Tuesday, August 9, 2016

School Committee Final Fiasco?

Regional School Committee 6/14, minutes before ousting Trevor Baptiste as Chair

UPDATE:  RSC voted 5-3 to give Maria Geryk a $310K buyout.  Ouch!


For the 4th consecutive time the Amherst Pelham Regional School Committee will retreat into executive session later today to perhaps finalize the deal struck with Superintendent Maria Geryk over the past three secret sessions, however, as he did previously Trevor Baptiste will request the Committee NOT pull the curtains like a Romulan cloaking device.


Rookie Chair Laura Kent already made it perfectly clear in a "confidential" memo illicitly leaked by the Daily Hampshire Gazette that she wants an immediate up or down vote on the offer -- which Sean Mangano, Director of Finance, estimates at between $280,000 to $300,000.

 Click to enlarge/read

Since the vote to confirm that duplicitous deal has to be made in public why not stay in open session and rip off the band-aid like a man? (Or woman as the case may be).

Mr. Baptiste is also concerned there has been no discussion of what a major impact that large settlement amount will do to day-to-day operations of the schools.

Not to mention the loss of an all powerful Superintendent at this critical time, with the Select Board just having approved placing a $33 million Override question for the Amherst Schools on the November 8th ballot.

The RSC can vote to approve the 1.5 year buyout, reduce the offer to one year, or simply fire the Superintendent for insubordination.

As Yogi once said, "It ain't over till it's over"

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding?

Anonymous said...

Come on everybody, lets do the Geryk: 1 - Quit the students, teachers, parents and taxpayers, 2 - threaten a lawsuit, 3 - take no responsibility for your out-of-control behavior, 4 - demand a golden parachute behind closed government doors.

Anonymous said...

why would Mr Magnano only have an estimate? I expect that tonight, when they vote, he will have provided the EXACT amount.

Anonymous said...

boy, maria is really afraid of her professional competence being evaluated by school committee members. i herein call this motley "only in the republic of amherst" crew into session and put a motion on the floor, ceiling and walls, that we evaluate maria's professional competence here and now. i hear a second. casting the first vote, i give maria a big fat F for her imcompetent, unprofessional, bullying and lawsuit-causing-costing conduct. what say you?

Anonymous said...

You post this non-journalistic piece and 1. you purport to be a journalist, and 2. you say your blog isn't toxic? ROFL!

Dr. Ed said...

THEY CA'T GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION!

Maria Geryk is a member of all the committees, her contract explicitly says so.

Hence the committee is negotiating with ITSELF -- that's called "debate" and inherently is required to be done in public.

The fact that Maria is paid is irrelevant -- in large cities, all the members ate paid.

Geryk also has a major conflict of interest here -- Geyrk qua Supt/SC member bringing the issue to the committee on behalf of Geryk the employee. She's thus using her position to benefit her personally, which the ethics laws prohibit.

At least without PUBLIC disclosure, which would mandate all of this having been discussed in public under the ethics laws.

In other words, even if the OML permitted then to do what they are doing in exec session, they are violating the ethics laws in doing so.

Dr. Ed said...

8:07 -- Dr. Ed says we petition DESE to revoke her certificate. FOR CAUSE.

I don't know what DESE would do, but it'd be fun.

Pity Amherst Common doesn't have a Duck Pond.

Dr. Ed said...

Three things:

1: It is FRAUD to provide GIC benefits to a non-employee. That's state money, and I suspect the state's going to have something to say about it.

2: IF Maria's lawyer works for the same firm as the district's, that's conflict of interest. Lawyers get disbarred for that.

3: The district's lawyer has a fiduciary duty to the TAXPAYERS. I don't see that being met here if he's representing Maria's interests.

Walter Graff said...

"maria is really afraid of her professional competence being evaluated by school committee members"

Geryk doesn't want to tarnish her reputation when she moves on to sucker the next school system so wants a way out that makes her look like a champ.

Anonymous said...

Ousting Baptiste? It was not an unusual occurrence to replace the chair after 2 years. Pretty typical occurrence in fact. Actually it was about 2 years overdue. He never did figure out what his role was as chair.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are dead wrong as always. Since there is no one higher than the superintendent, under your logic there is no way for a superintendent to negotiate. That's clearly not the case.

Anonymous said...

Larry, since duplicitous means deceitful, you are accusing everyone involved of wrongdoing. I don't think that is the case. They are just trying to resolve what has become a very thorny issue. These elected officials are all ultimately volunteers, and you owe them an apology.

Anonymous said...

Do you know how hard most people have to work to make this much money? Just NOT FAIR to Amherst taxpayers and the children of this town. What a rotten mess!!!! Vote them all out!

Anonymous said...

The anti-Geryk group on the SC obviously does not have the votes it needs to fire the SI. That puts Ms. G in a power position in this negotiation. She has a contract. She can stay in her current position for two more years. This school committee gave her that contract. Obviously some of the SC want a new SI, so much that they have badly over-played their position, and now Ms. G knows it. Bad move in a negotiation. Anyone who has never actually negotiated thinks that one side can and should easily get what it wants. Not true, unless the other side is not experienced or smart enough to realize it. The people on the SC who have so publicly made their thoughts about the SI clear are now the ones who are arguing about how the buyout will hurt the district. I guess this is your tough life lesson on the economics of hiring and firing in the real world.

For people who have big mouths, keeping your thoughts to yourself is a big challenge. And sometimes that big mouth actually bites its person, But if you haven't learned to keep your big mouth shut by now, I doubt it's going to happen. Douangmany wants to get elected to state office, but her big mouth and incredibly rude behavior at a school committee meeting last fall, when she hissed and booed a woman trying to give public comment says enough about this Trump-like wanna-be. It's all on video tape, as are all SC meetings. And along with the other anti-Geryk voices on the SC, Douangmany is now going to have to pay for it. Sadly, so are all of the rest of the tax-payers in Amherst.

Scrooge McDuck said...

Can someone please explain how she can quit and still get severance?

I prefer offer #3 (fire for insubordination).

No more deals. While we're at it, let's fire namby-pamby Kopelman & Paige and hire some real lawyers. Enough is enough, the taxpayers are being robbed blind on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Between the craziness on this blog and the shockingly high numbers we're seeing to compensate Ms. Geryk, it's hard to find a comfortable place to have an opinion.

When will we have peace in our time regarding our schools? Deliver us from this.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

Decisions should be made and money paid out (or not), ONLY on the terms of the town's contract with Ms.Geryk. If contracts are not binding here, why bother to have them? Certainly, the town employs enough legal advice to clarify the terms of her contract. If they are not able to do this, new attorneys need to be employed here.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed.,

Larry has given us all a voice in this matter we would not have without him and this blog. I have appreciated your input about legal matters relating to the school and superintendent. But, during this difficult time for all of us, I ask that you please remember the golden rule when critizing Ms. Geryk and others, "Do to others what you would have them do to you."
Like you, she is a beloved but imperfect child of God who deserves our respect. I await your response.

Anonymous said...

Maria has her own lawyer separate from the district lawyer.

Anonymous said...

It seems the students are being lost here. How many teachers, paras, books, computers, field trips, extra materials, etc. could we pay for with the high sum? What will be cut for this high payout? Why can't this use of taxpayer money be talked about publicly? Evaluate the superintendent in public. If she wan't to resign to avoid an evaluation, let her and send her off with a few months pay. If she wants to sue the district, let her. Let district insurance company pay a settlement if it's needed. How many jobs can she get if she has a lawsuid against the district?. Focus on our students, the teachers the district has cut, the languages, classes, etc. What has the district been doing all summer with this chaos and focus on the superintendent?

Parent tired of cuts.

Anonymous said...

"a beloved but imperfect child of God."

Cram it, pearl clutcher.

Nina Koch said...

Rich,

We will never have peace because Larry loves his sitemeter and criticizing the schools is the most effective way for him to get page views and comments. It's in his interest to gin up any possible controversy. On the previous thread, people were already starting to criticize Mike Morris.

I wish the school district would do a better job with communication, both outgoing and incoming. People obviously want to discuss the schools. The district should provide some venue for doing this. Then maybe Larry's blog would be less appealing, at least to the reasonable people who have genuine concerns and questions.

Larry Kelley said...

When products compete they get better. How very American of you.

Bring 'em on!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nina,

I disagree with your 11:37 assessment. The well orchestratred stifling of our free speech 1st Amendment rights by Maria and Maria loyalist like you, to silence concerned school committee members, teachers, parents and taxpayers, ensures we will never have peace until Maria and her loyalists are terminated and a stay-away order is issued against all of you. We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!

Anonymous said...

I have an appreciation for just how hard Larry works on this blog. It's not something a lot of other people want to do. He's not getting rich on it, and I suspect that he's paid a personal price for the uncompensated toil in ways that we can only speculate about.

I am disappointed that he gets carried away with his own emotions on things, has a tendency to give the sources who are stroking him a free pass and biases his posts for weeks in their favor, and refuses to do any "curating" of the comments, to keep them even remotely on point.

So, just as Town Meeting is the only game in town politically, thereby forcing us to swim in its tank, so Larry's blog is the only game journalistically, especially between editions of the two papers. He knows how dependent we are on him, whether or not he is a journalistic slob on many days. He could be a lot better without losing readers, but it's his blog, for which we pay nothing. So there we are. Love him or leave him.

Has he contributed to the general atmosphere of distrust in Amherst? Are his posts, especially the truly snarky ones, and the deeply disturbing comments he permits, affecting the quality of people we can attract to work here in the top jobs? He defensively denies this, and certainly the Town Meeting listserv isn't much better. I believe that he does deeply love the Town, and there are many posts to show that. But ultimately he is also the blowhard with the biggest bullhorn in town, and has to take some measure of responsibility for the circular firing squad we're in.

Rich Morse

Rebecca Casa said...

Arent they v in the same law firm ? Even if they arent Attrny Coulombe has been a s***** job representing the school committee.

Rebecca Casa said...

Not one penny from our school budget for the superintendent and if they do vote to give her money tonight I really hope the taxpayers of this town stand up at every vote for school Committee Member until we vote every single one of them out

Anonymous said...

from Nina: "I wish the school district would do a better job with communication, both outgoing and incoming. People obviously want to discuss the schools. The district should provide some venue for doing this."

Yes, yes, yes!! This would be great.
The district loves to say how great it is at outreach to families,& at creating community, but it really needs a lot of work in this area.

Anonymous said...

Again, you don't know what you are talking about. Ms. Geryk has grounds to sue the SC. $300 is cheap compared to what she would win and the legal fees involved in defending the law suit.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, no one here understand how an employment contract works....

When you are asked to leave, and it's NOT for cause, you get paid the rest of your contract amount.

Stop acting like Geryk is extorting the town. The town signed a contract with her.

Dr. Ed said...

I'm starting to think that the side that overplayed its hand is Team Maria.
Even if they win tonight, and they well might, it ain't over yet. Watch for the state to step in -- you can't just give someone a third of a million dollars!

"[S]he is a beloved but imperfect child of God"

So is Brad DeFlumeri. (Larry, I'm sure your cop buddies remember him -- and Maria is the same type of charming, exploitative psychopath as he.)

Like Brad, Maria deserves due process. Like Brad, Maria is a human being and deserves to be treated as such.

But respect?!?!?
I have no respect for either, NOR UNDERSTAND WHY I SHOULD. Both are contemptible bullies, both exploited vulnerable people, and both left a trail of human carnage astern. I have no problem condemning that.

"during this difficult time for all of us

She HAS a disability clause in her contract, she could be exercising it.

"I ask that you please remember the golden rule when critizing Ms. Geryk and others, "Do to others what you would have them do to you."

On September 28, 2008, I learned that was complete and utter bullshit.

Well, almost.

Yes, there is a level below which I will not go, but as the late Justice Scalia asked, why should one side of a debate be licensed to fight freestyle, while the other is required to follow Marquess of Queensbury Rules?

Why, indeed?

Dr. Ed said...

BULLSHIT 1:03, not only could she only sue for a total of $100K, but she has a binding arbitration clause -- and arbitration would be bound by the $100k limit.

As to legal fees, don' defend the suit, let her win by default -- she STILL only gets $100K.

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I understand this: You stop showing up to work and demand $300,000 to quit.

Right. FIRE HER!

Anonymous said...

On what grounds?

Anonymous said...

Ed, you don't live here. You don't even live in Massachusetts. You are just meddling.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca, you are so misguided and make statements are grossly inaccurate. Please pause, research and don't expect the readers on this blog to educate you. Educate yourself.

Rebecca Casa said...

After reading the contract that Larry has posted multiple times on this website it says that either party can terminate the contract under mutual agreement. Something like that which means that they have to both agree on zero both agree on $10 both agree on $300,000 and the contract ends it does not say we have to pay her anything. So my thought is and all these executive sessions that they have been trying to come to a mutual agreement number she says she wants to quit wants money the money is too high and they've been negotiating with Maria lawyers for the last eleven or twelve hours of executive sessions they have had. I just think paying her anything at all it's going to hurt our kids if it comes out of the school budget and I don't understand why we can't run it through insurance so I want to know why we can't run Maria's payment through insurance?

Rebecca Casa said...

That is my biggest problem here I said we're going to pay her out of the budget and then have to come up with money out of the budget to pay someone new I did not want to pay her out of the budget that hurts our kids

Rebecca Casa said...

The Max on her ceiling is $100,000 and then it would come out of insurance I would prefer her to sue and get paid out of insurance then to pay out of the school budget and have it come away from our kids I've had three former school committee members explain that to me maybe they're all wrong

Rebecca Casa said...

And I've never claimed to know what I'm talking about all I've been doing is asking questions so I can learn because there's somany laws and statutes around open meeting laws school committee is that I could never possibly learn everything unless I spent years on it. And I don't want to no all this stuff I just want to understand how it works and how it affects me as a parent of a child and a taxpayer

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's a sucker for a Cause 2

Anonymous said...

You do far more than ask questions.

Anonymous said...

She consistently talks out her ass.

Anonymous said...

Toxic how?

Anonymous said...

I just hope people realize what $300,000 to Maria will do to the schools.

Everything will be gone, and don't ask me to pay even more taxes -- I don't have kids in the schools. Fewer and fewer people do.

Anonymous said...

NOT FAIR! wahhh. wahhh. Waaaahhh.

Anonymous said...

Liberals are never happy. Can never find peace.

Anonymous said...

Liberals are never happy. Can never find peace.

Anonymous said...

One doesn't have to live here. Blog's open to all. Maria's out. Can we move on?

Rebecca Casa said...

Yes I think I'm entitled to an opinion as well I think that's the freedom of free speech

Rebecca Casa said...

I am so proud of shutesbury for standing up what's right so I'll shoot their residents out there that emailed your school committee member thank you

Anonymous said...

Says Kurt was going to be sitting in the by the pool drinking margaritas on our taxpayer dollars thank you for your opinion but you're obviously going to benefit greatly by the outcome so you're really not allowed to vote.

Anonymous said...

Maybe , just maybe Amherst regional schools would have a chance ...if conflict of interest law was actually observed , and the school board not stacked with union teachers favoring huge tax increases - in the stead of descent education for youth !!!$$$&@

Anonymous said...

The ACTV camera and microphone are on as you all await the return of the commitee

Anonymous said...

Maria is not limited to the $100K mentioned in the contract because, she alleges, some of the school committee members have violated her civil rights. This is where the bit about the individual members of the committee being sued comes in too. Trevor Baptiste says he feels threatened. If he has been working for a friend instead of working for the district maybe he should feel threatened. Same with Vira. Her support for Hiza was spectacularly stupid and self-serving. That is going to cost her the election, as it should. Filing a consumer complaint shows just how little Vira understands how government works and how desperate Vira has become. She will fight as hard as she can to keep the minutes from the executive sessions from coming out until after the election. Clearly the committee understands that the committee, through the actions of a few members, has messed up big time and names have been named.