Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Expensive At The Top

If you ever wondered why Amherst Regional Public Schools have such a dramatically higher than average cost per student, $20,328 this year vs state average of around $14,000,  just look at recent employee compensation raises. 


Assistant Super Mike Morris, Superintendent Maria Geryk

Superintendent Maria Geryk goes from $147,000 to $158,00 a 7.5% raise.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Morris goes from $100,000 to $115,000 a 15% raise

Sean Mangano

Sean Mangano, Finance Director, goes from $49,429 to $95,000 a 90% raise

Talib Sadiq, School Climate Coordinator,  goes from $54,395 to $78,861 a 45% raise

Meanwhile all the King's horses and all the King's men (and women) subsist on a 2 or 3% raise. 

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

and did they have to negotiate endlessly for those raises? nitpick through every line on their contract?

Anonymous said...

WOW, Rob a bank by gunpoint, change your name from Vincent Bias to a Muslim name, get a degree while in the clink, and guess what? You're hired! Act like a clown and claim that everyone except yourself is a racist...you are now the Amherst "Climate Control Officer". Keep pulling out the race card...45% raise.

Anonymous said...

Wait, what? Clearly a case of the haves vs the have nots. $45G raise? For THAT guy? Epic fail 'herst. Epic fail

The Real Cliff Huxtable said...

A long, long time ago, three to four generations ago, parents didn't talk much to their children. At four A.M, the father would come home, look at his son sleeping, wake him up and say "Boy, go out and plough the field now". And the boy would rub his eye and say "Yes, pa". And occasionally, the son would ask the father how much he'd get paid. And the father grabbed the plough, and ran over his son. Those days are over, because we have become more civilized, more sophisticated, but it's still inside of me no matter how sophisticated I get. And it grows over time. Boy, when I say to one of my children to do something and they say "How much does it pay?", I think I'm going to buy a plough

Larry Kelley said...

I have far more experience buying and selling machines where I would always try to get the best deal possible, but there was always that number that would cause me to say no.

And it would take quite a bit of back and forth to get to it.

I just wonder if there was much in the way of back and forth with these negotiations?

I mean would Ms. Geryk walk out the door if you only offered her a 5% rather than 7.5% raise, or Mike Morris 7.5% rather than 15%, or Talib Sadiq 15% rather than 45%, or Sean Mangano 45% rather than 90% raise?

Anonymous said...

This is a clear case of incompetence at lease in the case of Sean Mangano and Sadiq. If they were worth the amount of the raise they got then they were grossly underpaid. If however they are under-qualified then they are grossly overpaid now.

Usually if a person is worth a lot more than they are making then they move on.

I would like to know the qualifications of these two individuals that they accepted being underpaid while waiting for the right job in Amherst.

I hope town meeting drills her on these crazy raises. It is the towns Money, not Maria's

Anonymous said...

One man, for instance, may have an excess of wealth and excite jealousy among his kin; this envy, expressed in overt ways, may disturb him and even make him ill, and guilt feelings may compound his discomfort. In his social context he may experience these feelings as as fear of sorcery, and believing himself bewitched may call upon a shaman to restore his health and confidence. The shaman, in trance, may identify the injured parties as the source of the trouble and may suggest the gift of some of his wealth to induce them to undo their destructive magic. Thus a minor redistribution of wealth may take place which restores the balance of power among kin and resolves the conflict which its imbalance aroused.

Anonymous said...

That Talib guy is a gangster, always has been, always will be. You should see the clientele that he hangs with. Did he have a background check done to get the job? Does the town administrators even care what his criminal history looks like? What a joke this town is.

Steve Akalis said...

You get what you pay for. NOTHING

Anonymous said...

Another major change that preceded his raise is that Sean Mangano is now the de facto new Finance, reporting to HR Director Kathyrn Mazur. That's a major change from when Dettweiler was Finance Director. Mangano was always asst biz director or whatever. The change has gone virtually unnoticed. Now Mazur and Geryk are the finance directors, with Mangano compensated for his silence and complicity.

If you add up all the raises, you'll get a number comparable to what Dettweiler was making.

Treating you and your cash, like trash said...

Oh come now people,


you know you like it.


http://1859oregonmagazine.com/pub/photo/thumb/2012-Spring-Oregon-History-Cartoonist-Homer-Davenport-Arbitration-in-a-Strike-political-cartoon_fitbox_640x1200.jpg


Don't you?


-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Bada bing $$$ bada boom.

Dr. Ed said...

"Rob a bank by gunpoint, change your name from Vincent Bias to a Muslim name, get a degree while in the clink"

Is this actually true?

As one who has been maliciously defamed, here and elsewhere, I'm not going to believe it without something resembling objective documentation of the felony conviction. Yes, conviction (or plea to the same) and one that is still legally valid today. Hence not only that he actually "rob[bed} a bank at gunpoint" but was (a) actually convicted of that (and not a lesser offense), and (b) wasn't pardoned by the Governor.

Facts matter: Is Talib a convicted felon?

Notwithstanding CORI, if he was convicted (or plead to), that is a public record and anyone can walk into the courthouse (where he was convicted) and for something like $2/page, anyone can get a copy of the file. And anyone can then put a .pdf of that on the internet for all to see -- I've done it myself in the past (only to have UMass take it down, but that's another story).

If so, if he's really a convicted felon, then how the hell did he get/keep his certificate? At least in the State of Maine he wouldn't have one! He could not be employed in K-12 -- not in a district wishing to receive state money (which all do).

I know someone who, in the midst of a divorce, broke into his own house to steal his baseball card collection. All he did was B&E, during the daytime, with nothing else involved, there wasn't even a restraining order to violate, and he didn't even go to jail. He was a Social Studies teacher -- I emphasize was because he lost his teaching certificate for that -- lost it the same way a child molester does -- and lost it for life.

I don't care if he changed his name/religion, or if he was a nice boy in prison, or even if he howls at the moon on alternate Thursdays -- if he's a convicted felon, he not only has no business being around children but (I believe) isn't even permitted to be.

Larry -- if you really consider yourself a reporter, you'd first get written documentation of his conviction and then ask DECE in Malden why they are permitting him to be employed in K-12. It is possible that the conviction was lost with his name change -- that's why they are fingerprinting everyone who works in a school -- but ask them exactly what he has for a certificate and why it is still valid....

Anonymous said...

Any information on how student achievement has improved in the past 5 years? How many kids are still below proficient in each grade? What evidence is there that all the new programs and hires of the past 5 years are working? Is this even assessed?

Anonymous said...

Must be nice yet AFD, APD and DPW get the scraps of the table. The people who make sure the town is safe and everything is running how it should got a whopping 2%. Never mind that new gun control legislation calls for schools to fund school resource offices. That’s where that money should have gone to.

Anonymous said...

Before these new hires are made is there an open, advertised search? Is there an effort to reach out and find minority candidates? Are several candidates evaluated before a selection is made?

Or is it the usual, insiders game?

Dr. Ed said...

Steve Akalis said...
You get what you pay for.


Steve Akalis, Larry has my email address and if you know (and not just "have heard") that Talib is a convicted felon, we need to "talk."

I really do have a Doctorate in Education, really am a certified teacher, and (more importantly) know the "right" questions to ask DECE and whom to ask them to.

I have nothing personal against Maria G, my concerns are perhaps similar to how you (as an electrician) would feel if you saw really shoddy wiring somewhere. The kind of stuff I used to write up as "creative wiring" -- TFFN wire coming out of an uncovered breaker box and nonchalantly strung along a wall/ceiling and connected to something (e.g. 4'florescent light) with equal nonchalance.

I know the Maine regs better than the Massachusetts ones, but I also know people whom I can ask exactly what the MA ones are, the same way you likely know someone whom you could quietly ask for an explanation of a complicated code question. We need to talk...

As an aside, between your trade and military experience, would you happen to know anything about the 2A016 1.5KW Military Standard Generator, particularly about what to look at if it won't run (and how the h*ll you get at stuff like the plugs, carb & such)? But I digress...

It's not public information, but Larry knows who I am and how to reach me and has my permission to share that with you. And while I doubt Team Maria would ever believe it, my issues with them are exactly what yours would be were you to, say, go into a restaurant and observe unsafe "creative" wiring.

My issue with Maria G is that I actually have the Ed.D. that she doesn't have, and I actually have the "Classroom Teacher" certificate that she also doesn't have -- on the most basic level, my issue with her is similar to the one that a licensed electrician has with someone (doing electrical work for pay) who doesn't even have a Journeyman's license.

And not doing it to code -- a code which the average person may not know but an electrician does. My guess is that Maria G. isn't doing a LOT of things "to code" -- in compliance with the regulations & standards of my profession.

Anonymous said...

Talib/ Vincent IS a convicted armed bank robber. It disgusts me he is allowed to work at a school and coach football. This town is f*cked!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the logic is let's take the money now before the voters figure out how to shut this down.

By the way, how do we shut this down?

Dr. Ed said...

"Never mind that new gun control legislation calls for schools to fund school resource offices. That’s where that money should have gone to."

Above and beyond that, there are things that a sworn police officer can do that no one else -- no matter whom it is -- can. Things which can sometimes be quite helpful to both the school and the people working/learning therein.

Anonymous said...

As Talib Sadiq aka Vincent E. Bias would say... why be a bank robber and go to jail for it as I did when you can steal money from the town of Amherst legally and live the good life.

Anonymous said...

This is how this whole thing got started.
www.masslive.com/.../state_certifies_exconvict_as_g.htm...

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Talib being hired is an "inside" hire. Who the hell else is going to hire a violent convicted felon. That's how he got his guidance counseling job, under the tutelage of Barry Brooks, and now this job. LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed,

You need to study up on your who/whom usage.

Anonymous said...

How do these expenditures get approved with tax dollars anyway?
Is there no oversight?

Anonymous said...

From Masslive

State certifies ex-convict as guidance counselor
Print The Republican Newsroom By The Republican Newsroom
on October 11, 2007 at 7:01 PM, updated October 11, 2007 at 7:05 PM
By DIANE LEDERMAN
dlederman@repub.com

AMHERST - The state Department of Education has agreed to certify an Amherst Regional Middle School guidance counselor, reversing an earlier decision to reject the certification.

Talib Sadiq, who was jailed for armed bank robbery in 1993, was hired this year as the seventh-grade guidance counselor at the middle school, replacing retiring counselor Barry Brook.

Sadiq worked as an intern in his office in the spring and was highly regarded.

Amherst Regional Schools Superintendent Jere I. Hochman said he received a call from the state education office "informing me that Mr. Sadiq's application would be processed and therefore eligible for certification." In hiring Sadiq, Hochman said that Sadiq had achieved a complete "transformation" of his life and today has a "mission to serve students and society."
After his application was denied, Sadiq was given then the "opportunity to speak with DOE officials immediately in what is called a "reconsideration meeting," Hochman said in an e-mail. He met officials along with "others who could speak to his work and character.

"I am pleased that the Department of Education offers such serious consideration to these matters and based their decision on personal interviews and getting to know him as a person.

"As I have noted - I understand why some might react negatively toward the possibility of hiring an individual with such an incident in their past, but careful examination of Mr. Sadiq's growth, dedication to his work, and character today presents an individual worthy of consideration to work in the schools and he was our choice to do just that," Hochman wrote.

In 1994, Sadiq, a Gulf War veteran who was then named Vincent E. Bias, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to five to seven years in jail.

Anonymous said...

What exactly does a climate control officer do on a daily basis to justify $78,000.00 a year? Our teachers don't even make that much! Who will he be accountable to? AL Sharpton? Geryk? Maybe her loud mouth husband? What a waste to Amherst tax payers and a slap to the face of everyone who has made sure that they didn't point a gun in someone's face, rob a bank because of a cocaine habit, and made sure that they did the right thing by not getting arrested! Speaking of a slap to the face, Maria Geryk has been doing a bang up job for her 7.5 raise. Thats anot her f-up with this town. Don't get me started.

Anonymous said...

For those interested in whether these raises are justified by increased student achievement, look to MCAS. I find especially sad is the huge gap in achievement for our Afr Amer/black students (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/mcas/subgroups2.aspx?linkid=25&orgcode=06050405&fycode=2014&orgtypecode=6&) Not a single one apparently reached the advanced level and the number of those in warning is pretty much the same as the number of kids with disabilities. This seems shameful. I suspect this extreme MS deficit starts long before they hit MS, but isn't helped much once they get there. Shameful, folks.

I'd still like to know what this climate control person is going to be doing in the MS, which is a cesspool of toxic teens.

If Mr. Sadiq is good at his job, then I have no problem with his past. People make mistakes, they should have an opportunity to turn things around (he ought to be a good model for our students). whether his huge salary bump is warranted has yet to be seen (and how will we ever know...)

Why would a kid, with not many years of experience, get a raise that puts his salary close to his predecessor, who had like 20 years experience on the job. Crazy stuff here. Given this inflated starting salary- imagine the associated pension we will be paying when he retires (insane).

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:38

Yes, there is no oversight. The only oversight is for the SC to give Maria Geryk a poor recommendation and vote her out. We all know that is never going to happen. Maria knows this too. She can do whatever the hell she wants for as long as she wants. The blame is squarely on those who support Maria and the SC members who just keep allowing this to go on year after year. Hear that Hood & Appy, you are complicit in these decisions. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for everything Maria does, because you tell her year after year what a great job she is doing.

Everything about the administration and SC just sickens me. They really can't see how corrupt and disgusting they are to everyone on the outside.

Anonymous said...

Larry - you are moderating this blog and you allow such personal vitriol against Talib Sadiq? it's appalling, and has nothing whatsoever to do with either his compensation or his professional work. Anyone who has worked with him knows his value and that he is appreciated by the kids at school. I guess his salary (and that of the others) is fair game, but these personal attacks ("gangster"; "clientele he hangs out with") should be disavowed by anyone with a conscience.
i, at least, have the conviction to sign my name to my post, unlike others of your commentators.
Dan Viederman, Amherst

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Are you going to, or able to, find out what happened to Rob D.? Could make for a great exclusive interview!

Anonymous said...

If Sadiq was good at his MS guidance counselor job, wouldn't things be better now that those kids are in the HS? Hmmm.

keithw said...

I interviewed for a non-teaching position at ARHS several years ago. The process was very involved and stringent, similar to that of an oral board interview while applying to a police department. After passing the interview with flying colors and having missed 3 days of work, they offered me a full-time position with an annual salary of less than 17K.
Once I was able to stop laughing uncontrollably, I politely declined, claiming I required living indoors and eating in order to live.

Teachers typically can only expect to receive a 1 to 5% increase annually and are forced to dedicate a portion of their salaries towards buying materials for their students. The fact these administrators are getting such enormous increases--and in one case practically doubling their salary--is a slap in the face to those teachers.

For shame.

I want to see a detailed job description for these administrators positions and see if they're worthy of those salaries.

Anonymous said...

Sean Mangano is not a de facto anything. He is the Finance Director chosen after a nation - wide search. Hence his large raise. It's so much fun to read these comments by people who don't have a clue what they are talking about. And Larry in all fairness could have mentioned that Sean has a new position that led to his large raise.

Anonymous said...

I am assuming the town manager sees all these raises and has to sign off on them? If that's the case, it's funny how the town always says there's no money to increase public safety yet it's doubling the salary of some school department employees. Kinda seems like frivolous spending of town money

Anonymous said...

I now know why the town manager can't find money to hire more public safety, its all tied up on a select few. Such a shame our households will be waiting for an ambulance so a convict can double his pay

Larry Kelley said...

Town Manager or Select Board for that matter have no say whatsoever over the venerable public schools.

That's the Amherst School Committee's job.

Anonymous said...

"He is the Finance Director chosen after a nation - wide search. Hence his large raise."

_______________

Ha! fucking laughable. Nationwide search. What a maroon.

Anonymous said...

And Larry in all fairness could have mentioned that Sean has a new position that led to his large raise.

________

Bigger ass kisser?

Anonymous said...

anon@1055:
I would love to see examples of Finance directors that start at that level of salary, similar districts to ours. ~$100k/year with his experience seems extremely generous. He may be very good at his job but where else would offer such compensation? We are not a large district by any means and we don't live in a area of high cost of living. So what can justify the huge salary? Got anything for us to compare to? Like it or not, it smells like a pay-off.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about how much the total salaries spent on central office administrators have risen over the past say 10 years, compared to the teachers at our schools. How many central office staff now earn $100K+ (or close to it)? I have lost track.

Whereas schools are facing cuts, the central office is growing & becoming more expensive.

The increase in central office staff has been justified by saying that the office is just returning to the level of staffing it had 10 years ago. However, enrollments in the schools are down in the past 10 years, especially so if we don't count students choicing into our schools, which is masking some of the real enrollment declines.

Anonymous said...

If the hiring pay was so low, why did these people apply for the fucking job to begin with?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that our main MCAS scores look all that great. In the newspaper, the assist. superintendent was quoted as saying "we were very happy to see" elementary students' growth scores in English & math which met state averages.

Since our district spends so much more $ per student than the state average, couldn't we (shouldn't we?) be doing better than this?

Anonymous said...

It's not a payoff. What exactly is the reason for a payoff? Your comment makes no sense. And remember he is finance director of 3 districts.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I can't stand it any more. The rants Larry allows on these topics have finally broken me. I'm done with this blog. And Larry says he wants to be taken seriously. What a laugh!

Anonymous said...

Larry - do you have updated figures for all the teacher/staff salaries or only these big raises?

As another reader to your blog recently noted, school district employee salaries aren't part of the Open Government transparency on the town website.

Larry Kelley said...

I have FY13 (ended June 30, 2013):
https://drive.google.com/?authuser=0&usp_param=docs_home_banner#search/salary

I plan to put in for FY14 (ended June 30, 2014) as soon as Kathy Mazur returns from vacation until next week.

Anonymous said...

I think Springfield is slightly larger than Amherst so they must make more there. NOT!

https://isharesps.org/websitedoc/HR/SalarySchedules/2014-15%20Salary%20Schedules/ADMIN%20PROF.%2014-15.pdf

https://isharesps.org/websitedoc/HR/SalarySchedules/2014-15%20Salary%20Schedules/AdministrativeAcademic%20Personnel%2014-15%20working%20copy.pdf

http://www.springfieldpublicschoolsmo.org/pages/SPSMO/About/Departments/HR/HRLinks/SalSchedules

Anonymous said...

"Ok. I can't stand it any more. The rants Larry allows on these topics have finally broken me. I'm done with this blog. And Larry says he wants to be taken seriously. What a laugh! "


_____________


Another entitled school administrator pissed that the spotlight has been turned on.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1201: People are upset. Amherst prides itself on being transparent but the schools are exempt? These administrators are getting huge raises but the town cries poor? With the rest of the employees in town get scraps in comparison...I can see why people go on rants. They are mad and want to be heard. Why can't you understand that?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:10:
The www.springfieldpublicschoolsmo.org link you posted is for the Springfield, Missouri schools.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:10:
The www.springfieldpublicschoolsmo.org link you posted is for the Springfield, Missouri schools.


You could pick any town bigger than ours and the pay is less, Springfield Missouri or Springfield Mass. Curse those Simpsons!!!



Anonymous said...

This is where the money should be, not in administration.

http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/Public-School-Teacher-Salary-Details-Amherst-MA.aspx

Anonymous said...

and in other school-related news, it looks like the spouse of the superintendent is having trouble sticking to his promise to refrain from inflammatory blog comments. Here's a recent (today) comment he made on the Amherst Live facebook page, talking about the Amherst Live folks: "I have found everything that this crew has produced thus far to be arrogant and masturbatory."

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1201: People are upset. Amherst prides itself on being transparent but the schools are exempt? These administrators are getting huge raises but the town cries poor? With the rest of the employees in town getting scraps in comparison...I can see why people go on rants. They are mad and want to be heard. Why can't you understand that?

Anonymous said...

The superintendent's inability to control her spouse's mouth speaks volumes of her leadership abilities.

Anonymous said...

State certifies ex-convict as guidance counselor

by The Republican Newsroom
Thursday October 11, 2007, 7:01 PM

By DIANE LEDERMAN
dlederman@repub.com

AMHERST - The state Department of Education has agreed to certify an Amherst Regional Middle School guidance counselor, reversing an earlier decision to reject the certification.

Talib Sadiq, who was jailed for armed bank robbery in 1993, was hired this year as the seventh-grade guidance counselor at the middle school, replacing retiring counselor Barry Brook.

Sadiq worked as an intern in his office in the spring and was highly regarded.

Amherst Regional Schools Superintendent Jere I. Hochman said he received a call from the state education office "informing me that Mr. Sadiq's application would be processed and therefore eligible for certification." In hiring Sadiq, Hochman said that Sadiq had achieved a complete "transformation" of his life and today has a "mission to serve students and society."
After his application was denied, Sadiq was given then the "opportunity to speak with DOE officials immediately in what is called a "reconsideration meeting," Hochman said in an e-mail. He met officials along with "others who could speak to his work and character.

"I am pleased that the Department of Education offers such serious consideration to these matters and based their decision on personal interviews and getting to know him as a person.

"As I have noted - I understand why some might react negatively toward the possibility of hiring an individual with such an incident in their past, but careful examination of Mr. Sadiq's growth, dedication to his work, and character today presents an individual worthy of consideration to work in the schools and he was our choice to do just that," Hochman wrote.

In 1994, Sadiq, a Gulf War veteran who was then named Vincent E. Bias, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to five to seven years in jail.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, ooh, here's what Kurt Geryk said!: "I have found everything that (Amherst Live) to be arrogant and masturbatory."

At least he puts his name to his comments, CAN.

Art and Culture are dying in Amherst, and Amherst Live is leading the death march. It's about time someone offered some honest criticism to this overblown karaoke-style mutual admiration club. The stakes are too high not to.

keithw said...

"As I have noted - I understand why some might react negatively toward the possibility of hiring an individual with such an incident in their past, but careful examination of Mr. Sadiq's growth, dedication to his work, and character today presents an individual worthy of consideration to work in the schools and he was our choice to do just that"

I have to fill out a CORI form simply if I want to accompany my son's class on a field trip. How in the hell does this guy get even one foot in the door to work with kids, even as an intern?

Anonymous said...

"At least he puts his name to his comments, CAN."

I didn't see your name published either, CAN.

Anonymous said...

"I have found everything that this crew has produced thus far to be arrogant and masturbatory."

Maria must have given him a dictionary and now he's trying to use the biggest words he can find. Sad when you are an embarrassment at your job and your husband an even bigger embarrassment as a person.

Anonymous said...

"The superintendent's inability to control her spouse's mouth speaks volumes of her leadership abilities."

No, that just shows how emotionally immature she is to be in such a relationship. To see how poorly she runs an administration just look at her at work where there is a complete disconnect from her administration and the teaching staff of Amherst.

Anonymous said...

To anon 10:55a

Unless Sean Mangano reports to Maria Geryk, as his predecessor did, he is The New Finance Director in name only, and your actual Finance Directors are Kathy Mazur and Maria Geryk.

Anonymous said...

1-877-4FELONS for kids. F-E-L-O-N-S felons for kids! Call 1-877-4FELONS for kids. Hire a Felon today!!

There is no/none/zip/zero justification for hiring this guy, nevermind paying him a salary of 78K. There is a monumental difference between an oopsy (bar fight, drunk driving charge, shoplifting) and HOLDING UP A BANK (while armed, yikes). What was the weapon? Anyone know?

Can a FF or cop have a felony charge (guilty I may add) on their record? How many FF, DPW or cops have a BASE salary of 78K with weekends, school vacations and summers off?

SHIT LIKE THIS is why the rest of the normal world laughs at us. I get roped in with you mental midgets.

Anonymous said...

To anon 10:55:

A nationwide search for a new finance director. How long did they look? How many people did they fly in to interview? How many were CPAs? How many have MBAs?

Oh nevermind. I found all the details of the search in the dictionary under 'perfunctory' and 'kabuki' and 'Potemkin'

Anonymous said...

Re: the finance director hiring & promoting of Mr. Mangano, Kathy Mazur et al. explained the selection & interview process at the meeting where Mr. Mangano's promotion was approved. I think he was a great candidate & will do an excellent job in his position. Nonetheless, that promotion raise seemed way too high.

Anonymous said...

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A state appeals court has upheld the child rape conviction of a former acting coach and arts center director from Hampshire County. On Wednesday, the court unanimously rejected the appeal by lawyers for David Fried Oppenheim, who was sentenced to five to seven years in prison when he was convicted back in 2012.

When he gets out he can always apply for work in Amherst.

Anonymous said...

We can always bring Garney back to the schools. While we're on that track, why not bring Myers back in and all of our children will have their full attention.

Anonymous said...

whoa, I forgot all about Ron Garney and Stephen Myers...This town has quite the track record for hiring the best! Thanks anon for pulling out that piece of dirt. L. Grossman

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know anything about the fire at ARHS on Tuesday?

Anonymous said...

"Does anybody know anything about the fire at ARHS on Tuesday?"

My son told me that one of the administrators lit a Cuban with a hundred dollar bill, then dropped the c-note in a waste basket while it was still smoldering.

Larry Kelley said...

An administrator quickly put it out using a bottle of Dom Perignon.

Anonymous said...

speaking of spending for our schools, how about that $1 million (!!) study regarding renovations of Wildwood. wow!

Anonymous said...

if a building a new school is approved, who is going pay for it? A new school that costs a $1 million to consider cannot be inexpensive to build.

Will Amherst be increasing its taxes even more?

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is does Maria Geryk sit back in her office reading these comments and just laugh her *&$ off knowing there is nothing any of us can do to stop anything she wants to do.

Give the woman credit, she has made puppets out of the likes of Farshid, Appy, Hood, Fonsch, etc. I may not like it, but she is awfully good at it.

The new chair may be to full of *&%# for the puppet master to get her hand in enough for full control.

Its going to be an interesting ride.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:14,

Well, Amherst certainly won't be lowering taxes anytime to soon.

Anonymous said...

Just curious to know why anyone would raise an issue about a teacher's reformed life as justification to bash the person? Aren't we in America and don't we believe that people can make a mistake and change? The only reason folks on this blog are talking about it is because the guy was promoted and given the corresponding contractual rate. He didn't get a raise; he got a new job. There are contracts folks so take your issue up with the contract and don't bash the guy. I hope none of you reading this blog has a child that commits a crime in this life time and decides to dedicate his life to supporting our children. Sad, people, very sad.

On another note, it is way out of line to even begin discussing Geryk's husband and her control over him. Really? How many of your spouses or partners (if you even have one) are thoroughly proud of you or would be if they knew how you attack someone's leadership based upon their spouses actions. Seems a bit immature and clearly illustrates that you don't have anything meaningful to raise as a point of discussion regarding Geryk's work performance.

How many skeletons are in your closet?

And, yes, I choose to be anonymous for the very reason that folks have demonstrated here; it plain ole is not safe.

Nina Koch said...

to 12:16 am--

The fire was on the 2nd floor outside the art rooms. It was in one of the art display cases that contained student art. I found it very disturbing that someone would light somebody else's artwork on fire.

I also found it disturbing that when Larry arrived to take a picture of the firetrucks, he drove right through the crowd of students waiting outside the building. It was equivalent to driving down a sidewalk full of pedestrians, in that no one would be expecting a car in that situation. I have never seen a car do that in thirty years of building evacuations. We are very lucky no one was hurt.

Larry Kelley said...

You should see what I drive through very late Friday and Saturday night on Phillips, Fearing, Allen Streets, Lincoln and Sunset Ave.

Nina Koch said...

Everybody who has a kid at the high school who thinks it's okay that Larry drove through the crowd, raise your hand. What if your kid was playing hackeysack or horsing around and suddenly crossed Larry's path?

I can't imagine your public safety friends thought it was a very good idea.

College students in the middle of a street know that they are in the middle of a street that potentially includes vehicles. It's unwise on their part. I wouldn't drive through it because I wouldn't want to risk hurting someone, even if it were not legally my fault.

In any case, that is a completely different situation. High school students standing in the parking lot during a building evacuation are in the place where safety official have told them to go. They have an expectation of safety there. You violated that and you can't even admit that you made a mistake.

Larry Kelley said...

Like the aforementioned college kids they were in the travel lane of the parking lot.

And I have to assume, unlike the college kids, they were all sober.

Hey at least I didn't go down the wrong lane (which got me bitched at the week before when I drove over to check out the "tornado drill").

Nina Koch said...

It's not a travel lane during a building evacuation! Any more than the lane in front of the school with the emergency vehicles is an open lane. In the emergency situation, the rules are different. There is probably some kind of law that you violated. It certainly was a violation of common sense and common decency.

As you yourself realized after I approached you that day, you could have gone down the third lane which was in the correct direction and had no kids in it. Why don't you just admit you made a mistake instead of coming up with defensive retorts?

Larry Kelley said...

Okay Nina, just for you (and the other person who bitched at me last week), next time I'll go down the third lane.

Probably tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

TO: September 25, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Just as you are allowed to give your opinion on this blog, I feel I am allowed as well...as a typical happy valley resident, You pretend to be open and liberal, but in fact, you criticize those who don't subscribe to your view. It is appalling that someone who has a violent background are allowed to "mentor" our children. People with this type of background are not allowed to be in public safety, but allowed to be around our children!? How asinine is that? The icing on the cake is that he is getting such a huge raise when our teachers, who actually deserve it can't even touch that salary after years of service. The criticism there is justified. As for Geryk's idiot husband...he puts himself out there on his own. Being proud of his wife and defending her is one thing, giving your uneducated two cents to everything that doesn't concern you when you have no basis on anything and just wanting to rub your wife's good fortune in everyone's face is plain ole being a douche bag.

Anonymous said...

Well, disgusting. I guess this means we're in for another override.
Where has the power of the people disappeared to? We should be taking to the streets to protest this craziness. Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, the old "do it for the kids" routine. Smoke & mirrors.

Anonymous said...

"Where has the power of the people disappeared to? We should be taking to the streets to protest this craziness. Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable."

______________

It is an illusion. This country works one a system that relies on most people not caring. In Amherst as voting results prove, most people simply don't care. This is why you see lifelong politicians in office in this country, even though they are corrupt, some even having been censured. It's easier to simply go with the status qou than the make a difference. Human nature. That is why every revolution in history was never the masses but always a select few. It's not getting the masses together but simply a few of the select populous who do care, enough to make the difference. Try to do that in Amherst. You'll only get that to happen when it's about going backwards in this town, not forward.

Anonymous said...

9:55am that's exactly what Hitler said...

Dr. Ed said...

High school students standing in the parking lot during a building evacuation are in the place where safety official have told them to go. They have an expectation of safety there.

And if it was a serious fire and they had to sound additional alarms? Or request the MSP bomb Squad to respond Code 3? Or had some problem with an electrical or gas line and needed an electrician or plumber to come rushing to the scene (or *another* electrician/plumber to come rushing over with a desperately needed part or tool)?

Or even a more routine situation involving a sprinkler activation. Those things put out a LOT of water -- I once used a snow shovel to push water out the door -- that much water.

You gotta remove the water and (I think) get the system active again before you can let kids back into the building -- you have got to put a new sprinkler head in and inevitably you are not going to have all the right fittings with you, or all the right tools, or something else will break and have to also be replaced -- and either you have to go get it or ask someone to bring it over -- and that is a vehicle and someone probably not being as cautious driving it as he/she/it ought to be.

Do you have any idea what a fire truck weighs? Or its turning radius? Or the blind areas any large vehicle has, particularly on the right (let alone when backing)? It would be very, very easy to run over someone with the rear axle, particularly with something like a ladder truck where the driver is also watching the swing (on both ends) and trying not to put the ladder through the side of someone's car and/or take down a pole with it.

Or what if some terrible rumor was to start circulating electronically, causing hysterical parents to start racing to the school to get their kids -- driving incredibly recklessly in the process? (Remember the Anthrax scare -- DPH did a good job of controlling that by quickly finding out exactly what it was (Muffin mix if I remember correctly) and telling everyone that -- but people were scared.)

That WOULD happen -- scared people panic and there would be parents driving towards that school -- ignoring EVERYTHING but their goal of getting to their child -- until physically stopped by *something* -- a tree, a fence, a parked vehicle (including a police cruiser blocking access), -- or children that they had run over...

You really ought to plan for that.

You either secure the parking lot -- and that means police cruisers rolling on the alarm to physically block off each entrance to the lot -- as protocol -- or you have the children assemble somewhere else.

You put a couple tons of steel in the path of oncoming vehicles before you assemble children in an area where vehicles traditionally have a right to drive because while you hope motorists will respond prudently to a changed situation, not all will.

Two times inside of five months I had to explain to insurance companies that their insured driver had somehow managed to take out a lightpole on the far side of a sidewalk in North Village. Both times a vehicle traveling north on North Pleasant had somehow wound up on the lawn by A Section.

And the investigating officers personally told me that both drivers (a teenager and an International grad student) were completely sober at the time -- that they just completely lost control of the vehicle.

Some of your parents aren't any better drivers -- the grad student *was* a parent -- and you really ought to think about that...

Dr. Ed said...

"This country works one a system that relies on most people not caring."

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

JFK once said that, attributing it to Edmund Burke although there is some question as to if Burke is the correct citation.

Anonymous said...

10:19 AM:

I guess you've never heard of Godwin's law, or its corollary:

"...whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Anonymous said...

"It is an illusion. This country works one a system that relies on most people not caring. In Amherst as voting results prove, most people simply don't care."


_________________


What debate? Look at this town and its history. The masses don't care unless it involves being directly in their backyard. What town would put up with such nonsense except this fake progressive town where over 60% of the population works for the local factory and isn't into making waves.

Anonymous said...

When the spouse of the highest paid town official sends harassing emails to those who dare to question or criticize his stance on topics or his wife's policies, to me, he becomes part of the story and loses the protection of a private citizen just expressing an opinion.

I have been on the receiving end of such emails, & I am hearing from more and more people who have as well (maybe we should start a club). In my class they only stopped after school administrators and they only stopped after a school administrator intervened.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that Kurt is now criticizing people on FB for name calling and telling them to be nice. He has quite a public history online of attacking people. Didn't he recently call someone a twat?

Anonymous said...

This is an outrage~Amherst peoples you need to wake up! What in hell's name is going on here? Raises--that came from where--where'd aalll this money come from? wtf no really--it leaves a person totally dumbfounded. Sadiq--also runs the abc house--no talk of that $$$ position. And raising Geryk's salary is like well--raising the pot on a popularity contest--because that is the only thing she has succeeded in- the most popular of those who have the bucks to keep her in that position. what a joke--what a sad joke--but our kids lose out big time -- because they really don't know how to care about them--or even want to. Just think--they have to hire ph. d's to tell them how to treat their students equitably. and the rich get richer and the poor stay poor--and are tracked--and are set up for the school to prison pipeline--it's such a sham! But hell if I can see it--why can't anyone else?!

Anonymous said...

What an incredible display of racist bigotry. These comments on Talib Sadiq that presume his lack of qualifications because of his past criminal record and the people he associates with are absolutely scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of social and political commentary. A veteran who turns his back on a life of crime and, instead, becomes an educational professional and role model for young people of color, and the shrieking imbeciles of the Internet Idiocy shrilly declaim that he shouldn't be around kids. His story of transformation and redemption is PRECISELY the kind of thing kids should hear. His story is proof that we need a system for recovering people in at-risk populations who make poor choices -- to suggest that his past mistakes disqualify him from having a future is to completely miss the point of what this country is supposed to be about. Amherst does such an amazing job mouthing the words "diversity" and "tolerance" but really shits the bed when it comes to actual inclusion. What contribution, exactly, have you ignoranuses done lately for the children of the town besides teach them how to use race as a grounds for prejudging others?