The following are remarks I made to the Board of Education at the most recent Board of Education meeting on December 7, 2010. The speech was meant to address the scheduled vote on Resolution 11-183. Minutes before the scheduled vote, the Board announced that Resolution 11-183 was being pulled from consideration without explanation. Based on past performance, the Board of Education discussed the matter during an Executive Session prior to the public meetings. The declared purpose of the executive session was to discuss a student appeal. It is illegal under New York State's Open Meeting Law to do anything other than discuss the declared subject of an executive session during executive session and, of course, to discuss public business in executive session. Such illegal meetings are routine for the New Rochelle Board of Education and this past meeting appears to have been no exception.
Now, to my remarks made last Tuesday:
Before the Board considers Resolution 11-183 it would be instructive to look back to understand WHY, precisely, this matter ever came before the Board of Education in the first place.
BREAKING NEWS: Tonight the BoE pulled Resolution 11-183. The Board said they were referring the matter to the City of New Rochelle to review the language in the job description.
This is going to be a long article so pull up a chair, get comfortable and put on your thinking caps. If, at the end, you are as disgusted as I am about what the school district is doing here, considering showing up tonight and speaking our or, at least, bearing silent witness to the travesty of justice scheduled for tonight.
A few new disclosures in this article: (1) I was able to review the Eligibility List for the "Safety and Security" Civil Service Exam given in February which shows that Rolf Koehler was not on the eligibility list; (2) a draft copy of formal complaint sent to the New York State Municipal Service Commission by "concerned citizens; (3) the informed claim that the school district did not interview candidates for the open security administrator position. OK? Here we go...Read more
In light of the recent and topical conversation about New Rochelle’s second government (the board of education), now seems like a good time to shed some light on another specific issue that chronicles poor decision making by the BoE, misuse of funds, continued ignorance of the issue and seemingly no effort to make right the misdeed. This issue makes New Rochelle visually seem more like an inner-city slum than a fine suburb of Manhattan. It wholly shows the inconsiderate and uncaring attitude of the Board of Education, it lowers the real estate value of the neighboring areas and reflects poorly on the city overall.Read more
For one night anyway, justice prevailed at a New Rochelle Board of Education meeting as an attempt to subvert the New York State civil service law was stopped...for now. Past being prologue, residents can rest assured that like a vampire rising from the grave, this resolution will be tweaked and then brought forward again, most likely at the next BoE meeting scheduled for December 7th.
Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak had sought to bring forward a resolution that would have authorized him to submit a waiver request to the New York State Civil Service Commission. The resolution was the result of a month long effort to concoct yet another pretext to keep Rolf Koehler on the BoE payroll as a security administrator despite having failed to pass a civil service exam last February.Read more
Come one, come all to the Columbus Elementary School where the New Rochelle Board of Education will be presented with a board resolution to give a guy who has been unable to qualify for an administration security position in the New Rochelle public school system but has, on multiple occasions, had special job descriptions crafted to try and make sure that he and only he could get the job.
Rolf Koehler has bounced from waiver to waiver since 2009. His last day with the district was October 30th when his most recent waiver expired. Last year the district put forward three different job descriptions prior to a municipal service exam in February, all part of an elaborate effort to block qualified candidates from beating out Koehler for the position.
Despite their best efforts, Koehler failed the civil service exam. 12 other candidates passed, three were eligible for the position yet none were selected. Instead Koehler was given a new position (Director of Surveillance) and allowed to remain for months beyond what was supposed to be his last day. It was that position that ended on October 30, 2010.Read more
Geeta Singh, a part-time school security guard working for the New Rochelle Board of Education, did not live in New Rochelle at the time he applied for a job through the New Rochelle Municipal Service Commission in 2009 as required for civil servants in New Rochelle. When informed of this during the last school year, the Board of Education failed to investigate the allegation but sent a letter to the complainant claiming they had done so.
Singh, sources say, resigned from his previous position in 2009 rather than be terminated by his former employer, the College of New Rochelle, following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
The New Rochelle Board of Education was made aware of questions about Singh's residency in a letter sent to School Board President Sara Richmond on January 8, 2010. In her response dated January 10th, Ms. Richmond stated that the district had looked into the matter and was satisfied that Singh lived in New Rochelle.
The matter has been investigated by the City School District of New Rochelle's Human Resources Department and it appears to the best of our knowledge that this person has a valid New Rochelle address.Read more
The Westchester District Attorney's office is investigating the New Rochelle Department of Works over falsified billing records running into the tens of thousands of dollars and possibly much more, Talk of the Sound has learned. The investigation, which began in New Rochelle, has now expanded to Long Island.
The investigation began with a suspicious $12,000 invoice for maintenance and repair services on a City garbage truck submitted by an approved City vendor, a Long Island company that services industrial vehicles. Two independent evaluations of the vehicle concluded that no work had been done.
The Westchester DA's office issued a no-comment statement. "We don't discuss - by either confirming or denying - the existence of an investigation", said DA Spokesman Lucien Chalfen.. It is worth noting that for several weeks the DA's office did not respond to repeated request for information regarding this matter.Read more
Who is in charge of the maintenance of the Trinity Elementary School fields? Is it the city of New Rochelle or the New Rochelle School District Buildings and Grounds? City Council? BOE?
Who can a person call? Email? Write a letter? Ask? To fix these fields?