Cell Tower Committee Admits Maryland Open Meetings Act Violation

… Prince George’s County  Parents Can Finally Track 60 Cell Tower Plan

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Multitude of antennae atop the tower emits
pulsing microwaves.
Parents in multiple Maryland counties, including Montgomery County, are having a hard time tracking the rapid construction of cell towers on public school playgrounds.In Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, cell tower applications must go through a Tower Committee.  Tower Committees are public bodies and must abide by the requirements of the Maryland Open Meetings Act.  But, in Prince George’s County the Tower Committee was not following the Open Meetings Act, making it impossible for parents to track when their local school playground was to be the site of one of the 60 cell tower compounds coming to their schools. A complaint was filed on September 17th with the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board regarding the failure of the Prince George’s Tower Committee to follow the Open Meetings Act.
This week the Prince George’s Tower Committee filed their response to the complaint.In their complaint they acknowledge numerous failings of their committee process including the fact that they have not been providing the public with Minutes of their meetings.As a result of the Open Meetings Act Complaint that was filed:

  • The Tower Committee has now changed it’s webpage to show meeting dates, time and location.
  • The Tower Committee will now be posting notices of upcoming meetings.
  • The Tower Committee has now made the location of their monthly meetings public so that the public can attend.
  • The Tower Committee will now be making audio recordings of their meetings available to the public as the meeting minutes.

Here is the full text of the Tower Committee’s response.  In the coming weeks the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board will review the complaint and the response and issue a formal Opinion.
In the meantime, the Tower Committee has committed to following the Open Meetings Act going forward.  This will make the construction of the 60 cell tower compounds on Prince George’s public school playgrounds easier to track. ~ Article courtesy  Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland

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Dr. Kevin Maxwell
When does Dr. Maxwell get the award for the 60 CELL TOWERS he is planning on PGCPS playgrounds? Oh, did someone forget about the reality Prince George’s County Public School playgrounds are becoming commercial HAZMAT facilities with 250 GALLONS of diesel fuel per playground.
http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/2014/09/koj…
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Mr. Rushern Baker –The current County Executive for Prince George’s County is known not to be a man of his word according to Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter and is deeply involved in the scandal comprising Dr. kevin Maxwell .

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Largo HS parents: ‘The community wasn’t given a voice’

…Questions raised about school’s possible selection for English learners program.

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Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks listens to parents and staff speak at Sasscer in the past photo. He has demonstrated poor leadership skills and cover ups involving union corruption facilitated by misconduct and mismanagement of public funds.  

Some Largo High School parents say they are disappointed they were not asked for their input before the school was considered as a site for a non-native English speakers program.

The CASA-Internationals Community High Schools program would offer a small school environment for English language learners, said Prince George’s County Public Schools’ spokesman Max Pugh.

Largo has been discussed as one of two sites for the program, but the site selection has not been finalized, Pugh said. The second site will be in Langley Park but a specific location has not been determined, Pugh said. Each school will start with 100 students during the 2015-2016 academic year and expand with a new class annually.

Valerie White, president of the Largo High School PTSA, said the PTSA is not completely opposed to the program, but members want the program to benefit all students, not just English language learners, by encouraging them to become bilingual.

“They said the school would be involved. They said the community would be involved. No one was at the table in the beginning,” White said.

The county school board needed to pass an emergency item to approve the memorandum of understanding with Casa of Maryland, which advocates for Latinos and immigrants in Maryland, and New York-based Internationals Network for Public Schools, a nonprofit that operates schools for international students and submitted the grant application for the program.

The measure was passed March 13 as an emergency item so the application could be submitted on time, Pugh said. The school system was awarded the $3 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation in July.

“The part I’m stuck on is the community wasn’t given a voice, and no one decided to ask Largo what they thought of it before they made the decision,” said parent Charmian Makell, 41, of District Heights. “I think someone should take this to task on why it was an emergency decision.”

Pugh said Largo is being considered because a section of the school large enough to house the program is currently being renovated. If Largo is chosen, White said the internationals high school may utilize 10 classrooms, which could expand class sizes from 38 to 45 students.

Some students questioned how the school would operate if it housed two different educational programs.

“I don’t think it will work,” said sophomore Tanijia Hardy-Leach, 15, of Clinton. “How would they do lunch if they were separate from us?”

Junior Keilo Savoy, 16, of Temple Hills said the school is too small to accommodate the program.

“If they follow through with this, it’s not going to last long,” Keilo said. “Ten classrooms for people who don’t know English, that’s too many.”

Parents and students felt that English language learners should study alongside native English speakers, rather than attend separate schools in the same building.

“I don’t think separating is the idea,” said Natalie Washington, 45, of Largo, who has a senior at the school. “If they’re going to be there, bring them all together. Don’t separate them because they are from another country or speak another language.”

Pugh said there is no deadline for the schools to be selected, but recruitment for prospective students will conclude in the spring. There will be a presentation on the internationals high schools program at the Nov. 13 school board meeting, Pugh said.

kpetersen@gazette.net

Correction: Prince George’s County Public Schools’ spokesman Max Pugh had initially incorrectly stated the internationals high schools program was for recently arrived immigrants. The program is open to English language learners.

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>>>Corruption and Good Governance” in the County.

>>>Maxwell hires former Baker aide and creates yet another Blunder.

>>>Rebranding of Prince George’s through Vote 2014.

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“Corruption and Good Governance” in the County.

Vote “No” to Question J and H

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Mr. Rushern Baker –The current County Executive for Prince George’s County is known not to be a man of his word according to Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter and is deeply involved in the scandal comprising Dr. kevin Maxwell .

It never hurts when a company’s founder wins the Nobel prize for the product it makes or a leader who has shown extra-ordinary qualities in times of difficulties. However, news reports that, CEO Maxwell of Prince George’s County received an award for environmental conservation when no one has ever seen him advocate for such in Prince George’s County is a questionable exercise. Could it be this is a decoy for after we published an expose for hiring Mr. Christian Rhodes recently? We will let you be the judge.

Prince George’s County needs sustained reporting on malfeasance in public life. The continuous reporting has resulted in the ouster of corrupt officials and raised public awareness on the need for reform. If there has to be an award to the county’s CEO Maxwell, it needs to be an award for his promotion of hostile work environment. >> Read more Dr. Kevin Maxwell takes a bizarre turn! 

Elements of a Hostile Work Environment Claim

Determining harassment or discrimination is fact-specific and the elements that must be established depend on the type alleged. In general, to establish that a person has been harassed or discriminated against under Maryland Law Against Discrimination, that person must show the following five elements to establish a hostile work environment claim:

(1) They are a qualified individual under protected class for example they could have disability;
(2) They were subjected to unwelcome harassment;
(3) The harassment was based on the person’s class or status;
(4) The harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter a term, condition, or privilege of employment; and
(5) Some factual basis exists to impute liability for the harassment to the employer.

“Reasonable Person Standard”

In addition, to recover on a hostile environment claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate not only that he subjectively perceived his workplace environment as hostile, but also that a reasonable person would so perceive it — that it was objectively hostile. Factors to consider

  • frequency of the discriminatory conduct;
  • its severity;
  • whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and
  • whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance.

In Prince George’s county, Dr. Maxwell has failed to address the issues of hostile work environment and his actions speaks volumes in recent months. Claims against Prince George’s County and other employers within are rising, with a majority alleging employees or former employees were subjected to a “hostile work environment” or “hostility in the workplace.”  To any keen observer, this is failed leadership out to squander public cash through the back door.

In an influential essay titled “Leading From Within,” educational writer and consultant Parker Palmer introduces a powerful metaphor to dramatize the distinction between ethical and unethical leadership. According to Palmer, the difference between moral and immoral leaders is as sharp as the contrast between light and darkness, between heaven and hell.

Leadership

A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to create the conditions under which other people must live and move and have their being, conditions that can be either as illuminating as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A leader must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside his or her own self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.

Leaders have the power to illuminate the lives of followers or to cover them in darkness. They cast light when they master ethical challenges of leadership. They cast shadows when they (1) abuse power, (2) hoard privileges, (3) mismanage information, (4) act inconsistently, (5) misplace or betray loyalties, and (6) fail to assume responsibilities.

 According to professor Kellerman, bad leaders can be ineffective, unethical, or ineffective and unethical. She identifies seven types of bad leaders:

  1. Incompetent:  These leaders don’t have the motivation or ability to sustain effective action. They may lack emotional or academic intelligence, for example, or be careless, distracted, or sloppy. Some can’t function under stress, and their communication and decisions suffer as a result. Former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch (1961–2000) is one example of an incompetent leader. Toward the end of his tenure he turned a blind eye to commercialism, drug scandals, and corruption in the Olympic movement.
  2.  Rigid:  Rigid leaders may be competent, but they are unyielding, unable to accept new ideas, new information, or changing conditions. Thabo Mbeki is one such leader. After becoming president of South Africa in 1999, he insisted that HIV did not cause AIDS and withheld antiretroviral drugs from HIV-positive women. These medications would have dramatically cut the transmission of the disease to their babies.
  3. Intemperate:  Intemperate leaders lack self-control and are enabled by followers who don’t want to intervene or can’t. Marion Barry, Jr.’s political career demonstrates intemperate leadership in action. Barry served as mayor of Washington, DC, from 1979 to 1991. He ignored widespread corruption in his administration, perhaps in part because he was busy cheating on his wife and doing drugs. Barry was convicted of possessing crack cocaine and served 6 months in jail. After being released from prison, he was elected to the city council in 1992 and was reelected as mayor in 1994. During his administrations, the district’s schools and public services deteriorated while the murder rate soared.
  4.  Callous: The callous leader is uncaring or unkind, ignoring or downplaying the needs, wants, and wishes of followers. Former hotel magnate Leona Helmsley personifies the callous leader. She earned the title “The Queen of Mean” by screaming at employees and firing them for minor infractions such as having dirty fingernails. Helmsley later served time for tax evasion. (She once quipped, “Only the little people pay taxes.”)
  5.  Corrupt: These leaders and at least some of their followers lie, cheat, and steal. They put self-interest ahead of public interest. Former United Way of America chief William Aramony is an example of this type of leader. Aramony used United Way funds to buy and furnish an apartment for his girlfriend and to pay for vacations. His top financial officers helped him hide his illegal actions. Aramony and his colleagues were convicted on fraud-related charges.
  6. Insular:  The insular leader draws a clear boundary between the welfare of his or her immediate group or organization and outsiders. Former President Bill Clinton behaved in an insular manner when he didn’t intervene in the Rwandan genocide that took the lives of 800,000–1 million people in 1994. He later traveled to Africa to apologize for failing to act even though he had reliable information describing how thousands of Tutsis were being hacked to death by their Hutu neighbors.
  7. Evil: Evil leaders commit atrocities, using their power to inflict severe physical or psychological harm. Foday Sankoh is one example of an evil leader. He started a civil war in Sierra Leone in 1991. His army, which included many boy soldiers, carried out a campaign of rape and murder. The rebels were also known for chopping off the legs, hands, and arms of innocent civilians.

 We know where light is coming from by looking at the shadows.

—Humanities scholar Paul Woodruff

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Dr. Kevin Maxwell seemed like a good fit in the very beginning but has proved himself to be something else. He is clearly being used by Mr. Rushern Baker regime and others for selfish motives including for high salaries at the expense of poor children and for improper influence within PGCPS District. Every time he gets criticized for making mistakes, the county leadership or some other external forces promotes him for some kind of an award to confuse the public everything is ok.  

 The Behaviors and Personal Characteristics of Toxic Leaders

Destructive Behaviors Toxic Qualities
Leaving followers worse off Lack of integrity
Violating human rights Insatiable ambition
Feeding followers’ illusions; creating dependence Enormous egos
Playing to the basest fears and needs of followers Arrogance
Stifling criticism; enforcing compliance Amorality (unable to discern right from wrong)
Misleading followers Avarice (greed)
Subverting ethical organizational structures and processes Reckless disregard for the costs of their actions
Engaging in unethical, illegal, and criminal acts Cowardice (won’t make tough choices)
Building totalitarian regimes Failure to understand problems
Failing to nurture followers, including successors Incompetent in key leadership situations
Setting constituents against one another
Encouraging followers to hate or destroy others
Identifying scapegoats
Making themselves indispensable
Ignoring or promoting incompetence, cronyism, and corruption

SOURCE: Adapted from Lipman-Blumen, J. (2005). The allure of toxic leaders: Why we follow destructive bosses and corrupt politicians—and how we can survive them. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 19–23.

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Read more >>> Rebranding of Prince George’s through Vote 2014.

>>>Maxwell hires former Baker aide and creates yet another Blunder.

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Maxwell hires former Baker aide and creates yet another Blunder.

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Prince George’s County Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell has hired Christian Rhodes, the education adviser to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, to join his executive team.

Rhodes will become the executive board liaison and strategic partners officer.

Rhodes was a union official before he joined Baker’s staff almost two years ago. He previously served as a political organizer for the Maryland State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.

As Baker’s education adviser, Rhodes was tasked with improving coordination among various branches of county government, including the formulation of the school budget, pursuit of educational innovation and reform and advocacy on both a state and national level, all roles traditionally held by the school board.

He described his new duties as an extension of his old ones.

He will help to build a collaborative relationship between the school system and it’s partners, including the county executive, the County Council, county agencies, nonprofits, businesses, foundations and “essentially anyone who is engaged in the work of improving the school system.”

Rhodes, who went to school to become a teacher, said the decision to move from the county administration building to school headquarters was both personal and professional.

“I’ve been involved in the politics of education, but one of my goals was to understand the work better,” he said. “I really wanted to be closer to the work and to be able to influence the work from that perspective.”

Rhodes said it is too soon to discuss projects that he hopes to enhance, but noted that whether it is literacy, ninth-grade promotion or graduation rates, he hopes to be able to lead the school system in partnering with organizations to help it meet its goals.

He is one of several new hires Maxwell has made since he took the helm of the school system 15 months ago. Many of the positions, like Rhodes’s, are newly-created. Rhode’s salary is $138,278. >>Read more >> Source Washington Post.
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OPINION

A fearless and effective watchdog is critical in fledgling democracies like in Prince George’s where institutions are weak and pummelled by political pressure. When legislatures, judiciaries and other oversight bodies are powerless against the mighty or are themselves corruptible, the media are often left as the only check against the abuse of power. This requires that they play a heroic role, exposing the excesses of presidents, prime ministers, legislators, county Executives, CEO’s and magistrates despite the risks.

The media also serve as a conduit between governors and the governed and as an arena for public debate that leads to more intelligent policy and decision-making.

In the above scenario involving Mr. Rhodes, the appointment clearly creates a conflict of interest on multiple fronts and will lead to many problems in the future.

  1. Mr. Rhodes served as Election Manager for Verjeana Jacobs (disgraced former Board chair).
  2. Mr. Rhodes Previously worked for Maryland State Education Association and Prince George’s County Educator Association which is involved in breach of contracts and advancement of misconduct within the Maryland school system.
  3. Both Mr. Rhodes and Dr. Eugene Banks (current BOE chair) are tied to National Educator Association (NEA). Any teacher expecting help from both or the teacher union in case of trouble, Good luck with that!
  4. Mr. Rhodes is an extension of Mr. Rushern Baker within the school system which in turn polarizes the county school system.
  5. Mr. Rhodes and Mr.George H. Margolies are duplicating duties at high salaries. Mr. Margolies makes over $200,000 and Mr. Rhodes will be making $138,278
  6. High salaries in the midst of crisis when we demanded many reforms at Sasscer administrative Building for such is unacceptable!
  7. High number of homeless students who have nothing to eat when the well connected friends and family in the Baker led administration is “eating big” is unwelcome recipe in the middle of a recession. The students are not doing so well academically.

It’s time to demand answers and stop the eating at Sasscer!

Contact your legislator today and the media say “NO”.  It’s time to Stop the blame and Fix the Real Problems in the county.

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Maryland’s new test requirement for graduation is Finally delayed…

for two years after pressure from the citizenry.

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Dr. Lillian Lowery Embattled State Superintendent is currently presiding over deep-seated corruption in Maryland school system. She has demonstrated a culture of discrimination and racism while on the job.

The Maryland State Board of Education voted on Tuesday for a two-year delay in requiring that high school students pass new standardized tests in order to graduate.

This year, students in grades 3 to 8 and in English 10 and Algebra I will take the new tests, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and based on the national Common Core State Standards.

Prior to Tuesday’s action, the new tests for English 10 and Algebra I were required for graduation. Under the new plan, students still will have to pass the courses to graduate, but will not have to pass the tests, state officials said.

The graduation requirement will go into effect during the 2016-2017 school year.

The action reverses a decision the state board made in July to implement the new test requirement.

“Our two-year plan will allow our students and teachers to become more knowledgeable in the more rigorous standards during the transition,” said Mary Kay Finan, the board’s vice president.

Maryland joins other states, including Massachusetts, that have either decided to delay the transition to the new tests or opted not to make them a graduation requirement this school year.

Since the board’s action earlier this year, some local district officials have raised concerns about holding students accountable during the transition to the new tests.

Montgomery County school leaders sent a letter earlier this month to state officials expressing their concern, and they asked for a two-year delay. They questioned why the state would delay the use of the results from the new tests in evaluating school personnel, but would require students to pass them to graduate.

He said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery has been in discussions with local superintendents and school board officials about the transition to the new tests.

“This was just a sensible approach,” Reinhard said. “We have to prepare everybody for moving forward.”

 Reinhard said a similar action was taken when the state High School Assessments, or HSAs, were rolled out years ago. >>> source  Washington Post
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The Four Workplace Bully Types as Exhibited in PGCPS.

Dr. Gary Namie explains the four main types of workplace bullying tactics as practiced in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).

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union

The little man v. the Big labor and the mismanagement of union dues for political agglomeration is a major violation of worker’s rights. Union lack of representation in the face of Bullying supervisors in the PGCPS District.  Employers don’t care about the bullying at work. Some like in Prince George’s County love it as you can see with the likes Simpson Marcus at Largo High school.

Union busting has always been part of American history. Organizers were routinely fired (or killed), despite the illegality. The NLRB was under control of administrations that hated labor. Unions are not to blame for the decline in unionization rates in the U.S. since Reagan broke the PATCO union. However, Union dirty politics and discrimination of workers in Maryland and elsewhere is killing the unions in many ways. “Employment at will” is the principle most loved by employers — the right to terminate people anytime, anywhere for no cause is a threat faced by 93% of private sector workers. As of Feb. 2013, the national unionization rate is down to 11.2% after 400,000 government workers — teachers, police, fire — lost their jobs to American “austerity – deficit reduction” decisions.

A 2013 D.C. Circuit Court decision decimated the NLRB and voided all 2012 decisions. The Chamber of Commerce and Republicans want to void all decisions made after George W. Bush left office. The NLRB is paralyzed and not able to render any decisions with only one “confirmed” member. Unions are being denied leverage against employers and the Chamber is telling members to simply ignore Union demands for fair labor practices or good faith bargaining.

David-Goliath battle

The driving force behind all the anti-union laws is a group called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). Investigative reporting discovered the ALEC-Tea Party-Legislation link. Overnight, existing collective bargaining rights were stripped away in Wisconsin and Ohio. Hard-won labor victories that took years to accomplish through organizing, protesting and bargaining are being erased.

While under assault, it’s easy to pull back and focus solely on survival of the union which in  some areas is guided by corrupt leadership out to gain personally. However, this is risky because members expect support and benefits from membership, regardless of external pressure on unions. When the conflict exist and the unions fails to act to fix the issues, this conduct does not only hurt the unions themselves but also the membership as well.

Here in Maryland and in Prince George’s County in particular,  it is time to fix these issues heads on and find a way to address the union lack of leadership and representation in many areas. This is the only way to help fix Americas future.

>Read more >>

>>Big Money Education Politics – Enjoy It While It Lasts? 

>> Rebranding of Prince George’s through Vote 2014.

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Prince George's County

Prince George’s County

Rebranding of Prince George’s through Vote 2014.

Vote “No” to Question J and H

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Mr. Baker (pictured above) is wrong on multiple fronts and for advocating for wrong choices for the people.

Since 2011, Reform Sasscer Movement has set out with an ambitious goal in mind — to democratize publishing and put state-of-the-art tools in front of media houses both large and small across the planet to transform Prince George’s County government. We believe strongly in this vision because when more people have access to powerful tools on the web, that in-turn empowers them to do great things and in turn, helps change our county and the world through an amazing content.

We feel the same way when it comes to democratizing every county in the world using our model. Well, in every true democracy, a time comes for an election — and in just a few days , citizens across the United States will have a unique opportunity to flex their political muscle and vote in the 2014 Midterm Elections.

Voting is our most fundamental responsibility as citizens — without it, our American democracy wouldn’t exist. Reform Sasscer Movement is a platform that gives everyday people the ability to share their voice and inform the public. We are asking you to take advantage of this voice and information — by exercising your right to vote. When you vote, vote against Question J and H in Prince George’s County. These Questions are disservice to Prince Georgians. >>> >>> Read more > Vote against longer term limits, fewer papers of record in Prince George’s.

We’re asking you for your help to spread the word, encourage participation and get out the vote on November 4th, 2014.

If you have any questions, please channel them through the comment section and we’ll be sure to help wherever we can. Thanks!

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