Incompetence at all levels of Dayton Public Schools

Dayton Ohio Dunbar High School Basketball program deflatedTo recap: Under the previous school board, In November of 2016, there was a major violation of sportsmanship when Dunbar played an ineligible football player, and tried to throw a game to Belmont. It was bizarre and obvious that something smelled at DPS.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association investigated, and pushed for the district to fire District Athletic Director LaMark Baker. The board instead gave him a 2 year contract. OHSAA imposed three years of sanctions and oversight of the district and a $10K fine.

Old board also gives former Superintendent Rhonda Corr a 3 year contract. She hires Dr. Venita Kelly and Marsha Bonhart at $90K ea a year to run PR. Corr puts Bonhart over Baker.

Board kicks Corr to the Curb in November of 2017. Board has new composition after Dr. Adil Baguirov resigns because David Esrati threatens mandamus action for his removal, since on Election Day, his voting registration has moved to Vandalia district. Esrati had made a case in April of 2017 that Baguirov didn’t live in the district- no officials investigated or acted. Now Rev William Harris is on Board. They put Corr on paid admin leave- promote Dr. Elizabeth Lolli to acting superintendent, this was caused because the investigation into the EEOC claims by Dr. Markay Winston uncovered credible evidence that Corr was less proficient than the stellar performance review that the board had just given her.

New board takes over in January- already has a PR debacle thanks to Lolli and Dr. Burton announcing the potential closing of schools without doing proper PR management. All schools discussed are on the West side. A task force is set-up prior to the board being seated- and Mohamed Al-Hamdani is appointed co-chair- before he has taken office. Task force tries to meet in secret, fails, then has secret meeting bus tour- Esrati files a lawsuit.

End of January 2018, Dunbar and Thurgood JV basketball game erupts in a bench clearing brawl at end of game. Rookie Dunbar Coach Chuck Taylor gets punished for calling a parent names. Thurgood sits all players for mandatory 2 game suspension. Apparently, Dunbar doesn’t.

In playoffs, Dunbar’s failure to enforce suspensions causes them to forfeit at playoff game for an ineligible player. This puts Thurgood into the playoffs. Lolli, who is now superintendent, with a huge pay package, and three year contract- without having to apply, without the job being opened up, or the district doing proper due diligence, now has brilliantly bad idea to sue OHSAA to get Dunbar back in the playoffs and kick Thurgood out.

They spend at least $50K with Subashi and Wildermuth to file suit and have a court decision. Court rules for DPS, Dunbar wins 1 game, loses the next. None of the players ever serve their 2 game suspensions. No one on the board seems to think this is a bad idea.

Sources tell esrati.com that OHSAA has been provided video that proves Coach Taylor committed perjury in his testimony, alerts DPS. Demands an apology,  repayment, and some kind of remediation to the ongoing problems. DPS votes to increase budget by $50K to Subashi and Wildermuth, which is either to cover payment to OHSAA or to continue to fund costs of ongoing lawsuit with Esrati, after they lose the first round argument that the task force is a public body subject to the Sunshine Laws. BTW- Esrati is representing himself. The Board and City had had up to 5 different lawyers working to beat him.

An emergency meeting called this morning to discuss:

The purpose of the meeting shall be to discuss new information about the OHSAA court case involving Dunbar High School. The meeting will include an executive session to:

  • consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee, or the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee; and

  • Confer with an attorney for the school board concerning disputes involving the school board that are the subject of pending court action.

Attorney Brian Wildermuth was there. They met for almost an hour, came out and Harris made an announcement that they had made some decisions, that things hadn’t gone the way they wanted, and hinted that changes would be forthcoming.

“The BOE has been updated on the “Dunbar basketball situation” while the new information is not what we would like to hear, we acknowledge the need to accept it and move forward. The superintendent is making some changes within the structure of the athletic department and we support those changes. It is time to move forward in the Dayton Public Schools in all areas and departments.”

DPS staff attorney, Jyllian Bradshaw has been absent through most of this on maternity leave. The board has been dependent on a bunch of different law firms in her absence including Brickler and Eckler, which did the investigation on Winston’s complaint.

In this time frame, Wildermuth was also handed a defeat in the appeals court on the termination of former Treasurer Craig Jones. So this means that they are on the losing side of 3 cases so far.

After the meeting adjourned this morning, I went up to Dr. Lolli and confronted her on why I had to listen to PR Chief Marsha Bonhart on a personal phone call for almost the entire length of time that they were in executive session. She didn’t respond, looking absolutely aghast that I would speak to her. BTW- the board voted last meeting to not renew Dr. Kelly- but kept Bonhart. I don’t allow my employees one hour personal calls while on the clock- apparently Lolli does. It’s not as if there isn’t a lot to do to fix the PR problems of the district.

While Bonhart gabbed, internal auditor, Randall Harper tried to get work done on his laptop during the exec session. Bonhart didn’t even have a laptop with her.

I have video of Bonhart’s call, it’s just not worth sharing.

Sources have said their will be a joint press release in the coming days, where DPS acknowledges their mistakes, apologizes to OHSAA, announces that DPS will reimburse OHSAA for their legal fees, and that structural changes have been made in DPS.

Here are our informed guesses of what may happen:

  • Mark Baker resigns as District Athletic Director. May continue employment in the district at another position so as to not pay yet another contract off.
  • Chuck Taylor is not renewed as a basketball coach. He also retires as a bailiff in Dayton Municipal Courts. No further charges are brought.
  • Dunbar gets yet a third athletic director, as current AD is non-renewed.
  • New District Athletic Director no longer reports to Bonhart, but directly to Lolli.
  • Dunbar basketball program is put on watch by the OHSAA for three more years.

Predictions, DPS enrollment drops by another several hundred after his latest show of incompetence. Board is too stupid to sue Subashi and Wildermuth for bad legal advice, and continues to pay them ridonkulous sums to try to make up for the Board and Lolli’s incompetence.

I win suit on task force violations of sunshine laws in case scheduled for court on Aug. 1. I collect $500, board has spent tens of thousands to defend their illegal actions, I appeal to Ohio Auditors open records unit to have Mims, Al-Hamdani, Walker and Harris removed from office. They don’t do anything. I file a lawsuit to force Ohio to enforce their own damn laws, and 2 years later- all are removed from office.

UPDATE

12:17 pm complete text of joint release

News Release – Ohio High School Athletic Association
Executive Director Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D.
www.OHSAA.org | twitter.com/OHSAASports | facebook.com/OHSAA
For Immediate Release- April 26, 2018
Contact – Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Communications, [email protected]
Dayton Public Schools and OHSAA Announce Closure to Dunbar Basketball Incident
New evidence leads DPS and OHSAA to same conclusion in aftermath of court case

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dayton Public Schools superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli and Ohio High School Athletic Association Executive Director Dr. Dan Ross have announced closure to the case Involving Dunbar High School boys’ basketball during the 2017-18 season.

In March, Dayton Public Schools filed a lawsuit to block the OHSAA’s decision to remove Dunbar from the boys’ basketball tournament for using an ineligible player, which stemmed from Dunbar not suspending junior varsity players who left the bench during a fight in January. The issue was whether one player, who later participated in a varsity tournament game, left the bench during the fight. The court sided with Dayton Public Schools, stating: “In reviewing the record upon which OHSAA based its decision, the Court finds that OHSAA’s decision is not supported by reliable, probative and substantial evidence.” The court further found “thus, as Coach Taylor testified, John Doe was already in the locker room hallway before the fight broke out.” However, after the Court’s ruling, new evidence came to light, showing that the student-athlete left the bench and went into the fight.

DAYTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATEMENT

“I would like to thank Dr. Ross and the OHSAA for working with us to find the truth in this situation ,” Lolli said. “It is concerning that individuals with information about the incident did not feel comfortable coming forward before the court hearing. We owe an apology to Bishop Fenwick High School, Thurgood Marshall High School and the OHSAA, We have taken corrective measures to address the situation. We appreciate the OHSAA’s cooperation and compassion during this situation. We know that removal of Dayton Public Schools’ membership In the OHSAA was an option.”‘

OHSAA STATEMENT

“I was a superintendent for a long time, so I understand what Dr. Lolli has been going through with this,” Ross said. “Our staff was convinced by the evidence we had in making our original decision that the youngster came off the bench when the fight broke out. Once new evidence was obtained and shared with Dr. Lolli, she immediately knew that It was a very serious matter and wanted to work with the OHSAA to make the needed corrections. It has been a pleasure working with her and we trust that nothing like this will happen again at Dayton Public Schools.”

DAYTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACTION

Dayton Public Schools began reviewing athletic department structure and procedures immediately after this Incident occurred. The District is in the process of making decisions about the athletic department and will be implementing changes over the next several weeks. Dr. Ross has been kept apprised of these discussions. DPS is committed to making certain that its coaches and administrators know and follow OHSAA rules, properly investigate incidents, and impose appropriate consequences for rule violations.

OHSAA SANCTIONS

In addition, the OHSAA has handed down the following sanctions. Dunbar will not be permitted to participate in the 2019 boys’ basketball tournament  and Dayton Public Schools will reimburse the OHSAA’s court costs, fees and expenses related to the March hearing. In addition, the OHSAA has extended the current probation period that all Dayton Public Schools are currently serving from a football incident in 2016. That probation Is now extended through June 2020 for all DPS schools and through 2022 for Dunbar.

“For the last month, this has been an effort from both sides working together – the OHSAA and Dayton Public Schools,” Ross said. “I commend Dr. Lolli for working hard to do the right thing here and get to the truth. She cares deeply for Dayton Public Schools and understands how important this is for DPS moving forward .”

###OHSAA###

Tim Stried
Director of Communications
Ohio High School Athletic Association
614-267-2502
[email protected]
www .OHSAA.org
www.Twitter.com/OHSAASports
www.Facebook.com/OHSAA
614·267-1677 fax
4080 Roselea Place
Columbus, OH 43214

Esrati and his video camera shut down first task force meeting before it starts

I couldn’t get an agenda. I couldn’t get confirmation of the meeting. I showed up before 9am, set up my camera, and waited.

thumbnail of School Facilities Task Force- Meeting One agenda

The “Agenda” that the interim Superintendent handed out.

The Board Secretary and I exchanged pleasantries. I spoke to the Superintendent. I took a photo of the agenda (which I shared on FB and with the Dayton Daily News). The Superintendent was the one to tell me the meeting started at 9:30.

Just before the meeting started, Dayton Daily news reporter Jeremy Kelley started asking questions of City Commissioner Jeff Mims and school board elect Mohamed Al-Hamdani about the legality of this meeting- citing ORC and the Open Meetings Laws (commonly called the Sunshine laws). At some point, they told Kelley that it wasn’t a public meeting and he’d have to leave. My longtime friend Chuck Hamlin, cameraman for CH 7, packed up his gear, the CH7 beat reporter and Kelley all headed outside the room in the airlock- and then to the street. Kelley started calling his bosses telling them he was told to leave.

I stayed. Camera running. Mama Nozipo Glenn stayed as well, sitting on the sidelines quietly.

DPS PR person Marsha Bonhart came over and told me I had to leave. I suggested she call the police, because that’s the only way I’m going. She said she wouldn’t do that. Next thing you know, the Superintendent apologizes to everyone and adjourns the meeting that never started. People mill around. CH 7 comes back in and interviews some folks (of course not interviewing me).

It’s clear that Mohamed Al-Hamdani didn’t pay attention to the sunshine laws when he was in law school. It’s pretty obvious that Jeff Mims, despite years of public service on DPS school board, the State School Board and the Dayton City Commission- didn’t read the law either. Nor do they care about being honest and open about their plans for the school district. And, Al-Hamdani hasn’t even been sworn in yet.

Rev. Harris was also in attendance as was Dr. Walker, the Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, the associate superintendent Sheila Burton and a few other staff. All should be censured. The OSBA clearly lays out the rules.

Board member responsibilities

The role and function of board members often are misinterpreted by the public. The board is a policymaking body and members are the chief advisors to the superintendent on community attitudes. Board members do not manage the day-to-day operations of a school district; they see to it that the system is managed well by professional administrators.

Board members do not evaluate staff, other than the superintendent and treasurer, nor do they typically become involved in employment interviews, other than those of the superintendent, business manager and treasurer. Board members may be consulted during the hiring process for other positions, such as assistant superintendent.

Source: Running for a school board | Ohio School Boards Association

It continues- I’ve highlighted a few things that are pertinent to this discussion:

As a start, the following guidelines are offered. A good board member:
Knows that he or she can legally act as a board member only when the board of education is in session. No one person, unless authorized, should speak on behalf of the board.
Avoids administrative decisions or attempts to second-guess the administration. The superintendent is the chief administrator and the board has no administrative function.
• Is well acquainted with school policies.
• Should vote at all times in the best interests of the children of the school district.
• Is flexible and realizes there are times when changes must be made, when tradition cannot be honored and when pressure must be ignored.
• Remembers that board business often requires confidentiality, especially in processes involving students, personnel, land acquisition, negotiations and security.
• Is interested in obtaining facts, but also remembers that the administration has responsibility for operating the schools, rather than spending all its time making reports to an individual board member.
• Is a good listener at board meetings, on the street corner, in the community or anywhere else approached, but never commits himself or herself, the board or the administration.
Knows that the reputation of the entire school district is reflected in his or her behavior and attitude.
• Is able to support a decision when it is made.

The reality is- this is an illegal body, trying to operate illegally, and board members and a prospective board member, seem oblivious to the law.

As further background:

This was what I sent yesterday:

From: David Esrati <[email protected]>
Date: January 8, 2018 at 11:14 AM
To: Denise Gum <[email protected]>
CC: Jyllian Guerriero <[email protected]>, Marsha Bonhart <[email protected]>
Subject: Request to be added to the mailing list- Public records request
Ms. Gum,
I would like notification of all meetings of the “Task force” that was announced last Thursday.
For clarification- what time is the meeting tomorrow– and is there an agenda?
Could I please have those asap.
Also- can you please clarify when the authorization was voted on by the school board to direct the superintendent to engage the district in this task force?
And what the vote was?
Who chose the members of the task force? And when did the board assign Mohammed, Rev’s Walker and Harris to this task force?
Thanks
And here is the condescending uninformative answer I got from Ms. Bonhart, who didn’t bother to even tell me the correct time of the meeting:
From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Date: January 8, 2018 at 11:22 AM
To: “Denise Gum” <[email protected]>, [email protected]
CC: [email protected]
Subject: Request to be added to the mailing list- Public records request
David –
Again, please address your public records requests to DPS legal counsel Jyllian Bradshaw and/or the public information office; do not approach other DPS employees to obtain  public records. They can’t help you.

FYI – district offices are closed today, January 8th.

Thank you –

Marsha Bonhart

For the record- pertinent excerpts from the Sunshine Laws starting on page 89

The Open Meetings Act defines a “public body” as any of the following:
a. Any board, commission, committee, council, or similar decision-making body of a state agency, institution, or authority, and any legislative authority or board, commission, committee, council, agency, authority, or similar decision -making body of any county, township, municipal corporation, school  district, or other political subdivision or local public institution;
b. Any committee or subcommittee thereof;
2. Identifying public bodies
The term “public body” applies to many different decision -making bodies at the state and local level.
If a statute does not specifically identify an entity as a “public body,” Ohio courts have applied several factors in determining what constitutes a  “public body,” including:
a. The manner in which the entity was created;
b. The name or official title of the entity;
c. The membership composition of the entity;
d. Whether the entity engages in decision-making;
e. Who the entity advises or to whom it reports.
Close-up: applying the definition of “public body”
Using the above factors, the following entities have been found by some courts of appeals to be public bodies:
a. A selection committee established on a temporary basis by a state agency for the purpose of evaluating responses to a request for proposals and making a recommendation to a commission.
However, at least one court has determined that a selection committee whose members were appointed by the chair of a public body, not by  formal action of the body, is  nevertheless a public body and subject to the Open Meetings Act
B. “Meeting”
1.Definition
The Open Meetings Act requires members of a public body to take official action, conduct deliberations, and discuss the public business in an open meeting, unless the subject matter is specifically exempted by law.
The Act defines a “meeting” as: (1) a prearranged gathering of (2) a majority of the members of a public body (3) for the purpose of discussing public business.
c. Discussing public business
With narrow exemptions, the Open Meetings Act requires the members of a public body to discuss and deliberate on official business only in open meetings.
“Discussion” is the exchange of words, comments, or ideas by the members of a public body.
“Deliberation” means the act of weighing and examining reasons for and against a choice.
One court has described “deliberation” as a thorough discussion of all factors involved, a careful weighing of positive and negative factors, and a cautious consideration of the ramifications of the proposal, while gradually arriving at a decision.
Another court described the term as involving “a decisional analysis, i.e., an exchange of views on the facts in an attempt to reach a decision.”
Note that the Ohio Supreme Court recently held that discussions of public business may also be conducted over any other media, such as the telephone, video conference, email, text, or tweet.
In other words, just because a discussion did not occur in-person does not mean it is exempt from the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.
In evaluating whether particular gatherings of public officials constituted “meetings,” several courts of appeals have opined that the Open Meetings Act “is intended to apply to those situations where there has been actual formal action taken; to wit, formal
deliberations concerning the public business.”
Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act.
More importantly, the Ohio Supreme Court has not ruled on whether “investigative and informational” gatherings are or are not “meetings.” Consequently, public bodies should seek guidance from their legal counsel about how such gatherings are viewed by the court of appeals in their district, before convening this kind of private gathering as other than a regular or special meeting.

Sunshine laws and Dayton Public School meetings

Sunshine law cartoon

Columbia Tribune: Sunshine John Darkow
03/09/2005

I had planned to write a post to define the Sunshine laws, how “work sessions” are supposed to work, and what a “business meeting” is.

I was also going to cover how most elected bodies manage going into executive session, what they are allowed to talk about behind closed doors, and what it means if there is a board that spends a LOT of time in executive session- but then, I said, maybe I should look back on the 2500+ posts on this blog… surely- I’ve covered it before? And, the answer is: of course I have- over and over. Even about DPS. Even with arguments in comments with Dr. Adil Baguirov, Joe Lacey, etc.

I could just send you to all the posts- and you know what, since I’m feeling stuffed and lazy this Thanksgiving, I’m going to do that. But, there are a few things I need to point out before I do that.

Most boards go into executive session at the END of their regular meeting. This is so guests who are invited to speak, don’t have to sit around and wait for them to finish in the back room. It’s also usually done this way, so people WON’T know how long they are in executive session.

Why is the length of executive session meaningful? Typically, the limited issues that are allowed to be discussed in executive session are ones in which a board/commission/etc. is reviewing the findings and options that are presented by those they supervise- for DPS that means the Superintendent and the Treasurer. They should be getting well prepared documents in advance, with cost benefit analysis, organizational charts, performance reports, contracts, bids, etc. By the time they arrive, they should have their questions ready, and should know the material inside out. Then it comes down to are there 4 votes to support the action? This really shouldn’t take long if the organizational leadership has provided cogent, succinct, relevant briefing material. So, when you have long sessions behind closed doors- it means you are questioning your leadership. Not a good sign.

Competent leadership guides the board in the direction they are taking the organization. Weak leadership relies on the board to guide them in doing their job.

Based on the amount of time the Dayton Board of Education is spending behind closed doors- our new superintendent must be floundering in their eyes. Have they recognized yet that they made a huge mistake in hiring Rhonda Corr? Is that why there have been long executive sessions- ones that she’s not in? That most likely means they are discussing her future here.

Executive sessions are usually not needed for things that need immediate action if an organization isn’t flying by the seat of their pants. Announcing a list of layoffs, then going into executive session, then voting on it- in a “work session” instead of a “business meeting” has so many flaws in it, there is the potential for 20 separate or one-class action lawsuit for managing it incorrectly. The former board Treasurer is already suing them for his illegal firing. Items like this, should be discussed in executive session- and decided on, then posted on the next business meetings agenda- with good notice, and then acted on. At least in theory – that’s how it’s supposed to go.

But, this post is already longer than it needs to be.

You could have just read this post: What is a legal meeting of the Dayton City Commission? Yes- it’s about the city commission, but it spells out the differences between public meetings and work sessions- which the board of ed calls different things- review sessions, strategic planning discussion, various committees etc. It’s why Dayton Daily news education reporter says that this board meets more, longer than any other school board in the region. Hmmm, maybe that’s why the district is failing?

Or this post: Dayton Board of Ed votes 4-3 to donate taxes to GE/UD
This one doesn’t really get into the nitty gritty of the sunshine laws, but is interesting because Joe Lacey denies screaming and gets involved in the comments. The reality is- the board didn’t really want citizen input- and gave away a big tax break to General Electric. The fact that the vote was 4-3 shows there was a little common sense on the board at the time with current board members Lacey, Taylor and Lee all voting yes. None of the no votes are still on the board. There are 87 comments on this post- a lot of insight for those who want to learn more.

This post isn’t about public bodies meeting- it’s about people who buy off public bodies meeting. The cast of characters has a similar lineup of the people who bought and paid for Issue 9. Public officials, Private meeting. Our Dayton – discussed behind closed doors as always- follow the money if you want the truth.

And, saving the best and most relevant for last, including comments by Dr. Baguirov and Joe Lacey, is the one about how the meeting was handled when the Board was in the process of subverting former Superintendent Lori Ward as she was about to attend a forum with local groups. Time for some sunshine in DPS meetings The labeling of the local New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam as hate groups was just one more indication of the racist overtures of the current board president. Again, comments are illuminating with contributions from Baguirov and Lacey.

Several former employees have said that they felt they were being discriminated against because they were African American. The list of firings from the November 8th meeting- had a preponderance of African Americans on it. Several former African American employees said they wouldn’t come back to the district unless Dr. Baguirov is either off the board, or minimally not board president. Ideally, they’d like to see a majority of the board no longer on the board, but Baguirov was the main sticking point.

One last observation, strong black males, outspoken competent leadership, seem to have been high on the list for the recent cuts that were made with bad enrollment and financial data. Something else to think about.

If you go back to my speech at the October board meeting, I said the number one thing that is required for building the school brand back is trust. The “Sunshine Laws” are key to building trust through transparency. The board needs to make a few key changes immediately if they want to restore trust after this latest round of fiascos:

  • All board meetings should be filmed and put online.
  • All board meetings should have complete agendas published at least 48 hours before a meeting- and ideally 72 hours before.
  • All business, items to be voted on, must be done at a business meeting, or a meeting where citizen participation is welcome.
  • Executive sessions should be held at the end of regularly scheduled meetings, so people don’t have to wait while you futz around in the back room.
  • The system of using “Board Docs” to publish agendas needs so many improvements it should be abandoned. It’s not mobile friendly- or ADA compliant. It seems to be fluid- without clarification of when changes are posted (some info seems to be posted while or after the meeting took place), the sections are confusing and overly complex. It’s not easily searchable. That they pay for this joke of a system is another indication that their IT director deserved his termination more than most.

See you at the Tuesday December 6 2016 meeting, at 5pm where we will learn if John McManus becomes president, if the rest of the cuts using bad data are acted upon, if Rhonda Corr will keep her job.

The meeting the citizens are organizing to plan for this meeting is:

Thursday December 1, 2016 6-7:30 p.m.
Corinthian Baptist Church
700 S James H. McGee Blvd, Dayton

“Parents of DPS students are invited to join a conversation about proposed changes to the yearly budget and personnel in our classrooms.
Please join us to ask questions, provide feedback, and share our vision for the future of our children and community. School board members have been invited to attend to answer questions and provide greater understanding for their plan for Dayton Public Schools.”

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Time for some sunshine in DPS meetings

Sunshine law cartoon

Columbia Tribune: Sunshine John Darkow
03/09/2005

Ohio has open meeting laws, commonly called “Sunshine laws”– which are to protect the public from public officials doing things behind closed doors. When you are elected, you are not in charge, you work for all the people who elected you, and as such, except for a few key things like legal disputes, contracts, personnel decisions, you do it where the public can watch.

It’s a weak law, with even weaker consequences. No one gets rich catching politicians acting badly thanks to the low fines, and high court costs. If we really believed in this, instead of electing a coroner or a county engineer, we’d elect a chief ethics officer whom you could turn to and they would take care of things like this.

While the Dayton Public School board only has one new member, John McManus, all the rest of them should have taken the Sunshine law class offered by the secretary of state. I know for a fact that board VP Sheila Taylor has taken it and knows enough to know right from wrong.

Recently, the DPS board has been receiving a lot of flak- mostly from African American activists in our community. First it was the “School to Prison Pipeline” then the “cops at basketball games” and most recently, for the non-renewal of the two top administrators who are black, by a board that is majority white and led by two white people. Dr. Adil Baguirov’s move to limit speakers to 1 minute instead of the normal 3, had security forcibly removing people from the podium over the basketball game issue.

So, this little item, had it been on the agenda, would have had a ton of people wanting to talk about it, protest it, and generally knock some sense into a board that seems pretty insensitive to the community it was elected to serve.

Meeting Mar 01, 2016 – Strategic Planning Meeting
Category: Resolution
Subject: Resolution – Hate Groups
Type: Action, Information

Whereas the Dayton New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam are recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups as hate groups,

The district shall not participate in events that promote or attempt to legitimize nationally recognized hate groups.

Motion by Joseph E. Lacey, second by Adil T. Baguirov, Ph.D.
Final Resolution: Motion Carried
Yes: Adil T. Baguirov Ph.D., Joseph E. Lacey, John S. McManus, Sheila J. Taylor
No: Hazel Rountree, J.D, Ph.D.
Abstain: Ronald C. Lee
Not Present at Vote: Robert C. Walker
For the record, the bottom three members are African American, the first four are white.
The real question is, why wasn’t this on the printed agenda? And when did they actually vote on it?
A friend told me this:
“The resolution was not on the agenda handed out to community observers at the beginning of the meeting, and was not presented until after the executive session, which means all community members were gone.”
Executive session rules have been bent, twisted and misapplied for years in Montgomery County, and don’t even get me started on the gray area of “work sessions.” If we had a real chief ethics officer, with power, the public would see a new level of transparency that would make their heads spin, but that’s wandering off on a tangent.
To go into executive session, you must announce it in a regularly scheduled public meeting. You must, explain before hand the reason it’s called, then go into session, and then only discuss the matter at hand. When returning from executive session, you announce that you stuck to the stated item and close the meeting. You do not come back in and take a vote on something that was not the topic of discussion- as they did on March 1.
The law is pretty specific about resolutions being adopted in an open meeting- one where the public is still there- and are informed about it via the agenda:

8 (H) A resolution, rule, or formal action of any kind is invalid unless adopted in an open meeting of the public body. A resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting that results from deliberations in a meeting not open to the public is invalid unless the deliberations were for a purpose specifically authorized in division (G) or (J) of this section and conducted at an executive session held in compliance with this section. A resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting is invalid if the public body that adopted the resolution, rule, or formal action violated division (F) of this section.

Source: Lawriter – ORC – 121.22 Public meetings – exceptions.

The question really becomes why did the board do this now, in sneaky fashion? What is the urgency to ban both the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panthers? Who gave the Southern Poverty Law Center the divine right to judge for us in Dayton? Has the SPLC ever heard of “Racial Justice Now”? Would they be a hate group? Although their site is far from as sophisticated or informative- I see some of the same language there that I see on the New Black Panther site.

Going to the SPLC site- to their “Hate Map” I grab their definitions:

All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.

If we look at the first statement- I’d think the Dayton Board of Ed should be passing a resolution against Donald Trump before wondering about NOI or the NBPP.

And looking at the second, how they segue from “criminal acts” to “marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing” which are all, the last I checked, activities protected by the First Amendment.

In fact, the grouping of the local NOI and NBPP groups with the national- is in fact maligning an entire class of people- based not on actual facts or actions, but, guilt by association. I would say the local Montgomery County Democratic Party, which pressures people not to run, sends out smear mail about opponents, and engages in closed-door screening of candidates by a secret group- is more a danger to our community – especially since they have control of half the board of elections, than either of these local groups.

I sent an email to all the members of the Board of Ed this morning to ask them to admit or deny the way they handled this resolution- with the quote above about the agenda- exec session.

I received 2 responses- from Dr. Baguirov and John McManus. I am closing with their statements. You decide if this resolution was necessary, needed, racially motivated, legal, done out of fear….

Agenda of the meetings often is slightly amended, as it was nearly every month in the past years, and as it was on a couple of occasions at the March 1 meeting: item that was marked subject “A – Review of Report Cards” was moved to be discussed after other subjects and became Subject E – last in line. No objections to that it seems, even though printed agenda shows it as Subject A. So yes, the agenda was further adjusted with one more item in the end, on hate groups, and all was done fully in line with the law and board policy. Board meetings are public, advertised, and open, and after executive sessions there is some action taking place sometimes, as it happened on February 23, just a week prior. Thanks.

~Baguirov

Let me be clear that I only speak for myself here, as it is against board policy to speak for the board.
“Personally, until it was introduced, I was unaware that we would be voting on any kind of resolution of this nature. I listened to the discussion, though, and did vote for it in the end. After the article in the Dayton Daily News that stated that the groups had been classified as hate groups, I didn’t think I had a choice. With that being said, though, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the leaders and members of the two local groups and I don’t think that they personally have any hate in their hearts. They’re donating coats and shoes to kids who can’t afford them. That’s love, not hate. There is so much healing that needs to be done in this community, and I just hope and pray that it happens sooner rather than later.”
~McManus (and yes, apparently he writes in quotes)

 

 

 

 

Five Rivers Metroparks. Now run by the politburo

This is illegal. On July 26th Five Rivers Metroparks started pushing a new policy to vendors at the 2nd Street Market- to take effect 8/1/2014. But before we even get to what the policy they are implementing is- we have to start with the e-mail signature of the person sending out the policy – it includes the following legalese:

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this e-mail are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Five Rivers MetroParks. Five Rivers MetroParks accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

It’s even styled to be hard to read- using gray type and small font style tags.

Please note, “Autumn Saenz Market Coordinator 2nd St Market Five Rivers MetroParks” you don’t work for a private law firm- but for a government entity- funded by our taxes. Everything you do is public information, covered by Ohio’s Sunshine laws, and available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Just the hint of some sort of secrecy- or that this isn’t public record, is a violation.

If any vendor wants to forward your communications, get used to it. Several vendors are my clients and talked to me about this new policy- and I concur, it’s absurd and illegal.

The new policy in question? “SOCIAL MEDIA RULES AND REGULATIONS” which prohibits talking smack about Five Rivers Metroparks, the Market, and or, anything about the market or any of the affiliates- up to and including the commissioners of the organization. So, in effect, we’re allowed to bully you into not being a “cyberbully” and if you talk about us, and our attempts to regulate free speech in public, we’ll terminate your lease.

The complete text of the new mandate:

Five Rivers MetroParks
2nd Street Market
Amendment to Rules and Regulations
Effective 8/1//14

SOCIAL MEDIA RULES AND REGULATIONS
2nd Street Market vendors and their employees or agents must be courteous and professional at all times. This includes vendors’ use of the Internet, e-mail and social media and digital networking tools.

Vendors and their employees or agents shall not make defamatory or derogatory remarks about Five Rivers MetroParks, the 2nd Street Market, or other related to Five Rivers MetroParks or the 2nd Street Market in their electronic communications, including on all social media platforms. They will not engage in gossip, spreading rumors, cyberbullying or similar behavior.

Vendors, their employees or agents may not use e-mail, the Internet or social media and digital networking tools in any manner that may impair the reputation or public standing of Five Rivers MetroParks, the 2nd Street Market or their employees, agents or Commissioners.

Fiver (sic) Rivers MetroParks and the 2nd Street Market reserve the right to report any such communication to the appropriate authorities and social media platforms as communication that violates appropriate standard of conduct. Repeated offenses of these rules and regulations may result in the termination of a vendor’s license agreement at conduct business at the 2nd Street Market.
———————————————————————————————————————
Cut/Tear along the dotted line and return to Jimmy or Autumn. Thank You

By signing here, the vendor agrees to participate in the 2nd Street Market in accordance with the Amendment to the Rules and Regulations described in this document. Effective 8/1/14.
Vendor Business
Vendor Name
Vendor Signature
Date

If you want an original PDF of the document in question: Social Media Amendment

Metroparks is funded by Montgomery County taxpayers. And just to make it clear- even if the vendors were direct employees of a private company- these policies and threats of lease termination would be illegal:

In January (2013), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a series of rulings and advisories that changed the rules for private businesses that want to punish workers who make these feelings public using social media.

The board’s rulings make it illegal for most private companies to enact broad policies that would punish workers who criticize their employers or work conditions if such venting could be considered part of an employee’s right to work toward improved working conditions.

via Do Governments Need Personal Social Media Policies?.

As our best example of regional cooperation, MetroParks should be the shining example of open government, and transparent practices. One of the oddities of this organization is that even though the public pays for this organization, we have no say in who runs it- the 3 “commissioners” are appointed by an unnamed “Montgomery County Probate Judge” and seem to be appointed for life (although start dates for each isn’t listed, Irv Bieser and Alan Pippenger have been on this board for a long time (but we’ll save that issue for another post).

As of this time, most vendors, afraid to raise their voices against this policy fearing the threat of lease termination- are signing it and keeping their mouths shut. Technically, the release of the e-mail and document, may be grounds for termination. When we can’t talk in public about the conduct of the people in charge of our tax dollars, we don’t have a democracy, we have a dictatorship. And in that vein, to the director of Metroparks- I challenge you, Becky Benná- tear down this policy.