Friday, May 2, 2014

The Cost of Mistakes?

Rob Detweiler: Still on Administrative Leave

The schools are the largest employer in Amherst town government so it's not surprising that a tiny number of employees come and go under somewhat mysterious circumstances.

In the private sector, taxpayers in general --or even customers in particular -- have no right to know why a popular employee suddenly disappears.

Although in most cases, where the reasons are somewhat benign, the business may be forthcoming when you ask what happened to your favorite aerobics instructor, barista or convenience store clerk.

But a public entity using public money owes the general public an explanation. 

Public Documants czar to ARPS attorney Giny Tate 3 years ago (which they ignored):

Rob Detweiler still shows up on ARPS website as Director of Finance and Operations


Anonymous said...

"We have a right to know" and "You owe us an explanation" are two very different things. Larry is vague on this. Is he saying the taxpayers must be told why public employees have been let go, ie that the public is legally entitled to that information? If the public isn't legally entitled to that information, what is morally just?

Why is Larry never concerned about the "whys" when personnel are let go within the APD, AFD, or DPW? Why do firings in those departments fly under his radar so often? Is it possible that it's because the decision maker at ARPS is a woman 10 years his junior, and the heads of the APD, AFD, and DPW are men who are his senior? Do they represent to him some sort of paternal, conservative, male ideal which affords them a "pass" when it comes to explaining their decisions? Does the junior woman (the first ever female ARPS chief, first woman to EVER head one of the four major town departments)) deserve greater scrutiny? Could Larry possibly (subconsciously of course) possess a sense of Male Privilege?

Anonymous said...

The fact that a question has formed in your mind, about four School Department employees, does not, in and of itself, establish a legal basis for your receiving information about them.

Your attempt to declare a legally significant distinction between public sector employees and private sector employees also does not establish a legal basis for the release of further information by the School Department.

Employees have rights, whether they work in the public or private sectors. Employers, too, have rights to make employment decisions based on lesser burdens of proof than would be required in a criminal court.

You have asserted a right to know. But that's all it is: an assertion.

What you may be missing, out of a sincere, zealous concern for the public purse, is that there may be some personal pain, personal anguish, and/or decisions made out of an abundance of caution involved here. There is a balancing of rights necessary here, which may prevent the level of transparency that you are demanding.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

What if one of your daughters becomes a school employee and then has something extremely personal happen in her life that causes her to leave her job unexpectedly? Will it be ok for someone to post her name online and try to publicly uncover the very personal situation so all town residents know exactly what it was that caused her to leave?

May we use the same tone when publicly broadcasting the particulars of your daughter's life that you use in your approach as the busy body of Amherst?

What did you achieve by posting these names online?

Pendulums swing Mr. Larry. Of course, I'm sure your family will never have any unforeseen circumstances, any personal issues or any other problem that may lead others to wonder.

Good luck with that.

Dr. Ed said...

Is he saying the taxpayers must be told why public employees have been let go, ie that the public is legally entitled to that information?

Any member of the public has a legal right to know what each and every penny of public money is spent for -- to whom it is being paid, and why. If the man was no longer on the payroll, no longer receiving the public's money, all the public really would have a right to know is that he wasn't -- well, not completely but more or less.

But she's paying him!!!

Public money is going to him, and it isn't for doing specific things (i.e. his job) because he isn't there and hence isn't doing it. He literally is a so-called "no-show employee" and the public has an absolute right to know why they are paying him -- what the public is paying him FOR

The public's right to know this is a bedrock principle of accountability -- all that stuff I wrote asking how the Vince Cash Handout could possibly be legal is part of the same sort of thing. The price you pay when you involuntarily take money from people (i.e. tax them) is that you have to tell them exactly what you spend it for and follow a whole bunch of often-quite-obtuse rules intended to prevent past abuses from re-occurring.

Guys have put girlfriends & mistresses onto the payroll before (Team Maria - you don't think men are capable of that?) -- and an outraged public responded by essentially saying "give your own money to your girlfriend, not ours!" In the late '70's, in addition to all the other scandals (which led to members of the General Court going to jail), there was concern about situations where people had put relatives and political associates onto public payrolls for nonexistent jobs that they never showed up to do == "no show" jobs.

I'm told that things got so out of hand in the Dwight Allen days (1970's), with so many fictitious persons on the UM Payroll that they actually had to fingerprint everyone on the School of Education payroll just to know who was a real person and who wasn't. (And we won't even get into what really led to Mark's Meadow being closed...)

Hence while we have never established that public employees actually have to accomplish anything, they do have to physically show up for a specified number of hours per week. And if the appointing authority (i.e. Maria G) is paying them and they aren't showing up, she absolutely has to tell (anyone who inquires) why she is.

Maria G actually has to jump through a whole bunch of hoops and she has the burden of disproving the presumption that this is illegitimate. If she doesn't do this the right way, she can run afoul of the Ethics Commission, the State Auditor and probably other folk as well.

It is somewhat similar to all the garbage you have to deal with in order to purchase something with public money -- which literally extends to the person from whom you are purchasing "wigets" having to sign a form stating that he/she/it isn't supplying "wigets" to the British army in Northern Ireland. (I'm not making this up, that's actually a state law.)

Now there are legitimate ways around this -- the most common being the use of a contract that someone else has already bid -- which only means that someone else has already done all this. And as truly obtuse as the process often is, it is intended to prohibit me from using public money to purchase shoddy goods/services from my brother-in-law -- to ensure the value of the public's tax dollar.

Hence, above and beyond being a conscientious public employee being as frugal as possible with your neighbor's money, you gotta jump through a whole bunch of hoops to prove that you are.

And this is why Maria G's gotta explain why she's giving money to someone who isn't working.

Dr. Ed said...

What if one of your daughters becomes a school employee and then has something extremely personal happen in her life that causes her to leave her job unexpectedly? Will it be ok for someone to post her name online and try to publicly uncover the very personal situation so all town residents know exactly what it was that caused her to leave?


That is the price one pays when one endorses a paycheck drawn on taxpayer dollars. Remember that tax dollars are essentially taken at gunpoint -- the Sheriff (or someone with the legal right to use force) will seize your house if you don't pay your property taxes. Because you didn't give the money voluntarily, you have the right to an accounting of what it is used for.

Now as to decorum and decency -- there once was a time when the town residents wouldn't have exercised their right to know beyond a certain point. There once was a time when we respected people's privacy and as soon as it became apparent that it was "something extremely personal", we wouldn't inquire further.

But there also once was a presumption that we could trust that it really was that -- and when a public official put his/her/its reputation on the line behind that assertion, there would be consequences to the individual if it wasn't true.

Folks, LBJ and JFK (heck, FDR) would never have withstood the public scrutiny that you subjected GW Bush to -- that is a fact. Going after W's Guard service may have been legitimate, but the standards of what is and isn't acceptable was changed because it was done.

Anonymous said...

Any member of the public has a legal right to know what each and every penny of public money spent for -- to whom it is being paid, and why.

Each and every penny... $14,939.12.
To whom... Rob Detweiler.
Why... because he was an employee, under contract, on paid administrative leave.

Why was the decision made to place Detweiler on paid administrative leave? None of your business, no one is legally or morally obligated to tell you.

Get it? Now, what more do you need to know?

Larry Kelley said...

Will he be coming back to work?

I'm told by a reliable source that "administrative leave" is used when the employee plans to return at some point.

Dr. Ed (part 1 of ?) said...

Part 1:

Does the junior woman (the first ever female ARPS chief, first woman to EVER head one of the four major town departments)) deserve greater scrutiny? Could Larry possibly (subconsciously of course) possess a sense of Male Privilege?


This has nothing to do with her having a vagina and it is exceedingly sexist to fraudulently claim that it does!

Forget this mythical concept of "Male Privilege" -- this man's never seen it -- and start accepting the concept that at least some of us consider women to be human beings.

You know, like that they are "people."

The stuff my grandmother and her mother fought for -- like the right to vote. And if you think about it, implicit in my disagreeing with how a woman casts her vote is the underlying presumption that she is an equal and that I'm considering her as such.

Questioning what a specific female administrator's actions is based on the underlying presumption that female administrators (generically) are the equal to male administrators, and hence deserve to be treated accordingly.

By contrast, when questioning an administrator -- who happens to be female, and who also happens to be the highest paid public employee in town -- when questioning an administrator becomes defined as sexism, it is the same thing as calling her a "girl" in the most negative sense.

Remember why adult women (legitimately) take offense at being called a "girl" -- the implication that they are childlike, less competent and all the rest of the stuff that the feminists had such a struggle to prove that women weren't.

And aren't. Maria G's problem is taht we ARE treating her as a person, and that we are evaluating her as an individual and unique human being.

Besides, isn't Catherine Sanderson a woman as well? Beyond the fact that it went way "beyond the pale" in a way that the scrutiny of Maria G hasn't yet (and hopefully never will), how was the scrutiny of this other individual (who also happens to be female) any less offensive to you? Hmmm?????


Dr. Ed Part 2 said...

Now let's say, hypothetically, that one of the DPW guys ran over a small child with a snow plow which results in a gruesome trail of blood & body parts strewn along the snowbank. Let's say this is exacerbated by the child being the same age as his own, and to make it all worse, let's add that his marriage is falling apart.

And let's say that DPW Director Gerald Mooning just happened to be in the garage to a serial number on a piece of equipment and instead winds up preventing this guy from hanging himself. Gerald's got a personnel problem...

Now while I question the therapeutic benefits of locking a human being inside a cage, not to mention my religious objection to it, bottom line is that the employee is in a locked psych ward and Gerald is doing paperwork so that he can continue to be paid.

And the public has a legitimate right to inquire why they are paying a guy who isn't driving a plow, particularly as this is a winter with a lot of snow and the DPW is stretched thin and the roads aren't in the shape that folks would like to see them in.

Gerald Mooning has such a reputation for personal integrity that if he were to say something along the lines of "please trust me on this one, it's legitimate and not something that should be discussed publicly", people probably would. If the head of the union was to then quietly say "management's doing the 'right thing' here, back off" -- I'd be very surprised if people didn't.

The latter point is important here -- what we are not seeing in any of this Maria G personnel stuff are people who are advocates of the employee coming out in support of what she's done and asking people to not question it.

Amherst is a small town -- people have friends and in the hypothetical above, the man's friends would know exactly what had happened and exactly where he was -- may even have visited him there. They would be coming forward, on the employee's behalf, asking people not to question Gerald's actions -- and to do this for the benefit of their friend, the employee.

We don't see that here, do we????

Dr. Ed (Part 3) said...

Part 3:

bove and beyond that, however, Gerald Mooning has a reputation to put "on the line" behind this. His past actions and the known wisdom of his known decisions have earned him that trust.

Likewise, if Chief Livingstone were to say "I made a professional judgment that having Officer "John Doe" on paid leave was in the best interest of the officer, the Department, the Town, and the public as a whole. If you trust me as your Police Chief, please trust me on this one" -- people would.

In fact, if there ever were to be an officer-involved shooting, or a fatal MVA involving a cruiser, this probably is exactly what he would say & do -- in a situation far more tumultuous than anything Maria G has seen.

It's not because he's a guy but because he's trusted -- and unlike Maria G -- he'll be gone the day he isn't.

Barbara O'Connor once told me that the UMPD Chief serves "at the pleasure of" the UM administration and can be fired at any time -- I don't know about the APD Chief but doubt he'd be there long if he'd lost the confidence of the Selectboard. Maria G's not in the same tenuous situation -- she's got a contract and a state statute that protects her from termination.

Gerald, Scott, Maria...

Dr. Ed Part 4 said...

Part 4

The issue with Maria G isn't that she's female but that she's not trusted. Compare her to Gerald Mooning and look at how each deals with their critics -- can you imagine Maria tolerating the abuse that Gerald received over the Solar Farm issue?

Gerald's an engineer, a licensed professional in his field just like Maria is in hers -- and the Fans of the Dump coalition essentially questioned his professional credentials in the most obnoxious way possible.

While I'd have liked to have seen the rationale behind his statement that the old dump could safely hold the weight of the solar farm, bottom line is that you don't say that an engineer is wrong without something resembling an engineering basis for saying it. Something on the line of "you are quoting the wrong figure for the tensile strength of that particular type of steel" or "where does that number come from?" or even "what is the basis for the presumptions upon which you base your numbers?"

That's not what those A-holes did -- and Maria G has never been confronted on the scale or in the manner that Gerald was that night.

This wasn't the engineering equivalent of someone like Catherine Sanderson, someone who actually had something resembling a background in his field who was asking him to justify things and raising issues of professional dispute (e.g. whose figures we use for the tensile strength of that steel because sometimes there is legitimate disagreement on what the number should be).

So how did Gerald deal with this, and how did Maria G deal with Catherine Sanderson? Whom should we respect more on the basis of what we saw (or didn't see) in terms of professionalism and the rest? This is about what we've seen people do in the past and not about their internal plumbing.

The reason why Maria G is subject to a higher level of scrutiny is that she (as an individual) is perceived as being more deserving of it -- we don't her and this is a learned behavior. We have too many questions about her past actions -- like I said, a "learned behavior."

She simply can't say "trust me" the way Gerald could because, unlike he, she hasn't earned the reputation he enjoys. She's already done the "trust me" too many times in the past -- and too much has come out later indicating that she ought not have been trusted.

We didn't question her when she shut down the high school that day -- we presumed that there were a lot of things that she'd tell us later -- and there weren't. Everything that has come out about that incident (and the underlying incidents) has made her look bad -- you don't earn trust that way.

Were Chief Livingstone to shut down Main Street for the day, much like NJ Governor Crispy Creme shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge, the presumption is that it is legitimate. ("Bridgegate" is because it wasn't.)

I don't know if Maria G has (or will) get a waiver from Mitchell Chester, but without it, ARHS has to be open an extra day, at no small expense. That's serious and the issue is that she caused this, not that she's a "she."

Paraphrasing the late Dr. King, this isn't about her vagina but instead is about the content of her character. And if she hadn't played so many games in the past, people wouldn't be scrutinizing her now.

This isn't about gender, at least not for me -- it's been a few years but folks familiar with UMass may remember that I said the same things about Randy Sailer and that I was critical of UM Telecom for the very same sorts of reasons.

Maria G is a person -- a unique human being -- and it really is sexist to say otherwise. Right?

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously asking a CAN that question, Larry?

Dr. Ed said...

Why was the decision made to place Detweiler on paid administrative leave? None of your business, no one is legally or morally obligated to tell you.


Think logically for a minute: If this were true, the lecherous boss who was having an affair with a cute subordinate could tell her (or him for that matter) that she didn't have to bother showing up to work anymore and put her on the same "paid administrative leave" -- or even offer this to her in exchange for sleeping with him.

The system is designed to prevent the boss from keeping this information from the public for this very reason -- *medical* leave is confidential beyond "requested/approved by licensed medical practitioner", vacation and comp time is earned and due the employee, administrative leave is something else entirely.

Larry, you may find it worthwhile to give the Civil Service Commission (or whatever it is called) a call -- the other reason for "paid administrative leave" is that the appointing authority (Maria G) believes that the Civil Service Commission would reverse her termination decision and hence she really can't fire him, but hopes he'll "get the message" and find a job somewhere else.

What Maria G has to justify is (essentially) paying two people for the same job -- and she really does have to justify this.

Anonymous said...

I've been informed by several reliable online sources that often school personnel are placed on paid administrative leave pending assessment of allegations within the workplace, or during further and more complete review of performance of job duties, with no implication or guarantee that the employee will return to work.

Often unpaid administrative leave is granted to school employees, usually for purposes such as education or research, which will presumably enhance their job effectiveness, and yes, with the implication (but not guarantee) tat the employee will return to work.

Maybe it is that differentiation that has you confused, Larry.

Of course different institutions define and use administrative leave differently: cops for example are routinely placed on paid administrative leave after incidents involving the use of force, (or after allegations of excessive force,) and during the investigation of such (which of course is not an issue here in far as we know or has been reported to us.)

Larry, you posted a letter you wrote related to this issue from 13 years ago; i am curious, in the last 13 years, have you ever inquired as to the "whys" related to any personnel within the APD, AFD, or DPW who were placed on either paid or unpaid administrative leave?

Anonymous said...

Forget this mythical concept of "Male Privilege" -- this man's never seen it -- and start accepting the concept that at least some of us consider women to be human beings.

I consider black people to be human beings, (I'm white,) that doesn't mean I don't benefit from White Privilege in this society, and it doesn't mean that there aren't beliefs I hold that have been formed unconsciously as a result of the privilege.

Hell, I know people who at one point in their lifetimes could not even vote because they were either female or black. I have female friends who in my lifetime have not been allowed to fight in combat for our country.

It is simply ignorant to believe that vestiges of the racism and sexism, as well as other forms of bias, that have permeated our culture do not affect people's opinions, decisions, and actions.

You make stealing your money, fun! said...

"Could Larry possibly (subconsciously of course) possess a sense of Male Privilege?"


Are you FKING kidding me?!

Take your twisted, hypocritical, vile attempt to redirect this discussion about Robert D.






Mmmmm k?

Your fuzzy little buddy,

-Squeaky Squeaks

Anonymous said...

The reason why Maria G is subject to a higher level of scrutiny is that she is perceived as being more deserving of it.

Yeah, by Larry. That's what I said. Oh, and also by Walter Graff, gee I wonder how he feels about women in positions of power.

The APD chief, AFD chief, and the head of the DPW have never received an ounce of scrutiny from Larry related to personnel decisions they have made, or anything else including budgets for that matter, even in their rookie years when they were relatively unknown quantities, especially as department heads.

My analysis holds up, Larry continuously and aggressively scrutinizes the schools and town government decisions, but never the departments headed by macho, older-than-he-is, men. I'd bet if the APD chief would get a cool and manly moustache like Larry and Guilford and the AFD chief have, he'd be even more in the clear.

Anonymous said...

Squeaky you ig'nant little rat, the discussion isn't about Detweiler and hasn't been for the duration of this post, either in the body or comments section. Reading comprehension issues?

Anonymous said...

Gender privilege is not an issue in Amherst, it is pure coincidence that for the last 255 years Amherst has never had a female AFD chief, never had a female APD chief, never had a female DPW chief, and never had a female school chief until two years ago (of course the ladies have been welcome to be teachers in Amherst for a long time, and of course secretaries for the department heads for a long time, and pretty recently have even been allowed to be cops and firefighters.)

Anonymous said...

I think Ed made some valid points today.

Anonymous said...

Elementary classroom teachers only get between $150 and $200 to buy everything they need for their classrooms for a whole school year. This is about $10 per child. This money covers Post-It notes to folders, glue, crayons, construction paper, markers, and pencils. This includes all school supplies as children are not asked to bring their own out of respect for equity. Many teachers spend hundreds if not thousands of their own dollars on their students and classrooms while $14,000 is being spent on a district employee on paid administrative leave.

It seems fair to me to ask why public money being spent in this way as opposed to funneling more to our classrooms. There isn't enough money to adequately fund classrooms but there is enough for this (and other things.)


Anonymous said...

Besides, isn't Catherine Sanderson a woman as well?

Yeah, but if she were a man behaving the way she did, would the HS principal have felt as comfortable as he did about PHYSICALLY ACCOSTING her at an SC meeting??????


Anonymous said...

First, I don't think the chiefs are older than Larry. And I don't recall any issues of people on paid leave other than for injury.

Second, the person that said kids don't have to bring their own school supplies must not have kids. The list of stuff they have to bring in every year, K thru 12, is ridiculous. They even have to bring in tissues.

Nina Koch said...

Oh here we go again. Enough already, Ed. Did your cat walk on your keyboard and make the question mark key stick?

Mark Jackson did not physically accost Catherine Sanderson. Did not happen. He was across the room sitting at a table. He spoke strongly. Nothing physical about it.

End of story.

Anonymous said...

anon 8:01 PM It seems fair to me to ask why public money being spent in this way...

Employees cost a lot of money, ask anyone who's ever had to manage and pay them, and it costs a lot to let them go sometimes, too, and yeah it costs more the more they get paid typically. If YOU were an employee being let go, wouldn't you feel that it is just to be placed on paid administrative leave while review and assessment of your job performance or of allegations against you were being closely reviewed?

One could equally ask why money is being spent on teacher's who take 21 sick days and 6 personal days a year. Name another profession where you can take that many days off without question. Geez, some teachers get paid $70,000+/year and they only show up 160 days and take 205 off, including a sweet 60 day vacation during the nicest time of the year.

If 100 teachers take 20 days off a year each that's 2,000 days we have to pay them AND a far less qualified substitute... (and that's a lot less days than we actually have to incur double payment here in Amherst when teachers "call in".) Take (a lot) less sick and personal days, like people in the private sector, and there will be more in our till to give you for crayons and post-it notes.

Anonymous said...

Nina Ed didn't write that, it was me, a cowardly anon, being sarcastic.

Larry Kelley said...

And you forgot to use the special font.

Anonymous said...

Ed, do you have a job? If so, do they know you spend your day posting long winded diatribes?

Anonymous said...

When someone is put on Ad Leave it means they did something wrong and are being investigated. Until all is done you have no right to know what is going on, gov or not.

As for the preposterous females are victims offshoot, women have had a strong hold on the education system since its creation. One could look at it as biased which it is as it emaciated men in many ways, but who cares. Take people for what they are. We certainly need more men in the educational system to balance out the estrogen imbalance which in the end had negative effects on males but like some of the male dominated industries it's tougher to break in.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh!!

"APD, AFD, or DPW", " woman 10 years his junior", "men who are his senior", "paternal, conservative, male ideal", "Male Privilege", Larry's daughter,......

Team Maria (here the definition of that team includes its supporters) is scrambling to find something to hit back.

Why? because, Larry is just trying to pry open the big black hole, called School Central office, just a bit, for public to see. Then a skeleton falls out.

$14,939.12 of public taxpayers money paid for an administrator for unexplained leave. As another person posted before, a classroom teacher can have only allowance of $150 - $200 per classroom per year, which is about $10 per child. Some teachers even have to dip into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies. Maria Geryk spent $14,939.12 on an administrator's unexplained paid leave. What striking contrast!!

Larry hits the nerve of Team Maria. Team Maria felt the threats and thus the striking back becomes very nasty and personal, even include Larry's daughter.

School Administrators are on taxpayers payroll. The public has rights to ask and to know. Larry just does his journalist duty to seek information for public interests. Then the vicious attacks are coming Larry's way, which reminds us Catherine Sanderson got when she did the same thing: transparency and accountability from school administrators.

Larry, thank you and keep up with your good work. Sunshine provides the best sanitation. Taxpayers are on your side.

Anonymous said...

Well we should all just be very glad that everything money-wise and personnel-wise is a-ok and never a question to be asked in the other departments (APD, AFD, DPW) so Larry doesn't have to spread himself too thin, and can keep pounding away at the school chief and college aged drinkers.

Anonymous said...

School Administrators are on taxpayers payroll. The public has rights to ask and to know.

Ask and know what? What don't you know that just NEEDS to be revealed?

Larry Kelley said...

The reason he has been on administrative leave for over three months?

Is he coming back?

If not, when will he be replaced with a permanent appointment?

As opposed to having the head of HR overseeing the budget/finances of two entities totally $52 million.

(Although, she is a woman.)

Taking you for all you're worth said...

"(Although, she is a woman.)"

And when all is said and done,

Ponziville's "female"

freak-a-zoids will own her

like feckless liberal "women"

own aborted fetuses.


how can you be more ugly?

-Squeaky Squeaks

Dr. Ed said...

I have female friends who in my lifetime have not been allowed to fight in combat for our country.

*I* would not be allowed to fight in combat for our country tomorrow -- Uncorrected vision < 20/200.

Your point is what?

Dr. Ed said...

Did your cat walk on your keyboard and make the question mark key stick?

Nina, if I actually had a cat, do you honestly think the animal would dare do that?

I would never hit or harm the animal, but I also would never need to. Nina, if you'd heard any of the stories about me that are actually true, you'd understand that.

Mark Jackson did not physically accost Catherine Sanderson.

Whatever you want to call it, he treated a woman in a manner which I never would treat a woman. Any woman -- Catherine Sanderson, Maria Gyerk, or Nina Koch.

Call what he did whatever you want to, Jackson crossed a line that I wouldn't have -- and I don't think he would have done it to me. I'm absolutely certain he wouldn't have done it more than once...

Nina, the story about the Latin Kings fleeing in terror is true -- I am not a bully, but I also don't back down from bullies either. The point the anonymous person made is true -- Mark Jackson wouldn't have done it to me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed,
I have seen Mark Jackson speak just as strongly to male members of the school committee. You really are full of it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we got a real badass here.

Like money in the bank said...

“It is unclear when I will have updated information.”

I bet you $100 smackers Bobby Bob

hired a lawyer.


-$queaky $queaks

Dr. Ed said...

I have seen Mark Jackson speak just as strongly to male members of the school committee.

Maybe that is why you have such a problem with bullying in that school -- poor behavior modeling from the top.

However I assure you that were I on the school committee, Jackson wouldn't do that to me -- not now.

Anonymous said...

It's good to use strong words and language at town meetings, in defense of ideas and in response to childish and divisive behavior. At least Jackson doesn't snicker and tsk and share mocking and cynical faces with a colleague whenever anyone else shares ideas or asks questions during public meetings. That was what CS and Rivkin did every school committee meeting. Talk about poor modeling! If you can't handle real, tough talk on that committee, and you're going to respond to it by crying when someone uses it, you don't belong there. Sanderson behaved like a rude, arrogant, spoiled child at those meetings, so she deserved to be scolded.

Anonymous said...

Mr Jackson did not act like a bully. He spoke in a strong and direct tone. In response to strong and direct comments from Ms Sanderson.

Anonymous said...

Good God, when will you guys stop bashing Catherine Sanderson? She asked tough questions, didn't back down and actually DID something while on the SC. Its been in limbo since she left. There are serious issues in the schools and they are only getting worse as we toss more money in the pit. Teachers getting canned, drugs, racism, etc. and we still add to the central office? Hello? Whats wrong with this picture? Our Superintendent needs do DO something besides the usual smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Sanderson is gone. Rivkin is gone. Move on already. Admin people move on without explanation. Hood thinks we all have racist tendencies we don't understand.

In the end the education is still mediocre for a hell of a lot of money, which is now being watched by a woman who by all accounts only has a high school diploma (Mazur) being led by the only Superintendent without the PhD. version of an education degree.

Keep getting distracted by the circus that is Amherst and the kids education has and will continue to suffer for it.

Anonymous said...

But Catherine continues to nastily bash the schools that she choices her kids into and its' leaders, and she persists with her cynical and mocking manner. Even the seven year old head shot she used on her hyper-critical blog and that she uses now when commenting online about the schools displays an antagonistic, denigrating posture. So she's not really gone, is she?

She said she was going to be the "mother at the bake sales", and that for the sake of her family she was going to stay out of the public arena as it relates to the schools, but she just can't help herself, she continues needing to be involved and drawing attention to herself. Many Amherst residents still resent the dysfunction she brought to our school committee. People's inability to move beyond that era just yet shows just how traumatizing her and Rivkin's uncivil, aggressive, and arrogant approach was to the community.

And now I understand she's going to be a guest columnist for Larry's new Amherst Record Online venture? And certainly her contributions will be Amherst Public Schools related.

She's the one who is attempting to keep herself relevant, so of course we'll continue to offer critiques of her school committee stint.

Anonymous said...

I only see her post here when someone starts dragging her name through the mud, or to clarify when someone posts misinformation. You sure dont have to read it or look for her pictures.

Anonymous said...

May 5th 10:40 PM: Then you don't look hard enough. She uses sites other than this. And for example, unprovoked and in offensive rather than defensive mode, in early April she gave us her recommendations on how we should vote in the last Amherst School Committee election, (even though she doesn't live in our town anymore,) very clearly campaigning against the woman who took her seat, (and who won this past election by a 66% to 33% landslide, and who also just won the recent election for SC chairwoman. Go figure.)

And I guess we'll have to wait and see whether her Amherst Record contributions are in defense of her name or in offense against the schools.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

To all those (or that one who posts anonymously repeatedly) who are still so bothered about my three-year volunteer stint on the SC (which now ended more than three years ago),

Just let it go. Remember, you won! I am now gone (from the SC and from Amherst). You have SC members who support the current administration (and don't push for data, research-driven strategies for improving the schools, evaluation of current programs and policies, etc.), a superintendent who you will have for the next 30 years (and someone who you clearly believe is great for the Amherst schools), and a school district with plenty of resources (highest per pupil cost in Western Mass, well-staffed central office). Congratulations!

And I have clearly lost. Instead of spending 20 plus volunteer hours a week on the SC (pushing for changes like closing Marks Meadow, redistricting to reduce massive inequities in our schools, requiring an evaluation of our math curriculum, adding a Spanish language program in our elementary schools), I'm forced to "stay relevant" by teaching packed classes at Amherst College (one of the top 300 professors as rated by Princeton Review in 2012), traveling around the country for paid speaking engagements (including appearing on the Today show with Hoda and Kathy Lee), and writing books (under contract to do three right now, with a pesky book agent pushing for me to sign yet another contract).

So, congratulations! You should really start posting with your name so that people around town can congratulate you on your wise and thoughtful words about me. After all, if you feel so strongly about me, why not really own those words by posting with your real name (and even a photo, as I do)?

Nina Koch said...

to the person who said teachers take 21 sick days and 6 personal days-- that's not correct. The contract allows 15 sick days and 3 personal days per year, but very few people take all of those days. I would say people tend to take one or two sick days a year; quite a few people take none at all. It's very difficult to be out, so people come in even when they aren't feeling well.

Anonymous said...

I must be over the target.

Anonymous said...

I think most people in Amherst have let it go. You are the one who seems to not be able to let it go, along with a few others on this blog.

Larry Kelley said...

I like the way you took her advice and signed your name (sarcasm requires its own special font).

Anonymous said...

I never have and never will take advice from Catherine Sanderson. I'm thrilled for her that she is so accomplished. Her last post was really very telling in many many ways. After reading it I actually feel a tad sorry for her. I really have to say though that I never think about her...unless her name comes up here. It was a tumultuous 3 years while she was on the SC but she's gone now and I don't give her a thought. And I am sure the vast majority of people in Amherst don't care a whit about her. If she really did not want to be a lightening rod for those few who still do care, she would not have posted what she did just now.

Dr. Ed said...

Sooner or later, DECE is going to take over control of your school system -- if the US DOJ doesn't first, and all that's gonna take is one letter from one Black resident.

And your little bubble is going to get pierced by reality and Catherine Sanderson is going to instantly understand what I mean when I say that she really didn't loose. That instead it was the children of Amherst who lost, and that it will be the adults of Amherst who will loose even more....

And you can expect to see Dr. Ed on the news commenting about all of this when (not if) it happens. (Possibly also denying his involvement, which may or may not be quite accurate, but he will be smiling....)

Anonymous said...

It's always a wee bit embarrassing when people respond to criticism on this blog with a resume and list of accomplishments--as if we don't live in a town full of accomplished people.

Larry Kelley said...

Who are not too cowardly to use their names.

Anonymous said...

She got on the internet just last month, and cited her experience on the Amherst SC, to endorse a method of voting for a new SC member. No one prompted her to do that. If she's going to continue to publicly cite her SC experience, and use that in an attempt convince us she's qualified to endorse a candidate in a town she doesn't even live in, she should expect continued criticism of her SC tenure.

The way to maintain one's integrity in this town is to ignore anonymous online commentary directed toward you, like all the school admins have, all the town and gown admins have, et al. It just makes you look silly and pathetic to respond with "I won and you lost because look at how successful and happy I am now."

Larry Kelley said...

I find it a little odd that you are criticizing Catherine Sanderson for not ignoring comments such as yours.

Anonymous said...

I am not criticizing her. I don't care if she comments or not. What I am saying is that agree with the person who said she is not really gone because she keeps commenting about the dire straits of the Amherst schools. If she really wanted to be gone she simply not putting herself out there making comments. She loves the attention. Let's face it. In fact I would go so far as to say she needs it. That was a really weird post she put up...who does that?
Again, I don't care what she does or what she posts...I just think she really does not want to be gone and forgotten.

Larry Kelley said...

Nobody wants to be forgotten.

Dr. Ed said...

"as if we don't live in a town full of accomplished people."

No you don't.

Not really, you more live in a town full of people who are living off the accomplishments of their parents & grandparents.

You live in a town of "idiot son-in-laws" who are "driving the business into the ground" -- and the local industry, UMass, very much is being driven into the ground, so much so that I honestly do not expect it to survive the decade in any recognizable form.

There are very few people in Amherst who could survive vitriolic abuse on the level that Cathrine Sanderson did -- few people strong enough to endure that level without shattering. Her critics know they wouldn't have a "snowball's chance in hell" of surviving -- and that is what scares them.

You seek to justify your own miserable existences by convincing yourselves that at least you were able to destroy her -- that's why she's reminding you that you didn't -- that's why she's saying "look at how successful and happy I am now."

That bothers you the same way that knowing that I really did graduate with my doctorate bothers you -- I use the "Dr." title because I know how much it annoys those who personally know that I have every right to use it.

Catherine Sanderson has more integrity in one finger than bullying & blustering Mark Jackson does in his entire body and he knows that. You all do too, and that's why she so terrified you -- and still does today.

Jackson knows what would happen were someone like me on the school committee, he knows that Maria G wouldn't "fall on her sword" for him, not that I would really much care if half the district would up unemployed -- if I wanted him gone, he would be. (I am that nonchalantly ruthless now, and you can thank UMass, but I digress.)

Amherst is composed of bullies who are able to get away with being bullies. You ever run into a few folks able to defend themselves and you all will be S.O.L.....

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Three points and then, don't worry, I'm gone again for what I hope is a long time.

1. I'm going to keep commenting when my name is mentioned. So, don't mention my name. Every time I've commented on Larry's blog, it is because my name is mentioned and I respond to correct misinformation.

2. I'd love to be forgotten. Maybe some day that will include forgotten by anonymous posters on Larry's blog?

3. I feel the way to behave with integrity is to use my name when I comment on a blog. I feel that people with integrity actually don't cowardly attack other people from a perch of anonymity.

Dr. Ed said...

"Nobody wants to be forgotten."

True, but I think it's a lot simpler than that -- she's saying that the bullies haven't silenced her.

Larry, why did you start this blog? Think about that -- not just the specific fact but why you cared so much about that specific fact. And it wasn't about you being forgotten, either...

Reality is that Catherine Sanderson will be remembered long after Maria G is gone...

Dr. Ed said...

"I feel that people with integrity actually don't cowardly attack other people from a perch of anonymity."

Catherine -- there actually is some research (I think psych) that found that the "perch of anonymity" enables people to say a lot of things they would never ever say in person.

You have more personal integrity than they could, and they know it -- and more than anything else, that's why the don't like you and why you are *still* so much a threat to them.

Living well truly is the best revenge...

Anonymous said...

Nina, the point is that we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for subs, for days we are already paying more qualified teachers, and I can't think of another profession (especially one where the employees only work 180 days a year) that allows without question 18 days off. Most other professionals work 220-250 days a year and are granted very, very few days off, and often don't get paid for those days. I was just saying there would be a lot more money left over if teachers could work as often as people in other professions.

Anonymous said...

Yes 1:50, please keep telling us how much you dont care. And then tell us again.

Nina Koch said...

Dear 6:04,

I know that lots of people have very demanding jobs right now, especially as organizations in both the public and private sectors are cutting back on staffing and expecting people to do more work with fewer resources. I hear that from people in a wide variety of occupations.

I hope you know that most teachers work hours way beyond the stipulations of the contract. It's simply not possible to do the job unless you work nights and weekends. You can't plan all your lessons and read all the student work during the contractual hours. Even if you are out for a day, you still have to plan the lesson that the kids do while you are gone and you still need to read whatever work was generated that day.

This past weekend I spent about twenty hours reading student work, writing code, designing a new activity, and learning some new programming techniques. And I work part-time.

I'm not asking for anyone's sympathy around that. I just want to offer information to counter the impression you seem to have that teachers somehow have it easy in terms of workload.