Saturday, August 10, 2013

NYC Department of Education Alleged "Chancellor" and the Strange Case of His So-Called "Contract"

NY State Education Law Section 2590-h says that "The office of chancellor of the city district is hereby continued. Such chancellor shall serve at the pleasure of and be employed by the mayor of the city of New York by contract. The length of such contract shall not exceed by more than two years the term of office of the mayor authorizing such contract." You will be surprised that the NYC DOE believes this so-called "contract" is not public, and is an undated letter. Who are they kidding? The Second Who Are You Kidding Award goes to Dennis Walcott, the pretend NYC Chancellor.
           
   Betsy Combier   

When Joel Klein was the so-called "Chancellor" of the NYC Department of Education ("DOE"), I filed a Freedom of Information request for his contract, because Education Law Section 2590-H says that:

Education

* § 2590-h. Powers and duties of chancellor. The office of chancellor of the city district is hereby continued. Such chancellor shall serve at the pleasure of and be employed by the mayor of the city of New York by contract. The length of such contract shall not exceed by more than two years the term of office of the mayor authorizing such contract. The chancellor shall receive a salary to be fixed by the mayor within the budgetary allocation therefor. He or she shall exercise all his or her powers and duties in a manner not inconsistent with the city-wide
educational policies of the city board. The chancellor shall have the following powers and duties as the superintendent of schools and chief executive officer for the city district, which the chancellor shall exercise to promote an equal educational opportunity for all students in the schools of the city district, promote fiscal and educational equity, increase student achievement and school performance and encourage local school-based innovation, including the power and duty to"....:

and then the law lists all the powers and duties of the person titled "Chancellor". Reading this, I saw that Joel needed a contract. So, I filed a request for that contract. Joel Klein never received a contract, according to the Department of Education.See "The Who Are You Kidding??" Award Goes To Joel Klein The New York City Department of Education Pretender". In my opinion, Mike Bloomberg hired Joel Klein as a front for the actions he felt necessary, namely, to violate Education Law in the area of labor and employment, namely tenure rights.

Susan Holtzman, the former Records Access person in charge at the NYC DOE Tweed building (52 Chambers Street, lower Manhattan), sent me the response that Joel had no contract, and she compensated for his not having a contract by sending me the contracts of two former NYC Chancellors, Harold Levy - who is an Attorney like Joel, and also received a waiver from New York State, but ALSO a contract - and Rudy Crew, who did not need a waiver, but did get a contract. By the way, after Ms. Holtzman sent me this news, she was re-assigned to the position as Attorney for District 75 at 400 Second Avenue. Maybe she was not supposed to tell me that Joel had no contract. See what happened with my request for the contract of Dennis Walcott, the "new" chancellor after the disaster ofCathie Black ended.

When Cathie Black was run out of town, Deputy Mayor and token African American Dennis Walcott was given a waiver by New York State Commissioner Steiner to become "Chancellor" of the NYC public school system. This was around April 2011. I made a formal request for his contract in September, 2011, which was not filled until June 27, 2013. Joe Baranello, the current NYC Records Access person, has a problem with me because I posted his Facebook page on my blog NYC Rubber Room Reporter when I saw that he made fun of people dressed as Santa Claus and Jewish people. He is a gay man, and should know better than to make fun or judge anyone, but as far as I know he was not disciplined for his comments. No one who works for the "chief" - the Chancellor - is given any reprimands, it seems. But we don't know.

Anyway, as I am now a paralegal working in the compulsory arbitration known as "3020-a", I go by the letter of the law. The Education Law states that in order for the NYC Chancellor to have the power to charge/discharge an employee, he/she/ must have a contract (Section 2590-H)

Here is my Appeal to Courtenaye Jackson-Chase of my request for Walcott's contract, pursuant to FOIL, and Ed Law 2590-H after almost 2 years of delays and DOE "Gotcha Squad" Attorney Adrienne Austin gave Arbitrator James A. Brown the "contract" in camera because, she insisted, the "contract" was not public:

Appeal of Deliberate, Arbitrary and Capricious Delay in Responding To FOIL #7990

Dear Ms. Courtenaye Jackson-Chase: June 7, 2013

I am hereby appealing the denial of access to the contract of Dennis Walcott, Which was requested in a Freedom of Information request filed by me in September 2011 and given the number F7990 by your Records Office and Mr. Joseph Baranello.

Here is my Freedom of Information request:
From: Betsy
Date: Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Subject: FOIL request "Walcott"
To: Baranello Joseph , FOIL@schools.nyc.gov
Cc: Betsy Combier
Parentadvocates.org
Betsy Combier, Editor, Reporter
betsy.combier@gmail.com
September 10, 2011

Mr. Joseph A. Baranello
Central Records Access Officer
Office of Legal Services
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

JBaranello3@schools.nyc.gov
FOIL@schools.nyc.gov
Dear Mr. Baranello:

Under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, I hereby request to inspect records or portions thereof pertaining to:

1) The entire online and hard copy personnel file of New York City Board/Department of Education employee Dennis Walcott. I request all records at all locations of the New York City Board/Department of Education, including 65 Court Street, the Department of Investigation, the Corporate Counsel, and all payments made to him from an expense account and/or paid to another employee, arbitrator, etc.

2) All references and education history listed in Dennis Walcott’s resume

3) The employment contract of Dennis Walcott with all appendices and with a complete listing of his duties and responsibilities, schedules of performance reviews, and to whom he must report for the performance review.

4) any emails letters or documentation from or to Patrick Sullivan that mention the name “Betsy Combier”.

If the records have been removed from their original locations, please cause a diligent search to be conducted of all appropriate file rooms and storage facilities. Please include the label “Walcott” in all correspondence that refers to this FOIL request.

If any record has been redacted, please identify which categories of information have been redacted, and cite the relevant statutory exemption(s).

If you have any questions relating to the specific record(s) or portion(s) being sought, please phone me.

RELEVANT ADVISORY OPINIONS

www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/ftext/f13952.htm

www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/ftext/f14287.htm

RELEVANT LOCAL LAW

Rules of the City of New York -- Title 43 -- Mayor -- §1-05(c)(3)
"If a request does not adequately describe the records sought, the records access officer shall notify the requesting party in writing that his request has been denied, stating the reasons why the request does not meet the requirements of this section and extending to the requesting party an opportunity to confer with the records access officer in order to attempt to reformulate the request in a manner that will enable the agency to identify the records sought."

As you know, the Freedom of Information Law requires that an agency respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request. Therefore, I would appreciate a response as soon as possible and look forward to hearing from you shortly. If for any reason any portion of my request is denied, please inform me of the reasons for the denial in writing and provide the name and address of the person or body to whom an appeal should be directed.

Sincerely,


Betsy Combier


Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Director, Theaterkids, Inc.
President, The E-Accountability Foundation

Since September 2011 the extensions of time to complete my request #F7990 are:
October 7, 2011
December 8, 2011
January 9, 2012
February 7, 2012
April 12, 2012
May 24, 2012
January 18 2013
February 19, 2013
March 19, 2013
April 16, 2013
May 14, 2013
You can easily verify these dates by going to your colleague, Joseph Baranello, with whom you work at Tweed.

It is indeed disturbing that Ms. Adrienne Austin, Esq., an Attorney under your Supervision, would inform me and the Attorney I am working with in the case of N.K. , that the Walcott contract we requested in or Motion To Dismiss - and we stated that there was none - does indeed exist, and would be immediately given to Hearing Officer James Brown for in camerareview because we, Attorney David Barrett and myself, could not see it. Ms. Austin's email to us is below. Please make note of the fact that Ms. Austin sent us the email with the " " around the word contract, we did not write this:

From: Austin Adrienne
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:26 AM
To: Jim Brown; David Barrett, esq.
Subject: RE:

Good Morning,

I have a copy of the Chancellor's "contract." I will provide it for an in
camera review by Mr. Brown, but I will not be turning it over as it is part
of a confidential personnel file.

Adrienne Austin | Agency Attorney
Administrative Trials Unit
NYC Department of Education
49-51 Chambers Street, Rm. 600
New York, New York 10007
T: (212) 374-6884
F: (212) 374-1229
aaustin4@schools.nyc.gov

Some time between May 16 and May 30, 2013, Ms. Austin gave Arbitrator James Brown, Esq., the "contract". On June 3, 2013, Arbitrator Brown stated in the record of the 3020-a Hearing of N. K., at which the Attorney is David Barrett, Esq., and I am the paralegal, that he, Brown, had reviewed the "contract" dated April 18, 2011 and found that Dennis Walcott was indeed able to delegate probable cause to Superintendents and Principals. His denial of the Motion To Dismiss is based upon his review of this "contract". His opinion, with the date of the "contract" as April 18 2011 was uploaded to TEACH on May 30, 2013.

As I did file a FOIL request of Joel Klein's "contract" and received two answers, which were (1) Klein never had a contract; and (2) Klein had a contract - basically a letter welcoming him to the Chancellorship. See my article, " The "Who Are You Kidding??" Award Goes To: Joel Klein, New York City Board of Education Pretender".

Susan Holtzman sent me the employment contracts of Rudy Crew and Harold Levy, both of which were submitted in our Reply to Ms. Austin's oral argument made in opposition to our Motion To Dismiss, all these documents are available on the TEACH website under the case of N.K.
Below are some of the supporting opinions of Robert Freeman, in reference to the contract being a public document:

http://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f8582.htm

http://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f7687.htm

http://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f18075.html

http://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f14257.htm

If Ms. Austin put the quotation marks around Dennis Walcott's "contract" because she believes it is not really a contract but an agreement or welcoming letter such as Mike Bloomberg sent Joel Klein, it is still discoverable:

Geneva Printing Co. and Donald C. Hadley v. South
Seneca School District, Supreme Court, Monroe County,
July 12, 1982 --
"Memorandum of Understanding" between superintendent and
principal found to be available following in camera inspection;
since the memorandum detailed direction and instructions regarding
the performance duties, it was found to constitute instructions to staff
that affect the public and a final agency determination; disclosure would
not result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, as record
was clearly relevant to the performance of official duties; cited opinion
of Committee. Current Law: §§87(2)(b), 2(g)(ii), (iii)

(copied from: http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/caselaw_foil.html)

On the issue of stalling me from receiving the documents requested under FOIL #7990 and all the others, I will be filing a Notice of Claim against Mr. Joseph Baranello and others who are, I assume, willingly, recklessly, and arbitrarily treating me in a way that not only does not comply with the law, but is different from other members of the public and the press. I may have information that your press office has given out the April 18, 2011 letter/contract for Dennis Walcott to other people requesting the "contract", prior to today, and may have given me the "contract" to which Ms. Austin refers.

The law gives you 10 days to send me the documents, including the contract, of Dennis Walcott. My email address is betsy.combier@gmail.com. I expect to have the documents on or before June 24, 2013, as I know, from my sources, that all the documents requested are held at Tweed under your control. Please cease and desist from this disparate treatment.
Thank you for your attention and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Betsy Combier
betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice

Ms. Austin also told Attorney Barrett and me that we had to file a Freedom of Information ("FOIL") request for the "contract" if we wanted a copy. This means that she knew the contract was, indeed, a public document. Gosh, so confusing!!!!!

On June 27, 2013, two (2) days past the 10 day deadline for responding to my appeal, DOE Attorney Jackson-Chase had the Baranello team send me Dennis Walcott's "contract" under the heading "released June 27, 2013". They did not title the letter as a "contract".

Here is is:

Contract of Dennis Walcott

Please note that there is no term for Walcott, as in end of his employment, and he did not put a date under his signature, if indeed he signed it at all. Additionally, there is no reference at all about Walcott's authority to be the employing board with powers to hire and fire employees.

What a scam.

Betsy Combier
Betsy Combier is Editor of Parentadvocates.org
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