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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Op-Ed: Attorney Bryan Glass, UFT Solidarity, and Francesco Portelos Lead Educators Astray

                                                               Attorney Bryan Glass
 

Team Advocatz believes that UFT Solidarity and Bryan Glass are misleading teachers/educators as well as putting them under scrutiny with the Department of Education, which leads to Discontinuance or 3020-a charges. We present the facts below.

re-posted from ADVOCATZ.com:

Op-Ed: UFT Solidarity Loses The Case To Get COVID-19 Accommodation For Remote Teaching

Considering the amount of press coverage on the PETITION filed by Attorney Bryan Glass for UFT Solidarity members to get accommodations, any reader would think that the case was precedent-setting. In fact, I believe that UFT Solidarity chief Lydia Howrilka even said that it was.  She was quoted in EdSurge:

“Teachers who do not qualify from specific guidelines of medical accommodations—if they do not fall under any of those categories, the only option they have is to take unpaid leave,” Howrilka says. “We are being given a Hobson’s choice of choosing between either our paychecks and livelihood or our own health and safety.”

I support the premise that teachers with disabling conditions, or who have relatives and/or family members whose health is impaired for any number of reasons, or who have particular work responsibilities which require working with children who cannot wear masks or do not keep them on, should obtain remote work accommodations if they apply – with the proper doctors’ notes and support. Many, it is true, are denied for no rational reason. No one trusts what the NYC DOE says about “safety,” either.

Many people – including myself – believe that it would be a terrible idea to trust the New York City Department of Education when promoting “safety” in NYC schools. The definition of safety they rely on is hearsay, often fake, news. Public contractors say that something has been cleaned, and people in the very room that has been “cleaned” can see that it is not clean. I have seen mold, bugs, mice, falling ceilings, and other horrible, unsafe conditions throughout New York City in my many roles as a parent advocate, UFT representative, workplace investigator, and in pictures received from sources who are everywhere. Thank you, all!

Also, as a parent and teacher advocate, I have the facts behind what is really going on in our City schools, stuff that no one wants to know, stuff the NYC DOE keeps lying about, such as two teachers (one general education, the other special education) certified to teach in the content area in every ICT (Integrated Co-teaching) classroom; another is that charges against an educator are always rational. Anyone who really wants information should go to the school, work or walk inside, and see for him/herself, or ask someone inside to take pictures and secretly tape conversations (New York State is a one-party State). I am certainly not alone in this knowledge, we live in a City where everyone should assume that all conversations have someone secretly taping everything, and sharing the tapes online when the "right" time comes along. The "right" time is, I believe, defined by an individual or group; all people everywhere certainly do not have the same definition of "right", or "good", "bad", "wrong", or "fake", etc. 

By the way, I do not secretly tape anyone with whom I work, and have never, nor will I ever, secretly tape anyone in 3020-a hearings or Court. So don't believe anyone, and I mean UFT Solidarity folk if they say I do. 

But I write VERY good notes and read every transcript thoroughly.

I believe that everyone can have their own opinion about anything as long as they do not maliciously and intentionally lie to harm anyone.

That being said, I do not believe that Bryan Glass was the right choice for an Attorney. He did not do an adequate job in the TRO case for remote teaching accommodations. Indeed, after winning the temporary injunction, which the press picked up, he signed up 20 new Petitioners, who may or may not have been aware that the first Judge had vacated the TRO. It seems that the Judge was not satisfied with Bryan Glass’ argument to Amend his original Petition, or withdraw it:

ORDER___TRANSFER_MO_28

Here is the relevant part:

“Accordingly, the imminent harm and balance of the equities presented to the Court in the initial application are no longer the same. This is particularly true because Petitioners have now raised the possibility of a secondary, “comfort” accommodation policy, not mentioned in the Petition, which Petitioner’s counsel was unable-despite numerous Court queries, hundreds of pages of submissions, and two arguments-to discuss as it applied to Petitioners; that is, whether Petitioners had applied, on what basis, and what the result was. 1 

It is therefore

ORDERED that the TRO is vacated.”

Here is the response from the New York Law Department, the Amended Petition, and the final Order of Judge Edmead:

LETTER___CORRESPOND

PETITION__AMENDED

ORDER___INTERIM

FINAL DECISION- CASE DISMISSED

TRANSCRIPT

Francesco Portelos started UFT Solidarity to promote attacks on NYC Department of Education Administrators, despite the fact that he was charged with 38 disciplinary charges and found guilty of 11 of the most serious, including internet misconduct, harassment of personnel, and the girlfriend of the UFT Chapter leader, and videotaping a student without permission. In 2011 the Arbitrator, Delice Busto, did not terminate him but warned him to stop his harassment and abuse of co-workers. He did the exact opposite.

My lack of confidence in Bryan Glass is many years in the making. In 2015, Francesco Portelos and Lydia Howrilka created a video wherein Jim Callaghan, a very disliked former reporter at NY Teacher, speaks about his hatred for the UFT and his former boss, Randi Weingarten. Jim spoke about how Randi believed I was a homophobe but hired me anyway to work on the rubber rooms as part of the UFT SWAT TEAM with him and Ron Isaac. This lie was promoted to make me look bad after discovering that Francesco’s new website “ANOI” and his threats to principals posted online in 2015 was getting his UFT Solidarity members noticed at the NYC DOE, charged, and fired.

You can see my opinion about the wreckage UFT Solidarity and Francesco have done here:

 Editorial: Is Francesco Portelos a Danger to Tenure Law? by Betsy Combier

I posted his 3020-a decision by Felice Busto in that post, but here is the Busto decision in full, sent to me by Francesco Portelos:

Portelos, Franceso advs. New York City Board of Education 

Almost as soon as Francesco received the decision he started UFT Solidarity, to get other people to do what he wanted to do, but couldn't. Let them get in trouble. Lydia Howrilka is just one example. See the Department’s lawsuit against Ms. Howrilka, using Francesco’s ANOI website as evidence of defamation of the Principal who terminated Howrilka in Jue 2013. counter-lawsuit

Jim made my life at the UFT very hard, by everyday emails taunting me, belittling me, and creating a bad place for himself. The UFT did not like him, so Jeff Zahler, former staff Director before Leroy Barr, told me to ignore him. So, I did or tried to. Since that video, which I told Francesco was a lie, Francesco has lied about me, just like he posts defamatory stuff about principals.  Bryan Glass supports Francesco Portelos, defended him in his losing  Federal Court case against IS 49 and the Department of Education, and called me a snake oil salesman, hoping that I would be squashed into silence.

Yet members of UFT Solidarity continue to follow them.

In 2017, I read that Bryan Glass filed a class-action lawsuit for age discrimination on behalf of ATRs (Absent Teacher Reserve). Francesco Portelos posted the Complaint “How 30 ATRs Are Fighting for Over 100,000 on his website and added that he was joining the lawsuit too.

I am not an attorney, as everyone knows. But I don’t believe that a class action can be filed at the Division of Human Rights. Also, Francesco was only 39 years old in 2017, I believe. He had no grounds to be in an age discrimination lawsuit.

So, I filed a Combier FOIL 30-Day letter for the paperwork. The response to me was startling: Bryan Glass never filed this Complaint. I Appealed, thinking that this must be a mistake. Combier FOIL Response. I also received a call from the Human Rights FOIL officer, who told me there was no Complaint filed for ATRs, and she did not care what was written on any websites or blogs. In December 2019 I received all the closed cases at DHR with Bryan Glass as the Attorney, 2016-June 2019, plus:

DHR Complaints 2016-2019

I then sent Bryan an email on  asking for any information, and he never responded:

“Dear Bryan,

I am sending this second email to add to my request sent yesterday (see below):

I want to inform you that I filed a FOIL request for your Complaint as well as the outcome, and the Division of Human Rights told me that the Complaint was never received. Is this true? If not, please send me the information no later than January 16, 2020. If it is true, did you return any money to the complainants who paid you to file their lawsuit?

Thank you for your attention and cooperation,

Betsy Combier, betsy.combier@gmail.com”

January 11, 2020:

“Dear Bryan,

I am writing an article on your DHR Complaint as publicized in the post below:

How 30 ATRs Are Fighting for Over 100,000 NYCDOE Employees

Please give me your stamped filed Complaint and the decision made by the NYS Division of Human Rights by Thursday, January 16, 2020. I will post my article on Friday, January 17, 2020.

Thank you, I very much appreciate your information and cooperation.”

He did not respond, so I decided to contact Reporter Crystal Lewis at The Chief Leader, who wrote the article praising Bryan and Francesco: ATR Instructors Claim Age, Pay Led to Bias. I asked Ms. Lewis if she had seen the filed lawsuit. She told me no. Then I asked her if she knew if it had been filed, and she told me she believed that it had, as Francesco Portelos had posted on his website the Complaint, and she had interviewed him. I asked her to call Bryan Glass and ask him whether a class action had been actually filed, and she told me that she would do that, and get back to me.

Several days later Ms. Lewis told me that ‘someone in Mr. Glass’ office’ told her that no class action was filed, but 29 individual complaints had been filed. I thanked her.

The information given to Ms. Lewis by "someone in Bryan Glass' office"  was false, according to the Division of Human Rights. But Ms. Lewis wrote her article anyway, without checking the facts.

Betsy Combier

betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, ADVOCATZ.com
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog