Tag Archives: New York city

New York City has scandalous bureaucrats overseeing its struggling schools

Shocker, not. If the kids in schools can get away with doing bad things (See the new discipline code launched by Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education) then why shouldn’t the teachers?


Via NY Post: The city Department of Education has stocked the office that oversees the city’s lowest-performing schools with bureaucrats who were ineffective and tainted by scandal in previous school jobs.

Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña launched the Renewal program two years ago to boost 94 struggling schools. Independent Budget Office figures show they plan to spend $887 million through 2019. But some of the 114 educrats who oversee the 86 schools now in the program were reprimanded by courts, oversight boards and parents, a Post review found.

Parents charge that the program has become a place to reward cronies and dump the unfit. “The DOE has many former principals still working who should have been fired,” said a member of the Brooklyn Community Education Council. “The bad news is that they are now the ones in positions telling others how to teach, and that’s not right.”

Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center education professor David Bloomfield said the city must make better personnel decisions. “These schools are behind the eight ball,” Bloomfield said. “The de Blasio administration has to make the case that these are the best people for these jobs — and they haven’t.”


Among the questionable hires was Elif Gure, an executive director and second in command to Renewal Executive Superintendent Aimee Horowitz. Gure created a “hostile, race-based work environment” as principal of PS 316 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and called a parent coordinator the N-word, a federal judge ruled in March 2014. A jury awarded the coordinator $110,000.  Gure makes a $171,601 salary in the Renewal program.

Eileen Coppola, executive director of Renewal high schools, left her post as principal at the Secondary School for Journalism in Park Slope, Brooklyn, awash in problems. The school’s PTA president said students failed Regents exams despite getting A’s and B’s in class. A petition by 24 kids complained they didn’t get most of the earth-science labs required by the state. Coppola makes $144,824 in her new job.

Joelle Mcken, a Renewal director in District 17 making $141,765, was principal at PS 73 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a school later phased out for abysmal performance. In 2003, the city Conflicts of Interest Board fined her $900 for having an employee chauffeur her kids.

Mary Nelson, who earns $134,994 as Renewal director in District 14, was principal at PS 236 in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, where parents said that she failed to report violent incidents. Then-Councilman Lew Fidler joined a drive to push her out.

Lisa Lauritzen was an assistant principal at Science Skills Center HS in Downtown Brooklyn before being appointed a Renewal “instructional coach.” A DOE investigation found she urged teachers to re-score failing Regents exams. She now makes $136,010.

DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye defended the hires. “Turning around a struggling school does not happen overnight, and it requires dedicated, experienced administrators who know how to work with and support school staff,” she said.


Bill De Blasio padded City Hall with 264 ‘special assistants’


Via NY Post: Mayor Bill de Blasio padded the city payroll with 264 “special assistants” during the past fiscal year — a more than 140 percent increase over his predecessor, The Post has learned.

The bloated band of vaguely titled aides — accountable only to Hizzoner — accounted for 40 percent of the entire Mayor’s Office staff and cost taxpayers $18.7 million, payroll records show.

City Hall insiders said de Blasio was using the special-assistant gigs in part to take care of political operatives as they bide their time waiting for the next campaign — a kind of publicly funded farm system akin to the ones used by Major League Baseball teams.

“It’s usually given to one of our political guys as a way to bring them on board in the administration without any problems — whether or not they have the job requirements,” a de Blasio administration source admitted. “Many have worked on [the mayor’s campaign], and this job allows them to go back and forth, if needed, on the re-election campaign or campaigns of allies.”

The hires contributed to a surge in payouts at City Hall, where the cost of de Blasio’s office was up more than 21 percent since fiscal year 2013, the last one over which former Mayor Michael Bloomberg had complete control.

The cost of the entire city payroll grew less than 13 percent over the same period, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Empire Center for Public Policy.

According to the records:

  • Sixty-five of de Blasio’s special assistants took home more than $100,000 each during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
  • Their total salary was up 165 percent over the $7 million Bloomberg spent on his 109 special assistants in fiscal year 2013.
  • The total cost of staffing the Mayor’s Office reached $46 million to pay 656 employees during fiscal 2016, compared with $38 million for 569 workers in 2013.

A former City Hall operative under Bloomberg said he was “shocked” by the number of special assistants working for de Blasio.

Because the job of special assistant is not a civil service post, there are no formal requirements — or any cap on how many de Blasio can unilaterally appoint, according to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which oversees testing for spots that are open to the general public. The fact that the jobs aren’t covered by civil service rules also gives the mayor the latitude to dole out salaries and raises beyond the established ranges for comparable positions.

Last month, The Post revealed that de Blasio had slashed the pay of more than a dozen aides held over from the Bloomberg administration, while showering his own appointees with more than $2 million in raises.

Monica Klein

Monica Klein

At least 16 of the people de Blasio has hired as special assistants worked on his 2013 mayoral bid, one of whom, Monica Klein, is among two special assistants now on leave to work for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

One special assistant, Elana Leopold, saw her annual salary skyrocket from $60,000 in 2014 to $85,749 in 2016 before resigning this year to become the finance director for de Blasio’s 2017 re-election bid.

Elana Leopold

Elana Leopold

Leopold interned for the mayor when he was public advocate and also for the Clinton Global Initiative, which last month held its final meeting amid controversy over pay-to-play allegations involving its parent organization, the Clinton Foundation, and Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The payroll records also show de Blasio reassigned his longtime election lawyer, Henry Berger, from a $187,583-a-year post as assistant corporation counsel to a job as special assistant at the same rate of pay.

Dick Dadey, head of the government watchdog Citizens Union, said de Blasio “needs to account” for the number of his special assistants and their payroll. He explained that while de Blasio “has the authority to do this,” the records show “he’s taking advantage of it more than Mayor Bloomberg.”

“It sounds like he has a larger stable of political appointees as special assistants, who are available to go through the revolving door of public service and political campaign service,” Dadey said. “Politics is what makes government function, but there comes a point where there may be too much politics in the governing of the city.”

Last year’s highest-paid special assistant, Victor Calise, serves as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, while No. 2, Loree Sutton, is commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services, which de Blasio created this year.

One of his special assistants, former campaign “high-dollar finance director” Hayley Prim, resigned to join Hilltop Public Solutions, a p.r. firm implicated this year in election-finance violations allegedly spearheaded by the mayor.

Another former campaign worker, Kwamina “Kicy” Motley — whose vulgar Twitter rants against the NYPD and NAACP were exposed by The Post — left in 2015, according to her LinkedIn page.

A City Hall spokesman insisted de Blasio’s addition of $11.6 million in special assistants was an effort to cut overtime bills by shifting “job slots.” Asked how much in OT was saved, the press secretary answered $105,000, derived by reclassifying 15 percent of the mayor’s staff as managers.

“Same jobs and same work product as before, but on a different line in the budget,” boasted the spokesman, Eric Phillips, who is also classified as a special assistant. “It was a smart move that saved taxpayers money.”

baby laughing


New York City’s public schools join fight against ‘white power’

New York City tax dollars at work in the public indoctrination system.

Principal Darlene Cameron

Principal Darlene Cameron

Via NY Post: On the last day of school, Principal Darlene Cameron of Star Academy-PS 63 in the East Village gave her small faculty a chart defining racist and non-racist institutions and asked them to think about where their school fits in.

A non-racist institution, among other things, is conscious of and aims to wipe out a culture of “white power,” “white privilege” and “inherent white advantage.” “We fit into the category of white power and privilege!” a white teacher at the K-5 school told her colleagues. The concept that whites enjoy everyday benefits simply because of their skin color has become the rage.

Elite private schools have grappled with the notion. The Post exposed an extreme case — how the Bank Street School for Children on the Upper West Side made white kids feel guilty about their “whiteness” while heaping praise and cupcakes on kids of color. The school’s diversity director stepped down after the report.

Now public schools are jumping on the bandwagon.

Carmen Farina/AP Photo

Carmen Farina/AP Photo

After recent killings of black men by cops and murders of police officers, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña called on educators to tackle “tough conversations” about race, violence and guns.

In addition, Fariña announced a new curriculum that emphasizes social justice. She also recommended a K-12 reading list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Perspectives for a Diverse America,” which includes selections on race, gender and LGBTQ issues. In K-2, for instance, kids can learn the true story of Z and Vielpunk, a couple of gay male penguins rearing a chick in a German zoo.

The ninth-through-12th-grade readings include a 1990 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which lists 50 hidden benefits whites enjoy. No. 17: “I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.”

The chart handed out at Star Academy, written by an Illinois-based anti-racism ministry, angered some parents questioned by The Post. “When you start sending out things like this, it divides us,” said Robert Powell, a black dad in The Bronx who served on the city’s Panel for Educational Policy. “It’s a subtle form of racism.”

Education author Sol Stern called the chart “left-wing propaganda” and “brainwashing.” White privilege “is an argument, not a fact,” he said.

David Bloomfield

David Bloomfield

But David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center education professor, who is white, lauds the idea. “It reminds me a bit of when ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’ was recommended reading by the DOE before same-sex couples became mainstream,” he said. Greater awareness can help teachers pick books that reflect other races, he added.

It can also spur classroom discussion. “If you put the US presidents on your classroom wall, it sends a signal of who’s in charge,” Bloomfield said. “The teacher might point out to students that these are all white, except one, and all, currently, males.”

Cameron told The Post she plans to have teachers discuss the race-based issues in the fall. “We want to be sure we’re as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and that we’re all aware of the different backgrounds that come together to make up our community,” she said.

Star Academy students are 65 percent Hispanic, 20 percent black, 10 percent white and 4 percent Asian, records show.

An essay included in city high-schoolers’ reading list seeks to explain the hidden benefits supposedly enjoyed by white people. Some examples of so-called “white privilege”:

  • I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  • I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  • I can choose…bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
  • I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.


NY husband charged with manslaughter for killing wife’s would-be rapist


From ABC 7 NY: A husband has been charged with manslaughter after police said he killed a man who was trying to rape his wife in their Bronx apartment building.

Police said a woman was returning to her Washington Avenue apartment around 10:15 p.m. Monday.

According to the New York City Police Department, a man illegally entered the building, approached the woman and hit her, causing bruises to her forehead before removing her clothes. The woman was able to break free and call her husband on her cellphone.

earl nash

Her husband, who was outside the building, rushed inside. Police said the husband confronted the suspect on the sixth floor and assaulted him.

The suspect, identified as 43-year-old Earl Nash of the Bronx, was taken in critical condition with trauma to his head and body to Lincoln Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The husband, identified as Mamadou Diallo, was taken into custody and charged with manslaughter.

The husband Mamadou Diallo

The husband Mamadou Diallo

Nash has served five years behind bars for a 2006 conviction for selling drugs and bribery. He was released in February 2011, returned the next April, and then was released July 2015.

More details from the Daily Mail:

  • Mamadou Diallo, 61, was charged with manslaughter for beating Earl Nash with a tire iron inside Bronx apartment building elevator on Monday night
  • Nash, 43, broke into apartment with Diallo’s wife and her sister inside
  • When the wife tried to offer him money, he said: ‘I’m going to rape you’ 
  • Wife and sister fought off Nash long enough for her to call Diallo
  • He was in a car outside and rushed back in and fractured Nash’s skull
  • Wife thought she was going to die and told her husband ‘don’t let him out’
  • Nash died in hospital at 1.30am from ‘severe trauma to the head and body’
  • He had lengthy criminal history and had been arrested 19 times before

Read their whole story here.


De Blasio blames news headlines for plummeting approval ratings

De Blasio’s slipping ratings? Not due to the fact his Commission on Human Rights will fine a business up to $250,000 if they don’t use a correct gender pronoun.

Not due to the fact that he blamed rising crime on the leap year.

Not due to the fact that he is refusing to deport illegal alien criminals.

Not due to the fact that he re-appointed a judge who went soft on cop-hating thugs.

Not due to the fact that he blamed Bloomberg for the growing homeless problem.

Nope. Apparently the slip in his approval rating is due to newspaper headlines.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (RIGHT) is joined by his wife Chirlane McCray at a Halloween celebration at Gracie Mansion. Photo credit Robert Mecea

Mayor Bill de Blasio (RIGHT) is joined by his wife Chirlane McCray at a Halloween celebration at Gracie Mansion. Photo credit Robert Mecea

Via NY Post: Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday blamed his plummeting approval ratings on “relentless negative headlines” — not the seven corruption and fundraising scandals swirling around his administration.

“I think it is telling that those numbers were very, very strong for two full years, and then there’s relentless negative headlines,” de Blasio said in an interview with WNYC radio, referring to his latest Quinnipiac University poll that shows only 43 percent of voters believe he is honest and trustworthy.

That’s down from the 60 percent in the same poll in January.

“Of course people are going to be influenced by them [negative headlines] in the short term,” de Blasio added. “I’ve told you, when everything comes to light, we have done everything appropriately, legally,” he continued.

“And then I think the public will look at that and in fact say — OK, there were a lot of allegations thrown at this guy, but in the end there was nothing there.”

Last week, de Blasio drew scorn by announcing that the emails and other communications between himself and five “advisers” would be shielded from public scrutiny — even though the advisers represent clients seeking favors from the city.

In past months, de Blasio and his administration have been revealed as the subject of multiple state and federal investigations. Those include an FBI probe into allegations of favors-for-gifts corruption in the NYPD, federal and state probe into favors-for-campaign donations allegations involving the mayor’s attempt to aid upstate Democratic races in 2014, and a federal probe into allegations that the mayor benefited from straw-donor donations in 2013.


New York City businesses face fine up to $250,000 if they don’t use gender correct pronouns

You WILL accept and comply.

de blasio

Via Daily Mail: A law in New York City will fine businesses and employers if they violate a person’s human rights by not using their preferred ‘gender pronoun.’ 

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Commission on Human Rights appears to have updated the law on ‘Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression’ to include businesses, employees and landlords who fail to refer to transgender people as terms such as ‘ze’ and ‘hir’.

They will be in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), that forces employers and ‘converted entities to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification,’ according to the guidance information on the city’s website.

The Commission on Human Rights issued a ‘legal enforcement guidance’ for the law, and notes that some people would prefer non-gender-binary pronouns, including ‘they/them/theirs or ‘ze/hir.’

Several examples of violations that could result in businesses or employers paying fines are listed in the guidance that was released. ‘Intentional and repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title,’ the guidance reads.  ‘For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman ‘him’ or ‘Mr.’ after she has made clear which pronouns and title she uses.’

Interestingly enough, the new guidance for the NYCHRL also suggests how businesses and employers can avoid violations by implementing a policy of ‘asking everyone what their preferred gender pronoun is so that no individual is singled out for such questions.’ It also adds that businesses and employers should update their systems to ‘allow all individuals to self-identify their names and genders.’

Furthermore, the guideline states that if a business finds out that its employees or patrons ‘refuse to use a transgender employee’s preferred’ pronoun, they should be kicked out or fired immediately from the position since they aren’t complying with the NYCHRL.

If found in violation and depending on several factors of the situation, ‘the Commission can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations,.’ For violations that are ‘the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct’ the fine could go up to $250,000.

Read the rest of the story here.


De Blasio plays dumb on fed probe into fundraising

Not a hard position for him to take.


Via NY Post: An incredulous Mayor de Blasio said Sunday he has “no information about an investigation happening” — just two days after The Post and other reported the feds are probing his fundraising efforts.

“I haven’t heard anything about any investigation,” he told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. “There haven’t been any questions posed to me or my team.”

De Blasio’s Sunday public schedule listed him as appearing on the show to “discuss the upcoming New York primary” between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but Todd still peppered him with questions about the widening probe into police accepting gifts in exchange for favors to two shady businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, both of whom raised money for Hizzoner.


Rechnitz (top right) and Reichberg (lower right)

Asked if he feels confident his campaign followed the law in raising cash, de Blasio acted as if nothing at all was amiss. “I absolutely do, Chuck. We are very, very scrupulous about that,” he said. “Everything we’ve done is appropriate and carefully, carefully done with many, many lawyers, I assure you.”

Rechnitz and Reichberg both served on de Blasio inauguaral committee, and de Blasio accepted $9,900 in campaign money from Rechnitz and his wife in 2013.

Rechnitz also bundled $40,000 for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign and donated $50,000 to his non-profit Campaign for One New York. Reichberg hosted a fundraiser for Campaign for One New York at his home in 2014.

Team de Blasio has said they will give back the campaign cash from Rechnitz and his wife, but not the $40,000 in bundled money.

De Blasio denied that Campaign for One New York money has been used for his mayoral campaigning. “Totally separate things. Campaign for One New York was to achieve progressive change for affordable housing, pre-k for all,” he said. “That was a separate entity and it worked on those issues.”