Hamburg School Board Meeting August 9, 2016 at 6:30 P.M. at the Hamburg Administration Building 5305 Abbott Road.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Former Hamburg Superintendent Dr. Rick Jetter "the real Rick Jetter" reveals that there were two different damages to his car in the Spring of 2014

Concerned Hamburger was forwarded a YouTube video of former Hamburg School Superintendent Rick Jetter replying to the question from an interviewer, " what did alcohol do to you?".

Rick Jetter replies,

"I basically lost all my judgement, I couldn't function in the office.  I couldn't function with leading people.  And it all led to discrepancies with some damage that was done to my car, that I never fully reported in the proper way with the authorities.  So it was the differences in the stories with some damage I did to my car, but there was external damage that was done by other people.  I never talked about the differences between the two different damages.  And from there I just had no more judgement".

Listen for yourself.

Rick Jetter is still blaming other people for his drunken night with Hamburg Middle School Principal, lies about damage to his car, and false police reports.  This interview reveals that Rick attributes his alcohol abuse to the people he "met up with who were absolute nightmares creating havoc around the school district".   After walking away from Hamburg with over $125,000 and a slap on the wrist by the courts for falsifying a police report and stealing money from the district to have his self-inflicted car damage fixed,  the Real Rick Jetter should be kinder to the good folks of Hamburg.   He got off easy.

The real Rick Jetter talks about suturing his mind,  examining hypocrisy and overcoming abuse of the bottle.  In his attempt to be authentic the real Rick Jetter- a paranoid manipulator and liar- extraordinaire is revealed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

8-9-16 Executive Session – It is anticipated the Board will act upon a resolution to convene an executive session at 6:30 to discuss pending litigation.

Hamburg School Board of Education met in executive session last evening to discuss "pending" litigation.

August 2016 looks like a busy month for the school district.  It is facing two lawsuits in New York State Supreme Court from former students, who have made claims of negligence.  Both cases are being heard in court the month.  The school district is being represented by Hurwitz and Fine, the legal team selected by the district's insurance carrier.

CH received a lengthy message from a former teacher in the school district, who relived the nightmare that took place for one student at Boston Valley Elementary School going back to 2012 and 2013.  In the heartfelt retelling of events it was revealed that a little boy was terrorized by administrators, teachers and a guidance counselor. According to court documents the child was urinated on.   So bad was the abuse of the child at the hands of a few rotten classmates,  and the school officials, the child attempted to harm himself.   According to the former teacher, in the years since the sick abuse at the hands of school personnel, the child has grown into a fine young person thanks to his loving family and the private schools he has attended.

Court records reveal,  the civil case in the Boston Valley situation, names former Hamburg School Superintendent Steve Achramovitch,  former Boston Valley Principal Paul Pietratone, School Counselor Ann Gihooly,  Armor Elementary School teacher Rebecca Sipprell Buczak, the Board of Education and the school district as defendants.   The case has been opened since 2013, and at different times orders were appealed to the NYS Appellate Court in Rochester.   Court documents reveal , the plaintiffs in the case are asking for compensation for the abuse their child endured at the hands of adults in the school district.

In the second case, involving a student who has graduated, monetary compensation due to negligence by the school district are being sought.

According to the school district web page,  the school counselor and the school teacher are both still employed, Mr. Achramovitch ran out of town, and the former Boston Valley Principal after a 4 year probationary period headed to a school in Orchard Park.

This cases has been going on for years, and it has been completely ignored by the local media.   There has been no mention of either case in the Buffalo News.   The teacher and the guidance counselor are still working, but it seems they were transferred away from Boston Valley some time ago.

Where is the community on this? Why hasn't the issue been dragged in ink across the pages of the Buffalo News?  Reports from several people have verified the teacher in question was accused of misconduct at Armor Elementary for inappropriately having a child walk between the legs of a male co-worker.  But, not a peep in the paper.  No blasts of wrath by the moral folks that run the local law firms and stripe clubs.    Not a single comment by the only woman on the Hamburg School Board, Miss Heeter who cares for the some of the most fragile children at her day job as a teacher aid at Randolph- Hopevale Academy.  No charge to a dismissal hearing by Thomas Flynn the Third, who's own child is a Boston Valley student.  Mr. List who spent years in school hasn't utter a nibble on this one.

The pending litigation is reflective of a school district that operates in the shadows.   Real issues are ignored, and imaginary ones, like removing a school board member ( a 1/2 million dollar price tag), are pursued with zest and vigor as if they really matter.   Window dressing will never hide the harm done to children.  Ignoring abuses and cheering on complacency is dangerous, and those that do it are the real "evil-doers".


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Funding of non-recurring expense secured (?).

According to a report in the Buffalo News,  Hamburg Schools recovered almost 1/2 million in state aid, which was withheld a few years ago because of failed negotiations with the teachers union.  Mr. Cornell takes credit for researching and pressuring Assemblyman Ryan to secure the monies withheld.  (story in Blue from the Buffalo News) 
It is unclear what non-recurring expense Cornell might be referencing, but several people have reported via email to Concerned Hamburger, that the legal bills with the law firm Hodgson Russ, for the close of the 2016 fiscal year ending June 30th have exceeded the $241,000 Ryan help secure for the district.  Perhaps New York State should have by passed the district and  just cut a check to the the 30 plus Hodgson Russ attorneys who are sucking the blood of the school district. 
Well done Hamburg, Attorney Andrew Freedman,  and his Pa, et. al just secured themselves some more dough to go after. 
"Hamburg Central was one of five school districts in the state that did not agree on a teacher evaluation plan by the deadline in 2013, and New York State withheld the increase in state aid that year.
But now the district will be getting the state aid, thanks to the efforts of the superintendent and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo. 
Hamburg was the only district in the state to lose aid because of lack of an agreement on an evaluation plan. Superintendent Steven Achramovitch was heading the district, and relations between teachers and the administration got testy during the negotiations. 
At one point, the superintendent sent a plan to the state, but it had not been signed by the district or the teachers union. As the clock ticked down and the two sides were on the brink of reaching an agreement on the Annual Professional performance Review , teachers accused the district of threatening their jobs if they did not vote in favor of the evaluation plan.
Talks broke down, the deadline was missed, and the district lost $482,000, the increase in state aid it was slated to get in 2013.
While the state had threatened to reduce aid to the other districts, only Hamburg had the money withheld. 
“There’s no reason that our school district should continue to have imposed upon us any penalty when nobody else in the state has faced a similar consequence,” Superintendent Michael Cornell said.
Cornell said he had been on the job as superintendent for six weeks when he started researching the lost aid in spring 2015. He contacted Ryan, who was able to secure $241,000 in aid this year. It is expected the rest will be included in next year’s budget, Cornell said, in praising Ryan for his efforts.
“I’ve always said that, while it is not our job to change our past, it is our job to shape the present and the future of our school district,” Cornell said.
He said the district will likely use the funding for a non-recurring expense."


Monday, June 13, 2016

Hamburg School Boars VIOLATE OPEN MEETING LAWS, AGAIN.

New York State  PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW, ARTICLE 7,  'OPEN MEETINGS LAW', requires that public bodies in NYS comply with the following terms of convening an executive session.   Historically, the Hamburg Central School District Boars of Education have demonstrated little, if any, concern for the law.  And, in many instances, have thumbed their collective noses at NYS  and US laws.  In 2011, the School Board was taken to court for violating Open Meeting Laws,  and the Petitioner in the matter was successful in demonstrating to the Court that the Boars violated Open Meetings Laws.  And,  here they go again.   Is President Thomas Flynn the Turd as dim as he appears?  

The enumerated purposes for convening a secret session, where the Hamburg boars engage in scheming, name-calling and conspiring to break the laws are as follows: *

§105. Conduct of executive sessions.
1. Upon a majority vote of its total membership, taken in an open meeting pursuant to a motion identifying the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered, a public body may conduct an executive session for the below enumerated purposes only, provided, however, that no action by formal vote shall be taken to appropriate public moneys:
a. matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed;
b. any matter which may disclose the identity of a law enforcement agent or informer;
c. information relating to current or future investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense which would imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed;
d. discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation;
e. collective negotiations pursuant to article fourteen of the civil service law;
f. the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
g. the preparation, grading or administration of examinations; and
h. the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.
2. Attendance at an executive session shall be permitted to any member of the public body and any other persons authorized by the public body.

Please note the following portion of the published agenda in red.   Where is Mr. Daniel Chiacchia- self-proclaimed advocate of all that is right and just in Hamburg- according to his document creation schemes ?  Where is the Freedom of Information Maven, and Strip Club Madam Christina Whipper- Shnapper?     Surely the community must be outraged by the run away Boars?  

HAMBURG CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
BOARD OF EDUCATION AGENDA
Regular Meeting                                                                                                        6:00 p.m.
Hamburg High School - LMC                                                                          June 14, 2016
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*6:00 - Public Hearing on Code of Conduct    
*6:30 - Executive Session – It is anticipated the Board will act upon a resolution to convene an 
                               executive session at 6:30 p.m. 
                                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A.         CALL TO ORDER
             President Thomas F. Flynn, III will preside.
          
             A.1      ROLL CALL OF MEMBERS
             A.2      DISTRICT CODE OF CONDUCT PRESENTATION
 A.3      DISTRICT CODE OF CONDUCT PUBLIC HEARING
             "Motion to open the public hearing regarding the District Code of Conduct 
                         for public comments.” 
 A.4      PUBLIC HEARING CONCLUDED
             "Motion to close the public hearing regarding the District Code of Conduct.”  

 A.5      EXECUTIVE SESSION   
             A.6      PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

             A.7      APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA / ADDITIONS TO AGENDA
             "Motion to approve Agenda." 

 *  Thomas Flynn the Turd is widely known as violating the law by blatantly ignoring labor, human rights and education law.  But, the Turd, and the classless members of the Hamburg Boars take little concern about the law, because they can send the taxpayer dollars off to the billable hours scavenger Andew Freedman of Hodgson Russ and hide behind his trousers.   Sadly, the Boars haven't recognized that Mr. Freedman has not, as demonstrated in the Buffalo Evening News, provided sound legal advice.   
C'mon Fellas- Man- Up and follow the Laws.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Village of Hamburg Drug Bust

The Village of Hamburg took center stage in a major drug bust.  As reported by all major news outlets, seven people were arrested for flooding the community with cocaine and cocaine related substances.    The Town of Hamburg Police,  New York State Police, the Erie County DA's office and other notable law enforcement agencies worked in unison to catch the culprits and hopefully cut off one source of drugs in the community.  Four of those arrested resided on the lovely suburban thorofare- Long Avenue- in downtown Village of Hamburg.  
So, one must ask, where were the Village of Hamburg Police in this major drug bust?    The taxpayers of the Village of Hamburg pay the salaries and benefits of at least 7 police officers, 1 detective, 3 lieutenants, 1 captain, and 1 chief of police.    The home on Long Avenue, which was the epicenter of the drug bust sits directly behind the Village Police Headquarters at 100 Main Street, and is an approximate 0.2 mile walk.  
Surely, the 13 officers of the law must've seen something strange going on right under their own noses?   The taxpayers should re-think the existence of a Village Police force- it seems to be a significant tax payer expense, when a drug house can exist for several years in the back yard of the police station. And, when the source of drugs is discovered, the Village Police are no where to be found.  

Concerned Hamburger respects the work of police officers and the terrible situations they often find themselves in to protect the public.  And certainly one should not consider any sum of money more important than the safety of the community and the officers.  However, it seems that the good people of Hamburg might get more bang for their buck if a reorganization of law enforcement in Hamburg were to take place.    Just the salaries of the Village Police are in excess of $1.2 million dollars.  This does not include benefits and the administrative support of the officers.  

Why not merge the Village of Hamburg Police with the Town of Hamburg Police? 
According to SeeThroughNY, the reported salaries of each of the Village of Hamburg Police force are as follows: 

  • Dennis G. Gleason, Chief of Police  $134,843
  • Michael C. Melisz, Captain               $110,315
  • Joseph G. Wittmeyer,  Lieutenant    $109,635
  • Richard A. Schara,   Lieutenant       $102,653
  • Kevin Haberman,  Lieutenant           $107,089
  • Matthew H. Cullen, Detective            $97,815
  • Sean P. Gallagher, Officer                 $96,073
  • Karen J. Ruh, Officer                         $92,181
  • Eric D. Krycia, Officer                        $93,329
  • Anthony M. Caber, Officer                 $88,911
  • William G. Travis, Officer                   $85,368
  • Ethan F. Rog, Officer                         $81,102
  • John R. Keem III, Officer                   $40,783 

  • As reported on YNN..... 
    HAMBURG, N.Y. -- Complaints originating in a quiet Hamburg neighborhood and bars and restaurants throughout the village helped lead to seven alleged drug dealers' arrests on Friday. The case had nothing to do with opioids.
    "There are other drug dealers out there, peddling poison to our community," said Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty.
    In this case, it was powder and crack cocaine.
    Seven people were arrested:
    • Aaron Carroll, Nicholas Hubble, and Joshua Taylor, all 25 years old
    • Kelly Hosken, 24
    • Bradley Draudt, 35
    • Merneptah Sealy, 33
    • and Devin Ford, 24
    The State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team helped local narcotics units rack up 12 undercover buys.
    "Their officers are more known to the suspects, so they can't go in an undercover capacity. We help, we come in," said Lt. Kevin Reyes with NYSP's CNET.
    Flaherty said the arrests are the results of four investigations, one of which dates back to 2013.
    "It takes awhile to develop the leads, to vet the leads, to get the undercover officer in to make the purchase, and then bring that into us for evaluation and present it to a grand jury," said Flaherty of the length of the investigations.
    Four of the suspects lived together on Long Avenue. Officials say that it's not believed that their neighbors were in any danger as a result of the cocaine operation, but people who live nearby did tell authorities that they noticed a lot of foot traffic in the area.
    "We got complaints from people just trying to have a pleasant evening in a bar or in a restaurant that these people were doing this. The Village of Hamburg is not an environment where people like that are going to be tolerated," said Hamburg Police Chief Gregory Wickett.
    If convicted, the suspects could face up to nine years in prison.
    The suspects are charged with third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. All were arraigned and are expected to appear in court at later dates.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    A Must Attend Event at Hamburg High School

    Don't miss the star studded cast of law enforcement professionals  and good health advocates at a must attend presentation on heroin and opioid addiction at Hamburg High School.   For years, many folks have written on this blog opining about the use of drugs among youngsters in schools (Hamburg District and others),  and its now reached "epidemic" proportions.  

    All parents, students, teachers and concerned community members are urged to attend this event taking place Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Hamburg High School.   The adults must get their arms around this problem, after essentially ignoring it for years, and learn how to keep the children and young adults safe and sound during these trying times. 



    Friday, April 22, 2016

    "Justice delayed is Justice denied"



    On April 22, 2016, the Buffalo News reported that the Hamburg School District violated laws when placing Hamburg Teacher M. Kavanaugh on paid leave in January 2014.   Concerned Hamburger has "cut and pasted" the Commissioner's decision- below (in black) .  Please note, it appears from the caption, that Kavanaugh represented herself  pro se ( no lawyer).  
    The District was represented by Andrew Freedman of Hodgson Russ,  who readers will remember  from his appearances and zany behavior the public hearings of 2014 (Hodgson Russ lawyer no. 2 in March 25, 2016 post).    

    According to the News, Hamburg School Superintendent M. Cornell,  who is just over one year in his overpaid position,  had NO COMMENT in response to the Commissioner's decision.  Cornell, who brought charges against Kavanaugh, has been silenced by Commissioner's decision.   

    In an notable pattern of narcissistic personality disorder,  when anyone disagrees with Cornell and his corrupt board, that person is targeted with aspersions. To that end, Concerned wonders how long it will take the Superintendent and the Board to accuse New York State Education Commissioner Elia of misconduct or wrong doing for her decision in this matter.  

    The NYSED Commissioner's decision reveals, that the rights of Kavanaugh end,  where the feelings of the Boars and Cornell begin. 

    Appeal of MARTHA  KAVANAUGH from action of the Board of Education of the Hamburg Central School District, Michael Cornell, as superintendent, and Richard Jetter and Vincent Coppola, former superintendents, regarding teacher discipline.

    Decision No. 16,897
    (April 11, 2016)

    Hodgson Russ, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Andrew J. Freeman, Esq., of counsel

    ELIA, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the decision of the Board of Education of the Hamburg Central School District (“respondent board”) to place her on administrative leave and/or suspend her with pay.  The appeal must be sustained in part.

    Petitioner is a tenured teacher employed in the Hamburg school district since August 2002.  At its meeting on January 14, 2014, respondent board voted to place petitioner “on paid administrative leave commencing [January 15, 2014].” By letter dated January 15, 2014, Interim Superintendent Richard Jetter notified petitioner of respondent board’s action and indicated that the board was investigating petitioner’s conduct as a school district employee.  The letter stated, “[w]hile on leave, you are not permitted on District grounds, including any school buildings.”  During that period, petitioner was assigned curriculum projects to complete, apparently from her home.  By letter to petitioner’s counsel, dated October 7, 2014, respondent board’s counsel stated that, “the District’s investigation into [petitioner’s] possible misconduct is ongoing and she will remain on administrative leave in the meantime....You will be advised when the District is prepared to take action on this matter.”  Approximately five months later, at its regular meeting on March 2, 2015, respondent board voted to continue “the suspension” of petitioner “pending further action of the Board of Education.”

    It appears from the record that, on June 25, 2015, the district’s new superintendent, Michael Cornell, issued a memorandum to petitioner regarding her performance on the curriculum projects.  The memorandum apparently was placed in petitioner’s personnel file.
    As a result of the district’s investigation, on September 2, 2015, respondent board preferred charges against petitioner pursuant to Education Law §§3020 and 3020-a.  Petitioner was served with a notice of the charges on or about September 3, 2015.  The charges set forth in the notice include incompetence/neglect of duty and insubordination.  The record indicates that petitioner requested an administrative hearing on the charges which appears to be pending.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner challenges respondent board’s action placing her on “administrative leave” on January 14, 2014, and continuing her “suspension” on March 2, 2015, in the absence of disciplinary charges.  Petitioner does not herein challenge the §3020-a charges preferred against her by respondent board that are the subject of the administrative hearing.  Petitioner asserts that, on January 14, 2014, respondent board unlawfully placed her on administrative leave without filing charges against her and, thereafter, on March 2, 2015, unlawfully extended her suspension absent any charges filed.  She contends that such action should be declared null and void.  Petitioner seeks reinstatement to her former position.  She also seeks expungement of any reference to the alleged unlawful suspension or to any disciplinary actions relating to that period of time.  Additionally, petitioner seeks reimbursement of legal fees incurred as a result of the suspension; a declaration that respondent board’s actions violate both the Education Law and the members’ oath of office; a reprimand of respondent board and Superintendent Cornell; and an order directing respondents board and Cornell to publicly apologize to petitioner.
    Respondents contend that petitioner’s placement on administrative leave by respondent board was proper in all respects, that petitioner has failed to establish that respondents acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner, and that petitioner has failed to state a claim.  Respondents also assert that the appeal must be dismissed for lack of standing, as untimely, and for failure to join necessary parties.

    I will first address several procedural matters.  Initially, I find that petitioner has standing to maintain the appeal.  An individual may not maintain an appeal pursuant to Education Law §310 unless aggrieved in the sense that he or she has suffered personal damage or injury to his or her civil, personal or property rights (Appeal of Waechter, 48 Ed Dept Rep 261, Decision No. 15,853; Appeal of Erickson, 47 id. 261, Decision No. 15,689).  Only persons who are directly affected by the action being appealed have standing to bring an appeal (Appeal of Waechter, 48 Ed Dept Rep 261, Decision No. 15,853; Appeal of Erickson, 47 id. 261, Decision No. 15,689).  Respondent board’s action challenged by petitioner clearly affected petitioner directly and she is asserting an adverse effect upon her personal and property rights as a result of being removed from her teaching duties.  Consequently, I find petitioner has standing to maintain the appeal.

    I also decline to dismiss the appeal for failure to join necessary parties.  A party whose rights would be adversely affected by a determination of an appeal in favor of a petitioner is a necessary party and must be joined as such (Appeal of Murray, 48 Ed Dept Rep 517, Decision No. 15,934; Appeal of Miller, 48 id. 465, Decision No. 15,917; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879).  Joinder requires that an individual be clearly named as a respondent in the caption and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition to inform the individual that he or she should respond to the petition and enter a defense (Appeal of Murray, 48 Ed Dept Rep 517, Decision No. 15,934; Appeal of Miller, 48 id. 465, Decision No. 15,917; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879).  Although respondents include this defense in their answer in a conclusory manner, they fail to provide any further elaboration and do not address it at all in their memorandum of law.  Petitioner seeks relief herein as against respondents board, Cornell, Jetter and Coppola.  Each has been named in the caption of the appeal and served with a copy of the notice of petition and petition.  Consequently, it appears that all parties necessary to a determination of the appeal have been properly joined and dismissal for failure to do so is not warranted. 

    With respect to respondents’ objection as to timeliness, the appeal must be dismissed only in part, as untimely.  An appeal to the Commissioner must be commenced within 30 days from the making of the decision or the performance of the act complained of, unless any delay is excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown (8 NYCRR §275.16; Appeal of Lippolt, 48 Ed Dept Rep 457, Decision No. 15,914; Appeal of Williams, 48 id. 343, Decision No. 15,879). 

    To the extent that petitioner complains of the propriety of the June 25, 2015 memorandum that was placed in her file and pertains to the assignments she was given while on leave and/or suspension, petitioner’s appeal is untimely.  Petitioner commenced this appeal approximately three months after the issuance of the memorandum and offers no legal excuse for the delay.  Accordingly, that part of the appeal is untimely and must be dismissed.
    However, petitioner’s challenge respondent board’s action on January 14, 2014 and March 2, 2015 placing her on leave and/or suspending her with pay, however, will not be dismissed as untimely, as such action, if proven, would constitute a continuing wrong.  The continuing wrong doctrine applies when the ongoing action is itself an unlawful action, such as the unlawful employment of an unqualified individual (Appeal of Kippen, 48 Ed Dept Rep 469, Decision No. 15,919), unlawful appointments to a district’s shared decision-making team (Appeal of Sadue-Sokolow, 39 Ed Dept Rep 6, Decision No. 14,155), an improperly constituted professional development team (Appeal of Copenhagen Teachers’ Association, et al., 45 Ed Dept Rep 459, Decision No. 15,381) or certain ongoing expenditures under an austerity budget that did not comply with the law (Appeal of Aarseth, 32 Ed Dept Rep 506, Decision No. 12,901).  The doctrine does not apply where the specific action being challenged is a single action, inaction or decision and the resulting effects are not intrinsically unlawful (Application of Ayers, 48 Ed Dept Rep 350, Decision No. 15,883; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 146, Decision No. 15,821, judgment granted dismissing petition to review, April 8, 2009, Sup.Ct., Albany Co. [Zwack, J.]).

    In this appeal, petitioner alleges that she was unlawfully placed on administrative leave and/or suspension with pay without any charges preferred against her under Education Law §3020-a.  Suspension of a tenured teacher requires a board of education to file written charges with the clerk or secretary of the board (Education Law §3020-a).  Suspension of a tenured teacher without the filing of such charges is ultravires and, thus, constitutes a continuing wrong (see Appeal of McCall, 33 Ed Dept Rep 148, Decision No. 13,005).  Consequently, I decline to dismiss that part of petitioner’s appeal challenging respondent board’s January 14, 2015 and March 2, 2015 actions as untimely.

    Turning to the merits, on January 15, 2014, respondent board voted to place petitioner on paid “administrative leave” and petitioner was notified by respondent Jetter that the purpose of such action was to “investigate petitioner’s conduct as a district employee.”  Petitioner remained on administrative leave for over a year with no charges preferred against her.  Petitioner was assigned curriculum projects but was not permitted on district grounds at any time.  She was also advised that there was no need to consult with any of her colleagues.  More than one year later, on March 2, 2015, respondent board voted to continue “the suspension” pending further board action. Respondent board did not prefer §3020-a charges against petitioner until September 2015.

    As noted above, the suspension of a tenured teacher requires the board of education to file written charges within a reasonable amount of time, and that the suspension without the filing of charges is ultra vires and in violation of the individual’s tenure rights (see Appeal of McCall, 33 Ed Dept Rep 148, Decision No. 13,005; Appeal of Williams, 37 Ed Dept Rep 643, Decision No. 13,947).  In this case, petitioner was suspended more than 19 months before respondent preferred charges against her.  During that time she was prohibited from coming on school property and could not consult with her colleagues.  While the board correctly asserts that a board of education has the right to place an employee on administrative leave pending an investigation and/or pending disciplinary charges being filed against the employee, on this record, I find that respondent board’s actions constitute an unlawful suspension in the absence of the timely filing of disciplinary charges.  Because respondent board did not act within a reasonable amount of time to prefer charges against petitioner after removing her from teaching duties, such removal must be deemed null and void and expungement is warranted.
    To the extent that petitioner seeks an award of costs and fees, the Commissioner has no authority to award monetary damages, costs or reimbursements in an appeal pursuant to Education Law §310 (Application of Kolbmann, 48 Ed Dept Rep 370, Decision No. 15,888; Appeal of S.B., 48 id. 332, Decision No. 15,875).

    Moreover, to the extent that petitioner seeks an order directing respondents board and Cornell to issue an apology, the Commissioner lacks authority to order a board of education or school district employee to do so (Application of McDougall, 42 Ed Dept Rep 195, Decision No. 14,819; Appeal of Phillips, 41 id. 10, Decision No. 14,595; Appeal of Lloyd, 39 id. 537, Decision No. 14,303).  Finally, there is also no provision in the Education Law authorizing the reprimand of board members by the Commissioner of Education (Appeal of Ewart, 44 Ed Dept Rep 147, Decision No. 15,127).

    THE APPEAL IS SUSTAINED TO THE EXTENT INDICATED.
    IT IS ORDERED that any and all references to the January 14, 2014 placement of petitioner on administrative leave and March 2, 2015 suspension be stricken from petitioner’s records and personnel files.  However, nothing herein shall be construed as nullifying respondent board’s September 2, 2015 action to prefer charges pursuant to Education Law §3020-a.
    END OF FILE

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    NYSED COMMISSIONER ELIA RULES THE HAMBURG BOARD OF EDUCATION VIOLATED THE LAW

    CH received an email late today which revealed that New York State Education Commissioner Elia ruled the 3 year paid administrative leave of a Hamburg teacher violated her property and liberty rights.  The Hamburg School Board violated Educational, Civil and Human Rights.  

    The Commissioner's  decision comes a little over one month after a hearing officer chastised the Board of Education and Cornell for failing to meet the just cause standards when deciding to discipline the teacher.  It is fairly clear, the Hamburg School Board and Administration  has been on a multi-year harassment campaign against teacher Martha Kavanagh.

    The Commissioner ruled that the 3 year suspension of Kavanagh  be "expunged" from her personnel file.   And it was determined, the Board acted outside their authority in attacking Kavanaugh.  

    Strangely, the Board voted not once but thrice to place the teacher on paid leave.  In December 2013, Flynn's motion to place MK out on leave went down like a lead balloon, and then January 2014 David Yoviene in one of his many flip flop decisions voted to place the teacher out.     Finally, in March 2015 Elizabeth McPhail at the direction of senior Hodgson Russ Attorney Karl Kristoff recommended again to keep the teacher out on paid leave.    Clearly, Kristoff  gave very bad advice to the Hamburg School Board.   It is alleged that attorney McPhail also bad advice, and as result has exposed the District to further litigation.

    Hodgson Russ hothead Andrew Freedman wrote the District's reply to the Commissioner.  On each and every point made by Freedman, the Commissioner told him to suck lemons.    Concerned Hamburger was told that Kavanagh wrote her own petition, a.k.a "pro se".  and was successful on the merits and procedural aspects of the arguments.

    Concerned Hamburger must state the obvious.

    How can a school district pay over 25 attorneys tens of thousands of dollars a year to represent the district, when they easily face defeat on simple matter of law, written "pro se" by a school teacher?  

    Concerned Hamburger asks the taxpayers to press the school board to hire legal minds that can offer sound legal advice and advert exposing the district to further litigation.

    Monday, April 11, 2016

    Hamburg PTSA President "MADAM" Christina Whipple in the News again.

    The Buffalo News wrote the following article regarding the Ho Club owned by Hamburg Central School District PTA mom, Christina Whipple and her husband Mark.    Madam Whipple is immoral.  As stated her HO club was invaded by the FBI in 2010, shut down by NYS Liquor Authority, and then reopened in her pa's name.   Recently, Concerned Hamburger has learned that Madam Whipple recruits Hamburg female students to work in her sleaze bag clubs.  Thankfully the trash has been put to the curb.  According to the News story, Whipple wasn't available for comment.   According to the Hamburg School District webpage. Madam Whipple can be reached at : 
     Madam Christina Whipple (center), Hubby Mark (right) , and HO (left)

      MADAM Whipple tel No. 716-913-6727   
    whipple.christina@gmail.com


     From the News: 
    "Two strip clubs have closed in Erie County due to a dispute between the club’s operators and their landlord.  The Gold on Route 5 in Hamburg, formerly 24KT Gold, and Mademoiselle Gentlemen’s Club on Aero Drive in Cheektowaga were both padlocked by property owners Sunday morning.
    Owners Michael and Irena Rudan said the club operators have not paid their rent in full for several years. Their ownership group, Rudan Holdings, also owns the Copacabana Grilled Brazilian restaurant, The Tower Hotel (formerly the Minolta Tower), and several strip clubs in Niagara Falls, Ont., including the Sundowner.
    Both properties are being listed for sale or lease. A security service has been hired and posted at each club to keep the club operators out.
    The clubs were operated by Mark and Christina Whipple. He declined to comment, and she could not be reached. They have said they bought the two clubs from the Rudans in 2009, after working there during the prior years.
    24KT Gold was raided by the FBI in 2010. At the time, police investigators said they learned of cocaine dealing and prostitution in the club’s “private rooms.” The investigation ceased when 24KT Gold closed, and no one was charged. The club reopened later that year as The Gold, with Christina Whipple’s father listed on the liquor license." 

    Friday, March 25, 2016

    Hamburg Board of Education commits misconduct with your tax dollars


    And
    Hamburg Schools:
    $192,502.00* 
    Taken by Hodgson Russ- the Lawyers
    via poor judgment and suspension of disbelief
    From January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, the Hamburg Board of Education and Superintendents authorized the spending of almost $200,000 with the law firm of Hodgson Russ.   A staggering number of attorneys from Hodgson Russ have taken a seat at the trough filled with dollars earmarked for the education of Hamburg kids. The lawyers have provided what appears to be very poor advice which has led to three publicly humiliating spectacles.    

    First, and we need not rehash too much,  the sex, lies and videotape tale of Doctor Jetter.  Followed by the ouster of Catherine Forcucci from a publicly elected seat on the Board of Education, and the bizarro conduct of attorney Andrew Freedman.  And now, we have the first and only 3020a** in the history of Hamburg Schools over strange allegations of missing lesson plans.  The hearing officer lambasted the Superintendent and the Board of Education for acting in "bad faith" and having unacceptable conduct (duh).  The Boars retort that the hearing office is irrational and committed misconduct. Whoa, what a strange bowl of fruit. 

    So, it looks like everyone is guilty of misconduct except the shady Board of Education bought and paid for by Daniel Chiacchia, who has been identified by many as having a deeply rooted vendetta against the teacher.  

    To say the conduct of the Boars and Superintendent is puzzling is an understatement.  Front and center of the Hamburg Schools webpage is a notice asking community members to beg for more money from Albany, and the intention of the Boars to raise taxes, again.  Yet, they have exhibited poor judgement in spending, an inability to hire administrators who can address issues without having to call any one of the following 25 attorneys at Hodgson Russ.

    1. Catherine Cooley
    2. Andrew Freedman
    3. Karl Kristoff
    4. Ryan Eberhart
    5. Jeffrey Same
    6. Melanie Beardsley
    7. Tania Bratton
    8. Elizabeth Carlson
    9. Michael Risman
    10. Jeffrey Swiatek
    11. Paul Moesky
    12. Aaron Saykin
    13. John Christopher
    14. Elizabeth Holden
    15. Elizabeth McPhail
    16. Michael Reyen
    17. Seth Pullen
    18. Emina Poricanin
    19. Jaclyn Hamlin
    20. Ryan Johnson
    21. Jill Yonkers
    22. Bridget Lamb
    23. Zachary Hebert
    24. Michael Flanagan
    25. Bernard Freedman

    Yes,  folks it is all true. From January 2015- December 2015, 25 different Hodgson Russ Attorneys have billed the school district for time spent on district business.  Prior to July 2015, the hourly rates ranged from $113.00- $299.00. In July 2015, the Boars voted to approve an increase in hourly rates by approximately $5.00 per hour.  One bets, the hourly staff in the district would be pleased with at $5.00 raise, or one of those clubs that were cut would sure find a way back into kids lives if the Boars took those extra fives and put them into restoring clubs for kids. 

    So where is the misconduct?  

    * The legal invoices were forwarded to Concerned Hamburg
    ** Concerned Hamburger did an independent investigation into 3020a hearings.