Sunday, February 21, 2010

Transparency indeed!

Even the Crusty Valley Advocate gets on board

So the crusty Daily Hampshire Gazette/Amherst Bulletin finally exposed the story of Amherst's highest by far salaried public employee taking advantage of the Schools "generous as compared to private industry" sick leave benefits.

Interestingly, reporter Nick Grabbe quotes snarky anonymous Internet comments and attributes the controversy picking up steam via Catherine Sanderson's School Committee blog, when in fact she has never posted a word about it (other than to say no comment) and refused to comment when the reporter called her for an interview.

Obviously the issue first broke on this blog--although I was smart enough to simply post the public documents without any editorial comment, knowing the racism charge would quickly follow.

When I submitted what turned out to be my final column for the venerable Amherst Bulletin in 2004 railing against the High School becoming the only one in the nation to allow teen aged girls to perform the 'Vagina Monologues' editor Nick Grabb told me I couldn't use a particularly devastating comment posted on Masslive Amherst Forum because Gazette policy did not allow use of unattributed anonymous sources.

Fortunately I knew the person, former Jr. High School principal John Burruto, and he gave me permission to attribute the quote to him. And it stayed in the column. Maybe the venerable Gazette has loosened their standards in the past six years.

But being an official reporter for a bricks and mortar newspaper has its advantages as the Superintendent took reporter Grabbe's call while in Florida at his other home: "I'm a victim of transparency," Rodriguez whined. "At what point does transparency creep up into my rights?"

Naturally School Committee member Kathleen Anderson was quick to play the race card: "In U.S. culture, there's a tendency to see the same behaviors in a person of color differently than a person of European descent."

I wonder if some school principal or lower level teacher took that many sick days in advance and casually slid a memo/spreadsheet to their boss showing they were taking those days with no further explanation; would they get away with it? Probably not, no matter their color.

If Alberto Rodriguez owned his own company he could do as he damn well pleased. But he works for the taxpayers of Amherst (and to some extent Leverett,Pelham and Shutesbury.) Since the Regional School Committee hired him and can fire him, he should have been a tad more respectful by providing them a bit of explanation for that "transparent" 2/9 memo.

Arrogance goeth before the fall.

The Bulletin Reports (finally)


Anonymous said...

The motto amongst the intelligentsia in town, including the luminaries at the Bulletin, now is:

Whenever possible, bash Catherine Sanderson's blog as the chief repository of irresponsible comment in the community.

Stay tuned. I think that there's another shoe to drop re: El Superintendente.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and they go out of their way not to mention me hoping maybe I'll just go away.

Amherst School Committee meets this Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see if this topic comes up.

Chair Andy Churchill is a BIG fan of the Override and knows this could be bad for PR efforts, so he will probably try to table any discussion.

Anonymous said...

"Stay tuned. I think that there's another shoe to drop...."

I for one certainly hope so. Time to start thinking of names for the recruitment/selection committee.

Anonymous said...

""During my absence, Maria Geryk, assistant superintendent of student services, will be in charge," the memo reads."

Maria Geryk is *ALWAYS* doing the job of our superintendents. (day of the bus accident, after the "fill in" couple quit and now for Alberto's absences)- I'm sure there are many more instances too.
She seems willing, able and available to do the job (on top of her own)
Why isn't she our superintendent?

Anonymous said...

Excellent question.

Anonymous said...

A woman in a leadership position in ARPS? No, no. Can't do that. Nope, not in super liberal Amherst.

You can see how well the super worked with the only female principal when the MS principal quickly resigned.

Anonymous said...

How about Wildwood's history with males? But the "acting" always went to the female, until she also resigned. Similar pattern.
Too bad the female SC members don't get it! Oh well, talk a good story BUT not so much the ACTIONS.

Anonymous said...

"She (Kathryn Mazur) has provided him with the appropriate forms to fill out, she said. "We're very fair about sick leave," she said. "It's generous as compared to private industry."

Fair with sick leave?!!?

Hold those who are responsible accountable.

Kathryn Mazur.

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

"The motto amongst the intelligentsia in town, including the luminaries at the Bulletin, now is:

Whenever possible, bash Catherine Sanderson's blog as the chief repository of irresponsible comment in the community."


Fck Amhurts.

Anonymous said...

"Chair Andy Churchill is a BIG fan of the Override and knows this could be bad for PR efforts, so he will probably try to table any discussion."


Tom said...

God bless you Larry Kelley.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks Tommy! These days I could use some divine intervention.

Anonymous said...

She seems willing, able and available to do the job (on top of her own)
Why isn't she our superintendent?

And so what if she has small children. We are now four decades into the feminist movement, in Amherst which makes the rest of Massachusetts look hard core right wing by contrast.

We like the job she does, she does seem competent - do we really care about how she does it??/

LarryK4 said...

I believe Maria Geryk did not put her name/resume in for the permanent job of Superintendent, even after she had to step in to cover for the ailing couple who were supposed to act as an "acting Superintendent" for one full year but then flew the coop two months early (with full pay of course.)

Just as Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren, who was acting Fire Chief on Keith Hoyle's retirement, did not put his name in for the permanent position.

Anonymous said...

"Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slippery roads lead to spate of accidents

AMHERST - A dozen accidents occurred on Amherst streets Tuesday afternoon and evening as the snow that had been falling throughout the day began sticking on road surfaces.

At 10 p.m., police responded to a two-car accident on East Hadley Road in which a car driven by a 22-year-old Amherst man slid into a Department of Public Works plow truck.

The Amherst man will be summoned to court on charges of operating a motor vehicle without a license, traveling at a speed greater than reasonable for the road conditions, and failure to stay within marked lanes, police said.

The DPW truck was not damaged, but the car sustained heavy damage and had to be towed, police said."

The police say the truck was NOT DAMAGED... so why is the town now saying there was extensive damage front, back and sides?!!?

Larry, did you read about this?

Incompetent APD or lying town?

You decide.

Anonymous said...

"Soon after, Greeney alleges, she was summoned to a meeting with her supervisor, Laura Reichsman, and Reichsman's superior, Rose Evans, and was told that her comments at the Select Board meeting had offended a town official and jeopardized the center's funding from the town. She was also told, according to the suit, that in order to keep her job she would have to resign from the committee and "no longer speak publicly about any topic." Greeney is a former member of the Select Board.

Greeney claims she asked for time to consider her decision, but was turned down. After telling Reichsman and Evans that she would rather resign that work under the conditions offered, the suit states that the pair told her to go home, write a letter of resignation, and surrender the keys to her office. When she attempted to recant her resignation in a phone call later that weekend, Greeney reported that Evans told her she was fired."

Oh little Amherst, you've been really really bad, haven't you?

Anonymous said...

So you believe everything that you read in the papers?

Just which rock did you just crawl out from under?

Anonymous said...

ARHS Parent said...
Forget the copier...where IS the Superintendent?!

February 24, 2010 1:33 PM

Anonymous said...
Even if he's in FL, it doesn't mean he's not working!

February 24, 2010 1:48 PM

Anonymous said...
My understanding from central office staff is that he won't even respond to email when he's in FLA.

February 24, 2010 1:56 PM

Anonymous said...
Anon 1:48, if he is in Florida working, how come I was told that Maria Geryk is in charge this week? Wouldn't that imply that he is NOT working? Frankly, I wouldn't have even thought about it except for the fact that he just submitted his sick/vacation time and today onward was NOT on it!

February 24, 2010 2:25 PM