For those of you who remember the old days of this blog, there was a time when I tried a daily vlog. Back in 2010, when video blogging wasn’t quite the thing it is today. It was a point, counterpoint, with me being the left and my friend and neighbor Greg Hunter would be the right.
Greg moved off to Laramie Wyoming about half a dozen years ago, found a nice girl, and settled down.
Apparently, she changed him. Because last night, Greg won the democratic nomination for the Wyoming House. Yes, THE NOMINATION, because Wyoming, while beautiful, has a puny population and it’s one of the states that has 2 Senators and only 1 House seat.
His opponent in November? Liz Cheney, the non-gay daughter of former VP Dick Cheney who currently occupies the seat.
Now, if you think my chances of winning an election are slim, Hunter for Wyoming may be even slimmer in Wyoming where Democrats are about as rare as actual intelligent leadership in Dayton Ohio.
He won a primary where only 17,603 D’s turned out, and 103,329 R’s turned out. Greg won with 7,942 over his opponent, Travis Helm who garnered 4,961 votes despite being the early entrant to the race.
Of course, the dirty little secret that Greg used to be an avid R- might have actually helped him.
Flash back to the most popular episode of the “Dayton Grassroots Daily Show, v93 Open Carry” from 2010 and you hear Greg say to me: “Because Liberals are stupid, D is for dummy, don’t you have a D on your head, I have an R”
Wyoming is a very Red state, the two Republican challengers each got more votes than Hunter did in the Republican Primary but, still didn’t come anywhere near close to Cheney. However, if anyone thinks anything is predictable in November, they are wrong, and we may be saying hello to Hunter in Congress and Theresa Gasper in the Ohio 10. Why? Because in the last election we saw a lot of voters say no to career politicians, and that anyone could be put in office. President Trump winning was as much as vote the bastards out as it was “Make America Great Again.” And for those smart Wyomingites who care about guns, god and legalizing pot so all their money stops flowing to neighboring states, Greg Hunter may be just OK with them, afterall, it’s only one seat… and it’s not going to be in the Oval Office.
I’ve often said the worst thing that can happen to a property owner in Dayton is when your next door neighbors home is foreclosed on. Next thing you know, the copper wire, the copper plumbing, the furnace, the A/C, is all pulled out by scrappers and the cost to replace it it way more than the scrap value.
The second worst, if it doesn’t burn your house too, is having your neighbors home catch on fire. The hulking relic can stick around for years.
Unless of course, your a school board member and a friend of Mayor Nan Whaley.
The house next door to new School Board member Karen Wick Gagnet burned down on April 22nd 2018.
A few days later, demolition crews were knocking the walls down and making it a mound of rubble.
And, by June 22nd- it was being excavated and backfilled.
That doesn’t happen for the average taxpayer. There’s a house on Salem that burned so long ago- it’s covered in ivy.
That’s why we did a little video- “Burning Questions” which asks why there isn’t a standard protocol city wide for what has to happen when a building burns, complete with deadlines, bonding, and even a public auction if an owner can’t promise to take care of it.
It’s time that everyone gets the same treatment in Dayton. Not just the elected folks.
What should happen?
Within the first 30 days, a property owner has to fill out a plan complete with how they’ll pay, to either demo the property or begin repairs.
If that doesn’t happen, an instant auction will take place, with bidders able to take the property, as long as they can file a plan and have a bond for enough to cover the project.
If no bids come in, the building is demolished, the owner charged for the demolition, and the real estate is instantly put up for sale.
There is no reason for these hulking piles of trash should be allowed to stand.
Last night I went to a Dayton Public Schools Board of Education meeting. It began at 5 pm, it ended at 8pm. Most of it was in executive session.
Why did they meet? Was it because Dr. Adil Baguirov couldn’t stand the fact that John McManus was still President Pro Tem until they met again?
Or was it because they needed to discuss yet again the layoffs of the para professionals – the action they tabled at the Nov 17th meeting- and Dr. B stormed out of, because he’s so anxious to fire people.
It certainly couldn’t have been to watch Judy Spurlock the head of HR give a presentation that would have had her fired from any professional organization. She just had to provide the excuse- because there was nothing for the board to learn, to act on, to advise on, to direct, to….
The meeting was held outside the board room, around a big square table. No microphones, no video by the board (just me) and a bunch of highly paid people sitting around with nothing to add. This kind of meeting is why meetings get a bad rap.
The presentation was titled “Human Resources: An update” and was 9 slides using a template suitable for a funeral invitation. This is the norm for DPS presentations. No standard templates from a brand standards manual- because a brand standards manual doesn’t exist.
Not only were the slides a ramble, with no clear deadlines, actionable items, or decision trees- they were read to the group. To make matters worse, Ms. Spurlock sounded like she had one foot in the grave- thanks to some sort of illness. She didn’t even have control of her presentation- instead, having the board secretary advance her slides.
They were all uploaded to Board Docs just before the meeting- as JPGs- which aren’t ADA compliant (American’s with Disabilities Act) which also means they weren’t searchable.
Typically, corporate presentations include a title, a date, and the organization name on every slide- these didn’t. After I mentioned the omission of the PDF- it was uploaded.
What did we learn from Ms. Spurlock?
We learned that a half-a-billion dollar organization didn’t have standard operating procedures for standard HR tasks: posting jobs, interviewing, hiring or enrollment. There is no system, other than an outdated Lotus notes app to manage certifications, professional development, or evaluations. That the process for firing people- which seems to be very critical right now- doesn’t really have a process for exit interviews, collection of DPS property, or even what to do with their email accounts, passwords etc. In other words, we’re dealing with an organization being run by people with systems from the eighties- maybe.
Flowcharts would be really helpful in defining the workflows- but those weren’t presented. We learned they use CASNET- without defining what it was. It seems to be some kind of document scanning and archival process. No one asked how it fit in with other systems- if they even exist? It seems that this organization hasn’t heard of ERP- Enterprise Resource Planning, maybe that’s the norm when you turn an Elementary School principal into an HR Director.
I guess I’m qualified to teach physics, because I stepped foot in the Science building at WSU a few times too.
They’d looked at one piece of software- “Search Soft”- but had ruled it out because it wasn’t user friendly. Was a specification written? Do we know what they are looking for? I sit on the Technology Steering committee- do you think this has come up? Nah.
They will launch PD Express in summer of 2017 to manage their Professional Development. Again- the presentation didn’t inform the board of costs, length of contract, where the content was coming from. I’m sitting here wondering why they aren’t using the same tools they use to teach their students for their professional development- Google Applications for Education- GAFE, why there is even a spot on the web talking about it. Of course, because this is a meeting for board self worship- those of us in the peanut gallery who would ask this question- aren’t allowed. In business, we call this “eating our own dogfood.” In Dayton Public Schools, we call this buying what some other district bought, because no one we’ve hired actually knows anything about IT, Web Development, Cloud apps, ERP, Open Source Software etc. etc.
They are planning on evaluating evaluation software in Jan of 2017. They’ll form a committee. Amazing that the outline of the goals and objectives aren’t already specified and presented- just, “hey, we’ll form a committee.”
Then we talk about “Customer Service” where we want to redesign the HR page. Really? The district just spent over $90k building and rebuilding their proprietary site with a local firm. If it’s bad after that much money, why is the person in charge still employed… oh, right, she’s retiring in 30 days, and the RFP for marketing and communications support is still not awarded.
And the redesign needs to be “Visitor Friendly and Easy of Use.”
We also need to redesign the office to make it more appealing and have private areas. No photos to show the flaws, no sketches of new floor plans, no budget for changes, no request to hire an architect, nothing- just we don’t like our offices.
But here is the kicker- now we announce how great we are for hiring over 220 new teachers. Considering the teaching staff runs between 800 and 900, this means that there has been nearly a quarter of the staff turned over in one year. In most organizations this would send red flags. Here, the board is happy- and ready to fire more people, while promising to hire new people.
Gee, I really want to work for this organization said the new teacher. Never.
The final slide was about reading specialists and bus drivers. Sort of like talking about Lawyers and Janitors at the same time- only distantly related as in they both clean up shit.
The pie in the sky information on reading specialists brought some edu/speak jargon from the superintendent, and Dr. Rountree, who is convinced that all teachers in Ohio are reading specialists- at least they were when she came up- back in the days of chalk boards and capital punishment. I still don’t know what a “RIP Band” is- and I’m sure none of the board does either- I googled it- nothing.
As to transportation- we’re still short drivers. We fired all the supervisors. If we can’t get the kids to school or home, does any of this matter? Was there a chart of how many we need, how many we have, what we do when people don’t show up- hell no.
But, this is the norm for presentations from Dayton Public Schools staff. No substance, no actionable information, no key, no goals, random format, poorly labeled. With no clearly defined next steps.
The next step for citizens is to meet on Thursday Dec 1, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Corinthian Baptist Church 700 S James H. McGee Blvd, Dayton to discuss next steps.
For the board, they should have posted their agenda for the Dec 6th meeting by noon Dec 1- where the fate of the paraprofessionals still hangs in the balance. This was punted from the Nov 17th meeting- so, there is no excuse for not knowing what’s coming.
One of the things that yesterdays meeting did, was end the possibility of reversing the actions taken at the Nov 8th meeting where 20 “administrators” were fired or terminated. That number isn’t really right, since some reverted back to their teaching positions- which may have effectively fired someone else- and at least one, Linda Stagles, the grant writer who didn’t bring in any grants, is being allowed to retire quietly- a courtesy not extended to Challenger Learning Center director MariJane Recob. After the second meeting, board policy requires a crazy 6 votes to rehire instead of just 4 or 5.
If this district wants to establish trust, and build confidence in the community, a new respect for the people and their time and money needs to be put in place. Meetings should cover real issues and involve substantive discussion, and create actionable plans. Meetings shouldn’t be held, just so the board can go back into executive session to argue over things that subvert the power and authority of the Superintendent. If you have to discuss her recommendations that much, you must not have that much faith in her.
It’s time for a new level of transparency and honesty in our district. It has to start with the timely posting of the next meetings agenda- including groundrules for citizen participation.
In yesterday’s installment, we asked which board member was better suited to run board meetings, Dr. Adil Baguirov or John McManus. From comments on Facebook where the video has over 700 views and 17 shares in 24 hours, it’s pretty clear the public would like Dr. Baguirov to relinquish the center seat.
Today, we feature bad behavior by Joe Lacey and Hazel Rountree. Lacey makes it personal, since he used to coach the parent’s child. The child was there as he unloads on her mother.
Both Lacey and Rountree ran unopposed last time- along with Dr. Baguirov and Ron Lee. To replace them on the school board, you need 350 valid signatures of voters in the SCHOOL DISTRICT (note, the district doesn’t align with Dayton, with parts of Harrison Township included, and doesn’t include Forest Ridge for example). Petitions are due around August- 90 days or so before the November election.
However, after this bad behavior, resignations would be happily accepted. When board members resign, their replacements are picked from a pool of applicants who submit their candidacy, by the remaining board members. Sometimes this backfires- it’s how William Schooler ended up on the board over 8 other possibilities.
There is no need to repost the entire conversation from Facebook, but Mr. Lacey is still in denial that the reason Horace Mann is full in every grade except the 4th- is due to a screw up by Associate Superintendent, Student Services Sheila Burton Ph.D. Instead of 80 or so kids, they had 18. This loss of 62 potential students at one of the district’s best schools- cost, using Dr. Baguirov math, half a million in revenue.
Dr. Burton still has her $120K a year job, while the district that can’t get enough bus drivers- fired three bus driving supervisors to save a few bucks.
There has been no feedback on the missed opportunity to sell the Patterson Kennedy site for $900K where there may be 4 bidders waiting. While Dr. Baguirov has said we may need that land for expected growth of downtown students- reliable sources tell me that discussions in the sixth floor offices have been had about closing several schools- Horace Mann, the Boys Academy being 2 of the 5 or 6 in the mix.
Dr. Baguirov also has stated that the price CareSource paid for the Patterson Coop site was great. However, the parking lot behind Masque recently sold for $2M. The Patterson site was not only bigger- but shovel ready. Who knows what’s under that parking lot.
Back to our bullying video. The problem with Mr. Lacey’s comments that they invite public input at the “Business meeting” – this was a review session- and yet, they were conducting business. Firing 20 people. The purpose of these review sessions, and executive sessions, are so you can properly inform the public of actions, without having to waive the 48 hour rule- and conduct business in an open and transparent fashion- as the Ohio Sunshine laws dictate.
Instead- we’ve got some dictators on the board. Time for them to go.
There is a meeting being organized for parents and interested parties to prepare for the upcoming Dec. 6th School board meeting. More info to follow. It will be at Corinthian Baptist Church.
This video speaks for itself. Large crowd at both meetings.
Who would you want to lead your organization into the future?
McManus was President Pro Tem- after Baguirov walked out of executive session that went 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The audience began to chant “come on out”
A lot of speeches were made. We put the whole thing up as a youtube video so you can embed it starting when ever you want.
We pulled a few speeches out for you:
And your humble scribe:
There will be more videos on this subject coming.
It’s time that the Board of Education, the new superintendent, the senior staff, realized that they will be held accountable for their actions.
Disrupting the classrooms mid-school year, firings without justification, contracts not awarded, bad PR, refusing legal offers for vacant property, and last but not least, taking credit for the work of others in getting them a single A among a sea of F’s.