Expecting creative thinking from DPS leadership will disappoint every time

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli was never meant to be an urban superintendent. It’s questionable if she should have even been a superintendent anywhere. The fact that she was hired by someone who was fired should have been the first clue to a clueless board made up of 2 ego-maniacs with higher political aspirations, a clueless preacher and a blue collar mom who abhors both confrontation and her class status. That the vote to lay off 10% of the staff of a struggling school district split along board election cycles- with the 4 old school political party insiders all voting to flush staff when the chips were down says almost everything you need to know. These people have zero respect for social capital or the organization. To them, as it is to Lolli, it’s just money- which is the only reason Lolli is still working. She’s already retired- is drawing a pension, and collecting a jaw dropping $200K a year for failing the district. There isn’t a single performance indicator that she’s raised in her first three years- and the most important one- faith in the district, is at an all time low- from staff, to students, to parents- who have been voting with their feet.

I stopped pretending to care about what was happening at DPS, where I used to go to meetings, film, and report back on what insanity was taking place. It almost makes for an amazing documentary about dysfunction in urban American Schools- except, no one wants to watch that movie- because it’s playing out in real life everywhere. We’ve screwed our kids with standardized tests, the “common core” and thinking technology or new buildings or masters degrees or any of hundreds of other “solutions” will fix the only real problem in American urban education- which is poverty – tied to a ridiculous agrarian school year calendar that isn’t anywhere near what is needed now. I invested my time and money to provide an outline of what it would take to fix our district with the short film “There Ain’t No “F” in Dayton.” It’s been ignored. If you need a refresher:

The final straw for me, was when the school board sat through the most incompetent presentation ever- for a program from the University of Virginia that Dr. Lolli wanted to implement, and didn’t say a word when the presenter clearly wasn’t prepared- the slides still had “greek text” on them- and “your perfect title slide.” See this post: Why there is no hope for Dayton Public Schools. Turns out the program didn’t even meet Lolli’s expectations, she canned it after 2 of the 3 years had been bought and paid for.

So when it comes to remote learning and Covid, why would we expect any kind of competent response? We shouldn’t. Lolli is a technological dolt. I had served on the technology steering committee long ago- and advocated for 1 to 1 computers for every kid- that they could take ownership of and take home. When I ran for city commission, it was part of my platform, as was a citywide high speed wifi system. But, no, the district didn’t listen, the city didn’t listen and the voters didn’t either. So heading into the pandemic- we had to buy more chromebooks, because we spent stupid money on “carts” for them, to keep them in classrooms and “accounted for.” For every cart we bought- and we bought hundreds of them, we could have bought at least 7 more laptops. Dumb.

The reality is, for many DPS families, the problems are twofold- one is no high speed access. There are parts of Dayton that still remain digital deserts. But, the other problem is that the parents are working at low wage jobs that were deemed essential. They aren’t working from home- to be able to supervise their kids while the remote learning takes place. Parents need schools as supervised day care if nothing else, but, we’re pretending that’s not an issue.

We’re laying off staff instead. Best idea I’ve heard was from Norman Scearce, who is a pastor and a Trotwood Board of Education member. He suggested using all these churches we have in Dayton- that have classrooms and Internet, that sit vacant during the weekdays- and turn them into remote classrooms – where 10 or less kids can come to do school work under the watchful eye of a teacher (or a bus driver or a school nurse, or a PE teacher). Instead of having 30 buildings packed with hundreds of kids spreading disease, we could have hundreds of buildings with small pods of kids doing supervised school work. That’s creative thinking. It also makes it easier to set up hotspots- than a mobile bus “solution” which is the best Lolli and her incompetents came up with.

This interruption in our educational ecosystem has dire consequences, even without the increased risk of spreading the virus. Read what NY Times editorial writer wrote:

affluent children will mostly be fine even without in-person classes. But one study found that almost 17 million American children live in homes without high-speed internet, and more than seven million don’t have a computer at home. For disadvantaged kids, “online learning” is an oxymoron.

Prolonged school closures will worsen dropout rates across the nation, for missing just 10 percent of class days is associated with a sevenfold increased risk of dropping out. Even in normal times, only 53 percent of children attending Bureau of Indian Education schools finish high school. Closures after Hurricane Katrina led many students to leave school for good.

Source: Opinion | ‘Remote Learning’ Is Often an Oxymoron – The New York Times

It’s a whole new world out there with Covid, remote learning and social distancing. We need new thinkers and innovative solutions. It’s time to re-examine everything, starting out with finding new roles for people we’ll definitely need back as soon as a vaccine is available.

Those damn citizen journalists in Centerville

The Dayton Daily news can barely figure out how to deliver an accessible online paper to my iPad- and even when they do, they don’t know a story when they see one.

Of course, when they let City PR Folks write the stories for them, and still claim to be a newspaper, we have a problem.

But, here I go, sharing some research put together by a citizen journalist on Facebook. Constance Myers put together the time line of Wild Wayne Davis as City Manager for Cold and Bitchy Centerville. Since FB requires membership, and not everyone wants to be used by Mark Zuckerberg, I’m sharing it here on esrati.com because it’s worthwhile to read and because I’ve been recovering from surgery and haven’t had time to research and write much. This was my first blog post about it: Centerville citizens starting an insurrection

Enjoy. Note to Centerville Council- you have a problem on your hands. In case you still don’t get it.

As Wayne Davis begins his fourth year as Centerville City Manager, let’s take a minute to review his accomplishments.
August 2017
Wayne Davis is hired as City Manager after a “nationwide” search.
According to his contract and per the City Charter, he has three years to move into the city of Centerville
Fall 2017
The city manager begins making threats and publicly calls out and dresses down staff members
The new culture of fear and intimidation begins
2018
February:
HR Manager (Jennifer Wilder, 15 years with Centerville) resigns and
Police Chief (Bruce Robertson, 30+ years with Centerville) retires.
April:
Economic Development Administrator (Nathan Cahall, 12 years with Centerville) resigns.
May:
Mayor Compton is notified of the decline in employee morale and staff’s concerns about the city manager’s behavior
September:
Assistant to the City Manager (Kristen Gopman, 13 years with Centerville) resigns (that makes 4 senior staff)
October:
Deputy Mayor Belinda Kenley is made aware of senior staff’s concerns regarding the city manager’s behavior
Several staff members go to Mayor Compton about employees’ ongoing concerns regarding the city manager’s dismissive and bully behavior
December:
Finance Director (Jonathan Hudson, 5 years with Centerville) resigns (#5)
2019
February:
Assistant Finance Director (Cindy Ryan with 2 years of Centerville service) resigns (#6)
March:
The second HR Manager, a Wayne Davis hire, (Jennifer Brumby) resigns after less than a year
Community Resources Manager (Maureen Russell Hodgson) resigns after 26 years of service (#7)
Citizens contact the Dayton Daily News about their concerns in the number of senior management departing Centerville
April:
City Planner (Andrew Rodney with 5 years of service) resigns (#8)
City Council responds to the numerous citizens’ concerns about the eight senior staff members’ departure by writing and signing a public statement supporting the city manager
Turnover continues at the City but City Council never asks current or former employees why they are leaving in such unusually high numbers. Exit interviews should provide some clues:
May:
Economic Development Administrator Holly Christman resigns after 6 months in the position. (Second person hired by Wayne Davis to resign)
The city decides to rebrand downtown Centerville to Uptown Centerville. (How many of you are calling it that?)
July:
The city buys the former Dewey’s property, between Town Hall and Burke Orthodontics–which had been for sale for about five years. Washington Township was close to finalizing the purchase of the same property when the city found out and then outbid the township. The township had plans to create a Founders’ Park on the land, which still sits empty. https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-govt–politics/washington-twp-centerville-odds-uptown-property/hgEdrr3QC8awOSo0v6iqhK/
August:
The City applies for a $1 million grant from Clean Ohio to purchase “park” land at the Cornerstone Development. This is undevelopable land that had been offered by the Cornerstone Developer (Oberer) at NO COST to TWO separate park districts– the Centerville-Washington Park District and the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District. BOTH park districts had declined the offer. But the city applies for a $1 million grant to pay for the property.
The grant application is called an “unusual and atypical” request by the Ohio Public Works Commission chair. The board asks to further review the application.
Because the application meets the “minimum qualifications,” the board awards Centerville the grant. Centerville pays the Cornerstone Developer $1 million for land that had been offered at no cost to two park districts.
The city announces a $146 million redevelopment plan for the former Kroger site at Centerville Place. This is the first significant development under Wayne Davis’ leadership. It proves to be short-lived and falls through five months later.
October:
HR Manager #3 Rory Garrity resigns after six months in the position. A decision is made to not advertise the position until after the election and “things settle down.” She is the third HR manager and the third hire of Wayne Davis to leave Centerville. The city brings on an acting HR manager– on contract since that time.
Despite the huge turnover in staff, several newspaper stories and numerous concerns from residents, City Council renews Wayne Davis’ contract, rewarding him with an 8.5 percent raise bringing his salary to $183,414 a year plus a $4800 annual car allowance. Davis is also permitted to bypass the City Charter residency requirement and continue living in his Washington Township home, becoming the first Centerville City Manager to do so. Mayor Compton says he has “done tremendous work” and Councilmember Joann Rau says she is “impressed” by the progress he has made.https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-govt–politics/centerville-agrees-new-three-year-deal-with-city-manager/S2e2qVulUSbKtSijlpQONM/
November:
Sgt. James Myers is put on administrative leave for writing a letter in support of another employee
December:
Public Works Director (Doug Spitler with 15 years of Centerville service) resigns, (#9 of prior administration’s senior staff to do so)
2020
January:
The Centerville Place developer decides not to go forward with his $146 million project
Chief Building Official Dan Sammon resigns, three months shy of his 30th anniversary with Centerville
March:
City Manager Wayne Davis fires Police Sgt. James Myers
City Council refuses to answer questions by citizens posed at City Council meetings regarding Sgt. Myers, claiming they do not get involved in City personnel matters
April:
A Facebook page “Support Sgt. James Myers” begins and over time, members uncover Wayne Davis has an arrest record including a Domestic Violence (DV) charge and Operating a Vehicle while Under the Influence (OVI) charge. He immediately petitions to have his records permanently sealed. The page shares public records showing that City Council continues to refuse to answer questions regarding Sgt. Myers.
May:
The new communications director, with ties to WHIO and the Dayton Daily News, writes a “news release” that appears verbatim as a story in the DDN.
The reporter for the Dayton Daily News, Wayne Baker, is let go
Records requests show that assistant city manager Mariah Vogelesgang, Council member Mark Engert and others reviewed and made revisions to the “story”
June:
The Centerville Personnel Appeals Board rules on Sgt. Myers’ suspension and decides in favor of the city.
IT Manager (Scott Ontjes, 11 years of Centerville service) resigns. He is the last direct report on staff prior to Wayne Davis’ appointment as City Manager to leave. All eight senior managers–with a cumulative total of more than 100 years of experience and dedication to Centerville have moved on to other positions. While Mayor Compton and Belinda Kenley are aware of the many concerns brought to them by employees, City Council never asks any of these employees the reason for their departures.
August:
The City Manager, Assistant City Manager and Mayor meet with residents of Yankee Trace over a personnel matter (see March, above)
Sgt. Myers’ termination case goes to arbitration
Police Chief Matt Brown refuses Jeff Williams, retired Centerville Police Officer, request for fire arms recertification. Has he denied any other retirees this service?
Threats continue to be made to employees. Council continues to support the city manager’s and assistant city manager’s behavior.
What will Year 4 bring?
And, if you are wondering what I’ve been up to lately, you’d be smart to subscribe to the Reconstructing Dayton site where we are building a case for eliminating all these little banana republic dictatorships in Montgomery County and replacing them with a single, responsible, professional government (sort of like Kettering- only without a huge council). We’ve been busy getting facts on how much all these stupid jurisdictions cost us all- and how we could cut our taxes and get better government if only we actually knew how stupid expensive they all are.

Mike Turner admits his congressional seat is for sale

Mike Turner still believes he was a great Mayor for Dayton. He’s also delusional about who paid his way to congress, he’s been the step-child of the Military Industrial Complex- with most of his backing coming from base contractors and his former boss, Raj Soin.

Considering he’s become a total Trump supporter, this may be the one chance the Dems get to unseat him from his gerrymandered Republican District. He’s not helping himself by trying to attach his opposition, Desiree Tims, with lobbyist Larry Householder or others- he’s taken so much money from lobbyists it’s embarrassing. And let’s not get into how his first wife would do work for the Home Depot PAC, or for the Army Corps of Engineers (it’s a whole category of posts on this blog– showcasing how her “marketing agency” served as a slush fund to prop him up and turn him into a millionaire.) The final straw, and the first downfall for JP Nauseef, was when the Dayton Development Coalition hired Turner’s wife’s firm to do a marketing campaign for the region- to which they embarrassingly came up with “Get Midwest.”

So, Turner’s taken in millions from lobbyists, from quasi-governmental agencies in the area via dubious channels, and become a millionaire, and he dares to attack Tims because “She doesn’t have enough money to run for Congress.”
As if he does- legitimately. And what is that amount Congressman? You spent close to 3/4 of a million dollars to beat Joe Roberts- the biggest joke the local Dem hacks have run against you. He spent less than $7K.

Turner said the ad is intended to point out how Tims’ campaign is fueled by contributions from sources outside the 10th Congressional district.

“I’ve served this community as mayor — two terms, eight years — and have served this community to build jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and my financial support and voter support is from this community,” Turner said.

“She came back and brought outside money with her and that’s the only reason she’s able to run for Congress.

Absent her lobbyist connections and outside money, she doesn’t have enough money to run for office.”

Source: Turner ad tries to tie foe to Householder – Dayton Daily News

If there is one congressman that’s done absolutely nothing worth re-election, it’s Mike Turner.

And, now, we know who he works for- the people that buy him his seat every two years.
Need a reminder?

 

 

Self-inflicted governmental failure

While the idiots we elected to Congress continue to debate if it should be $600 or $200 a week in extra unemployment that is invested in stopping the complete collapse of our country while the death toll continues to rise, the local level idiots still seem to think they are doing something to solve a pre-pandemic problem: the costs of keeping them all employed:

“Locally we have lost as many jobs in the last four months than we did in a three-year period of the Great Recession,” said Richard Stock, director of the University of Dayton Business Research Center…

Stock said state and local governments haven’t recovered from being “trimmed to the bone” during the Great Recession and federal assistance would help them avoid cuts in services to their residents.

“It’s not just the urban areas. It’s also the small towns and villages,” Dickstein said, adding that the city projects a $12 million loss in revenue in the current budget.

Both Montgomery County and the city of Dayton took early action to cut budgets before the revenue hits became clear. Dayton limited all but essential spending, suspended capital equipment purchases, froze hiring, abolished 100 vacant positions and used a voluntary separation program to get 96 people to retire, Dickstein said.

The county’s nearly $30 million in budget adjustments included a hiring freeze and cutting economic development grants and capital reinvestment projects, spokeswoman Brianna Wooten said.

Source: PANDEMIC PUNCH HITS DAYTON JOBS – Dayton Daily News

Their concern with jobs has nothing to do with your well-being, it has to do with their self-preservation. How many mayors are there in Montgomery County, how many Township administrators? Police Chiefs? “Economic development” specialists? Well, we’re on a mission to find out, compile the cost, and share it with everyone so you can decide for yourselves. We, by the way, is Reconstructing Dayton, a 501(c)(4) non-profit, that plans to ask every single candidate on the ballot what their positions are on re-engineering Ohio’s archaic and backassward laws allowing an urban township like Miami Township with 50K people, have it’s own SWAT team (I can’t make this stuff up):

Miami Twp. Police Chief Charles Stiegelmeyer said he has examined the police department’s manpower since becoming chief. Using revenues from a levy approved in May 2019, Miami Twp. Police Department added three new positions to bolster SWAT staffing, increasing staff positions to 42.

The restructuring of the department helps ensure there is sufficient supervision and that one supervisor was not getting overburdened with more personnel, he said.

Source: Police chief says new roles help streamline setup – Dayton Daily News

while on the flipside, the “Village” of Phillipsburg, population 500 or so, has an income tax.

This week, we were on a mission to find out exactly how much income tax and property tax is collected in all of Montgomery County- via each of the “localities”- which should be interchangeable with the better descriptor “Banana Republics.” In doing our public records requests, we encountered exactly the kind of problems created by too many chiefs and not enough educated Indians.  We literally had to cite the “Yellow Book”- Ohio’s “Sunshine Law” guide back, chapter and verse to multiple bureaucrats and even lawyers they are supporting with tax dollars, on why information about public money is public information. You should wander over to the following post for an entertaining case study in stupidity:

Over the past couple days I have spent much of my time filing public records requests. My goal is to collect tax information from the municipalities and townships in Montgomery County to uncover inefficiencies and disparities among our various local government structures. The process of obtaining these records has demonstrated the very inefficiencies we at Reconstructing Dayton are striving to eliminate.

Source: How Public are Public Records? | Reconstructing Dayton

Now, to make your head explode, let’s talk about the lessons we should have learned from the “Great Recession” of 2009, that Richard Stock uses as a point of comparison. Foreclosures are the devils way of government interfering with private business for its own self-flagellation. Why government is expected to enforce private contracts between a lender and a borrower to the extent they are is one of the great mysteries of America. I have a judgement against a thief for $70,000, and can’t get a Sheriff to go collect for me, but, a bank, after missing just a few thousand dollars in payments can take your home with the Sheriff’s help, regardless of how little is left on your loan.

When a bank takes possession of a home, they have little incentive to maintain it or prepare it for resale, especially in poorer areas, where homes often don’t sell before the scrappers have further devalued the homes. It’s absolutely crazy that our local government is somehow turned into an enabler, to help devalue our community. There are no laws requiring banks that have foreclosed on properties to be held responsible for keeping them in the same condition they were when last occupied. The government had to pour trillions in the last time- to save the banks, but not the home owners, or tenants.

If we had rational thinking minds in office, the obvious thing to do is loan modifications, that provide alternatives to foreclosure or eviction. Or, at least, convert the mortgage payment into a rental agreement, until the home is sold, so the property remains intact and occupied. Throwing people on the street just creates additional headaches for social service agencies, welfare, and children, who often get the short end of the stick every time.

Of course, this is what happens when government cares more about self-preservation than public welfare. Public records are just one way we can keep tabs on what really goes on. Figuring out ways to reduce the number of banana republics in Montgomery County alone would go a long way to actually having more funding available for the people, by the people.

Meet the newest enemy to the Monarchy of Montgomery County

You’ve heard of 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon?

In Dayton, it’s rare you’re more than 1.2 degrees of separation from people, unless you are an elected official or hold a patronage job. Then the factor goes down to .2

If you could look at the list of Precinct Captains of the political parties central committee, and you had a list of public employees, the crossover factor would be amazing. Note, you also have to know who is married to whom, because sometimes, you have your spouse with a different name take a seat for you. I tried to pass an amendment to the Dem Party Constitution to prevent employees of elected officials from being the people who vote to endorse and support candidates and was thoroughly outvoted.

But, if that was our only problem in Montgomery County, we’d be on easy street. The huge problem we have is that we have too much government, too many governments, elected officials, meetings, jurisdictions, websites, courts, police departments, tax offices, tax rates, street maintenance departments, libraries, trustees, school boards, parks and recs departments, building inspectors, school superintendents, zoning departments, the list goes on. Each of these duplicative and unnecessary organizations adds tax overhead on the citizens of Montgomery County. It also adds lots of opportunity for graft, corruption, incompetence, complexities and the list goes on.  The biggest problem is that with limited media to act as a watchdog, you now have to hope and pray that some of your neighbors take up the job of citizen journalists and investigate and publish their observations.

  • For the shitshow known as Dayton Public Schools, you can count on former School Board Member Mario Gallin who has a Facebook page she keeps up to date. She looks at agendas, budgets, and watches the countless onerous meetings like a hawk.
  • In Centerville, the feckless City Manager, Wayne (Mr. Mary Kate Huffman, Judge) Davis, had already alienated so many staff members that left, but then he forced out a long term police sgt. who was on track for promotion. Next thing you know, there’s a facebook group, Support Sgt. James Myers, that’s digging up dirt on Mr. Davis (like a dropped domestic violence case and a DUI). He then moves to seal his records after the fox is out of the hen house. The city commission and mayor start getting very defensive and start violating sunshine laws, deleting public comments on Facebook and denying citizens the right to speak at meetings.

Unfortunately, Facebook pages aren’t open and available to everyone. It’s not quite the same as this blog, which has been exposing corruption and the Monarchy of Montgomery County since 2005. 2970 posts so far, 23,705 comments, making this site more yours than mine.

The sad reality is, Ohio places itself at a handicap by allowing tiny little governments like Moraine, population 6000, have a government that existed solely by the benefit of the old GM truck plant and now Fuyao. There is no reason for a city manager, a council, a police chief, a fire department, and all the overhead that go with it- for a podunk burg in the middle of much larger, well run cities. And, that’s where Reconstructing Dayton comes in. We watched as “One Dayton” spent a ton of time devising some new sort of geo-political system to manage a “unigov” for Montgomery County only to be met with insane resistance- mostly lead by the powers in charge now.

Instead of coming up with the new model, all we’re going to focus on is the ridiculous costs being thrust upon the taxpayers to support the Monarchy and their many banana republics. We’re going to work on identifying which candidates support reduction in governmental overhead, increased transparency and simplification savings for our county. We’re going to ask the stupid questions- like, if we can redraw precincts and state rep districts and congressional districts, why can’t we re-draw county lines? Wouldn’t it be easier to bring Fairborn, Beavercreek, Springboro and Bellbrook into Montgomery County- which could be mostly urban, and leave the rural farmland to a rural focused county?

To do this, our 501(c)(4) has hired a full-time writer/researcher to start digging in and developing resources to further our dreams of a simplified governmental structure, tax base and public face to a global economy. I don’t care if you were born and bred in Oakwood, Washington Township, or Miamisburg, to the rest of the world you’re from Dayton and it’s about time we stop pretending we’re not capable of competing for jobs with Atlanta where NCR went, or the Research Triangle where Lexis Nexis went, or Cincinnati where Iams went, etc.

Our new writer is Alexander Sharp. His brief bio: “Alexander Sharp is a researcher and writer for The Next Wave in Dayton, Ohio. He received a B.A. in English (literature) from Wittenberg University and an M.A. in English (rhetoric & composition) from the University of Dayton.” He can be reached at [email protected]

His first post, Efforts for Campaign Finance Transparency Long Overdue  is now up. It’s our reaction to the housebill that’s being proposed to help eliminate the “dark money” that got Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder indicted and removed from office.

You should subscribe to the site to be updated on every post, and consider donating to support this important work.

 

Newer Posts
Older Posts