DPS board stuffing money in their pockets

thumbnail of DPS rejection-letter

Brian Wildermuth either didn’t present my offer to the board, or he did illegally. Click to download PDF

On May 22nd, I offered to settle the lawsuit over the Sunshine Law violations of the public body, “school closing task force” on this blog and in writing to the City and the School Board.

This requires the attorney’s to take the offer to the school board. I go to board meetings, I watch the agendas. There has been no discussion of legal issues mentioned in the executive session briefings since I made the offer.

On June 2nd, I got a letter of rejection from the school boards lawyer of my settlement offer.

This means that either they illegally discussed it in executive session, of which they’ve had two meetings this week, both, “Special Meetings” and both about personnel. The meeting on Friday was just over the change of contract for board attorney Jyllian Bradshaw. This was 4 days after another special meeting- called for the budget presentation and a bunch of HR Changes- without public input, including the travesty of paying Erin Dooley less than Wyetta Hayden for a similar position.

Either Brian Wildermuth broke the law by not presenting the offer to his client, or Bradshaw and Lolli broke the law by not presenting it to the board, or someone illegally polled the board about the offer.

thumbnail of Esrati.Bills Redacted.042518

Invoices from Subashi & Wildermuth for “protecting” the school board from a violation of the Sunshine laws. Click to download PDF

In the meantime, the board has already spent $12,500+ defending themselves- and lost the first round.

thumbnail of Human Resources-Jyllian Change of contact

It cost taxpayers $625+ to have the board come in for a special meeting to vote on this.

But, those two “special meetings” this week- cost the taxpayers too. The meeting about the budget seems to be an annual thing- why the treasurer can’t have the numbers at the regularly scheduled business meeting like every other school board in Ohio is a mystery- and why they had so many personnel issues that couldn’t wait- is one thing, but to call a board meeting just to change Jyllians Bradshaws title?
REALLY?

You see, each board member collects $125 per meeting, plus mileage. So having these five idiots come in for one vote on Friday cost you $625 plus mileage:

Motion by Mohamed H Al-Hamdani, second by Karen Wick-Gagnet.
Final Resolution: Motion Carried
Yes: Mohamed H Al-Hamdani, William E Harris Jr, Sheila J Taylor, Karen Wick-Gagnet
Abstain: Robert C Walker

Why there isn’t outrage over this I don’t know. The rule of “P’s” should apply- Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

And if you are wondering about the pay?

Here is the section of Ohio Revised Code on school board compensation:

(A) Each member of the educational service center governing board may be paid such compensation as the governing board provides by resolution, provided that any such compensation shall not exceed one hundred twenty-five dollars a day plus mileage both ways, at the rate per mile provided by resolution of the governing board, for attendance at any meeting of the board. No member of an educational service center governing board shall receive in compensation under this division a total amount greater than five thousand dollars per year for service on the governing board. Such

Source: Lawriter – ORC

The lawmakers had to make the change and add a cap, because of idiots like the former DPS board who were scheduling meetings almost weekly and stuffing their pockets. Normal school boards meet at most twice a month. DPS finds a way to meet almost weekly, often times hitting the cap in August- meaning all the meetings after that are unpaid.

And on June 12, they are going to meet again- to give Erin Dooley a supplemental contract to fix the last oversight- and to hire yet another expensive PhD $117,040  to oversee the office of exceptional children. Dr. Angela Nichols is coming from the Lebanon City Schools. Because, well, you can never have to many PhDs in education.

There are also some inconsistencies in the supplemental contracts- with Dr. Donetrus Hill getting a premium double supplemental for $5,200, maybe because his title is longer “Chief of Curriculum, Instruction, PD ?Math/Science”

Still no word as to who the principal will be at Belmont, although former DPS superstar principal David White just got moved in Trotwood from High School Principal to Junior high principal- and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made a return, with some kind of secondary responsibility as “head of discipline” to justify a boost in DPS pay to come closer to what he makes in Trotwood.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball coaching positions at Dunbar are still up in the air. The women’s team hasn’t been playing in summer ball, thanks to the indecision by new AD Shawna Welch. Coach Jim Cole was “coach of the year” last year- which in DPS doesn’t mean anything. He’s basically built this program from nothing to a winner in 3 years.

Of course, the question is, will the board try to vote in a review session, as has been the case forever. That’s why we have “business meetings” and there is time for public input- but, hey, that would be following the rules, and they just don’t like to do that.

And, for tomorrows meeting, the agenda does have them going into executive session to discuss legal matters… maybe they will get smart and settle, before they buy Wildermuth a new boat.

 

Montgomery County Dems still acting like a Monarchy

It’s doubtful that the new blood elected to precinct captaincy have enough juice to rid the party once and for all of the inbred leadership of Mark Owens, Russ Joseph, Nan Whaley, Karl Keith etc.

The power of the party of patronage is strong with this group.

I blame myself for not going out to actively plot and recruit people to take over the party, although I was telling everyone to run for precinct captain back in January.

The party reorg meeting, where the vote is taken was moved to a Wednesday, instead of the normal Thursday, to be on Wed. June 6th at 7:30. What they didn’t tell anyone is that they are having a constitution review meeting tomorrow at 9:30.

Did they invite all the current ward leaders or members of executive committee? No. (I am both). Did they invite future precinct captains? Nope.

thumbnail of MCDP Constitution Revised

MCDP Constitution Revised- click image to download PDF

But, Mike Bock, who is over at DaytonOS, has been writing about the reorg and needed changes to the party constitution, got an invite:

Good afternoon,

I am writing on behalf of Chairman Mark Owens to invite you to participate in the Constitution Committee.

This committee is an ad hoc committee that meets generally in concert with Reorganization.  The purpose of the Committee is to review the MCDP Constitution, make sure it remain in compliance with the Ohio Democratic Party Constitution, the DNC Constitution, and Ohio Revised Code – which are all governing bodies that have jurisdiction over the MCDP.

This committee would need to meet before Reorganization on June 6th, but likely only the one time.  In order to help facilitate scheduling I have set up this Doodle poll.  Please just click through, add your name, and click on the time slots that work for you.  https://doodle.com/poll/a5k342ykkh952fpr
If you have questions or concerns about the Constitution Review Committee, or are wondering why I asked you, please feel free to give me a call any time.
Thanks so much for your passion and service! -Sarah
P.S. (The answer to why will likely include the following reasons.
1. You have been duly elected to the Central Committee.
2. You have expressed interest in the governance of the MCDP.
3. You’ve asked how you can help out the Party, and here is a project that needs attention.
4. You are a leader in the Party and we are looking for ways to foster those leadership tendencies.)

Sarah Willhelm Greathouse
Executive Director
Montgomery County Democratic Party
313 S. Jefferson St., Ste. 102
Dayton, OH 45402
(937) 222-4007
Bock has all his suggestions here:

One central issue that the June 6 MCDP Reorganization Meeting must deal with is how to build respect and support for the Democratic Party. We must deal with the core reasons that so many Democrats stay home and refuse to vote. We must deal with the fact that the party has lost legitimacy. At the June 6 Meeting, I’m proposing ten changes to the MCDP Constitution. I believe that in order for the Democratic Party to gain respect and support it must address: Its Purpose, Its Structure and Its Legitimacy.

Source: Elected Precinct Leaders At The MCDP Reorganization Must Advance A Plan To Build Respect And Support For The Party « DaytonOS

I think he doesn’t go far enough.

My suggestions are much more draconian- to stop the party of patronage from strangling itself.

The reality is, we shouldn’t allow elected officials to also run the party- once they are elected- they are supposed to serve everyone. We also need to stop allowing patronage job holders to be precinct captains- because they vote to pick or prop up their bosses.

There is no reason for a central committee and a subset executive committee. I’ve attended both meetings for years- and they are virtually the same. Just like we don’t really need a House Senate and House of Representatives in Ohio- and we could switch to a unicameral system- it’s time to cut the crap and just let the body vote. With the huge cut in precincts due to our population loss about 8 years ago- there aren’t so many seats that we can’t just vote and manage the whole party leadership in one meeting.
If this party wasn’t just a friends and family club- we’d have opposition research on every Republican- we’d have an entire machine built to canvas- and keep our data up to date.
We’d support ALL Dems who run for office – because we are trying to elect Dems. We’d have a candidate in every race, we’d have a bench of candidates ready to step up.
We’d also make sure that we have a progressive platform to push- like reducing the number of elected offices and their overhead in Montgomery County-
Fair property taxes and income taxes-
No more corporate welfare-
Strong schools, Single Payer Health care
That’s a party I could be proud of.
Not endorsing in primaries is only the beginning….

I’ll be there tomorrow at 9:30- if you are a member or future member of the Montgomery County Democratic Party- you should show up too.

The committee, as it stands is 4 people. Mark Owens (clerk of courts Dayton, and party chair), Nolan Thomas (prosecutor city of Kettering), Sarah Greathouse (see above) and Mike Bock. Does that sound like a group for change?

 

Bad math for public housing in West Dayton

Kids playing basketball at DeSoto Bass basketball courts- with an Esrati supplied free green net

I hang nets at the Bass courts about 3x a year.

In the “you should have to pass a math test to be elected” file, we can add this pie in the sky malarkey plan by Greater Dayton Premier Management for building low income housing in West Dayton:

A $96 million proposal to transform public housing in West Dayton calls for demolishing Hilltop Homes, shrinking and replacing DeSoto Bass units, adding new mixed-income housing and making other investments.

The multi-phase project — which could take as many as 15 years to complete, depending on funding — seeks to replace obsolete housing with new units and break up concentrated pockets of poverty by more evenly dispersing subsidized housing across the community.

The project’s price tag is daunting, but the community has a shot of winning up to $30 million in federal funds to help make the plan a reality….

GDPM plans to demolish Hilltop Homes’ 150 units. DeSoto Bass Courts, which sits on a 45-acre-site at Germantown Street and Danner Avenue, would be reduced from 350 to 250 units, and old units will be replaced with new ones.

Hilltop was constructed in 1965, and DeSoto Bass was built in two phases, between 1942 and 1953.

About 100 new replacement units also would be developed either in other parts of West Dayton where there are more amenities or elsewhere in the city and Montgomery County, Patrick said….

Tarina White said she grew up in a public housing development in Youngstown and now lives in Hilltop Homes with her children.

White, 42, said she would like to see Hilltop torn down because it is old and deteriorating. GDPM estimates it would cost $28 million to modernize Hilltop Homes.

“If they can build some new homes, that would be good, and also some new playgrounds and a community center and better parks for the kids,” she said.

She said McCabe Park right now is “trashy,” which is a shame because it could be a nice public space.

Source: Dayton public housing: $96M plan could reshape area

Of course, Hilltop Homes is the stomping ground of our new School Board President, the Reverend William Harris- the one who hears 7 no votes- and says “The motion passes.”

Tarina White is right- Hilltop should be torn down- because it was crap housing to begin with. As to DeSoto Bass courts, it’s solid well built buildings- much like base housing built around the same time. Those homes are solid-the problem is the people they house don’t have jobs, and we’ve concentrated poverty. They need nearby jobs that pay well, and to realize that these small homes are ideal starter homes for young families. Add a fitness/rec center, a pool, some nice common areas- and this could be a solid community. Put community based policing right in the center and voila- instant nice neighborhood. Tie in Louise Troy, Wogaman and Dunbar as community schools- and make them all great schools- and people will want to live there.

But, the math part. Take the 500 units. Take 96 million dollars. Divide it by 500- and you get $196,000 per unit. I place a bet, if you gave each adult resident of those homes half that amount, to spend on a buying a single family home in West Dayton, and rehabbing it- especially in one neighborhood- you could have the next South Park. I bought my house for $14,500- put about $65K in it- and voila.

The problem with subsidized housing is that without the real jobs/or skills to fill those jobs- you can check in but you can never leave.

We have to figure out a way to bring back jobs to West Dayton- what we don’t need is new versions of the old poor peoples ghetto, which is what this plan is buying. Unfortunately, every new project that DMHA/GDPM has built- is just as crappy as Hilltop. Madden Hills- the savior of West Dayton in the late 80’s isn’t much better than the savior of the 40’s- The Bass.

We need holistic solutions to these very real problems. It’s not the houses, it’s not the people, it’s income inequality and pervasive inter-generational poverty.

Time to go back to the drawing board folks.

Outlaw capriciousness

The first time I heard the word capricious was in college. It was from my political science professor, Jim Jacobs at Wright State, in a conversation about the enforcement of historic zoning laws in Dayton. I felt I was being unfairly singled out for improving my $14,500 house, while a house in the Oregon District, owned by a judge (and now by library director Tim Kambitsch) had the exact same garage doors- yet I was being ordered to replace mine for being “vinyl imitating wood.”

He said the capricious enforcement of the laws was the problem. I had to look it up then. And it strikes me now as the essential problem in the United States.

Capricious is an adjective to describe a person or thing that’s impulsive and unpredictable, like a bride who suddenly leaves her groom standing at the wedding altar. You can criticize a fickle-minded person as capricious, but it could just as well describe quickly changing weather, as in “capricious spring storms.”

~vocabulary.com

The whole premise of laws, and justice, is that the scales are balanced, fair and blind. In the idealized American dream vision, Lady Justice holds a fine honed sword, the balanced scales, and is blindfolded.

However, we know that more poor black men end up in prison than rich white ones, despite there being a whole lot less black people in the population. Five times more likely, to be exact.

We know that the likelihood of death by police shooting is much higher for black men than for white ones. Three times more likely.

All of this isn’t necessarily linked to the faults of the justice system, which may just be reacting to the built in biases and failures of our country to live up to the idealized version of America set in place by the founding fathers. We all know these near sacred words, in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence- “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Yet, those truths aren’t really truths. The truth is, what makes someone happy actually may actually be the denial of others happiness. We could go down the rabbit hole of Karl Marx right now- and start discussing the merits of class structure and ownership of the means of production, but let’s just assume that we’re stuck with the systems we have, and why, when laws are made, they only have meaning when they are enforced equally.

The simplified rule of law; “the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.”

And the more nuanced version via the World Justice Project:

1. Accountability
The government as well as private actors are accountable under the law.

2. Just Laws
The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights.

3. Open Government
The processes by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced are accessible, fair, and efficient.
4. Accessible & Impartial Dispute Resolution
Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are accessible, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

When you look at those four pieces, that have to operate together, you start to see where we fail miserably in Dayton Ohio. Over and over, we have let little things slip by, accepted mediocrity and stripped away protections until we have reached a level of dysfunction that seemingly just can’t be overcome.  No one can keep tabs on those in power. We capriciously  create tax structures (Austin Landing having income taxes only on the working class). Things are done in private (school closing task forces). And, in order to enforce things as simple as the residency of a school board member- you are on your own.

And it gets expensive. Really expensive. Because the mistakes compound at an exponential rate. Need an example? How many lawsuits will we have to settle at the Montgomery County Jail?

Did I lose you?

One of the supposed fundamental points of differentiation between “liberals” and “conservatives” is the argument about the size of government. Conservatives like to complain about too much government and intervention, and liberals expect the government to solve all their problems.

Unfortunately, no one talks about too many governments.

Part of the equation of old was that the “Fourth Estate” would be a guiding hand to influence, shape and keep honest the other three- being the clergy, nobility, and the commoners. However, there was no official way to fund the workings of the fourth estate (sure NPR gets a pittance from the feds, but that’s not enough) and with the changes in technology and the media landscape, we’ve not figured out a new way to keep tabs on those in power- all of them.

We’ve allowed governments to multiply to a point where no one can keep tabs on all of it, and when someone like me, tries to shine a light on just one of the bodies of government, in this case, the Dayton Board of Education, we start seeing the raw underbelly of a beast that operates without checks and balances or even professional standards.

Part of the reason they get away with it is because the people they “work for” are too busy fighting for survival. Transplant any of the problems of DPS to a wealthier community and the outcomes would be much different.

Imagine if Centerville tried to throw a football game. The reaction would have been swift and deadly for those adults involved. A year and a half after the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco- Mark Baker gets moved out of his job (not fired) and all the building Athletic Directors lose theirs. That a district is moving to a system that hasn’t been done anywhere else in the State- and that it takes money away from teachers who counted on the extra stipend, is lost on this board of elected dilettantes.

In Tipp City, the athletic director hired some family members- and found himself out of a job and facing criminal charges. At DPS, we’re patting ourselves on the back just because no money was unaccounted for in athletics, and people who had “lost” money (euphemism for theft) were allowed to pay it back.

At this upcoming board meeting, the Superintendent wants to implement new salary guidelines for administrators based on years of experience and sizes of schools. Great. Yet, she turns right around and says something like “if it gives someone a $15K pay raise, we won’t do it, this is only for new people.” And, the board sits their and nods their heads in agreement? This is capriciousness at work.

One board member asks a question about contract bidding processes. Dr. Sheila Burton says something incredibly stupid- “We have a rubric for scoring proposals, but, we pick the best fit not the best cost” and the board member sits and lets this capricious horse shit answer fly. Nope, you don’t have a way of scoring proposals then, and you should be fired is the correct answer.

The board is about to grant all administrators and staff a 3% retroactive pay raise- because, well, the others all got pay raises. The admin/staff folks almost shut down the district two times because they didn’t want to pay the rank and file. We even spent over $200K to hire a staffing firm to back up the boards reluctance to negotiate- until they caved at the last minute. If you think you deserve a 3% pay raise- go to another district. The sad fact is, most of the people working at the top levels of DPS are making more than they are worth and our performance on state testing prove it. If this board agrees to a RETROACTIVE pay raise, they should be the first to be fired. We elected a new board because the last board kept telling us we didn’t have the money to pay paraprofessionals, and now this?

The reality is, if there was one county wide school board, we’d have money to pay teachers well. We’d have competent leadership, and we’d be able to keep track of things much better. This also goes for courts, police departments, city managers and everything else. Does Moraine, population around 6,500 really need a city manager? Who is paid $145K a year? That’s $24 a year out of every taxpayers pocket for a guy who does the exact same thing as the City Manager of Kettering- right next door- population 55,306, and gets paid $196,442 or only $3.55 per person a year. To go one further- Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein’s pay of $196,116 works out to only $1.40 per person. Start to see my point?

There is no more fourth estate to monitor the workings or misdeeds of all these banana republics- and that’s why we have capricious actions at every turn undermining the framework of our idealized democracy.

To leave you with a thought about all these governments running amok:

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

? Cory Doctorow, Little Brother

It’s time to ban capriciousness- or at least, make sure we can keep an eye on the people we do elect.

Because it’s costing us a fortune.

Fairchild releases campaign video

Since this is the most read political blog in Dayton, here’s what you need to know.

There are two preachers running for Dayton City Commission. Some may get confused- one is named Daryl and the other is named Darryl.

And neither are R’s. Both are dems. One is a lifelong resident of Dayton, who has been heavily involved in the community. Darryl Fairchild. The other, Daryl Ward, was running for Montgomery County Commission until Joey Williams quit the Dayton City Commission just four months after he ran for re-election.

Nan and the Dem Party anointed the one who quit- to run for the seat of their candidate who quit. Daryl Ward on the ballot is evidence of two quits.

I’m working for the candidate who doesn’t quit. The one who I’ve seen at meetings for at least the last 15 years- getting involved, making a difference.  Here’s the video we made for him. “Fairchild doesn’t quit”

I urge all Daytonian’s to do their homework before voting. We’ve had years of the Dem party picks and we’ve paid the price.

It’s time for a change.

Sites:

Darryl Fairchild

Daryl Ward