former PGCPS Chief legal Counsel -Mr. Roger Thomas is pictured above.
There are serious problems with our education system today in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS): the Elevation of Dr. William Hite was a major blunder and the way the schools and school district in general interact with the students, staff and parents is not cordial. Most teachers enter the education field full of life with hope and desire to change the world and positively impact kids. However, that is not always the case in PGCPS where the life is beaten out of them and some become villains for speaking the truth. These issues need to be brought to light in many ways in order to create accountability. If our blog opens the door for that conversation, so be it. Let that conversation begin. Stay tuned here for more evidence as time goes on.
While we never in a million years would have guessed that this many people would ever see our words and we did not even intend them to, we stand by what we write here and think that it is a good thing that people are now aware of the many problems impacting our kids.
Reform Sasscer team which is composed of professionals, teachers, students and parents concerned with PGCPS corruption with a view to advocating innovation, fiscal stability and transparency has been receiving worrying reports in recent times.
It has been established with great shock and uttter dismay that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) is centered around the General Counsel’s office which is managed by one Mr. Roger Thomas Esq. who is the Deputy Superintendent of schools.
A closer look into the General Counsel’s office establishes that it is the source of much of the corruption and controversy: (Chief Human Resources Officer) Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. who is also known as Synthia J. Kucner and (Director of Employee and Labor Relations) James R. Whattam, Esq. are both affiliated with the Office of General Counsel. Synthia J. Shilling aka Kucner was formerly the Deputy General Counsel before becoming the chief Human Resources Officer. According to reports in Washingtonpost, she has been caught red handed several times drunk driving . (Read more).
Furthermore, Mr. James Whattam Esq. formerly worked with the teacher’s union as legal representative. This definitely creates a conflict of interest at many levels. Someone should investigate how many positions/titles these individuals actually have.
To enhance their corrupt illegal activities, legal department awarded a $5 million legal tender to Thatcher law Firm to represent PGCPS and Dr. Wiliam Hite without competitive bind against the rules of Board of Education in 2011 (Read the story here). The said law firm (Thatcher law Firm) is being used to conduct illegal activities in support of corrupt agendas which includes bribing attorneys and defending illegal activities against staff with legitimate cases. Tax payer’s money is being used by the legal department and Dr. William Hite to undermine transparency and accountability. In addition, the same law firm awarded close to $8,000 towards political contributions to the chairman of the Board of Education Mrs. Verjeana M. Jacobs Esq. hence creating a conflict of interest during the time $5,000,000 was awarded. This is unacceptable.
Changing the PGCPS Board of Education while officials associated with the General Counsel’s office continue to keep their jobs will create some accountability but might not result in the reform needed to improve PGCPS. However, it is important to take a closer look into the activities of this office and the role it has played in denying job opportunities to staff, as well as educational opportunities to thousands of students. For example: Ms. Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. was in the center of a Filipino teacher’s fiasco (read the story here), Roger Thomas Esq. has been involved in shady deals which includes the following: questionable contracts involving Washington Plaza, Dr. Andrea Horsby , who is now serving jail time, was involved in corrupt illegal tender activities and the list is endless which includes Jack Johnson pay to play corruption. (Others read article here). The time has come to seek new and fresh leadership for General Counsel Office within PGCPS which has no ties to corruption. Roger Thomas Esq has been in this position for close to 19 years and he must go with his corruption exposed. If the current board of education cannot do anything to enact any change in this office now, we are asking the general public to exercise its right and vote them out once and for all. The Board of education has power to do many things, they can suspend with or without pay pending investigations. They can fire! Let us demand full investigations concerning this office and let the chips fall where they may. Time has come for the school system to move in a new direction. We are watching!
General Counsel provides advice on legal representation, including:
- The Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Executive staff, and principals
- Supervises and manages legal services provided through attorneys in Office of General Counsel
- Supervision and oversight on liability and litigation claims
- Advice of counsel and legal representation in areas of student support services and student appeals
- Advice of counsel in areas of procurement, CIP, business and finance, contracts, leases, MOUs
- Represent the Board and Administration in appeals before Maryland State Board of Education
- Legal counsel and representation in all other substantive legal services areas provided through the Office of General Counsel
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According to the Washington Post [wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, METRO section, B1 & B4] Synthia J. Shilling has resigned as the “Chief Human Resources Officer” for PGCPS, effective August 15, 2012. It is revealed that she assaulted a Maryland State trooper in 2008 (for which she only received probation) and left the scene of a motor vehicle accident this past May. In addition to willfully violating Federal personnel practices [to the tune of a $5.9 million fine by the Dept. of Labor], Ms. Shilling’s personal life is equally lawless.
It is quite possible that Dr. Hite’s resignation and Ms. Shilling’s resignation is just the tip of the iceberg within the PGC Board of Education.
You are correct. This is the tip of the iceberg on what has been happening. We need a proper investigation to review everything they have been doing.
Hope I’m not beating a dead horse, but how can a licensed lawyer: (a) be convicted of DUI and LYING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS and not be reprimanded by the Bar Association?; (b) be fired for issuing a 6-figure check WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION to aforementioned convicted lawyer and not be reprimanded by the Bar Association?, and; (c) be responsible for costing the PGCPS over a million dollars in back wages (H1B teachers), $100,000 in penalties, and nearly $240,000 in legal fees and keep his (or her) job?
A poster elsewhere mocked the fruitless efforts of pursuing a lawsuit to weed out the entrenched corruption inside the Sasscer building, and considering that the Chairperson of the Board of Education is herself a lawyer, and according to her BOE biography a Lieutenant Colonel with Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Legal Affairs Division. Anyone else would be worried about a conflict-of-interest or the appearance of impropriety, but obviously not in this case.
Thank you for highlighting these issues. We need to pursue this to the fullest without surrender. It’s unfair and unethical what she did and continues to do together with Mr. Roger Thomas.