*****NEW****Click on link below to be directed to the Hodgson Russ Legal Bills Jan- May 2016- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Legal Defense

An article appeared in the Buffalo News yesterday chastising Erie County Executive Chris Collins for spending $27,523 on legal fees [click here for article].  In short, Collins did not want to turn over public records to the American Civil Liberties Union, for no valid legal reason, and the ACLU took the county to court.  Not only was Collins forced to turn over the records but he was also ordered to pay the legal fees of the ACLU.  The author of the article is clearly outraged that Collins would spend ~$30,000 of taxpayers money to defend his illegal actions when the county is fiscally strained and cutting programs.  Sound familiar?  Eerily so.  Back in early December the Buffalo News published an article about charges Hamburg resident, Sally Stephenson filed against Board President, Joan Calkins and then Interim Superintendent, Steven Achramovitch [click here for article].  In that article, Dr. Calkins noted the District exceeded the $30,000 annual legal budget and the Board voted to indemnify and provide legal counsel for Dr. Calkins and Mr. Achramovitch.  She anticipated the legal fees of the District to continue climbing.  WHAT?  How did the District already spend $30,000+ on legal fees and why aren't the taxpayers of Hamburg outraged?  Mrs. Stephenson said she was filing charges against two district officials, not the whole District, for "disregarding the state’s open meeting laws" and dismissing a teacher "based on incorrect information about an incident during a summer festival in the community."  As a taxpayer I am outraged that the District is using my taxpayer dollars to defend their open disregard for Open Meetings Laws (anyone notice the changed meeting start times posted in the Focus?) and the dishonesty of District officials [click here for The Sun article about Mrs. Stephenson's charges] when just last year the 2010-11 budget proposal took the following cost-cutting measures:*
  • Eliminates summer school
  • Reduces clubs by 50%
  • Reduces school/department budgets by 30%
  • Reduces personnel/fringe benefit costs by $2.5 million through instructional, administrative and support staff retirements, an unpaid leave of absence and layoffs. There will be a reduction of approximately 12.7 full-time equivalent (FTE) instructional staff and 4 FTE support staff.
  • Eliminates mentor teacher position; mentor teacher will return full-time to the classroom
  • Eliminates teacher coordinators; teachers will return full-time to the classroom
  • Eliminates elementary Gifted & Talented Program
  • Eliminates district funding for most field trips
  • Reduces use of substitutes
  • Reduces transportation by $100,000, including eliminating one bus run 
Let us not forget that the Board also voted for raises for administrators [click here for salaries] and just recently gave the superintendent a $9,000+ raise. 

It seems so glaringly clear to me that if the District followed the law they could have used the $30,000+ in legal fees and saved a number of programs, clubs, staff, etc.  Hear this Board: STOP USING MY TAX DOLLARS TO DEFEND YOUR ILLEGAL ACTIONS!  


Klozman said...

Fortes fortuna iuvat (fortune favors the brave)

Hamburger, it’s refreshing to see that you are finally biting into the real meat…not a quality taste is it. It seems that petitioner Sally S. early on licked away the condiments and exposed the corrupt morsels beneath. How invigorating to see that there are others in support. I trust that you will follow closely her pursuit to expose and eliminate those fraudulent individuals who, through their distorted Machiavellian reasoning, place themselves above God and man, free to pursue their malevolent agenda.

Honi soit qui mal y pense!

attorney willing to help. said...

Concerned Hamburger, You have out done yourself. I hope in my retirement years I will seek the truth that has been hidden behind the lies of arrogant public servents. BRAVO!!!! Maybe the ACLU will focus on Hamburg next. The grade fraud issue and the over defensive grade fraud recipients was getting old. But, this story is one that should shock the community. Can you get copies of the court papers....I will email you with directions on how to get.

Duke of Westminster said...

Klozman, Youre by far the most interesting of all on this blog....though Retired Ann does have a practical point of view, and the guest appearances by Julain ASsange is intriguing. Hamburger, you have brought together great minds.....mine excluded. Your brother in the order of the garder.

Anonymous said...


Executive Session 1-4-11, now the RSB writes down why they are going into E.S., but sadly, what they are going behind closed doors to talk about things that should be addressed in public. Current and Pending State Litigation, Administrative Proceedings, Arbitration Proceedings????? Since when are these valid reasons to go into ES. Another successful meeting, more dog and pony shows with sippy cups this time. WHEN IS THE RSB GOING TO DO THE PUBLICS BUSINESS IN THE PUBLICS EYE?

Hamburg Resident said...

Hamburger, can you get court papers and publish. Are there Article 78 charges filed against the district for illegal BOE meetings? My mom works in county hall and said charges were filed? Can you find out for sure?