Saturday, February 28, 2009

Will You Join The "Sheeple" Of Greece?

Like the rest of my neighbors in Greece, I got my reassessment "estimate" today. The "good news" ~~ no increase foreseen. I wondered if this was typical, so I called a few neighbors and found their assessments remained level, too.

Sadly, this just doesn't seem like "good news" to me or several of my neighbors. Maybe it's because we believe our homes aren't worth the value set during the previous assessment. Afterall, we're very aware of the Kodak/Greece tax scandal involving our former assessor and we think the wrongs committed by him have yet to be corrected as they relate to our little patches of land.

Then there's the foreclosures that have dotted the neighborhood over the last couple of years. And now there are homes sitting on the market for weeks longer than any of us can recall in the past.

The question is ~~ Will the "sheeple of Greece" decide to accept their assessments at face value if they weren't given increases? I suspect that is exactly what our politicians hope for. They count on the people who behave like sheep ~~ "the sheeple" ~~ to accept the status quo and be thankful for it, too! And that is exactly why I've decided to challenge mine.

What will YOU do? Will YOU be a sheeple, too?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Special Meeting Tuesday @ 6:30PM

It is anticipated that the BOE will go into Exec. Session at 5:30PM to discuss collective bargaining

AGENDA ITEMS
Board Member Liaison School Reports
Budget Preparations - Staffing

SCATS ~~ All this talk about the 2009-10 budget but still nothing about it on the GCSD website!

DA's Office Reassigns Atty Working On Walts Case

Joe Moscato said...
It is with a great deal of shock, sadness and indignation that I have just learned that my contact in the District Attorney's office is no longer working in that capacity. He worked in the unit that was supposed to be assigned to the investigation of Walts, Imon and Johnson as a result of the school board request brought about by the findings of the forensic audit.During the past several weeks, I would contact him and he would tell me the progress or better put, the lack of progress by the DA on this matter. I am saddened by the prospect that my contact with him may have had something to do with his reassignment.
Look, folks, how much longer are we going to stand for the obvious political stonewalling of this investigation. It's time for the gloves to come off and go after DA Mike Green. I also learned that our board president spent an hour on the phone with that office and got nowhere. Anyone out there not convinced as to what's going on? Get mad, make calls, send e-mails. Demand the DA does the job that we pay him for. 2/26/2009 7:18 PM

SCATS ~~ What can we do? CALL/WRITE MIKE GREEN & DEMAND IMMEDIATE MOVEMENT ON THE WALTS CASE!!

CALL NOW!! (585) 753-4500
EMAIL NOW !! districtattorney@monroecounty.gov

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Town Board Appoints "Infamous" Lawyer To Represent Ward 1


Tuesday Night ~~ Greece Town Board Appoints Shannon O'Keefe, 29, To Replace David "Mike" Barry (Story)

Wednesday Night ~~ Auberger & Company "Introduce" Her At Northgate Neighbors Group Meeting ... "just 25 hours later"


What Makes Her "Infamous?"

Anonymous said...
New subject: The new town council lady has already established herself as being a shill for the republican controlled town and school board. She was the ADA that prosecuted a citizen for quietly speaking to the person next to him at a Walts era board meeting. This woman, Shannon O'Keefe, stated that the citizen had committed a heinous crime. Of course the same people that were cheerleaders for that kangaroo court led by O'Keefe were the ones standing on chairs and shouting at the board over M-K's suspension. It sure looks like the Town Council will continue to be a very "closed shop" dancing to the tune of the evil empire that controls Greece, aka Chamber, Rotary, Republican party.
2/26/2009 8:12 AM

SCATS ~~ What a wonderful resume ... NOT !


S-T-I-M-U-L-U-S ~~ How Local Districts Spell "Relief"

$54 Million Expected For County Schools

"We're very appreciative that this exists but there is still much that needs to be learned. There is still a great deal of uncertainty." ~~ Jodie Siegel, MCSBA

STORY

DATABASE

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Western NY Described Perfectly In American Thinker Article

"The Stimulus will lead America in the direction of Western New York"

"Nearly every item in the Obama economic and political agenda -- from health care to taxes to unions to gun control to government schemes to spend money to "stimulate" the economy -- has already been tried here, but the region remains stagnant and moribund."

"The economy of Western New York and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester are, for practical purposes, socialist. The private sector is nearly dead, government is the largest employer, and taxes and union membership are the highest in the nation."

Read Article

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tonight's BOE Meeting CANCELLED!

From the GCSD website ~~ "Due to illness, the Board of Education Meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled. All items to have been discussed this evening will be added to the March 3 meeting agenda."

SCATS ~~ It's hard to believe that they can't find a quorum in good enough health to hold this meeting!

Help Get Walts' Health Care Rescinded

This is a request for your help.

Last November, your School Board through their attorneys, made a formal request to the Monroe County District Attorneys Office for an investigation. This request was brought about as a result of findings of the forensic audit conducted by EFP Associates. The subject of the investigation concerned the activities of former Superintendent Walts and Keith Imon and Keith Johnson, assistant superintendents under Walts who moved with him to PWC in Virginia.

Since the first of the year I have been in touch with contacts in the DA's office and as of this date, no action has taken place concerning the request.

I have grown frustrated as I was told they were very interested in the information I uncovered relative to these three individuals. I have yet to be interviewed. It appears to me that some political stonewalling is going on regarding this investigation. The expected results of this investigation will be instrumental in ending Steve Walts' Greece taxpayer supported health care for life, a gift by previous boards that has cost us $24,000 per year.

Here is where you can help. Pick up the phone and call DA Mike Green (753-4500) and demand that he authorize his staff to move forward. I am told they are ready to go but are awaiting the "green light." Public pressure is the only way I know of to break this stalemate.

If you would like Walts' health care rescinded, then make this call and we will be able to stop this undeserving gift of our money.

Thanks,
Joe Moscato

SCATS ~~ Or you can send an email to: districtattorney@monroecounty.gov

$idewalk Plow$ Wa$ted Tax $$'s During La$t Evening'$ Plowing Run

Yesterday evening during the dinner hour, I was heading north on Long Pond Rd. As I neared the Latta Road intersection, a swarm of those annoying little sidewalk plows appeared. They were driving in the road, scattering to whatever destinations they are assigned to plow. Several hours later, my own neighborhood was visited by one of these speeding, buzzing machines.

To the "Powers that Be" in DPW ~~ WHAT CAUSED YOU TO DO A PLOWING RUN WHEN SIDEWALKS WERE ESSENTIALLY CLEAN & DRY?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meeting Reminders ...

Tomorrow (Tuesday) ~~ 02/24/2009
Special BOE Meeting, 6:30 pm,
Exec. Session, 5:30 pm ~~to discuss collective bargaining

Agenda Items
Board Member Liaison School Reports
Budget Preparations - Staffing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday 2/25/09 @ 7PM
Northgate Neighbors of Greece, NY

Crime in our Neighborhood

A community meeting to discuss “Crime in Our Neighborhood”. The meeting will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Community Center located at 36 Armstrong Road (Corner of Denise and Armstrong). Our guest speaker will be Lt. Steve Wise of the Greece Police Department.

What Does $15,000 Buy In GCSD?

" ... we kicked butt." ~~ Lucy Strecker, Greece Athena Cheerleader following Athena's win of the Section V Championships

STORY

SCATS ~~ Our students exhibit such wonderful sportsmanship, don't they? Maybe they learned it from the hockey team ... is it ONLY about the winning? Oh wait, I forgot. It's about winning AND money ;)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

BUCKMAN HTS. BACK-PEDDLES!!

Brandt To Return To School
He DOES Live In Greece!
SCHOOL APOLOGIZES!

WHEC News

SCATS ~~ This is a GCSD First ~~ Admission of a mistake AND an apology!! What's next? Returning $$ they overcharged taxpayers??

The Inside Scoop On Greece Assessor/Reassessment

Anonymous said...
Can we at least begin by putting blame for the now every 3 year reval where it belongs? Constant Reval was mandated by Gov Super Mario because NY State had overborrowed and was legally Bankrupt back in 94. Raising values allowed the State to borrow more, and the State paid for the first episode.

As to Leo Carrol, the 411 on this boy is very closely held. Those who know ain't talking.

The one before him was a salesman for a tractor/trailer driving school who passed the Civil Service Test, and did as he was told. Auberger's girlfriend Joanne was assigned to the Assessor office staff, and did nothing other than run up to Johnboy's office when he called.

Bonanza, the assistant to Schwab who stayd on came from the banking industry where he bundled and sold mortgages. When he got caught dirty he was shipped over to DPW where he warms a desk and does nothing thanks to Civil Service Law. Hey, it only costs about $100,000 a year to keep Bonanza's mouth shut.

The current Reval that will come out in March is totally corrupt. The values being used by the computer program come from before the market collapsed, so they aren't true value. The local pols don't care because the corrupt values mean more spending money for them.

The pols also know the public is stupid. If you don't believe that sit in the hearings and listen to the suckers try making their case for a lower value.

There is a lot of good information on line, and a few people who know how to use it, but they are fed up and won't work for free. 2/22/2009 2:45 AM

SCATS ~~ Sounds like we should DEMAND a complimentary trial size tube of KY with our reassessments!

Monroe County Supreme Court Ignores NY Rules On Documents Filing

Rules demand that all documents considered by judges be filed with the court clerk, but many court papers never get filed.

STORY

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Auberger Issues Statement Re: Schwab Case

"The sentences handed down this week to the co-conspirators in this case mark the end of a lengthy and very difficult time period for our community. Justice has been served and those who violated the public trust will be punished in accordance with the law." ~~ John Auberger, Greece Supervisor

STORY

SCATS ~~ Will he EVER come out of hiding?

Friday, February 20, 2009

SCHWAB SENTENCED TO JUST 12 YEARS!

Will be stripped of assets, including two luxury homes

"After the criminal case began in 2005, Greece increased Kodak’s assessment to $12 per square foot and the town and Kodak sued each other. In a settlement in 2007, Kodak agreed to pay $1.877 million to Greece for property taxes it hadn’t paid under the scheme.

That money — $1.067 million of which goes to the school district — will come from any forfeited funds the prosecution recovers in the criminal case. Under the settlement, Kodak was repaid $431,000 for property tax charges in 2007 and Kodak’s assessment was set at $8 per square foot in 2006, $6 in 2007 and $5 in 2008."

Anonymous said...
Where is the money Kodak paid the school district in the settlement $1.067 million dollars? Is that not tax payer money? If the district has it what has it been spent on and how was that determined? If the tax payers have already paid for that year(S) why is12 years for there not a tax credit? 2/20/2009 4:01 PM

D&C STORY

Schwab speaks ~~ “I apologize to a lot of people your honor. I know I did a number of things that were wrong. I am truly sorry and especially want to apologize to my wife and family and to the people in Greece.”

News10NBC


SCATS ~~ If I didn't pay my taxes, I might be lucky to get just 12 years! But then, I never washed anyone's back either ...

You've got to love all the free money, right?

Our state lawmakers can relax; Washington is sending us lots of free money. They can continue the fiscal irresponsibility they have demonstrated so well. New York can now continue its quest to be No. 1 as the "entitlement" capital of the country. Don't worry about tomorrow; spend today. Spend it all. As I heard a small-company owner say recently on CNBC: "As soon as I saw my company was going to succeed, the first thing I did was move out of New York state." That speaks volumes.
—CHARLIE HUBBARD

D&C Editorial

Does Their Punishment Fit Their Crimes?

Nicolo ~~ found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to defraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, nine counts of mail fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, 19 counts of money laundering, four counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. Sentenced to serve 12 years.

Roeder ~~ guilty of filing false income tax returns with her husband. Sentenced to 3 years probation & a $50,000 fine.

Finnman ~~ admitted receiving $170,000 from Nicolo. Sentenced to 21 months in prison.

"Greed gone wild. That's what this case was all about." ~~ Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick

"The evil triumvirate." ~~ U.S. District Judge Larimer in reference to Schwab, Nicolo & Camarata

D&C STORY

SCATS ~~ It's my distinct impression these sentences were quite light give the crimes and the way they are portrayed by Larimer & Resnick. So will Greece's own Charles Schwab serve time?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meeting Reminders ...

02/24/2009 Special BOE Meeting, 6:30 pm, Exec. Session, 5:30 pm to discuss collective bargaining

Agenda Items
Board Member Liaison School Reports
Budget Preparations - Staffing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Northgate Neighbors of Greece, NY

Crime in Our Neighborhood
Is Greece, NY really one of the safest communities? There seems to be quite a bit of discussion in our neighborhood. A murder (or body dump) in Adeline Park in May, 2007. A murder and assault on Florence Avenue in November, 2008. Several armed robberies (Kwik Fil, Dollar General, Cricket Communications).

On Wednesday, February 25th, Northgate Neighbors of Greece will be sponsoring a community meeting to discuss “Crime in Our Neighborhood”. The meeting will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Community Center located at 36 Armstrong Road (Corner of Denise and Armstrong). Our guest speaker will be Lt. Steve Wise of the Greece Police Department. Also on hand will be Pamela Graham of Alternatives for Battered Woman.

The question we are all asking is: “What are the Town of Greece and the Greece Police Department doing to prevent the slide down the list of America’s Safest Communities?” In concert with that question is a second question: “What are, or should we be doing to protect ourselves and our families from those who intend to harm?”

Northgate Neighbors are committed to building a strong, caring community and improving the quality of life in our neighborhood.
For more information contact Jeremy Carter at (585) 621-8064.

Boily and Schroeder and Russell? Oh my!

Anonymous said...
The 2009 Achramovitch-Boily "Dream Team" is taking shape. Boily has had a petition out for some time and the second person who recently took out a petition is none other than Bob Schroeder, Achramovitch's Director of H.R. and the business office. In addition to these duties has is well known as Steve's "pull toy." He retires in June and Steve, sensing his apparent demise, has asked Bob for help. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Steve now knows he has lost his board with the exception of Boily, McCabe and Smith.

We will have to wait for the third member to come forward. The name Bill Russell comes to mind.
2/19/2009 9:57 AM

SCATS ~~ One person's "dream team" is another person's nightmare!

Eye-Catching Quotes

“You have the moral compass and integrity of a pirate.” ~~ Judge Larimer in addressing John Nicolo during sentencing. Nicolo gets 12 years. STORY

SCATS ~~ I wonder if Nicolo responded with "Arrrrghh!!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I want to be a contributor to society and not a leach." ~~ David Finnman before sentencing in Kodak trial STORY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"If there's a business here that's potentially suspicious, we're looking at it. This is not over." ~~ Sgt. Wise, Greece Police regarding raids on local "salons." STORY

SCATS ~~ "If" there's a suspicious business? After 4 months of investigating, a shooting and two rounds of raids, you should know by now!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Police Raid Two Salons & Owner's Home

Targeted In Prostitution Sting:

Elite Body Spa
Tub and Tan Salon
Owner Jim Polaski's home
News10NBC

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I would guess that about 80 percent of the men that come to the shop are looking for some sort of sexual pleasure.” ~~ Former employee

RNews

SCATS ~~ Finally, some good news for Greece :)

24.8% of Greece Population Rents Housing

Brighton Tops List at 38.6%;
US Average Is 32.7%

Pittsford 15.4%
Chili 18%
Gates 22.2%
Henrietta 25.9%


Story

Hill's Daughter Left Athena For Edison Last Nov

"She is doing much better here. Some people think if they go to a suburban school, they get a better education, or that maybe they can get some program that's not in the city. But I don't see a difference." ~~ Delroy Russell, girl's father

Four of Hill's children still attending Greece Schools as of last Friday. Russell says a son lives with the mother (not the grandmother as Hill claimed!).

STORY

SCATS ~~ Has it gotten so bad in GCSD that city kids are fleeing back to RCD Schools? Maybe the clown posse should take note!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This & That ...


Why is there NO updated budget related info on the GCSD website? It only has last year's info.

Why is it that the GEF ad in "The Connection" didn't offer community members the same discount opportunity on paying for a table at the community garage sale the way the GEF website does? And, yes, I know the website has a cut-off date that corresponds with the receipt of "The Connection" in the mail. My point is, if you want to raise a lot of money, cut everyone a deal for a couple weeks, instead of the few privileged insiders ;)

Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that we've locked up a woman (Yolanda Miranda Hill) for theft of GCSD services valued at $28,000, but former assessor Charles Schwab IS STILL FREE despite pleading guilty to ripping off Greece taxpayers in a scheme that cost us so much more?

Does anyone know who officially sits on the "Finance Committee?" Is there some reason to keep this a secret?

Monday, February 16, 2009

More On Theft of School Services ... One Case Involves Hockey


Update Regarding Buckman Hts. Case ~~ A friend contacted Ch.10 to inquire about the status of the 10 year old. I'm told that Ch. 10 hopes to run an updated story on the air tonight. The mom and her mother (the grandmother) met with BH's principal Friday and were told it was " a terrible mistake" and it won't happen again. He can continue at BH after the break week.

SCATS ~~ Perhaps building administration should allow the PI guy to do his job, instead of attempting to do it for him. This is just another "dysfunction" in our junction.

Here's another apparent school theft case (in reverse!) I read about today on Craig's List:

More stealing education (Spencerport)
"Currently there is a student enrolled at Spencerport High school, that actually resides in the Town of Greece. The Principal of the school is fully aware of this situation, as he was "recruited" just to play hockey for him... "

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Teacher Center Funding May Get State Budget Ax

Currently Gets $124,000 Annual Operating Grant
With Another $75,000 For Teacher Mentoring

STORY

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Theft of Services Case Heading To Grand Jury

Greece court waives Hill's preliminary hearing on charges of third-degree grand larceny & first-degree offering a false instrument for filing

"My mom only did what was right because she loved us. She's not a criminal ... We're worried, but we know she's going to beat this."~~ Santazcha Hill, 16

STORY

Rochester court moves Hill's bench warrant case for probation violation (for aggravated harassment) to Tuesday

STORY

Scats ~~ A milestone reached: This is BLOG #1000 !

Friday, February 13, 2009

Homeless Children Have A Right To Free Education, Too

GCSD Policy 7131 ~ Education of Homeless Children and Youth

The parent/person in parental relation to a homeless child; or the homeless child ... may designate either the school district of current location, the school district of origin, or a school district participating in a regional placement plan as the district the homeless child shall attend.

Pursuant to Commissioner's Regulations, a "homeless child" means a child or youth who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; including a child who is:
a) Sharing the housing of other persons due to a loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason;
b) Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;


"Homeless children and youth shall be educated as part of the school's regular academic program.
Services must be provided to homeless children and youth through programs and mechanisms that integrate homeless children and youth with their non-homeless counterparts."

SCATS ~~ This could become a boom to Chamber of Commerce businesses (hotels, motels). Let's get these kids on the hockey team!

BUCKMAN PRINCIPAL KICKS OUT 10 YR OLD!


SAYS HE DOESN'T LIVE IN GREECE!
SENDS HIM HOME WITH LETTER

"I'm upset they questioned my son, without my permission and did not contact me." ~~ Melissa Brandt, parent

News10NBC

SCATS ~~ I want to personally thank the "Clown Posse" for another jam-packed week of "positive press" about the school district they run. If we weren't laughingstocks before, we certainly are now!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another Voice Of Dissent Speaks Out


I opposed the action taken by the BOE in overriding the Superintendent's decision in the Thunder coaching matter. The board chose to ignore our own policies (6150 and 6151) which considers alcohol a drug and which prohibits staff, students, and volunteers from its use in the workplace OR when such use may impair the performance of their duties. A coach who escorts a student team away from home is on duty 24/7 until those students are returned to their parent's custody. Safety of our students has to be of paramount importance to those entrusted with their keeping. A coach should know this or he has no business coaching. Ignorance of the"law" is not a defense. A "complete" investigation is unnecessary as the coaches in question self acknowledged their behavior. Demands for "a thorough investigation" are and were merely an attempt to obfuscate the obvious and divert attention from the core issue.

It is clear to me that matters of "principle" are not a lesson to be valued or taught to our students by some in our community. A winning hockey team is apparently the overriding value! The board caved in to the pressures of the moment and acted in a way as to undermine the Superintendent's duty to oversee student safety and to administer discipline in the district.

I was personnally distressed ( read this as severely disgusted!) by this unwise action to the degree that I chose not to participate in the rest of the evening's board meeting. I was undoubtedly wrong to have acted so hastily in this regard. My focus at that moment was no longer on the board's business so any thoughtful votes on matters before the board would have likely eluded me.

As for the future, it is important that the district's coaching manual be clarified so as to leave absolutely no doubt to those wishing to excuse substandard behavior in the future. I am reasonably certain that this clarification will be undertaken soon.

Regards,
Frank Oberg
BOE Member


SCATS ~~ I AGREE 100% & couldn't have stated it any more clearly!!

Put Your Anonymity To Good Use!

Many people have complained on here about the anonymous letter writer that brought to light the problems with the hockey coaches. In the next breath, these same folks often go on to complain that there are other "bigger problems" going on in their childrens' schools.

My response to that ~~ if you aren't part of the solution regarding WHAT YOU SAY YOU KNOW IS HAPPENING IN SCHOOL, then you are a large part of the problem!

What can you do? Step up! Speak out! Organize a group of people to address the BOE! Write a letter or an email, anonymous or not! Make a phone call! Use an anonymous tip hotline set up for handling some of the very issues you complain that are "worse" than employees drinking on the job.

To help you out, here's a couple of numbers you might want to put to good use:

GCSD's Employee Ethics Line
1-877-841-GCSD
(For employee use)

Safe School Helpline
1-800-418-6423 (I'm told you must use Ext. 359)
(For parent, student,
community member use)

By the way, KUDOS TO THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE LETTER BRINGING THE HOCKEY COACH SITUATION TO LIGHT!! YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE !! A potential future catastrophe has been averted because you cared! THANK YOU!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How To Handle The "Clown Posse" & Make A Fool of the Supt

Anonymous said...
Here are the true facts about last night's coaching decision:

1. 4:00 p.m. Mike Sofia of the Doan Dealership and Greece Rotary, along with Coach Webb meet with Achramovitch to pressure him to change his mind. The coaches now emboldened by parental and business support, withdraw their resignations. Achramovitch refuses.

2. Board meets in executive session and illegally votes 8-1 to overrule Achramovitch and decided the announced board plan.

3. Achramovitch not happy about being subverted by the board.

4. Julia makes huge mistake by announcing at beginning of meeting the illegal action taken by the board. This was done to allow parents to leave and go to the hockey game.

Welcome, Stevie, to the power politics that is synonymous with the Town of Greece. Even Roger the Dodger turned on you, along with Smith and McCabe. The lesson here is "when you swim with the sharks have plenty of band-aids on hand." 2/11/2009 11:08 AM

SCATS ~~ PLEASE NOTE that I've mentioned on the thread where this posting came from that I believe only 8 of the 9 BOE members were at the BOE meeting that followed. I'm not sure how many were in attendence at the Executive Session.

UPDATE *** I'm told that ALL 9 BOE members attended the Executive Session. It was suggested that perhaps the one missing from the open meeting left in disgust ... imagine that!

Our BOE Majority Has Become A "CLOWN POSSE"


We've Reached A New Low In Greece

Our BOE left an angry throng waiting while they went behind closed doors (Executive Session) to discuss the Supt's handling of the hockey coaches. That was bad enough, because it sends the message that they need to micro-manage the $200+K/year Superintendent's job. Worse yet, they emerge from the meeting and the BOE Prez makes a statement that the BOE "decided" not to accept the resignations of the coaches because our policy isn't clear. The crowd cheers, the media disperses with their story. End of story.

What's wrong with this picture? EVERYTHING!!!

First of all, how do they "decide" something like this behind closed doors WITHOUT TAKING A PUBLIC VOTE to back-up their "decision?" It's a STAFFING MATTER. Staffing decisions require public votes. They acknowledged this later in the meeting when it was pointed out that they were including the additional expenses for the substitute coaches' salaries in the regular monthly staffing packets they approved by vote!

Secondly, I'd like to know if ALL EIGHT BOE MEMBERS in attendence were onboard with this "decision." There was no public discussion at all. Nada! The pros and cons that went into their individual thoughts and decision-making are a complete mystery!

Thirdly, whatever was so unclear in the wording of the policy that caused them to reverse the decision of the Supt. about the coaches wasn't discussed publicly either!

Why does this matter? Because recently, the BOE prevented a former employee from addressing them by claiming that the policy on Resident's Forum was "unclear." That policy stated in one place that you must be a district resident, but elsewhere made no such distinction. Until the BOE "fixed" the wording, Julia was so deeply sorry, but Doug Skeet, a non-resident, couldn't speak even though they allowed him to do so numerous other times. "We have no choice but to follow our policy," she said. Too bad Doug Skeet didn't have the right connections so that he could address the board before departing to Florida for the winter. At least in his case, we have some idea how different board members viewed application of the policy and the issues about how to interpret it. With the coaching issue, we have no official input at all, not even a quick review by the lawyers Julia and her "clown posse" love so much!

Fourthly, why was the decision made with such haste? It was OK to put-off Doug Skeet (i.e. shut him up throughout the winter) UNTIL AFTER THE POLICY WAS RE-WORDED AND REVIEWED BY THE LEGALS AND READ AND REREAD AT BOE MEETINGS! With the coaching situation, we don't even have a timeframe for when the tightened policy about employees drinking on the job will be ready to go!!! WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DOES THIS SEND??? Is it OK to drink on an overnight trip UNTIL THEY GET AROUND TO GETTING IT FIXED? Apparently so!! Bottoms up hockey fans, senior trip chaperones, retreat attendees!!

Last but certainly not least, the BOE made an obvious attempt to show the Supt who is the "real boss" of GCSD. They've effectively neutered him in his job just when we need solid leadership most, just when he finally made "the right call" and stuck by book. Now, ALL of his future decisions can be called into question, debated in the media, reversed behind closed doors ... yes, the residents of Greece have much to lose with this micro-management by the BOE during these tough economic times when the budget needs significant reduction and contracts need to be settled. (Of course, the reason why they did this was to punish him for making them look foolish (easy to do!) when he made other less thoughtful decisions.)

What can the community learn from all of this?

The lesson is fairly simple, just like the thinking of the BOE majority, the "clown posse." Clearly, district policy is meant to be applied to different people/groups in different manners based upon their community affiliations. If you are connected to certain organizations like Rotary Club or the Greece Chamber ... or if you are "important" to the Greece Republican party ... or if you are a very vocal school-of-choice parent ... or if your kid plays on a very winning district team ... or if they just plain decide they like you ... then you can get our "clown posse" to apply/interpret policy to your benefit too.

But if you are the parent of a kid who sees a problem with how our "professionals" are mishandling their responsibilities to the kids they get paid to supervise, God help you! All you have is the prayer Greece clergy will say on Sunday (starting this week!) to help you survive your 13 years of incarceration at Greece Central.

Thanks Julia. You and your team, the "clown posse, " have punished and temporarily silenced the people (like Doug Skeet and the parent who complained about the drinking) who really care ... and left the district open to liability in the future. But I bet they'll speak up in the voting booth next time ... ;)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BOE Meeting Re-Cap

The meeting began with Julia's announcement that the coaching staff were suspended for JUST TWO GAMES (a mere slap on the wrist!) !!
WHERE WAS THE VOTE ON THIS?
WHAT WAS THE VOTE OUTCOME?

A rep. for GTA listed areas GCSD could look at for potential budget savings ~~ schools-of-choice made the list! She also mentioned that the Fact Finder's Report requested by the Supt. is completed.

The AGCEP rep. stated that potential upcoming staffing cuts are causing "intense anxiety" for their members, since no specifics have been forthcoming.

Finance Committee ~~ They've made schools-of-choice/signature schools a "parking lot issue" slated for a full cost/benefit analysis FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THE CURRENT BUDGET REVIEW. (Thanks Carolyn, for ensuring this item gets left intact for yet another year!)

***Transportation Committee*** ~~ Changing bell times (school day start/finish times) at Longridge School could save GCSD a substantial sum by allowing the district to use fewer contracted bus services. (Attention Longridge parents !! ~~ this is YOUR CUE to storm BOE members with phone calls, emails, petitions and letters. Take note of how the hockey team was able to use the media to their advantage. Do any of you have insider connections to the Greece C of C that might help? If so, USE IT NOW!)

Faith Committee ~~ Greece clergy will be praying for our schools every Sunday! (And not a minute too soon !! I'm not sure if even God can help us with this BOE "running" things!)

Whistle Blower update ~~ Five complaints received & resolved from Oct.-Nov.

EXCEL Project update ~~ NY State has 60 other projects to review before it's Greece's turn ... may cause havoc with scheduling work over Summer break unless approval comes within the next 2-3 weeks. Additional asbestos abatement measures will require Apollo to be vacated (even district offices) while the work is done.

Math Curriculum ~~ The BOE adopted the new math program on a vote of 7 to 1. $325,000 has already been included in the proposed budget towards implementation. Annual consummables (workbooks) will cost the district approx. $192,500/yr. (I bet more than a few parents will happily drink to this!)

UPDATE*: BOE CAVES-IN! Two Coaches Receive 2 Game Suspension!

* BOE MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT BY BOE PREZ. Van Orman

SCATS ~~ The Chamber of Commerce/School-of-Choice connection to the team got their way with the BOE, no surprise at all ;) Bottom line: GCSD is being run by bullies.

By Golly Gee Whiz!! There IS A Policy, Coach Webb!

GCSD's employee code of conduct, page 27 reads, “No person shall possess, consume, distribute, or exchange alcoholic beverages at a school function."

Under the code of ethics for coaches in the district’s interscholastic athletics handbook, they agree to promote rules for athletes that reflect the positive values of abstaining from the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Section V President, David Green ~~ " He says when his coaches take students on out-of-town trips, they're always on the clock. “It's their responsibility that people put their sons and daughters entrusted to these coaches and it's their responsibility to take care of that." "

Source: News10NBC

SCATS ~~ David Green is correct!! Score another goal for "common sense!"

KUDOS TO THE SUPT FOR TACKLING COSTLY PROBLEM!!

CITY WOMAN ARRESTED
FOR LYING ABOUT
CHILDRENS' RESIDENCY!

STORY

Anyone with information about students attending Greece schools who do not live in the district may call the district’s anonymous Safe School Helpline at 1-800-418-6423.

SCATS ~~ With as great as this news is, I'm concerned about who did the math reported to the media!
"It costs about $15,000 a year to educate a Greece student. The services Greece schools provided to Miranada’s five children since the beginning of the school year have an estimated dollar value of more than $28,000."
I sure hope the BOE approves that new math curriculum tonight! It will be none too soon ;)

5 children x $15,000/yr. each = $75,000/2* = $37,500 ... NOT $28,000!

*Sept. through Jan. = 5 mo out of a 10 mo. school yr. or 1/2

Monday, February 09, 2009

Behind Closed Doors ...

... Julia & The Boe Will Discuss Coach Webb's Resignation

SCATS ~~ I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be backing up decisions made by Supt. Achramovitch, but it has arrived.

A written policy is NOT all that important in such a case as this. What is important, or should be important, is common sense.

For all intents and purposes, parents, teachers, coaches and anyone else left in a supervisory or chaperoning capacity with students is providing basic babysitting type services. Do you allow your sitter to drink on the job? Does it matter if they are over 21 and have the legal right? No, of course not!

This whole thing boils down to an issue of responsibility vs liability. The coaches were expected by the district (and hopefully by the parents too) to be responsible in their duties regarding these kids. Instead, they acted in a manner that could potentially result in significant liability to the district.

By asking them to resign, the Supt. did his job of protecting the district and the student athletes against future potential liability from irresponsible adults who were PAID ... i.e. employed by GCSD ... to provide chaperoning/supervisory services (babysitting) to the team on an overnight trip. The workday clock doesn't stop when the kids hit the pillow in a situation like this.

If the BOE rescinds the resignations or reverses Steve's decision by not accepting the resignations, then they will be micro-managing his job! If they can't back him on the small stuff, which this is, then they will make him totally impotent as a district "leader" and would best buy-out his contract at the same time they reverse his decision.

The BOE is completely out-of-order in even entertaining the notion (via Exec. Session discussion) that they might change the outcome, unless they are willing to change the Superintendent, too. I don't think they have the stomach to do what's right, but I hope they prove me wrong.

Investigation Completed ...

**UPDATE**
Ch.10 News reports that the BOE will discuss Webb's resignation in Executive Session Tuesday Night. BOE Pres. Julia VanOrman says his resignation may not be accepted by the board. Parents plan to attend the meeting to support their coach & team. More at 6PM on News10NBC

Supt. Sends Home Letter To Thunder Families

February 6, 2009

Dear Families of Greece Thunder Hockey Players:

The Greece Central School District was made aware of some questionable conduct on the part of the Greece Thunder Hockey coaches during a recent tournament. Based upon our investigation, our concerns were affirmed.

Both the head coach and assistant coach have agreed to resign. For that reason, team practices were canceled on Friday and Saturday (February 6 and 7).

The Greece Thunder team has enjoyed an incredible season and the players should be very proud of what they have accomplished. We do not want this unfortunate situation to overshadow their success. We will do everything in our power to secure an excellent coach to lead the team during the remainder of the season.

I appreciate your understanding. If you have questions or concerns, please email me at

steve.achramovitch@greece.k12.ny.us.

Sincerely,
Steven A. Achramovitch
Superintendent of Schools

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spending $$ On A New Math Curriculum ...

Will GTA Protest Given The Threat Of Laying Off Teachers?

SCATS ~~ Although They'll Never Admit It, Adopting This New Curriculum Corrects Walts' Mistake. Will PWCS Be Able To Follow Suit?

Thunder Hockey Coach Suddenly Resigns


GCSD Gives No Reason
For Sudden Departure;

Replacement Sought

STORY

SCATS: Someone's been very naughty ... ?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What's GTA's Message With T-Shirts?


Solidarity?
Or Gang-Like Attire?


Anonymous said...
I'm not sure how a shirt bearing the phrase "Proud to be a Greece Teacher" counts as either gang clothing or unprofessional attire, but feel free to enlighten me. 2/06/2009 12:02 PM

Anonymous said...
12:02 - what signifies a "gang"...the wearing of identical clothing, colors, symbols, etc. I get your point, but yes, the GTA is demonstrating "gang like" behavior by wearing Tshirts on a specified day that are all identical. Trust me, these teachers literally FREAK OUT if they notice a group of African American boys wearing all pink shirts on the same day, or hanging a blue handkerchief out of their pocket. They claim it's signifying "gang behavior" and want administration to do something about it. Get it now? 2/06/2009 1:18 PM

School Board Running Out Of Work ...

... No "New Business" On Agenda!

Meeting ~~ Feb. 10th at 6:30PM
Exec. Session @ 5:30PM ~~ to discuss collective bargaining & the employment history of particular person(s)

Agenda Topics Include:
Board Reports
Legislative Updates
Finance Committee
Transportation Committee
Audit Committee
Community Faith Committee
Board Reports - discussion with liaison schools
WhistleBlower Update (W/I)

Supt's Reports
EXCEL Project Update
Budget Review
Current District Tenure Procedure

Old Business
Approval of Math Program & Resources (W/A)
Former Supt's Health Care (Again!?)
Energy Education Contract Update

Financial Oversight
Finance - Treasurer's Report & Budget Status Report (W/A)
Extra Classroom Activity Funds - Quarterly Report (W/A)
Resource Report (W/A)
Standardization Resolution - Technology (W/A)

New Business
(No Agenda Items)

Policy
Deletion of Policy 8260, Programs & Projects Funded by Title I (W/A)
First Read - Policy 5120 Budget Document & Budget Hearing (W/I)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Another PWCS Meeting Video

It's sad to see the teachers' view of parents is so low!


Stimulus Package May Include $6.7 Million for GCSD

Two Year Deal May Include:
$3.4 million in special-education funding
$1.99 million for construction projects
$1.29 million in Title 1-A funding for student literacy

“I think what this would allow us to do is to take some money that perhaps we’re spending in a building and increase that allocation, and then perhaps free up some money in the general fund." ~~ Supt. Achramovitch

“The stimulus package is going to give a big boost to upstate New York.” ~~ Sen. Schumer

MPNNow

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How High Are GCSD's Legal Costs Under Current BOE Control?

Last night there was yet another closed door board meeting. This time, the topic was "collective bargaining."

Under the HMO BOE, accusations were launched by some of the current BOE members about how much money the district was wasting on lawyer's fees.

Well Julia, how much are we spending under YOUR leadership?? Isn't this an area where we need to tighten our budget belt?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Moscato Speaks Out About Berry Report

Joe Moscato said...
In order to understand the content of the Berry Report, it is important to understand the rationale behind its inception and its relevancy. We were told that this investigation would take three weeks. It ultimately took three months at a cost of $80,000. When I first read the document it revealed little not already known and was a waste of time and money and I so told its author at the time. Now that it has been released I feel that I now can speak freely about it.

For the past three years every article in the D & C written by reporter Meaghan McDermott regarding the Berry report and the resignation of former Superintendent Margaret Keller-Cogan has echoed a common theme – that she was suspended after 45 days on the job, never returned, resigned in January of 2006, and left with a “glowing letter of recommendation.” These phrases are designed to cast doubt on the events surrounding that resignation. Let’s address that “glowing letter” and set the record straight once and for all.

The recently released report was originally commissioned for one important reason to provide the district with information to defend against the five pending lawsuits. As should now be apparent to all who have read this document, it had the opposite result.
When members of that board asked for her resignation, the Berry Report, in itself, while relevant, actually played a very minor role in that decision. When confronted with her options, she wisely entered into negations with the board to “buy out her contract” which was worth $1,000,000.

As a result the following agreement was reached: She would receive the balance of her compensation for 2005-2006. In addition, if she did not find a job at the end of that time, we would pay her 90% of her 2006-2007 salary. The agreement also contained a provision for a letter of recommendation. Initially, some board members balked at this letter. However, on advice of counsel it was agreed upon, the rationale being to help her find a job quickly. Fortunately for the taxpayers, it worked. She quickly found a position and as a result, we saved $200,000 for the second year of the buyout agreement. This so-called “glowing letter” was golden in terms of tax dollars saved. By the way, she was allowed to write her own “glowing” letter of recommendation.

Regards
Joe Moscato 2/03/2009 4:55 PM

After Spending $80K+, Why Didn't GCSD Follow Lawyers Advice?

Berry Report Cost Us In Excess Of $80,000
It Tells Us Our Teacher Evaluation System Was Sound,
Its Implementation Was Sometimes Flawed

"We were cautioned with legal advice not to release it for fear of inciting lawsuits. If we're paying lawyers for their advice, we should take it." ~~ Frank Oberg

STORY

SCATS: Will Mary D. and the teacher who opted for polka dots attempt another shot at suing GCSD? Stay tuned for the next edition of "As the District Churns" ...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Today's Forecast: Cloudy With A 5% Chance Of Healing

BERRY REPORT*
RELEASED TODAY!

*WARNING: Reading the Berry Report has been known to cause extreme anxiety. Seeing your name redacted from the Berry Report may result in feelings of intense anger accompanied by the need to seek legal counsel. Do NOT read the Berry Report if your name is Meg. Reading the Berry Report if your name is Meg could result in extreme mania, depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts, severe constipation and possibly even death due to skyrocketing blood pressure. Seek medical help immediately if you see auras while reading the Berry Report. Report any other unusual side effects from reading the Berry Report to school board President, Julia Van Orman or district Superintendent, Steve II.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

NY Times: Teaching Can Be Lucrative

Rochester teacher salaries often top $100K/yr and come with free health care, job security and a guaranteed pension

Adam Urbanski ~~ "estimates that 40 percent of school districts in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey pay as well as or better than his district."

Article