try to determine whether Ms. Fisher would profit from it in any way. She was suspended on Sept. 15 until the end of October.
The school disciplinary system is often said to be broken. The case of Ms. Fisher would seem to prove the point.
The Education Department did not comment on the case.
Correction: October 3, 2014
An earlier version of a picture caption with this column misstated what grade Aaron Philip is in at school. He’s in the eighth grade, not the seventh.
There are other outrageous acts in the New York City Department of Education where administrators from hell maliciously target teachers:Thomas v Jimenez, Albetta, Bradley, Hernandez, et al.,US District Court 14-CV-8019(JMF)