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The Rot at PGCPS Sasscer.

The Epicenter of the PGCPS Corruption:

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PGCPS Chief Board of Education Legal Counsel and manipulator of Labor relations office – Abbey Hairston.

There are serious problems with our education system today in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS).  The school system, whether discussing the schools or the Unions, within the PGCPS school district offer perspective that is not cordial to the perspective of students, staff and parents of the community. Most teachers enter the education field armed with enthusiasm, hope and a desire to positively impact the children. The agents of PGCPS have proven through their conduct that all teachers don’t share those characteristics.  But what is more regretful is that some of the teachers who do have those characteristics are antagonized for their virtues and/or penalized in their efforts to spread those virtues.

If only for the sake of ensuring accountability and redress, these issues need to be brought to light. The School system’s compliance with its duty to the community has to be achieved.  But more importantly, it has to be prioritized in a proper and in an accountable way. A rush to create an additional 15 positions directly answerable to the board as a whole or its members only and without proper scrutiny by the incoming leaders et al, is an affront to undermine the future leadership using corruption.  The PGCPS Board led by Ms. Verjeana Jacobs has similar characteristics to those of Miller County schools and Dekalb schools in Georgia.

The reformation of the PGCPS unions is a necessary step in the reconstruction; the lack of representation provided by the unions and their inadequate grievance address will not fit, or be tolerated, in the reformation.  While this article won’t be able to address all of the problems in the PGCPS education system, the elevation of Mr. James Whattam as the Director of Labor Relations is a start.  Mr. James Whattam, who retired from Maryland State Educator Association, is awarded by PGCPS with a paycheck for his protection of corruption.  In exchange, PGCPS maintains status quo or advances the corruption.  When James Whattam could no longer forward the corrupt objectives of PGCPS, he was vested with the privilege of appointing someone who would continue the tradition.  Mr. Damon Felton Esq was pleased to continue in James Whattam’s destructive footsteps at the Maryland State Educator Association (MSEA).  There is clear conflict of interest, regardless of the angle from which you examine Mr. Felton’s appointment.

The continuation of Mr. James Whattam, or any one that is appointed by him,  is a continuation of Union corruption in Maryland.  Mr. James Whattam has asserted the message:  “Long Live Shenanigans”.

As the new age of the school system approaches, identification and accountability will prove to be priceless. In the spirit of identification and accountability, the Director of Employee and Labor Relations must be identified as a key culprit in the institutionalization and furtherance of corruption.  Although Mr. Whattam is identified as the Director, an internal PGCPS document labels “Kathy Jones” as the Director of Employee and Labor Relations. Moreover, Mr. James R. Whattam, Esq., is a lawyer who functions out of both the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Employee and Labor Relations.  Mr. Whattam is covering all of the bases!

Anyone else would be under suspicion for fraud (at the very least), misrepresentation (at the most), and conflict-of-interest (certainly).  However, only the faction of the community that challenges the corruption come under scrutiny, to put it mildly.Corruption

The newly-formed ethics panel (Chaired by Sidney Gibson and Vice-Chaired by Lilia B. True) and the law enforcement community are vested with the task of weeding out the BOE’s entrenched corruption that has proven costly to all.  While the ethics panel and this community may not have the cadre of lawyers that the BOE has/had at its arsenal, we have the truth and an unwillingness to accept any alternative to community progress and empowerment.

The Reform Sasscer team, which is composed of professionals, teachers, students and parents, advocates innovation, fiscal stability and transparency for the purpose of redress PGCPS corruption. A considerable portion of corruption emanates from the Office of Chief Legal Counsel and Labor Relations.  Both offices can say “job well done” after they have paid off attorneys, including hearing examiners reviewing worker-related cases.

There is no question that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) owes its existence to the General Counsel’s office, which was managed by previous Chief legal officer Mr. Roger Thomas Esq.  When Roger Thomas Esq. could no longer sustain the corruption, Mr. James R. Whattam picked up the torch.  James R. Whattam now wields the power and commands the community’s lawyers in the direction of the school system’s destruction. We must collectively demand and end to this culture.

A closer look into the General Counsel’s office demonstrates that the corruption is second-nature to the office; previous Chief Human Resouces 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 Washington post, she had been caught red-handed several times drunk driving. (Read more).

Furthermore, as indicated above, Mr. James Whattam Esq. formerly worked with the teacher’s union as legal representative. This definitely creates a conflict of interest at many levels and promotes Union corruption. Someone should investigate how many positions/titles these individual actually have. According to the school system website, Mr. Whattams office is supposed to conduct thorough and timely investigations for employees and students filing harassment/discrimination claims.  The functions of the Employee and Labor Relations are so integral that those functions are expressly enunciated.

Employee and Labor Relations – Also referred to as The Employee and Labor Relations Office (ELRO) Works to provide the following;

  1. Works cooperatively with all departments within the school system to address employee performance and conduct concerns in such a manner as to maximize student achievement.
  2. ELRO is also responsible for the facilitation of effective and efficient operations through the maintenance of positive relations with the labor organizations representing school system employees.
  3. ELRO provides assistance, training and support to employees requesting reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and conducts thorough and timely investigations for employees and students filing harassment/discrimination claims.

To enhance their corrupt illegal activities, the legal department awarded a $5 million legal tender to Thatcher law Firm to represent PGCPS and Dr. William Hite.  That award was implemented in the absence of any 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 include the bribery of attorneys and the defense of illegal activities against staff with legitimate cases. Tax payer’s money is being used by the legal department; all the while, Mr. James Whattam and Verjeana Jacobs are undermining transparency and accountability with no opposition.  In addition, the Thatcher Law Firm led by Ms. Abbey Hairston, awarded close to $8,000 towards political contributions to the chairman of the Board of Education, Mrs. Verjeana M. Jacobs Esq.  That award created a conflict of interest in light of the $5,000,000 that was awarded. This is unacceptable. The future Board should demand a return of this money from Thatcher law firm. Failure to do this, corruption would have been rewarded.However, that is not true. This office is involved in deep-rooted corruption, which includes systematic delays and the tampering of evidence.  The corruption does not end with that office.  That office also engages in corruption with the Unions. The office is the center of corrupt Union politics and should be abolished at a minimum. As the school’s reformation demonstrates a new idea, hiring new attorneys to achieve these reformations is the only logical next step.

A reform of the PGCPS Board of Education in the absence of a “clean house sweep” will create some accountability but might not result in the reform needed to improve PGCPS. 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 questionable contracts involving Washington Plaza and Dr. Andrea Horsby , who is now serving jail time.  The illegal tender activities and other questionable tricks of the trade are endless, just like the list of practitioners, which includes Jack Johnson.  Jack Johnson’s pay to play corruption is still alive in the PGCPS. (Others read article here).

The time has come to seek new and fresh leadership for General Counsel Office within PGCPS, thus severing all ties of corruption. Roger Thomas Esq was in that position for close to 19 years before being fired for corruption (read more). He left the county with his corruption exposed.  To our surprise, the other attorneys associated with him did not take a hint to resign on their own.  While the other attorney’s acknowledgement for the need of redress would have been nice, any step toward address is welcome.  If the incoming board of education would not 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 in the future elections. The Board of education has power to do many things; they can suspend with or without pay pending investigations. They can terminate their employees!  Despite the endless ability to scrutinize their employees, the Board of Education has not applied that review to themselves.  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, beginning on June 1, 2013. We are watching!

General Counsel provides advice on legal representation, including:

  1. The Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Executive staff, and principals
  2. Supervises and manages legal services provided through attorneys in Office of General Counsel
  3. Supervision and oversight on liability and litigation claims
  4. Advice of counsel and legal representation in areas of student support services and student appeals
  5. Advice of counsel in areas of procurement, CIP, business and finance, contracts, leases, MOUs
  6. Represent the Board and Administration in appeals before Maryland State Board of Education
  7. Legal counsel and representation in all other substantive legal services areas provided through the Office of General Counsel.

Once again, as we have  articulated before, the PGCPS status quo of continuous unabated corruption, conmanship, gerrymandering and professional misconduct involving the current Sasscer adminstration with the support of the corrupt unions and other conspirators etc, is not the answer!

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

“Our hope for the future depends also on our resolution as a nation in dealing with the scourge of corruption.” ~ Nelson Mandela

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WHY WE NEED TO REFORM EDUCATION IN PGCPS NOW.

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Education a breeding ground for corruption

The Prince Georges’ County Public Schools (PGCPS) unflinching commitment to conduct that antagonizes the rightfully prevailing winds of wisdom and decency ensures a dark chapter in this country’s history of education.

We are optimistic that the injection of new Board leadership will put a long overdue end to that period. While Board of Education chairperson Verjeana Jacobs’ self-resignation would have had considerable value, the community will settle for any end to her reign of terror.

The task of ousting the current Board of Education has been compared with “…scraping a sticky wad of chewing gum from the bottom of one’s shoe.” Like any other corrupt regime, the Board of Education for Prince George’s County, is deeply rooted and plentiful with regard to resources.  The character of the Board of Education makes the task of cleansing its corruption a difficult task.  The said Corruption started earlier with the former superintendent Dr. Andre J. Hornsby, who commanded the regime. It is no surprise that the former superintendent is now incarcerated. Despite the end of the former superintendent, the reigns of corruption were merely continued in light of the appointment of the current Board Chair person Ms. Verjeana Jacobs. Under the leadership of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and her trusted cohort PGCPS chief legal counsel, Dr. William Hite Jr, labor relations Director James Whattam, Synthia Shilling and other conspirators. The corruption marely intesfied.

Given the seriousness of the regimes’ practices and the policy of the command in protecting themselves and covering up their crimes, Reform Sasscer movement calls for the reforms as articulated in our earlier post in the blog (Here).

Frantic and very Discouraging Endeavor

Corruption-Your-No-Counts-300x149“What gets us furious and terribly frustrated is that these people have spent huge sums of taxpayer money on shenanigans that have little or nothing to do with children or their education.” (Read more) Washington Plaza fiasco. ( Board Retracts Lease for Headquarters) We also have the Board of Education’s endorsement of sex molesters, some of whom coincidentally are colleagues of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.  A previous Board member was caught molesting children within the school system. The pimps of the Prince George’s County school system, which include athletic coaches and others, that Prey on young children manage to evade proper scrutiny directly as a result of their political affiliations. The union leadership is compromised in all four unions in PGCPS District in order to continue benefitting illegally from the fraud.  There are many cases of this nature some which have been reported in the media this year alone. (Read more) (Read more). The list goes on and includes Bus drivers who appear drunk and involved in the same with full knowledge of the current administration.

We agreed/agree with our teacher friend. “Due process” is a tool that often times is manipulated by public corruption. Thus, Due process must be identified and harnessed in a fashion that was contemplated by the Constitution, and not private corrupt entities.

At the time of writing this post, Mr. Rushern Baker, our County Executive for Prince George’s County, was poised to appoint the new Board Chairperson, Vice chairperson as well as additional Board members to the Board as a result of Bill HB1107. We are supportive and very confident that the general Assembly in Annapolis did the right thing in making these changes.

The current chair of the Board Ms. Vejearna Jacobs has some atonement to make, for it was egregiously wrong in giving the PGCPS district a clean bill of health when Superintendent Hite was at the helm. The fact that the state agency could not smell even one rotten fish is beyond belief, in light of the pungent odor of corruption emanating from the PGCPS. It is such a disgrace to lead an organization that constructively prides itself on having the most corrupt Unions in the universe and costing the Maryland tax payers lots of money with impunity. The PGCPS situation is not very different in many aspects to Baltimore jail scandal aided by Union politics. The same elements of dirty politics and inadequate response to serious issues have manifested themself in PGCPS (Read more).

But that is another matter, altogether.

The more important question to ask is this: What is it about our Prince George’s county and its citizens that attracts corruption and criminal enterprises?

At times, it has seemed to us that the raison d’etre of the law enforcement community is to combat corruption in PG County.

Corruption and criminal behavior in public places are as old as the hills. What is striking, however, is that the educational milieu has started playing host to more and more schemers and charlatans in many parts of the United States, starting with PG County, Georgia, El Paso, New Orleans etc.

So, what is it with public education and corruption? Who are the people sitting on school boards and managing multibillion-dollar enterprises? What qualifications do they bring to their jobs, and have they been vetted, at least to a reasonable degree, to ensure that mismatched ambition, mediocrity and opportunism are not opening a back door to malfeasance? The Washington post article on November 4th, 2012 was very clear and correct in their assertions. After the said Washington post article appeared, PG County citizens decided to change directions and elected two more members with college degrees bringing the number to four. An anonymous employee rightfully said that “We deserve board members who are enlightened to educate our kids and manage the money without corruption.”

Everybody knows that PG County schools rank second to none only to Baltimore City schools with regard to having the worst school system. How is it that we can expect children in PG County to   succeed when the leadership itself hasn’t even attained the most basic levels of professional education? What kind of leadership can we logically expect from someone who has only a High School Diploma? I’d reconcile that we’d get what we’re getting……subpar schools. Read more: We posed these questions to our teacher friend.

“The education field is a very safe place for a crook. It offers excellent sanctuary,” she said. “We expect there to be corruption on Wall Street. We expect bankers and corporate CEOs to be motivated by greed and profit margins.

“But a school District anywhere in the US is like a church. Good things are supposed to happen there. Who would want to suspect a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a lawyer, Chief Financial officer, Chief Human resources officer , a school-board member of underhanded doings and a Board chair of suspected fraud?

“So, a few ne’er-do-wells hide in the public’s trust and do a lot of damage.”

“What blame, if any, does the public bear?” We asked.

“A lot,” she said. “School-board elections are important ones, and yet, it is like pulling teeth to get people to vote in them. A sleepy County like Prince George’s may be a good place for retirement, but it is a bad place for honest politics.” Just look what Jack Johnson (johnsonjackindictment) and his wife  Leslie Johnson did to the county. She added. In addition, it’s wrong to have communication Director brought in for the sole purpose of covering up the corruption.  This person continues to bad mouth the county’s leadership, while purposely misidentifying the inadequacies of the county.

“You can hood an ass here with reverend purple,” one member in the movement said, borrowing from Ben Jonson.

“Sad, but true,” agreed our teacher friend.

Anytime you introduce the possibility to deviate from the lowest sealed bid, you introduce the opportunity for influence, favoritism, possibly fraud, possibly corruption. The PGCPS status quo of continuous unabated corruption, conmanship, gerrymandering and professional misconduct involving the Sasscer adminstation with the support of the unions and other conspirators etc is not the answer!

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

reformsasscer@gmail.com

“Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

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Where is the Outrage in PGCPS?

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There is something sadly skewed with Prince George’s county community’s moral priorities.

We are sure many of you have been following the growing uproar in our blogs which have advocated for several changes in our school system in the last two years.

So many Prince George’s County administrators at Sasscer Administration Building and elsewhere could not possibly get away with such abuse unless many others were complicit in turning a blind eye in various illegal activities,  including sexual abuse of innocent kids. Why do PGCPS leaders tolerate the presence of colleagues who sexually abuse innocent staff, young children and vulnerable adults? Why do people in the pews not rise up and demand that their leaders be held accountable? Where’s the outrage?

Why don’t people at The School District of Philadelphia in Philadelphia demand the resignation of Dr. William Hite Jr, who admittedly kept quiet about staff members involved in sexual related activity and abuse of kids?

Why doesn’t staff at Sasscer Administration Building demand the resignation of Dr. Alvin L. Crawley, about whom there is significant evidence that he knew of a host of problems including sexual abuse of children when he arrived in September 2012? Where’s the outrage?

Where is the outrage when an 8 year old girl is sexually abused and taken advantage of in an environment which is supposed to be safe and conducive for learning?

Where is the outrage when a 13-year-old girl who died four years ago after she was struck by a car while trying to catch a school bus?

Where is the outrage in the wake of the slaying of seven students this school year alone?

Why do so many people act as though staff- sex abuse cover-ups and other criminal activities are no big deal?

We commend the vigilant teacher and the Principal at Glenn Dale Elementary school. Hopefully at the schools PGCPS could implement in the beginning of the school year teachers and students behavior appropriate and inappropriate interactions. And steps they should take if these rules have been violated.

“Politicians, parents, Churches, TV/Radio personalities etc, should respond with righteous outrage and anger at such crimes against innocent staff, children abused by leaders they trust in these schools and offices,” But where is that outrage?

Even now, has anything changed? Have any of those who covered up and kept quiet in the past about the abuse been held accountable? We appreciate the passage of HB 1107 to make proper changes in PGCPS but it might be too little too late for some.

And what about the epicenter of the corruption in PGCPS led by labor relations Director and previous chief legal counsel? Is anyone outraged at the fact that their long-time attorney threatened to sue abused victims even when the abuse was readily substantiated? It certainly doesn’t appear that way, even as these individuals are being caught red handed stealing. Where is the outrage?

The current Prince George’s County Board of Education Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs, has known about these problems for more than six years now and has continued to keep quiet in conspiracy with the corrupt Unions. She was apparently content leaving countless other children and staff at risk. Yet, she is still the Board of Education Chairperson before HB 1107 goes into effect on June 1, 2013. Where’s the outrage?

Where is the outrage when the Director of communications in PGCPS creates false reports to maintain the status quo of the ailing PG County school system in cohort with the current Board chair while abusing the County Executive? (See PGCPSLies) Where’s the outrage?

And what about the fact that a man with a substantiated report of having sexually molested a child was still driving a School Bus, after the fact the school leaders knew of his problems in PGCPS. This is after several leaders had been informed at Sasscer Administrative Building. Those men and women are still in leadership positions including Ms. Monica Goldson the current Chief Operating Officer. Is there any accountability for the willing blindness of PGCPS leaders who leave kids and others in harm’s way for predators? Where is the outrage?

What about the Union leadership and others smooching in the closets in PGCPS schools while refusing to take responsibility for their actions? Where is the outrage?

It is easy enough to look at the perpetrators and say therein lies the problem. But what about all the enablers? What about the many leaders who turn a blind eye like Board of Education Chairperson Verjeana M. Jacobs and allow staff molesters including Union leaders in PGCPS to move on to other schools, offices etc. where they find fresh new prey? Where is the outrage?

“What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”

— Elie Wiesel

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Police probe sexual encounter in PGCPS

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Apr 20, 2013 10:17 PM EDT

The Washington Post

Published: April 20

Prince George’s County police and school officials are investigating an incident in which a sexual encounter between students was videotaped in a bathroom at Frederick Douglass High School, and that video was exchanged among other students via mobile phones, according to officials familiar with the case.

The incident came to the attention of school officials last week, and Frederick Douglass’s principal spoke with the student body and notified parents of what happened, said Prince George’s County schools spokesman Briant Coleman. He said school officials also talked with Prince George’s County police to determine whether criminal charges might be warranted, but — at least initially — “they found nothing criminal took place.” Read more~~> Pgcpsmess

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While this behavior is wide-spread in PGCPS, It’s not about whether or not the girl knew  or consented etc.  It is a crime to distribute child pornography. The students in these cases need to understand there is a time and a place for everything (and at school is not the place for these actions). The students need to comprehend that there are consequences to most actions both good and bad.

Finally,  Union leadership and others smooching in the closets in the PGCPS schools and offices need to be dwelt with too. They might as well start looking for other jobs before full investigations commences.

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Prince George’s Teacher Accused of Sexual Encounters with a student.

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Garnold Maurice King

Prince George’s County police accused Garnold King of having sex with a student a number of times over a few months while King was working at Isaac Gourdine Middle School in Fort Washington, Md., last year.

“The victim advised her mother that she was sexually assaulted by her teacher at her former middle school,” Prince George’s County police Cpl. Maria McKinney said.

This year, King was working at Thurgood Marshall Middle School a few miles away in Temple Hills. A Prince George’s County school spokesman said they did not know about the incident at King’s former middle school and removed him as soon as they learned about the investigation.

Parents at both schools have been notified of the arrest, school officials said.

“With it still being an ongoing investigation there’s always a possibility of other victims that haven’t come forward,” McKinney said.

King, who has been with the school system since 1994, is facing second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offense charges; one count of assault; and two counts of sexual abuse with a minor. He’s out on bond.

King is due in court in January. He has no prior criminal record.  (Read more -Courtesty NBC 4 News) and (Read more here Courtest Prince George’s County Police Department)

State officials review campaign finance complaint.

The Maryland State Board of Elections is looking into a complaint against Prince George’s County School Board Chairman Verjeana Jacobs (District 5) that raises questions about campaign finance reports her campaign filed this year. The most recent report was filed less than two weeks before her reelection. (Read more).

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