Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Revenge Firing?

Paula, Dylan, Steve Akalis June 6

Bad enough that Amherst Regional High School Principal Mark Jackson forbid Dylan Akalis to march with his classmates at the Mullins Center graduation ceremony last weekend -- but did allow a shrill senior to march who violated Dylan's privacy with a bullying Internet petition.

Or that Dylan essentially lost the last four months of his senior year because school officials favored three black youths who bullied him to the point of making a desperate Facebook threat about "packin" a weapon to school for self defense. 

But now Amherst Regional Public School Superintendent Maria Geryk has gone one better -- or I should say worse -- by firing Dylan's dad, school electrician, Steve Akalis.

As you may remember back in late January when Mr. Akalis was trying to get school officials to do something about his son being bullied, he was suspended without pay for three days for using company time to ever so briefly discuss the scary situation with Dean of Students Mary Custard.

Now he's been fired for using the common electrician (and computer) term "slave unit,"  in the presence of a school employee who happens to be black.

Being an overly polite kind of guy (like most former Marines) Mr. Akalis said to the employee, "No offense, but the slave unit will not work unless the master unit is plugged in."

So yes, I suppose you could interpret that in one of two ways:  either he is invoking the sad history in our country when blacks were enslaved (but somewhat apologizing for it) or he could simply have been saying that she should take no offense ... he was, err, not questioning her intelligence.

Either way, summary execution for an innocent expression used without malicious intent is a tad draconian. 

When it comes to alleged racial issues it seems the public schools have lost sight of the expression, "teachable moment."


Anonymous said...

Will he have any basis for wrongful termination? The administration is ridiculous

Larry Kelley said...

Union was not overly helpful with the previous three day suspension, so ...

Rich said...

Oh, I think there is a very legit wrongful termination case here. I'm in the insurance business. Get thee to a Labor lawyer, Mr. Akalis.

Marcia T said...

Are you serious?!! Unreal!

Anonymous said...

Where was I reading recently and noticed the writer's use of the word "niggardly", which means stingy or miserly?

That's got to be a no-no within a 1000 feet of ARHS.

I would like to get the other side of the story on this, but, as usual, we won't.

Larry Kelley said...

Half a loaf is better than none.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Custard has been and continues to be a severe problem that has never been addressed. Any minority student who is criticized gets the benefit of the doubt while any parent of a white student in trouble can't even be seen by her. This has been going on for years. My child is a 2006 graduate. I speak from experience.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, The Amherst Human Rights Commission is giving a "Human Rights Hero" award to, you guessed it, Camila Carpio.

The commission will be honoring youngsters who have demonstrated acts of kindness, unselfishness, social courage and community service within their families, their schools or the community...


Larry Kelley said...

Hypocrisy requires its own special font (etched in her medal).

Nate Budington said...

Anon 4:57. I won't speak to Ms Custard's overall performance because I don't know much about her or he history at ARHS but just for the record, I dealt with Ms Custard over a disciplinary matter and she was both responsive and fair. My own experience does not square with what you and others have said, and I am white. The height of unprofessionalism is to criticize someone personally and publicly while remaining "anonymous".

Expecting savages to save the world said...

They simply LOVE ~hurting~ people.

It makes them feel powerful.

~Especially~ the directors of

Facilities and HR.

They're ~real~ pros.

Who simply cannot get enough.

Now, brothers and sisters

shrug your self sanctified


& in one low but unified grunt

say "amen".


Warning chimpanzees until blue in the face,

-Squeaky Squeaks

Anonymous said...

People living in fear tend to wish to stay anonymous.

Plenty of employees at the schools have something to say but we will likely never hear them because they fear for their jobs.

Once the fear mongers at the top establish the regime, it's going to be difficult to ascertain the truth. In that aspect our schools operate like North Korea.

Interesting for a town full of Social Justice.

Anonymous said...

I hope he gets a lawyer and fights this firing. I would contribute to his legal fund.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the people who comment here are in fear for their jobs. This town is not full of Social Justice at all. The town and the school have gone down the drain and the way they do things really is wrong. Their are so many in the school system who should not be their and how their got to where they are makes me wonder. A lot have no real idea what they are doing or how to do their jobs.

Tony said...

Being in HVAC I come across various 'slave' and 'master' components all the time and technically there's nothing wrong with the terms. But come on he could have used other terminology given the toxic atmosphere swirling through that school system right now; unless he wanted to (deservedly?) push some buttons...

Anonymous said...

And once again, ARHS covers up and avoids the real problems.

Anonymous said...

And you, who's clear lack of mastery of simple English language constructions are in a position to judge educators? You will be hard pressed to convince me.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me one would struggle to find a town where public employees would not fear for their jobs if they slammed their employer. Amherst is not special in that regard.

Walter Graff said...

As I've said from day one, Maria Geryk is an idiot. Nice to get hired by being someone's friend more than someone qualified. It sure shows in the end.

Oh and wait till you see how many parents are yanking their kids out of Amherst schools after this year. Don't bother to ask why, the school fails to do an exit poll of people leaving. Guss they know the reason but don't want to say.


Anonymous said...

It won't be long before the school employees will be looking to cast a No Confidence vote in their dictator superintendent. She who has never taught has lost her way.

Mr. Akalis should invest in a lawyer. He may well be able to retire. Seems to me that geryk and her side kick mazur have screwed this up badly.

Anonymous said...

Tony 8:29 PM, If it's something you say all the time, you tend to not watch how you say things when it's a term used by all. So even though this school is having issues, one who uses these terms on a regular basis isn't gonna be thinking about that, they are more likely and more forcused on doing their job. The school has become one sided with all that has been happening.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the "newly selected" ARMS principal backed out. Surprise, surprise. She appeared to be highly intelligent and qualified during the parent/community question session. Looks to be true if she high tailed it before even commencing on the job. Loss for Amherst. What a mess!

Anonymous said...

So admittedly, when I Iooked again at the employment opportunities posted on the ARPS site I may have misread / misinterpreted the info listed for principal positions (both FR & ARMS). Maybe this was just outdated position drafts still listed. Hope I was wrong. Can't seem to keep them so wouldn't be shocked if some got cold feet.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:41 PM: You misspell/misuse "there" "their" and "they're" every time you write online, whether as an anon here or when you post using your name elsewhere online. It's embarrassing, please stop.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if things are misspelled or they even misuse some words. That is not the important thing here Anon 10:49PM. As long as what is being written is understood. The important thing here is the fact that the schools are not doing their job right and try to hide stuff and have people work for them that shouldn't be. Also that a family has been deeply affected by the bull crap that the school has caused in general. You complain about spelling, if it embarrasses you so much, don't read anything here.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous indeed:


Anonymous said...

You're kidding..... Fuck....

Dr. Ed said...

I think the interesting question is who else may have used the "slave" term -- is it used in, say, the Electrician's exam? If it is, then she will have fired him for using a term the Commonwealth required him to use to get his license -- a license that Maria doesn't have.

This could get interesting.

And what is his union -- SEIU? Do you folks not realize that you need a real union and not a wing of Team Obama?

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that unions serve a purpose. Time to go to your union rep.

Anonymous said...

In my research, I found this 2012 message board post about this message packaged with a lighting item

An apology….
The electrical industry has used the terms "master" and "slave" for decades to describe the relationship between components.

The master unit was designed to do the controlling part of the task while the slave unit was assigned a lesser task. These terms also made their way into the lighting business and are commonly used in the home automation industry.

Out of respect for those who have suffered from human slavery, we are using alternative terms to describe these functions. We have started by renaming this product the SwitchLinc Multi-way Companion Switch.

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong here - BUT - I don't believe that anyone tied to this situation have EVER "suffered from human slavery" - just sayin'....

Anonymous said...

"he electrical industry has used the terms "master" and "slave" for decades to describe the relationship between components.:

Yeah, but was this a discussion of electrical issues? Doesn't sound like it.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually it was. He's an electrician.

He was called to an office to fix something that did not really need fixing.

And tried to explain why it was not working.

Wrongfully Transplanted said...

I recently went to a gathering in another town that involved people from all over the country, and you would not believe how much everyone was laughing when they found out I had moved to Amherst. This town is definitely the laughing stock of the valley if not the state. The worst part was how do you defend the town when it acts as ridiculous as it does. I will not and cannot adopt this town as my home town as long as it continues on the path of destruction it is on. I'm so discouraged now I'm already planting the seed in my children to live anywhere but here. I know this sounds disheartening, but where does this smoke and mirror show stop it gets more insane everyday.

Anonymous said...

Oh, these evil words!!!!!!!!
Let's put a man on the unemployment line because of a few spoken words. Only in Amherst can a man who served his country to protect freedom of speech, GET FIRED FOR USING IT.

Anonymous said...

I think he just hit the jackpot!

Anonymous said...

He really needs to sue the town. This is outrageous! A lawsuit can be done on a contingency basis...but if he needs money to hire a lawyer, lets start a FundMe campaign for him. I don't know how that is done but if one is started, I will contribute as much as I can.

Anonymous said...

I feel like only one side is presented here. Of course his position is "What me? I didn't do anything." I would like to hear both sides.

Larry Kelley said...

Anyone is free to add a comment. School officials included.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you anon 10:20 for saying what is so obvious, this website is good for entertainment only, not real news or truth. The main participants are basically a bunch of Mrs. Kravits's (remember Bewitched?) who peer out of their curtains and see only what they want to see. Come here for a chuckle only...

Larry Kelley said...

Pretty damn often (says my site meter).

the graduate in the middle said...

yup the amherst public schools have screwed me and my dad since january.they definitley need change

Steve Akalis said...

Well Anon Jun 11 @10:20 a.m, if you really want the other side of this story all you need to do is go up to Wildwood and talk with the receptionist. But just make sure you press the button and state your business before going to the office to sign in. Wonder if you'll need to make an appointment first.

Dylan Akalis said...

hahaha me and dad are trolling your website... Sorry Larry! HAHahahaha

Larry Kelley said...

No problem.

"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."

Steve Akalis said...

Now to Tony, who supposedly works in the HVAC field. No matter what words I would have chosen to call the "slave unit" it is still controlled by a "master unit". If you own a pair of side cutters - we call them linesman. Diagonal cutters are called dykes, except when you worked in Northampton in which we called them Northampton pliers. So as you can see there are many names for items in my trade in which every electrician calls it something different.

Anonymous said...

Merriam Webster dictionary definition of slave:
1. a person held in servitude as the chattel of another
2. one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence
4. drudge, toiler

Definition of Master - there are several, too much to type but here is the meaningful one:

I think the school is in big trouble for firing Mr. Akialis because he used terminology correct to his trade. I see big bucks in his future.

Dr. Ed Part 1 said...

Wow. This is getting more and more interesting.

Larry wrote:

He's an electrician. He was called to an office to fix something that did not really need fixing.

Which may have been known to the person requesting him to fix it.

And [he] tried to explain why it was not working.

To a person who may already have known exactly what words a competent electrician would use -- is supposed to use to describe a device of this sort.

Folks, there *are* Black electricians out there and there is also the internet -- it wouldn't be that difficult for a school employee wishing to hear a racist word (i.e. to fabricate grounds for termination) to learn that (a) any competent electrician would call a particular device a "slave" and then to(b) manipulate/contrive a situation where this electrician has to reference this device to a school employee.

I look at this just like a police officer physically handing a beer to a teenager, ordering him to hold it, and then arresting him for underaged possession. The judge would say "what the hell was he supposed to do, you arrested him for doing something that you'd have arrested him for if he had refused to do."

The word "entrapment" comes to mind -- Team Maria is a product of the darkest side of UMass -- and this kind of thing is a standard operating procedure for those folks. I've seen them do it a lot -- it was done to me several times...

It is the exact same thing as "male" and "female" pipe fittings -- for those of you who don't know, the "male" fitting goes into the "female" one. One could conceive of a sexual harassment complaint being fabricated against a plumber by trying to attach the wrong end of a garden hose (i.e. "male" end) to the male fitting of a water spigot -- knowing that the plumber would inherently suggest attaching the "female" end of the hose.

The electrical profession requires that things be done in a very specific way because if everyone does things the exact same way (and uses very specific words to describe things) then the next electrician can safely work on the wiring.

The characteristics of a 12 gauge solid copper wire is not affected by what color the insulation is -- a black wire, a white wire, and a green wire can transmit the same amount of electricity and hence can be used interchangeably (and I've actually seen this done -- I even saw one case where the green was hot with a water pipe being used as the neutral, which worked fine until the tenant plugged in her air conditioner...).

But a Black wire is "hot" (electrically charged, not sexually attractive), a White wire is "neutral" (grounded at the panel) and a Green wire is "ground" -- a redundant ground for safety purposes. There are exceptions (i.e. green being the switched leg for green lights in traffic light systems) but they are very specific, and electricians (and electrical inspectors) either know them or know to look them up in the code book.

Dr. Ed Part 2 said...

Part 2:

People will die if these strict protocols aren't followed -- just like when someone drives on the wrong side of the road. I really doubt that the Board of State Examiners of Electricians will tolerate Maria G telling them what words they require electricians to use in reference to things in their profession and their code.

And every electrician in the country will back them on this. His union won't back him, but his guild will -- and while the electricians may not have political power themselves, insurance companies and fire departments *do* and they will back the profession because they don't want buildings burning down and people being electrocuted.

What Team Maria is doing here is claiming a right to -- essentially -- re-write the electrical code and I can see a lot of people viscerally responding "the hell you do!"

I have long said that Maria G is going to "go down in flames" -- that she would implode spectacularly and this may well be it.

Bear in mind that NFPA -- the National Fire Protective Association is headquartered in Quincy -- they are the folks who, amongst other things, essentially write the electrical code for not only the entire country but much of the world.

Maria G is is "a big fish in a small pond" -- she charms and/or bullies everyone in the "small pond" of Amherst with impunity because no one else has anywhere near the power she has -- she's very much like the abusive guy pounding on his 110 lb girlfriend who isn't strong enough to defend herself.

The NFPA isn't going to be afraid of her, and Maria G is both stupid enough and arrogant enough not to realize that. She screwed up big time here -- her mistake was in firing him for something his profession (and the laws of the Commonwealth) require him to do -- to use certain nomenclature for certain things.

Dr. Ed said...

Diagonal cutters are called dykes, except when you worked in Northampton in which we called them Northampton pliers.

And a "dyke" is also the proper name for that mound of earth in Hadley that protects the town from being flooded by the river.

The environmental laws define and regulate these and you need to apply for a "dike permit" to build or repair one, and you gotta call it a "dike"/"dyke."

And as I've mentioned earlier, in England, the word "faggot" references a cigarette.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see justice done whatever that may be. It would be good to see this family get its day in court and for the administration to answer for accusations.

If the past has taught us anything it is that the nothing ever changes in Amherst nothing. While I applaud Larry's efforts I don't see anything happening over this.

Someone please prove me wrong.

Larry Kelley said...

Truth triumphs! (Usually.)

Dr. Ed said...

"Black will hurt you and White won't."

Anyone with a basic knowledge of the electrical code knows exactly what I mean here -- black wires are almost always "hot" and white wires are almost always "neutral" -- IF it was wired correctly -- and if you absolutely must touch something, the white wire is the safer one to touch.

But having the black wire be the most dangerous one could be construed as racist, couldn't it?

Maybe Maria is going to require that the wiring color code be modified so as to not offend anyone. Maybe she'll mandate that Green be used for hot. That'd be "interesting...."

Anonymous said...

Ed will you quit talking out your ass. You don't know the first thing about the electrical trade and what you are saying could get someone killed. Stick to your own paranoia and leave electricity to the experts. God, you sound like a complete idiot today.

Anonymous said...

He sounds like a complete idiot "TODAY?"
He sounds like a complete idiot all the time.

Anonymous said...

You are the embarrassment to education considering you can't use the correct use of YOU'RE.

Anonymous said...

Yes! You are 110% right! There is an unbelievable bias that favors students...
of color?
WTF are you talking about? Get your head out of your ass. I actually attend this school.

Anonymous said...

Without context its impossible to pass judgement. So the majority of you, whatever end of the spectrum you fall under, should Shut The Fuck Up because you just don't understand.

Anonymous said...

I had to ask myself if today was April 1 when I read this headline. Unbelievable, but true

Larry Kelley said...

The Onion could find lots of material in Amherst on any given day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:33

I have been hearing "you just don't understand" from teachers and administration folks for years. Those same people allowed very low standards in my kids classrooms and as such my kids lost interest in education. It has been a long road to bring them back.

That phrase is a way to try to keep people down. It is a way of saying I am smarter and more experienced than you. The person saying it never says how they are smarter or more experienced they just are.

Clearly you are part of the system in some way or a friend to it. So for those of us sick of this "you don't understand" attitude please "Shut the *#@* up"

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the union is IBEW.

Anonymous said...

no it is not IBEW - they would have been all over this - it's afscme which has let this guy flounder on his own for over 5 months with NO representation after repeated requests

Anonymous said...

His union is AFSCME. They provide little assistance if any. When they do attempt to assist, it's just a staff representative who settles for the easiest solution for them.

A request for legal assistance is futile. AFSCME is little more than lipservice. They are ill prepared to defend an employee against the high priced Boston law firm, Murphy Hesse Toomey & Lehane who might as well be on staff at ARPS.

Anonymous said...

Freaking unions.

Walter Graff said...

Why is anyone bothering to prove the definition of master-slave, that is not the issue. It's fucking absurd that this man got fired PERIOD, end of sentence. The issue isn't the reference, but how fucking insane Amherst is and no one does anything to stop this madness.

I know, it's the Amherst way. If it can be done ass backwards, out of the side of someones mouth, secretly while creating a smoke screen, or through wasting time and money, Amherst will find a way.

Maria Geryk is a dolt who couldn't screw in a light bulb without hiring ten people to help her figure out how to. Wait, can you say 'screw' anymore or is that sexual harassment.

Right now you have a master-slave switch in your home. Guess you should get rid of all three-way switches as a result. I know a decent guy with a family to feed who is out of work, is licensed, and can help.

The school system is a utter failure and all anyone can do is sit by and watch because Amherst is set up in a way that no one has to take any responsibility for anything and so no one can really be at fault. It's a sad sad town of people who hide behind cloaks of intellectualism and feel they are changing the world because they bought sugar at Whole Foods disguised by the term 'organic' and because they have a compose in their backyard.

Maria Geryk you are and will always be an embarrassment to the education system. You bring great dishonor and are a unmitigated failure as a superintendent. You are the definition of a pisher.

Anonymous said...


You need to get your hostility problem checked.

Dr. Ed said...

Ed will you quit talking out your ass. You don't know the first thing about the electrical trade and what you are saying could get someone killed.

Please cite the provision of any (US) electrical code -- NEC, Massachusetts, Amherst -- that permits a white wire to be hot. I'm not stupid and I have integrity -- when I was citing people for wiring violations, I made damn sure they actually *were* violations -- I looked it up myself and then I asked one (of several) electricians I knew if I had read it right.

I'm not saying the neutral can't be charged -- it can be -- but where is it permitted to be a "hot" wire? Prove me wrong if I am, cite the provision (and know that I will look the cite up myself to confirm it says what you claim it does).

Stick to your own paranoia and leave electricity to the experts.

I didn't realize it until I saw the term "experts" tossed in -- I was initially taught this (along with pulling a meter off the side of a house to disconnect it in an emergency) as part of my firefighter training. And the people who taught me it were designated as "experts" -- in a different place & time where not acting yourself and waiting could be a death sentence for the victims.

Furthermore, trying to keep my word count down, I did remove the part about "in extremis" and how you should back off and wait for the expert if you possibly can. Reality is sometimes you can't (or won't) and I did write "if you absolutely must touch something, the white wire is the safer one to touch."

I sure as hell am not encouraging folks to go grope electrical wires! Do you have any idea what "in extremis" actually *means*?

Furthermore, my point was the color code of the NEC and how that could be construed as racist.

Nina Koch said...

I sure hope the new Fort River principal doesn't find this blog. (I won't name her, just to reduce the search engine visibility.)

I know you were happy that she was hired, Walter. If you want her to stay, you might think about how you can help with that.

Dr. Ed said...

You don't know the first thing about the electrical trade and what you are saying could get someone killed.

I'll go one step further -- and I not only do NOT recommend doing this in Amherst but am not going to give enough details for anyone other than someone in the trade to understand what I am talking about.

The primary line fuses -- you know how they blow and how the line disconnects. Well, if you put a bullet through the fuse, the exact same thing will happen, and if you *only* hit the fuse (and nothing else), the lineman can reconnect the circuit with no more difficulty than if the fuse had blown.

Now this was before they could disconnect circuits by computer, and in Amherst they can have a line truck there quick enough that this wouldn't be justifiable even if you didn't have to worry about where the bullet landed.

But if you are in Rural Maine and your making a choice between spending 2-3-4 hours watching someone die in a car wreck versus trying to do something to help the victim(s), well????

Dr. Ed said...

Walter Graff said...

Why is anyone bothering to prove the definition of master-slave, that is not the issue. It's fucking absurd that this man got fired PERIOD, end of sentence.

And hopefully he will appeal to the Civil Service Commission in Boston and I suspect they will agree with you Walter.

Then he gets back pay and his job back. Although why he'd want to work for that school department is beyond me...

Walter Graff said...

So what should we do sugarcoat it so that she steps in shit on her own or support her so she knows what she is up against. She's the first principal with a vision since... a while.

The way I see it, the new principal is stuck for at least three years. She is not old enough nor experienced enough to leave Amherst for a while. She has to get her wings wet here (unfortunately). There is always the Rodriguez method if Team Maria gets desperate once this woman tries to make the school a better place aka firing.

The only issue I think the new principal has is that she is an independent thinker and that does not go well over at Team Maria's status quo camp. I do think she was the far better candidate to the one who had no answers to parents questions or who fumbled to answer the simplest questions and who thought the fact that she grew up in Amherst was the reason she should be made principal. Best part was when one parent asked her if she had any idea that Amherst was a heavily top-down system to which she gave a five second deer-in-the-headlights look and then gave some rambling an in-cohesive response a la Ms. America.

Of course as many don't know the third candidate was forced to drop out after she was vetted by team Maria and found to be a good choice only to have someone outside Team Maria look her up after she was presented to the community, only to find out she had an egregious DUI in Connecticut. Good job Vetting your candidates Amherst.

Many in Amherst know there is a serious problem, few seem to have enough cojones to say something. Most are just pulling their kids out if they can.

Walter Graff said...

Bad news for you Ed... In some instance you can use a white wire as hot. For instance in Romex a white wire can be used as hot as long as it is clearly marked as such on both ends. Black electrical tape is the normal way to do it. White can also be used in certain switch circuits to feed a switch.

I wasn't a member of IATSE local #1 for nothing.

Section 200-7. The colors white or gray can be used only for the grounded conductor. Exception #1 permits a conductor with white or gray insulation to be used as the (hot)ungrounded conductor if re-identified with a color other than gray, white or green. Exception #2 permits the white or gray conductor to be used for feeds to switches and travelers without re-identification.

NFPA 70 National Electrical Code 2011 Edition

Anonymous said...

This may be myopic, but:

A group of overlooked "victims" of this travesty are the KIDS "subjected" to Ms. Garner's math class...

Consider these kids in an AP-level class being left to a "veteran" lector (Gardner's been at Amherst for nearly a year), then after the stuff hits the fan, Gardner becomes a highly distracted, oft-absent-for-days teacher...The math department stumbles and assigns SEVERAL different fill-in teachers resulting inconsistent instruction and testing...and when Gardner does return to class, she came with her ARHS-supplied "body guard" to lean over the students...what a great learning environment.

All the while they are supposedly being prepped for standardized testing than many colleges still use for admissions.

Where did the system fail? Many areas have already been covered, but IMHO a share of the blame pie lays squarely at the feet of the MATH department, for leaving these kids to fend for themselves when they needed consistent quality instruction the most...and watched while Ms. Gardner became an Untouchable.

When things became unstable, they should have removed the circus, put her on leave and assigned a long-term substitute. Period. Not muddle through with "whoever is available that period", good luck, boys and girls...

I hope these kids pull through, learn something, and do/did well on their SAT's/AP/college admission tests...Same goes for all of the other non-PC-recognized collateral damage from this farce. At least some kids learned another important lesson. When their PC administration runs amok, don't count on the to help out their primary charge. Just Duck and Cover…or Redirect.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:20,

Not to understate the problem of those kids that had Ms. Garner, but the Amherst math curriculum started to fail them long before they stepped foot in her classroom.

Squeaky's penetrating radar said...

"His union is AFSCME. They provide little assistance if any. When they do attempt to assist, it's just a staff representative who settles for the easiest solution for them."

For years, certain
individuals in the schools maintenance/transportation department tried garnering enough support to replace the increasingly "ineffective" AFSCME union.


The union had always been aware of the "threat", but used the benign persuasiveness of a particular (dedicated and "trusted") servicing rep, to foil them.

That rep retired in 2004 (or so).
His "approach" retired with him.

Then in 2006, M/T workers quickly unified and attempted a separation from the custodians, for the purpose of creating their own (stand alone) bargaining unit.

Others simultaneously brought possible replacement unions (truly ~independent~ "non corporate" ones, known to PROTECT workers), into the picture.

AFSCME and its' "lackey(s)" in the "the district", seeing the writing on the wall, quickly went to work

viciously ~crushing~ that activity


As a matter of fact, a M/T worker passing by Kathy Mazur's office, overheard a conversation she was having (speaker phone, low volume) with a senior AFSCME employee who asked HER to ~squash~ ALL attempts by M/T workers to divide the unit.

That same senior AFSCME employee later paid a visit to the M/T department, for the purpose of "dissuading" workers, forcefully.

Naturally the strong arming backfired, but only temporarily.

Mazur and the Director of Facilities eventually accomplished for the union what the union itself could not,

by firing those individuals they identified as working for the empowerment and protection of M/T employees, against AFSCME's "wishes".



$$$ for AFSCME: in the form of preserving dues which would've been lost if the union were replaced (it definitely would have been).

$$$ for administrators: lower wages for weakened blue collar employees means more money for administrators.

In the years since,

that's ~exactly~ what's happened!


Dr. Ed said...

For instance in Romex a white wire can be used as hot as long as it is clearly marked as such on both ends.

Only in a 240 volt circuit though(otherwise where is your neutral?), and remember that driers (or anything that uses both 120 and 240 volts) now require both the neutral *and* ground, four wires -- no more shared neutral & ground, even if just for a light bulb.

240 volt circuits aren't that common -- in all the stuff I cited, I can only think of two 240 volt circuits -- and, as you mention, the hot white has to be identified at the end.

White can also be used in certain switch circuits to feed a switch.

I did know that. :(

It makes sense in that if you have a piece of Romex going to a switch, what else is going to get used (unless there is also a red in there).

I am surprised, however, that the code still allows this -- that there hasn't been a move toward a type of Romex without a white in it for purposes such as this.

But you are right Walter.

And the situation I'd be more worried about is where the neutral isn't properly grounded and you have a higher load on one side of the panel than the other, I believe this is why you are no longer allowed to bond neutral to ground in subpanels but I digress.

Anonymous said...

So what should we do sugarcoat it so that she steps in shit on her own or support her so she knows what she is up against?

Neither Walter, just stop being a dick all the time.

Anonymous said...

Ed and Wally you two are such a work of art. How come you think you know all about the electrical trade, but neither has a license or ever worked with the tools a day in your lives. This alone makes both of you class A blowhards. I'll bet you didn't know, but when a wire rolls back on itself it creates what is known as a "Wally" or an "Ed." For you two non-electricians that would be an "ASSHOLE." So the next time you happen to be pulling wire or cable, or even an extension cord, remember, when it gets snarled up and you have to straighten it out before you continue, you can yell to the person on the end; Hold it a minute, I've got a "Wally" or "Ed" in the wire. Stick to your own paranoia, you fuckin' wantabees.

Larry Kelley said...

Okay boys, we're getting a tad off track (yet again).

Nina Koch said...

Walter, if you think the new principal is going to read your posts as supportive, you are mistaken. She has met Maria, talked with her, and knows Maria is not a "dolt." She chose to work with Maria. She chose to work in Amherst.

Your posts are just blankets of negativity and meanness. They don't offer information or ideas. Hopefully, the new principal will recognize that you are just one guy, and won't start to think that your level of anger characterizes the rest of the Fort River parents.

Anonymous said...

"Interesting for a town full of Social Justice."

This poster nailed it on the head. It's only about social justice for SOME.

Anonymous said...

Theres another police response at the high school. Looks like 3 cruisers.

Anonymous said...

New principals know the drill: all towns have their Walters and Eds, though they usually live in lean-tos in the woods with old beagles, subsisting on wild turnips, etching their screeds on birch bark.

Anonymous said...

Censorship is unAmerican.

Larry Kelley said...

So is cowardice, CAN.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "Well-known" nitwit.

Larry Kelley said...

Half right.

Steve Akalis said...

Today my fellow brothers asked me how come I no longer worked for the Amherst Public Schools. My response was saying master/slave units to a person of a color. They all said that is fucking stupid and it is a language used in our trade since it's beginning. Now take it as you like, they were brothers of all ages and yes you got it too all different races. And I'd like to thank you all for all the support you have show throughout all these ordeals.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, you know whom I used to work for -- and what I did -- don't you???

Ed and Wally you two are such a work of art. How come you think you know all about the electrical trade, but neither has a license or ever worked with the tools a day in your lives.

How about spending nearly a decade inspecting the work that others had (or hadn't) done with the tools?

How many times were YOU subpoenaed to testify in court as to if the wiring in a specific apartment was in violation of the code? (I'd have LOVED to have had someone say I wasn't qualified to do so -- I didn't want to go...)

And there are a lot of situations where the rules (and common sense) require that there be a "second responsible adult" present and no requirement that it be an electrician -- and on occasion I have been that person.

Dr. Ed said...

Today my fellow brothers asked me how come I no longer worked for the Amherst Public Schools. My response was saying master/slave units to a person of a color. They all said that is fucking stupid and it is a language used in our trade since it's beginning.

That is something that I believe that the Civil Service Commission would consider quite significant.

Like I wrote earlier, if you were fired for using "the language of your trade" it essentially is the same thing as being fired for using black wires and offending someone -- and the right not to be offended does not extend to the authority to re-write the NEC.

COULD someone become a fully licensed electrician without learning what Master/Slave meant (and the related wiring and such)? Could one pass all the exams and make it through all the indentures and the rest?

If not, then Maria G has essentially re-written the electrical code, and I doubt your "brothers" will appreciate that, nor should they -- she has absolutely no authority to do this.

Like I was trying to say before (I suspect, Team Maria) decided to start distracting things, Maria G clearly can not tell you what Black & White wire can be used for -- even if she considers it racist and offensive, *she* can't re-write the code. How is this different?

Dr. Ed said...

New principals know the drill: all towns have their Walters and Eds, though they usually live in lean-tos in the woods

Yes, but Ed's has a center-tapped 24 volt DC system that uses power inverters for anything needing the 120 volt AC. And a second generator that produces AC but which he has to manually govern the engine rpms relative to load to control the voltage. (Yes, I should buy a new generator, but..,)

Dr. Ed said...

The hypocrisy in this argument so infuriates me. Nina is doing exactly what she is condemning Walter for doing...

Hopefully, the new principal will recognize that you are just one guy, and won't start to think that your level of anger characterizes the rest of the Fort River parents.

A smart leader will recognize that one outspoken individual is almost always saying what quite a few more are only quietly thinking. A smart leader will understand that anger doesn't appear in a vacuum -- that something is causing the anger, which often is what it appears to be.

A smart leader will understand that winning the support of an angry critic is incredibly valuable because if she can manage to get his support, she has also gotten the support of similarly minded but less visceral ones as well.

Just sayin...

Walter Graff said...

Opinions are like assholes, everyone as one. Unfortunately most assholes are afraid to post their names.

I was a licensed special electrician in the State of NY for six years plus my 8 year as a journeyman to whomever nameless person spoke.

No Ed, not just in a 220 circuit. Any none-piped insulated wire can be labeled any way you want it to be as long as it is labeled as so.

As for the new principle, I wish her luck. She'll have her hands full with this administration and an assortment of a few entitled parents who coddle their children and bitch and moan about frivolous crap.

Nina Koch said...

You can do more than wish her luck. You can offer to be helpful.

Dr. Ed said...

No Ed, not just in a 220 circuit. Any none-piped insulated wire can be labeled any way you want it to be as long as it is labeled as so.

Are you sure you aren't confusing this with a 208 volt 3-phase "WYE" service? Other than that, or the single phase 240 volt circuit, why would you want to have more hots than neutrals? You aren't allowed to have a neutral bus -- every individual circuit has to have it's own neutral back, and even if you use a so-called "three wire circuit" where you have two 120 volt circuits sharing a neutral, which they safely can *if* they are on opposite sides of the panel because the neutral is only carrying the *difference between* the two loads -- that's the same reason why you can have only three wires coming from the street, which always bothered me as a kid.

Most Romex is two or three wires -- with ground -- hence black/white/green or black/red/white.green, and while I may be wrong, I (a) don't think you can use the green for *anything* other than a ground, which you also are required to have. Hence you only have one neutral, and if you make that hot too, what are you using for neutral?

I'd asked questions if I'd seen this -- a LOT of them -- and you have got me wondering outside of switch legs, why would you want all the wires in a Romex to be hot?

Anonymous said...

Give it up Ed, you're getting dumber by the sentence. Remember electricians have an old saying:
Those that do; Do.
Those that don't; Teach.
Those that can't teach; INSPECT.
Don't put a lot of merit in your past experiences. Son, you don't know SHIT about electricity. Wally on the other hand got to play with the SPECIAL electricity, which probably refers to stage lighting. In Ma. they give stage hands a license that only applies to theatrical work. I really doubt Wally has ever even ran pipe in a ditch before. But he is special anyway if you get my drift.
Steve, you got fucked and I feel bad for you and I wish you the best. From past experience don't expect much help from AFSCME. As a fellow electrician all I see is a white middle-aged male in America. Pretty much, you're Fucked!

Dr. Ed said...

I really doubt Wally has ever even ran pipe in a ditch before.

I actually helped with a project like that once. I was very glad I went to lunch late one day because an 8700 volt line wasn't where it was supposed to be and the backhoe "found" it. Burned a cigar-sized hole through the tooth of the backhoe -- and I'd likely have been standing on the adjacent ground when it happened.

As to "do"-"teach"-"inspect" -- don't you think I would have preferred to have fixed a lot of the stuff I cited myself? It would have been a hell of a lot easier than repeatedly citing the same stuff in hopes it might get fixed.

Some of the cross-metering stuff I was dealing with (not in Amherst) -- It'd have been ever so much easier to just un-cross it and go home (or pretend I didn't see it) -- but there is a right way to do things.

Humor me though -- with single phase 120 volt and other than a switch leg of some sort, why would you ever use the intended neutral in a Romex (i.e. white wire) as a hot -- and what then is your neutral as you don't have a circuit unless you have a return path to ground, and you can't use the green/bare one for that.

Steve, you got fucked and I feel bad for you and I wish you the best.

I don't think he's lost yet. I'm reminded of a guy at UMass who got arrested for driving a UM vehicle on a suspended license and then fired -- and two years later he was retroactively reinstated with back pay

From past experience don't expect much help from AFSCME.

Steve, two words "fiduciary duty."

AFSCME is legally obligated to help you and if they don't, you can sue them for that. It's part of the concept of collective bargaining, if they assume (take away from you) your right to represent yourself (which is what the "exclusive representative" clause in the contract is all about) then they have a duty to do it.

A lot of folk don't know this and the union folk hope folks don't -- but those two words are worth knowing if they blow you off.

Steve Akalis said...

Thank you Ed, but right now I am going to play the schools game. I will be contacting my lawyer again to see if I can post the last chance agreement I signed under duress even though I didn't write it on it when I signed it.

Also right now I am very content in my decision to have walked away from that meeting. It didn't take me long to rejoin the work force and I am proud to be a member again of IBEW. I was an IBEW electrician since 1985 thil I went into business for myself. When times got real hard, I even deliver the Gazette to help pay the bills. The I found a gig that every electrician dreams of "In House". Well I just was hoping to make it a better place for the kids. Never did I know or have the feeling that Amherst was a racial community. Well I found out the hard way back in January. And the days only got worse with all the incidents. It's like the black lady up in the Middle School at a meeting saying that all white people are racists. And now I wonder if she was reprimanded by HR. Well I hope the Sensitivity Class that maintenance will be having teaches everyone something. Ms Mazur and Ms Geryk and all the supposedly afro Americans and people of color should also know that us White people were also slaves. Read your history books. The Jews were slaves to Hitlers armies and then put to death when not needed anymore. The Vikings had slaves when they raided villages. And yes if I'm not wrong none of you people are slaves or from Africa so stop it. Most of us were born here in America. So grow up and just stop seeing color and show respect to earn it back

Steve Akalis said...

Sorry to also bring this up. But I bet there is no mention of the good job I have done for your school district in my records. The Middle School auditorium lighting since changed to LED'S saves approx $9000.00/year and they all work now. The High School auditorium lighting since changed saves approx $12,000.00/year. The Middle School exterior lighting cost approx $11,000.00/year to operate. With just the LED'S that I have installed on exterior so far the savings is approx $2,500.00/year. And all the LED'S have a date written on them, this is to give us an idea if they will really work for 25 years. I do hope your next electrician does a good job for it seems to me the administration cannt hold on to us very long. Is that because were fully charged and hot.

Anonymous said...

I wish people would stay on topic. All this reading about electrical stuff and what color wire does what has nothing to do with the main topic here. This person seems to have a shitty union and got no help from the school when it came to helping his son, then you have the fact that they fired him for using a term used by all in that field as well as many others. I have spoke to friends in other areas of work, not just electrical and they use the terms slave unit and master unit and female and male ends, they all have jobs still. This school just wants to hide things and have this all go away. Well they can't. For once it might not get totally swept under a rug and hidden and that upsets the school. Their are so many people who work their that really shouldn't. Now the schools are having everyone get fingerprintered. What good does that do when you have cori checks and still hire ex-cons anyway. Yep the school system has an ex-con working their that was in jail and that isn't right. So this guy is trying to do his job, uses a term that has been used for years and then gets fired because of it. Bull Crap. I hope he sues the heck out of the place. Maybe then they will learn they can't always hide things and hide it when they screw up badly but don't want to admit it.
Good question is why could they protect a staff member and not a student?

Anonymous said...

The fingerprinting is being done because of a new state statute.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you could always file an OCR complaint -- I mention this only because Maria hasn't managed to stay ahead of her paperwork with them yet, and it could be fun...

Anonymous said...

Steve, thanks for helping shine the light, the more I read the more I can feel the schools being disinfected.

Anonymous said...

@Steve~of course this was a revenge firing and I am sorry this has happened to you. It is simply awful! If I were you though I would not write anymore on this site or anywhere about race. Oppression, slavery, and all that came with it is here still in American modern day culture. It is very sad, but still very true. You do not have to have been a slave to feel its oppression in this modern day, nor do you have to 'stop' anything as far as it comes to educating our youth about the true history of our country. I am a college graduate, and still know very little about my own country's history, but I am still learning. I hope you sue the pants of the district--oops--can I say that? And I hope you win millions for your grief and for your son's grief. It is not a nice system. I know this first hand. Kathy Mazur is not a nice person at all--she is not a humanitarian, even though she works in Human Resources. And Maria Geryk is about as big a bully as they come--not concerned about her workers, or the students suffering by low achievement, or their parents, only what the media, and other high fa-lootin' people in town think. She has won a popularity contest, and knows how to keep the big bucks in her corner. Much luck to you Steve--I think you've got a winner.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what color you are?