What is going on here in New Rochelle?

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What is going on here in New Rochelle?

November 09, 2012 - 14:09

The elections are over and people are slowly getting their lives back in some type of order after Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’easter. So much must still be done. While there has been some good work out there we have also seen some under performers here in The City of New Rochelle. Over the past several months many public servants have been in the news and The City Council of New Rochelle is about to start discussing and voting on several important decisions that will set the path for the future of The City of New Rochelle and its tax payers. My purpose is not to point fingers or accuse, but to review some of the last few months and some of what I have said to The City Council.

Please everyone; take time to thank all the hard working men and women that work for The City of New Rochelle. Thank them for all of their hard work during the past few weeks. It is not those that do their jobs and appreciate the fact that they work here in New Rochelle that we hear about lately. All the hard work and effort by those good employees are blemished, tarnished by the few that feel they are entitled to most everything in life. A failure of leadership and control by the people we charge with taking care of our city, our homes, our lives and most importantly our children.

Schools closing and companies sending workers home due to Nor’easter, The New Rochelle School Board holds a meeting when people are being told to stay off the roads? I don’t know where to start, here are some of our most recent happenings here in New Rochelle:

A worker for the City of New Rochelle Department of Parks and Recreation was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance-7th, a misdemeanor, and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle-3rd degree.

New Rochelle Police Officer arrested on charges related to Disseminating Indecent Material to minor, videos of himself in a sexual act.

Board of Education worker fired from his position as a Motor Equipment Operator with the New Rochelle Board of Education. Replacement by another convicted identical drunk driving charge two years earlier.

New Rochelle Schools Electrician Pleads Guilty to Sex Charge Involving a Minor.

Security Guards falsified residency records to New Rochelle Civil Service Commission to obtain a position with New Rochelle residency requirements.

New Rochelle Schools Employee Arrested, Vicious Assault Leaves Man and Woman Seriously Injured, Pleads guilty to 3 charges of Assault in the 3rd Degree after he and another man brutally assault three people.

New Rochelle Schools Employee charged with Assault 2nd Degree, assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, a Class D Felony.

In May 2012, A New Rochelle High School Librarian Arrested in Sex Sting Involving 16-Year Old Student.

Mandarin Meltdown: New Rochelle School Teacher Taken Out of Ward School on a Stretcher after Hysterical Outburst at City Hall.

Who is in charge? Who is accountable? Who is responsible? Who calls the shots? What are the standards, guidelines and laws that are being followed in The City of New Rochelle? Why is this allowed to happen?

Is it The City Council, City Management, City Staff, Civil Service Commission, Human Resources, Department Heads, who are the people responsible for the poor hiring practices that result in people with such backgrounds to be hired in the first place? The hiring of friends, family and contributors, who calls the shots when a position is filled or created?

The citizens and taxpayers of New Rochelle can’t stand for this poor leadership and the lack of confidence in the people making the everyday decisions that affect our daily lives and safety at home, work and school. Will any of this come back to haunt the city.

The City Council, City Management, City Staff and The Board of Education all need extra Help!

City Hall is just not making the grade. What we have here is failure to communicate and a need for people we entrust with our tax dollars to be held accountable. They are all on a track to be left back or fail out completely. Communication and execution are a problem with The City of New Rochelle and The Board of Education unless you hold the inside track. The City of New Rochelle’s bad management, employees and performance are taking the good down with them. That is a shame; we have a lot of good people here.

The City Council, City Management and Staff set bad examples for its workforce. Your people are a reflection of you. Many times when dealing with members of the different departments of The New Rochelle City Workforce you get pushback and poor attitude like you are inconveniencing them by asking them to do their jobs. I speak of the poor preforming 25% that drag down the 75% that are doing their jobs, like and appreciate the fact that they have their jobs. If it wasn’t for the needs of the citizens and the city, they would have no jobs at all. This attitude I feel is reflective of the attitude and professionalism displayed by City Hall itself. You have seen at the Citizens to be Heard how the members of council treat the process. It is shameful. I have spoken several times at Citizens to be Heard about the very subject. Here are some past notes from Citizens to be Heard:

Some of my Past CTBH with references to the action and attitudes of council

Comments for July 10, 2012 Citizens to be Heard:
Mr. Mayor, I was once a supporter of yours. I speak to you as the leader of Council and show you and council respect. As you and they should I. Councils actions are a reflection of you.

Comments for June 12, 2012 Citizens to be Heard:
Council, you are in the service industry and must insure that the citizens are provided with the best possible service. Otherwise, The City will go out of business. Your jobs are to listen to the citizens good, bad and often grouchy.

You are there for the people of your districts and the city as a whole. Pay attention to the speakers and don’t look away. What the person says is important to them. Treat this forum or any public meeting with respect. That is your job like it or not.

It bothers me to watch some of the council and managers fidget, do busy work and just out right ignore the citizens that speak. You are the complaint board like it or not. This is real life; your conduct is unprofessional and unacceptable. If you don’t like it, get out of the business, move on. Remember you asked for the job.

You are there for the people of your districts and the city as a whole. Pay attention to the speakers and don’t look away. What the person says is important to them. Treat this forum or any public meeting with respect. That is your job like it or not.

Comments for April 10, 2012 Citizens to be Heard:
It is time for a new beginning, a new start,
City Council, I ask you to do the same. It is time for out with the old ideas and ways of the past. It is time for old members and new members of council to do some spring cleaning and thinking. It is time to change the habits and actions of the past. There is still time for re-birth for The City of New Rochelle and its City Council. You all must look at yourselves, the people around you and the staff of this city and evaluate if they need to be cleaned up or cleaned out.

I have a belief that I call,
The 25-50-25% rule.
25% of people are very good.
25% are no good.
50% drift in between.

This concept can be applied to friends, family, bosses, and co-workers and yes even The City Council Members, The City Management and Staff. Don’t be in that bottom 25%. One day you will look back and say wow he was right!

Comments for January 10, 2012 Citizens to be Heard:
Good evening council and welcome to the newest members to the first meeting of 2012. As a newly elected City Council for New Rochelle, you all must work to turn this city around. The bad chemistry and ways of old must change. People want to help and contribute. Some are afraid to speak up so they hide behind made up names or monikers on the local blogs. They are not willing to attend Citizens to be Heard or are they willing to speak out. They fear that when they have to approach City Hall for something they will automatically be put down or labeled a nuance, a rebel against the system and at times we have heard worse. Many people feel that The City Council doesn’t care what anyone has to say. This is not a very healthy environment to nurture growth and change. This atmosphere cannot continue and must change so that we as a people can work together toward a better New Rochelle.

So what does this all mean?

We have some freshman council members and city employees that are not living up to their full potential and making the grade, In need of improvement. Someone said to me the other day and the sentiment seems to carry on to the concerns voiced by many other people from New Rochelle that I meet. That they, New Rochelle City Management, The City Staff, The Mayor and The City Council need to be alert and responsive to the small things.... the litter, the street beggars, the increases in crime. Quality of life issues, we don't elect people at a local level to come up with grand ideas when daily living is so difficult and threatening.

Every taxpayer has a right to expect that the bureaucrats working for the city do not put those in office in positions of being disrespected. Few people feel that the Citizens to be Heard is anything more than a brief moment to unload and it rarely yields results. Is this truly how you want your city to be governed?

Day in and Day out, The City of New Rochelle’s work force sees the games that the people play in upper management and on council. It seems there is a loose type of environment, entitlement, and a type of disconnect with in the halls of New Rochelle City Hall and its upper management that are setting bad examples. Same holds true with The Board of Education.

Why is there such a big disconnect between the neighborhood’s, the public and the committee representative’s regardless whether it is Envision NR, The Comprehensive Plan, Citizens’ Panel on Sustainable Budgets, New Rochelle - Iona College Planning Committee and God only knows what other committee’s there are?

Because New Rochelle City Management, The Mayor and The City Council and of course The Board of Education, they all get a grade of “D”, “D” stands for many things. Dis-functional is one word that comes to mind right away. City Hall is like a dis-functional family.

What concerns me is the frequent use of another “D” Word, the term discretion, “At the discretion of the Commissioner of name a department or any managing body in City Hall.”? The term discretion is way over used in New Rochelle as a failsafe to not do what the people want or need.

Discretion [ di skrésh'n ]
1. Tact: the good judgment and sensitivity needed to avoid embarrassing or upsetting others
2. Freedom to decide: the freedom or authority to judge something or make a decision about it
3. Confidentiality: the ability to keep sensitive information secret
Synonyms: freedom of choice, will, pleasure, option, choice, decision.

Other D Words:

Deception [ di sépsh'n ]
1. Practice of misleading somebody: the practice of deliberately making somebody believe things that are not true
2. Something intended to mislead somebody: an act, trick, or device intended to deceive or mislead somebody
Synonyms: trick, ruse, sham, fraud, con, pretext.

Disconnect [ dìskə nékt ] To become detached or withdrawn.
Synonyms: cut off, separate, detach, and disengage

Disengage [ dìssən gáyj ]
1. Mentally detach yourself or another: to withdraw or mentally separate yourself or somebody else from a situation or difficulty.
Synonym: Separate

Disaster, Difficult, Dis-trust, Dis-enfranchised, Delusional, Delinquent, Disgusted, Disheartened and oh so many more if you take the time. What D” Words can you think of that best describe our current atmosphere and goings on down at City Hall. Hopefully that is being removed along with the asbestos cleanup. Oh wait, we would probably have to get a separate no bid contract for that.

Hurricane Sandy and Nor’easters, What is next? Disasters and Difficult situations bring out the best in people. It is also a time where you can see who has it and who doesn’t. The poor performers tend to stand out and the lack of control and leadership can be seen. In the coming months, we are facing more difficult times; difficult situations, difficult decisions and they cannot be taken lightly. This holds true with regards to The City School District of New Rochelle, The City of New Rochelle and City Hall.

So to The Mayor, The City Manager and The City Council, I write everyone because no one knows who is in charge on which day. I say, I may be Dis heartened and Disgusted, but in no way shape or form am I Defeated. Now more than ever, I am even more bound and Determined to Demand change. We must return to and follow The New Rochelle City Charter. Hold all members of The City Council, City Management and Staff accountable for their actions.
That goes for all of The Citizens of New Rochelle; we can’t leave it to only the few that are willing to speak up. Inspect what we expect. Change the habits of old. Now is the time to time to step up and be heard. The tides are changing. Get involved for the sake of your family and The City of New Rochelle that we all want to see move forward and prosper. Next Citizens to be Heard is on November 13, 2012.

“Common sense for the Common Good”

There are 4 Comments

I agree with McCaffrey's article about the hiring practices in New Rochelle. Especially when it comes to the Board of Education, who seem to be a rubber stamp for whatever bad hiring decisions department heads and upper management wants. What a joke. All it does is demoralizes those employees that are good at what they do. Will they ever learn? Absolutely not! Not until their nefarious agendas are dragged out into the light....something I intend to do.....

If you look at the unconscionable hiring and personnel decisions that have been and are being made by the NRSD, as decribed by this article, can you imagine the decisions that are being made that have a negative impact on our schools that go unreported???? It is truly unbelieveable. For example, how can the largest school in the district (NRHS) replace a techonolgy faciltator of 15 years experience in the district and school against her will with a new employee from outside the district with no experience and without explanation? Could this have been the bright decision of Cristine Coleman, the woman who insisted that everybody address her as "Doctor" long before she got her doctorate? Is this the same Dr. Coleman who was the subject of Bob Cox's excellent piece on her genius decision entitled " Two and a Half Years Later, New Rochelle School District Figures Out Giving Poor Children Free Laptops Means Little without Internet Access at Home" I'm going to blow the lid off this entire fiasco in between my two teaching jobs, lesson planning, grading papers, and coaching.....becasue the truth can and should come out on this injustice!

Didn't Idoni II get his way with the City Yard?

Yes, he did.


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