Monday, August 15, 2011

Call in the Cavalry

Alan Cote, Supervisor of Records
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Mr. Cote,

I am requesting further assistance from the Public Records Division concerning my previous public documents request of the Amherst Schools for employee settlement agreements over the past five years with a value greater than $5,000.

In a 7/20/2011 letter to the Amherst schools your office, responding to my 4/7/11 appeal request, found in my favor saying, "The school has failed to show that the responsive separation agreements include personal information sufficient enough to withhold the agreements in their entirety under Exemption (C)."

On 8/2/2011 I met with Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk and Human Resources Director Kathy Mazur to pick up the documents. The Amherst officials, however, refused to provide any of the 13 settlement agreements, offering instead a "summary" with no names, job titles, dates or any other information besides the total amount of each individual settlement (document attached).

Could your office please issue another administrative order clarifying for the schools how to properly comply with your original order to provide the settlement agreements in question? As always, thank you for working to maintain transparency within our government.

Larry Kelley
596 South Pleasant St.
Amherst, Ma 01002

Settlement Agreement Summary


Anonymous said...

Geryk and Mazur make quite a team, eh Larry? Imagine facing them without legal representation or protection.


These "women" know EXACTLY what they're doing... and have no conscience when doing it.


Been there, done that.

Ed said...

What are they hiding?

What on earth are they going this far to hide? Don't they realize that if they get the attention of Boston, Boston will pull out the map, realize that Amherst actually is part of Massachusetts, and perhaps get Malden interested in Amherst?

(Malden is where DESE is.)

Seems to me like a rather expensive attempt with some high stakes reasons behind it...

Anonymous said...

It does make one wonder, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Jeepers, what's Cap'n Rick Hood been upta lately???


My strength and experience are highlighted in my first three priorities. These are the areas I feel I can make the most progress in, and will spend most of my time working on.

1. Better communication
I will work hard to implement methods to better inform the public about what is happening in the schools. I will work to foster a culture inside ARPS where personnel think, “what do we know that folks out there need to know?” .


--------> FAIL <--------

2. Financial transparency and aggressive cost and efficiency analysis
I will work hard to make sure it is clear to the public where their dollars are being spent. I will push for efforts to identify areas for increased efficiency, and attack areas where cost savings may be obtained. I will constantly ask the question, "Do we really need to be doing this?" and if so, "Can we be doing it more efficiently?"

--------> FAIL <--------

3. I will work hard on issues involving race and class in the schools
Priorities should include: hiring more teachers of color; inviting teachers and administration into a productive conversation about these issues; getting the students themselves involved (as they often have better conversations on these issues that the adults do); gathering more data about which groups are not doing well in school, figuring out why, and taking steps to correct conditions that support inequity.

--------> FAIL <--------

4. Support and push for the implementation of all the ARPS District Goals
In the fall of 2009 the School Committee published the final version of the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham District Goals. I strongly support all of these goals and will work hard to achieve them, and support board members and school administrators with specific expertise in these areas.

--------> FAIL <--------
--------> FAIL <--------
--------> FAIL <--------

It never really was about the schools anyway, was it, Hood?

Anonymous said...

"Being open with information was the key to turning things around."

It never was about the schools, was it Hood?

Anonymous said...

What we have here is a failure to communicate.