March 31, 2012

Open to Public Disability Rights Event at Wesleyan Saturday


Disability Community Remembers George Hodgins
and Other Disabled Victims of Domestic Violence

Middletown, CT – Local disability rights advocates will be holding a vigil to honor
the lives of disabled people murdered by their families and caretakers. This is part of a nation-
wide Day of Mourning, during which disability rights activists in cities across America will hold
events to remember members of the disability community whose lives were lost to domestic
violence.

On March 6, George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man, was murdered by his mother in
Sunnyvale, California. In response, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) held a vigil in
Sunnyvale on March 16th. During the vigil, mourners read a list of names, beginning with Tracy
Latimer, a disabled teenager killed by her father in 1993. At the same time as ASAN’s vigil was
being held, Tracy’s father was speaking on a television panel for the Canadian Global News,
arguing for legalizing the killing of disabled people - in the name of "mercy."

When disabled people are murdered by caretakers or family members, many people justify these
murders as “understandable,” or talk about the “burden” of caring for someone with a disability.
This is the view that was aired on Canadian Global News, and in many news articles covering
the murder of George Hodgins. Many people are quick to justify the murder of a disabled person,
when they would offer no such justification if the murder victim were not disabled. Therefore,
the national Day of Mourning is meant to demonstrate to the community that the lives of
disabled people have value.

The vigil will be held at Wesleyan University, Usdan Courtyard, Saturday March 31rst, 6pm to 8pm.

Public Hearing: Should Mayor Drew be reimbursed for going to China after the fact?

Mayor Drew has returned from his trip to China. Special meeting of Economic Development Committee for allocation of $5,500 for Mayor Drew's voluntary trip to China on Middletown's behalf." Funny, we don't remember being asked if our money should be spent for this nor was the Council or public privy to the presentation being given as a representation of us !!
Meeting to discuss reimbursement is on Monday, April 2nd @ 5:45 p.m. at City Hall Room 208. For those not aware, the trip has already taken place without any prior approval of the expense. The meeting being given less than a fifteen minute time slot which hardly seems like adequate time for public discussion is "assumed" to pass and is already on the agenda for the Common Council meeting that same night. what do you think? Either way, come voice your opinion at both meetings on Monday.
Certain officials do not think the public should have a say in this but you have a right to know!

March 29, 2012

Bob Santangelo: Potty Mouth- You Decide!

According to sources close to city hall, Deputy Mayor Bob Santangelo called a fellow councilman (who wishes to remain anonymous) a derogatory term during a special session of the common council last week.  The sources go on to add, that the anonymous councilperson plans to, "deal with the situation on his own."

March 28, 2012

Film Review: Capicorn One better than The Hunger Games?

 Screw The Hunger Games, rent Capicorn One if you can find it!

Capicorn One: Imagine a movie that features O.J. Simpson running from the cops years prior to his arrest for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman- if you can visualize such a cinematic feat, than Capicorn Oneis for you. This 1978 Peter Hyams directed gem tells the tale of NASA staging a fake Mars landing for political and financial purposes. Kind of like flying to China or Washington D.C. to get your local middle Connecticut city out of debut.
      I love conspiracy type films that have guys in suits plotting to fool the American public with some far fetched ideas for selfish reasons; usually the filmmakers hire Hal Holbrook (The Firm), Robert Prosky (Thief) or J.T. Walsh(Backdraft) to serve as the evil self- serving government man that wears nice expensive suits. In this case, Holbrook plays the role of, like it matters, Dr. James Kelloway, NASA authority on the Mars landing. Guess what happens next? Holbrook decides to pull the plug on the Mars launch due to a faulty life support system; soon the astronauts are removed from their grounded space capsule and flown to an old abandoned United States Army Air Corp base deep in the desert. Why are all the secret bases always in the desert in these films? Where do these government people eat, live and socialize?
Holbrook, due to his NASA pull, is able to film the astronauts in a sound studio doing faux astronaut stuff like jump around and grab space rocks.  I find it very hard to believe that nobody goes home at night at says to their wife:
“Honey, you can’t say anything, but you know that Mars landing thing that keeps interrupting General Hospital?”
“Yes, Rupert.”
“Well, um, it’s really a bunch of guys at work making sets and sending out fake news footage to the world’s press to convince everybody that we can really go to Mars.”
Actually that would have made a better movie.
Back to the plot: The astronauts played by James Brolin, Sam Waterson and O.J. Simpson are forced to remain in captivity for several months while they are periodically forced to film more fake Mars footage. When does O.J. run from the cops?  Hold on tight it’s coming. Soon Elliot Gould’s reporter character finds a NASA technician who figures out what the big bad government guys are doing and wants to investigate further. Guess what? The technician winds up dead and Gould’s character is arrested, fired from his job and harassed by government agents dressed in black; they even fly black helicopters. Cut to the astronauts: who now realize that they need to get the hell out of dodge before Hal Holbrook turns them into fish food. Holbrook, not looking like Mark Twain, explains to the American public that the astronauts died upon re-entry. Big Lie!!  I guess he didn’t count on the triple team up of Simpson, Waterson and Brolin to stage an amazing escape and tell the world the truth.  Director Hyams shows us various shots of the actors in chase sequences and overuses the wide angles of his cameras; a move that would put Roger Corman to shame. In this movie, Simpson’s character is captured and presumably murdered by the government for doing nothing wrong, while on real Earth, Simpson ran from cops and was tried and acquitted of double homicide in 1994. Scary stuff. The ending: Elliot Gould, former Mr. Barbara Streisand, helps James Brolin, future Mr. Barbara Streisand expose the government’s lies and deception about the fake Mars landing and other assorted evil things.  Whew! Only in the movies. Oh yeah, David Doyle, Bosley from TV’s Charlie’s Angels plays Gould’s boss that enjoys laughing at Elliot’s conspiracy theories. Good Stuff!

Taxpayers to Fund Mayor Drew's trip to China with Malloy


Instead of being concerned that you have no office, be concerned to think how you may fit yourself for office. Instead of being concerned that you are not known, see to the (be?) worthy of being known.
Confucius

Two weeks ago Mayor Dan Drew went to Washington DC to supposedly cement a deal to secure government surplus property on Mile Lane being offered by the Army to Middletown. This deal was first proposed by the Army to then Mayor Dominique Thornton, and later the deal was finalized by Mayor Sebas
tian Giuliano during his first of three terms in office. The site had minor environmental contamination, that by law had to be cleaned up by the U.S.Army before the could be turned over to the City. The City was to receive the property for free if it was to use it for a public use project. This is when, under the Giuliano administration, talks of a regional fire fighting training facility came to mind. Because of the small amount of contamination, and there being no extenuating circumstances requiring immediate clean-up because the level of contamination was never in flux, the project was basically on the bottom U.S. Army's to-do list, however, it was a done deal. Giuliano secured all the necessary paper work along side Rep. Rosa Delauro to keep the process moving and on the radar of the Army. In the opinion of the Insider, why on earth Mayor Dan Drew felt the need to spend "roughly" $1,000.00 of tax-payer funds to treat himself to a tour of Washington DC and dine in Foggy Bottom with Connecticut Representatives Delauro and Blumenthal in order to supposedly make a deal that was already in place and moving forward, albeit on the federal government's time frame, we just can't comprehend. The Insider wonders if Delauro had any sense of de va ju during the conversation about Mile Lane because she had previously worked on the transfer the first time around.


Mayor Dan Drew is packing his bags again, on the tax payer's dime, this time to rub elbows with the Chinese. Drew alongside Governor Dannel Malloy and a variety of esteemed technology professionals and experts will make the trip to China in the coming weeks. The list of professionals going to China is listed in an article published here: http://ct.typepad.com/ctc_blog/2012/03/back-to-shandong-province-opportunity-for-tech-firms.html.
Earlier this week members of Middletown's Economic Development Committee received the agenda and on the agenda under new business was a request for $5,500.00 for the Mayor's trip to China. Minutes later, the an email was received telling members to disregard this email, and a new agenda would follow Friday. There is a line item for travel expenses for the Mayor, however, this cost would exceed this. During his campaign Drew complained of an LCD outside the Mayor's office that was paid for by grant (Home Land Security) money being something he felt was a waste of tax payer money. . Mayor Drew, while you are there maybe you can return the tvs in person because it was probably made in China anyway!!  Last the Insider checked, the Connecticut River doesn't lead to the Yangzte, Hong Kong isn't on the Lady Catherine's route, and the mayor-mobile's ability to morf into a submarine is still being developed out at City Yard. In 1986 the State of Connecticut  made the Shandong Educational exchange council  to facilitate pen pal like relationships with K-12 schools in the Chinese province and the state, delegates have traditionally been teachers and superintendents (not mayors) participate in a 10 day sight seeing tour and work with foreign educators to facilitate lesson plans to promote each others' culture. I wonder if they have scream rooms in China? Since Middletown taxpayers recently gave Superintendent Michael Frechette over $300k to go away, I doubt a 10 day trip all expense paid is in the works. 
Click to enlarge Agenda

What the Insider would like to know is -
 #1 How come Dan Drew is being considered a candidate to facilitate trade with Connecticut and the Chinese in the field of technology considering his back ground is in sports writing for a Virginia newspaper, and grant writing for Sacred Heart University prior to becoming a first term mayor of a small city less than six months ago?
#2 Why are you the only mayor going amongst executives and technology experts?
#3 If your bff Dannel wants to take the long route for take-out, why should the citizens of Middletown fund this?
#4 While you are there Mayor Drew, can you bring back the jobs the U.S. government allowed manufacturing & technology businesses to outsource for cents on the dollar in recent years? We sorta miss 'em.
During his campaign the big dogs from Hartford such as Governor Dannel Malloy came down from the capital to campaign for Drew certainly pulled out all the stops to secure a democrat to regain Middletown's mayoral seat.  Also during the campaign, questions came out regarding Drew's resume and allegations of inflation of credentials came to light. Drew claimed during the mayoral debates and at various other events covered by the local media, have played the foremost role in cracking a case of local extortion by a prominent political figure in the Virginia area, and all but taking down the DC sniper himself, meanwhile winning various awards for investigative journalism while he worked at a Virginia news outlet during his college and immediate post college days. The allegations of over exaggeration of credentials was first written about in the Middletown Patch in a letter to the editor here: http://middletown-ct.patch.com/articles/letter-examination-of-drew-s-bio-reveals-confliciting-information
The letter writer claims that further investigation revealed Drew to be a sports writer at the newspaper. Perhaps Mayor Drew is taking advice from Senator Richard Blumenthal these days a little too seriously; after all Blumenthal claimed during his campaign to be a Vietnam war veteran, and later blamed the media for misquoting him. , which later brought to light by the New York Times in 2010.
Got something to say about this? Middletown's Ecomomic Development Meeting is open to the public & meets at City Hall on April 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm in room 208.

March 26, 2012

Taxpayers Fund Mayor Drew's trip to D.C.

Mayor Dan Drew goes to Washington DC on our dime.

Last week Mayor Dan Drew went to meet with Representatives Rosa DeLaura and Richard Blumenthal in Washington D.C. to "fast track" the City's acquisition of  property on Mile Lane, called a "surplus federal property." Unfortunately the Mayor had not heard of the recent invention of the conference call. This trip also happened to correspond nicely with cherry blossom season at the capital. Meanwhile, while the mayor was out rubbing elbows with the political up & coming, the BOE administration of Middletown collapsed. In order to receive this property from FEMA, Drew presented documents state"adequate funds" to bond a  fire training school on the site.  Drew is quoted as stating that such a facility will attract firefighters from all over the world who will shop here. Really Dan?? The article was in the Press here last week with accompanying documents. What the Insider wants to know is who will pay for this facility??  We will give you three guesses! 

Tune in Tuesday night for "The Edge" with Jon Pulino and special guest co -host on Comcast Channel 15. More political commentary and latest happenings around town. ‎ Please feel free to come down.. Call in number 860-613-3031

March 15, 2012

Cap the Gas Tax Rally At the State Capitol March 21st

From Senator Len Suzio: Let your voices be heard at the Capitol! Join me for the March 21 Cap the Gas Tax Rally.
You and your family are getting buried alive in Connecticut taxes.You are sick and tired of rising gas prices.
You want relief at the pumps.
But The Tax-o-crats at the State Capitol in Hartford don’t want to hear it.
Know why?
Because they are reaping a windfall of tax collections at your expense.
Because Connecticut’ hidden gas tax increases as the wholesale price of gas increases. 
Every time you fill up your tank, you are being gouged.
A public hearing has not been scheduled on my proposal to cap the gas tax.


Without a public hearing, you are prevented from publicly speaking your minds on my bill, Senate Bill 5.
On Wednesday, March 21, we are going to join together to try to change that.
I am inviting you and your friends and families to come to the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to demand that the people’s voices be heard.
You deserve to be heard, and you WILL be heard on March 21.
The rally will be held at 11 a.m. in Room 1 E of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford. 
It's time to let state government know we're not going to take this lying down.
After the rally, we will visit legislators from your cities and towns to let them know loud and clear that we want a public hearing and a debate about capping the hidden gas tax.
Hear me talk about our Cap the Gas Tax Rally with Jim Vicevich of WTIC 1080 here >;>
Free parking is available in the LOB Garage.  Get there early and spread the word.
For those who cannot attend, please join with the thousands of taxpayers who have signed my online petition to cap the hidden gas tax atwww.senatorsuzio.com
Send letters to your local newspapers supporting my bill.  Post the rally information on your facebook page.  Tweet about it.  Tell your state government leaders to listen to the taxpayers of Connecticut. Call Gov. Malloy at 860 566 4840.  Tell them all to support Senate Bill 5.
As always, I thank you for your tremendous support of this initiative. 
We will not give up. 
We are not going away. 
We will not stop fighting for


http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/images/emails/archives/suzio_031312.html

March 14, 2012

Reader Submitted: "I'm Sorry", Words the BOE Admin Needs to use

Last night at the Board of Education meeting the Council Chambers were packed with parents of children affected by the fall out over the many issues the parents' felt the BOE Administration had mismanaged. Absent was long time BOE elect Ted Raczka, who had been die hard supporter of and now former Superintendent Michael Frechette, who resigned last week. The Unified Youth Theater gave a presentation which brough everyone in the room back to the purpose for the BOE to exist- the benefit of our children, however the mood soon got serious again when the parent of a child with autism, Jane Majewski spoke to the board during public session. Ms. Majewski showed telling photographs of the concrete pond and defunct fountain structure that is in the courtyard of Keigwin School where her son is a student. Majewski was assured that the doors to the courtyard remained locked,however her son was able to access the area where he could have fallen in. Majewski first came forward with her frustrating  plight results in dealing with some of the problems her son was encountering from the Special Education Administrators who directly report to then Superintendent Michael Frechette, earlier in the year when the "scream room" scandal broke at Farm Hill Elementary . Majewski came forward to say that she felt many issues were arising from the fact the DEAL program, which used to be a collective Special Education program housed at Lawrence Elementary for all Middletown children to attend had been disbanded at the direction of Michael Frechette. Since then, many parents have also come forward to report their frustrations with the BOE administration as a whole, especially when dealing with Special Education services. Majewski started an online petition to seek the termination of the three Special Education Administrators who she feels have mismanaged her son's education. The petition has garnered over 200 signatures. 
Last night, in tears, of and quite understandably, Ms. Majewski gave testimony about an incident where her son accessed the area of the concrete pond at Keigwin. She also went on to describe an incident where she says a Datco bus driver used insensitive language inappropriate for a child with autism when her son soiled himself on the bus and was unable to verbally communicate why he could not buckle his seat belt. Our hearts go out to Ms. Majewski for bravery for coming forward. Below is the essay by Jane Majewski submitted to us for publication.
Jane- we got your back!
Sign the petition here!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 "I'm Sorry"

Words That I finally  heard for the first time from BOE member Shelia Daniels . The sound of those words almost made me to breakdown in tears. It was echoed again moments later by Cheryl McClellan. Words that I have been waiting for since the beginning of becoming vocal about the issues we faced in this school district. Words that had I heard sooner, from anyone, I would not have called for the terminations of our BOE administrators.

The apology came after I presented the BOE with photos and a plea.

I have consistently voiced my concerns about the closing of the DEAL program- on two levels. One, that it was being closed and two that that transition of those kids into icm status was done without parental input.

Had I been asked, I would have offered my time, my expertise,  my physical help and financial resources to help ensure a safe transition of our children into the district schools. For free, I would have told administrators that preschool size furniture for fifth graders would be ineffective. For free, I would have pointed out that a timeout room should not include a circuit breaker box. For free, I would have suggested field trips to transition the kids.  I would have created a simple brochure describing the general needs of our kids for the district schools. For free, I would have donated and hung a coat rack at Keigwin.

When I recently asked Ms. Slade; "why weren't the parents included in the decision to close DEAL and/or the transition of them into the community?" her response was, " we wouldn't include parents in facility decisions; that is an administration role".

Since that is the case; then I feel the administrators need to accept the responsibility of the failed transition.

I would have simply liked to have heard, "I'm sorry".

I AM SORRY

Thats's all.

I am not asking for anything more than a safe environment for my son and his staff. Which brings me to why I write this story.

When I first saw the quad pond garden at Keigwin, I panicked. I know my child enough to know he would find away into that area. I was assured he would not because the doors are securely locked.

Imagine my surprise to receive a phone call and incident report that my son opened an unlocked door from the art room and entered this very area! He was reportedly running around this cement, unleveled cement area with statues and a filthy pond containing dead fish.

The staff hired to work with my son are trained and responsible to restrain him if needed. To be compelled to restrain a child acting out in this area is inconcieveable!

The quad has three walls of windows on multiple levels; open for the school population to view the pond. How inclusive is it to him to be viewed acting inappropriate by peers? How does it effect their perceptions of children with autism?

I contacted Ms Slade and Ms Senges. Ms. Senges quickly investigated. She reported that a janitor allegedly knew the lock was broken for some time but failed to report it to the administration.

Why would he? Keigwin never had a population of "ICM" kids. Shouldn't have he been briefed on what our kids need for safety?

My son is not allowed to go to art until the lock is fixed. Now he is being restricted from learning.

The administrators put a child into a building that continues to restrict his learning and jeopardizes his safety in a serious way. The safety of the staff are also jeopardized! Where is their union leadership? If their union and administration can't keep them safe- no wonder a para recently quit her job instead of mandate reporting.

Ann Perzan and Laurie Slade;
I have to ask you,

Would you want to be a para responsible to restrain a child in this garden?

Would you want your child running around and climbing in it?

Will it take a serious accident for either of you to accept responsibility for not preparing the community to transition DEAL kids into ICM status?

What will it take for one of you to turn to us, our staff, and our son-
And say,

"I'm sorry" ?

by Jane Majewski

March 13, 2012

Exactly how much does Michael Frechette Get?

New M Town Monopoly staring Michael Frechette & many more dynamic characters!
Last week the BOE elect chose to buy out Superintendent Michael Frechette's contract. In the real world, when you fail to do your job and  mismanage $1 million one would believe that this person would be fired. No so; the Teflon Don seems to be making out well - but questions still remain as to how well? The public deserves to know just how much tax money we must fork over to keep the Frechette family comfortable. Frechette gave his wife a school nurse position that was not offered to the public, which she will get to keep, but will the Frechette's get to keep the two gps's and numerous computers, phones etc. provided to the superintendent? Choose your character! Second in command,  Barbara Senges is  set to retire - what a coincidence! How big will her package be? Play as the lovely Nancy Haynes- who is "out on extended family leave" just when the deficit is being investigated! Mean while, the BOE (that means the tax payers) is paying for her legal fees for her defense against disorderly conduct charges! Or be Josh Berger, the son in law of Councilmember Hope Kasper, who was on the committee that was to fill the questioned position, remains as a permanent employee at the BOE past the 90 day temporary period. He did not even rank in the list of person's qualified! Last week Councilman Tom Serra and Rep. Matt Lesser took the unauthorized drafts of the new district maps from the Registrar Office, what do these two have up their sleeves?  Lastly, why not play as our mysterious leader? Where is Mayor Dan Drew and what does he have to say? Stay and play along at home as the cast of characters grows and the money keeps flowing!

March 8, 2012

What's up on The Diner

Reminder: The Diner with Bob Steferak and Deb Kleckowski will air LIVE Friday night 8-9pm. Special guests: Geoffrey Djomoah who recently returned from Iraq and is now working in Middletown as a Massage therapist. And, Dean Reid Smalley of MxCC-Business and Industry. I am sure a few news updates may be heard. Come down and join us!! 199 Shunpike Rd. See you tomorrow night!!!!!

The Idiot Wind of Know-Nothing Anti-Intellectualism

"By bringing intelligent conservative discourse to our campuses, we will increase our capacity to combat the idiot wind of know-nothing anti-intellectualism that is all too prevalent in our political culture. I am hopeful that Justice Scalia's lecture and discussion will contribute to this capacity."
                                        (Wesleyan U. President Michael Roth; Huffington Post, March 1)



   Two events concerning the U.S. Constitution and our Bill of rights will occur on the Wesleyan campus today. The first event, two performances of Neely Bruce's "Ten Amendments in Eight Motets" (see Middletown Insider, March 7) in the afternoon, will be followed in the evening by presentation of the Hugo Black lecture by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia's lecture is titled "The Originalist Approach to the First Amendment". All events will take place at Wesleyan Memorial Chapel on High Street.

By  his "idiot wind" comment President Roth surely was not referring to the storm of protest being prepared by students, off campus agitators, and others to "welcome" Justice Scalia to Wesleyan. However, the winds of anti-intellectualism have been blowing fiercely in the pages of the student run Argus newspaper.
Sample:
But Scalia’s arrival, and the moral imperative to confront him and “Occupy” his time at Wesleyan, can only go so far in the struggle to dismantle the oppressive institutions which have created a world of massive institutional violence, wealth disparity, environmental degradation and systematic erasure.  The next step is to turn our dissent inward, confronting the underlying institutionalized values which have allowed for this despicable event to occur in the first place.  We need to go beyond “Occupying” our campus.  The time has come to Decolonize Wesleyan.

Or:   
Let us never stop simply at “Occupying Scalia,” because Scalia, though a powerful individual, is really just a puppet in a larger system of domination embedded into the framework of the United States, which has seeped into the administrative attitude of Wesleyan.  We must confront his violence, certainly.  But we cannot stop there.  More conversations about envisioning a decolonized Wesleyan must occur, and we need to begin to understand how the ideologies spouted by bigots like Scalia are in full force, in less obvious ways, here at Wesleyan.                       

Mindless blather and slogans to be sure but, at the same time, dangerous. The hatred and contempt directed at our Founders and our founding documents is palpable.

Sample below of Neely Bruce's "First Amendment" score. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Why tonight's lecture may be quite interesting:
(Scalia's) writing style (and hopefully his speaking style) is best described as equal parts anger, confidence, and pageantry. Scalia has a taste for garish analogies and offbeat allusions—often very funny ones—and he speaks in no uncertain terms. He is highly accessible and tries not to get bogged down in abstruse legal jargon. But most of all, Scalia's opinions read like they're about to catch fire for pure outrage. He does not, in short, write like a happy man. (Wikipedia)

March 7, 2012

BOE Special Meeting Tonight to consider Buy-out of Superintendent Frechette's Contract

Mikey, Nancy, and Barb Senges in
 The Insider's version of a "Scream Room
The Hartford Courant broke the story his morning that the Middletown Board of Education is set to hold a special meeting tonight to consider the possible buy-out of Superintendent Michael Frechette's contract. The Insider would like to know if the BOE can and will consider a firing of the Superintendent. As reported here, Councilwoman Debra Kleckowki called for the termination of Michael Frechette and  Business Manager extraordinaire Nancy Haynes long before this, and so far has been the only Councilperson to do so.Newly elected Councilwoman Linda Salafia has also made statements regarding actions by Haynes joined in supporting Kleckowski.
The Courant reports:" An agenda for the Wednesday meeting states that the board will meet at 6 p.m. in the central office at 311 Hunting Hill Ave. for a "Discussion and Possible Action on Personnel Matter" in executive session."
 Mayor Drew has not made any statements to the media thus far, we are unclear if the Mayor is in Middletown today or at the State Legislative where his  second office is located.
 Courant article contains the specifics on what is known so far.
http://www.courant.com/community/middletown/hc-middletown-superintendent-buyout-0307-20120306,0,4290473.story

UPDATE: A letter Sent by Councilwoman Kleckowski to BOE elected members
Board of Education members:
I want to express my concern to you prior to tonight's Board meeting. First, there is no doubt that the meeting is going to be difficult, as working with serious personnel matters in not a pleasant experience. I understand that Dr. Frechette may be leaving due to family concerns, which is sad for his daughter. 
Nonetheless, his performance and leadership have been less than optimal and his contract should be terminated. There is no doubt that Dr. Frechette's contract should be terminate immediately. Unfortunately, his administrative decisions have put children and staff in harm's way as has been demonstrated several times with school administrators not calling 911 for gas leaks, fires and severe temperature decreases. 
Additionally, and perhaps most egregious, was the lack of cooperation from the Superintendent to ensure there was proper heat in the Middletown High School shelter during storm Alfred. If you are not aware, the temperature was 50 degrees in the evening putting residents, especially the medically vulnerable and infants, at risk. 
Of course, there is the perpetual labor issues that continue to plague the city and to cost the taxpayers. To date, the business manager remains in her position even though the Department of Labor decided that the position "belonged" to Union 466. When there was an alleged physical altercation between the business manager and another employee the employee was moved, and the business manager remained with no administrative leave. 
Thus, the BOE not adhering to the zero tolerance policy. To add insult to injury, the attorney's fees for this incident are being paid for by taxpayers! I contend that the payment of the business manager's legal fees for the above mentioned matter is a miss use of public funds and the practice should be terminated immediately and fees already paid to the attorney be repaid to the city of  Middletown. 
The list of grievances not reconciled is long. However, I bring to your attention to specific instances that demonstrate cause for an ineffective superintendent and require immediate dismissal. 
First, two years ago, 466 offered to donate sick days to a cafe worker who was seriously ill. Upon receiving a requested MOU from the business manager, Nancy Haynes, the business manager and Dr. Michael Frechette decided not to honor the MOU and declined the sick day donation. This action was reprehensible. 
It was inhumane! Finally, the worker received the donated time, the city had to take the matter to court, but in typical BOE form, many fees were taken from the donation leaving the worker a few hundreds dollars short of the expected amount. The city stepped up and the Common Council voted for an appropriation to make the employee whole. 
And, remember his initial hire where he was offered "teacher benefits"? The  BOE Administration hires inappropriately, they decline certified candidates without cause, they maneuver and manipulate like trained reconnaissance soldiers hiding under the protection of State Stature 10-220. One Million dollars has been overspent. 
Seems as if there has been no accountability from the BOE administration. "Scream Rooms" — I agree time-out/calming room are needed.  But really, open electrical boxes, no padding? 
The mismanagement and ineffective management and continued poor administrative performance, unfortunately determines only one conclusion, Dr. Frechette's contract must be terminated immediately by "mutual consent," as stated under section 6.
Termination section a, contract (6/28/11), signed by Corrine Gill. According the the 2011 contract (original 5-19-05) there is no obligation for a "buyout." This entire ordeal has been difficult on employees, I am sure Dr. Frechette's family and the entire community. 
I urge you to mutually sever the contract only granting sick and vacation time.  There is no reason to provide any additional financial compensation. I wish you the best this evening as I am sure the meeting will be emotionally charged.  Lastly, thank you for your service to the community! 
Deborah Kleckowski
Middletown Common Council Member

Our Bill of Rights Set to Music Performed at Wesleyan

The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, set to music by Neely Bruce to be performed again at Wesleyan University, Thursday March 8 at 3:15 PM and 4:15 PM. The attached video is from an earlier performance and is only Part 1 of 8 Parts.

 

   

 

Click here for more information about this music and composer Neely Bruce. Also here is access to the other 7 videos.

March 5, 2012

Good Question: "Why doesn't the BOE just show us the books?" Answer: THEY DON'T HAVE TO.

A much loved reader The Blue Cat asked an intelligent question in our comments section the Insider would like to address. " Why doesn't the BOE Administration just show the public the accounting books?" We don't mean to pick on you kitty cat, its a really good question; good for you for taking an interest in where your tax money goes. Many have asked this over and over in various letters to the media and statements given and its a fair question answered below. 

Blogger The Blue Cat said...
It is clear that the BOE had over-spent their special education budget. They did it two years in a row.

Thing is.. thats the norm. And normally there is a grant check that covers a lot of that expenditure. Problem is.. the City used that money without BOE permission. Should the City have done that. No. Did the BOE overspend their budget? Yeah. Thats what happened.

But in the end the city has to fund the BOE no less then the year before. And all of this is over two institutions sharing money. For a few years they have been getting less from the state and the spat between Guiliano and "Evil BOE Empire" didn't help the sharing process.

Now I do have my doubts about some of the accounting practices at the BOE. It appears that some things are left in the dark. Why cant we get a "completely detailed receipt" from the BOE? Isn't that a fair request?

Either way we all have to pay for it.
March 4, 2012 10:22 PM
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Blogger Middletown Insider said...

Thank you thank you for the question Blue Cat! in a nutshell here is the answer...
I have to correct you a a few points Blue Cat- the City did not spend the BOE's money. The City told Haynes it was not going to receive the grant money from the State and she and the administration played dumb and kept spending anyway. Mind you, she and all the admins got raises, not a single teacher did. In fact students have been sent home with supply "wish lists." SO the City never had the money. Chalking this up to Giuliano having a spat is inaccurate and unfair and a rumor perpetuated by some of the local Democrats. Again not all, newly elected are doing a fine job asking the right questions. Frechette actively campaigned for Tom Serra and Dan Drew so you have to see that connection. This set the stage for any questioning of Frechette by anyone in public office from either party to have the preconceived connotation of being strictly politically motivated.The crew enlisted  the help of Wesleyan student Dem presidents Ben Florsheim and Gabriela D'Golia who  accused Giuliano supporters of felony voter intimidation. Employees employed by the City working as aids, janitors, secretaries etc have filed numerous grievances citing real mistreatment, discrimination, and unlawful practices by the BOE administration that has gone unnoticed for years. The then Mayor trying to remedy this only to find no communication on the part of the BOE admin namely Frechette is anything but a spat. (So Giuliano took the BOE Administration to court, which the public  grossly misunderstood. Dan Drew ran his campaign on the premise "end the lawsuits save money", and badda bing badda boom, gets elected, no more lawsuits basically giving Frechette carte blanche to continue the madness of the BOE acting like a soverign nation and he the big Chief.)  The only instance of this gross mistreatment of workers, out of dozens, that made the Press was when cafe workers and janitors were not paid for 2 months for the hours they worked at the storm shelter. The only person to blame for this is Michael Frechette. How would you feel if your boss told you he was not going to pay you money you were owed for 2 months? Wrong and illegal but it happened!


By law, which no one seems to understand is the BOE Administration does not have to show line items or be transparent. THATS THE LAW. So if they don't have to all the cries of transparency, talking, hugging, sharing "fair request" will continue to fall on deaf ears. It is not or never was a matter of the BOE and Mayor Giuliano being stubborn, its a matter of the fact Frechette and Haynes by law do not have to show the public the books, and therefore won't. By standing up Blue Cat, we as tax payers do not have to pay for it. Some people have jobs illegally (Haynes) and some people got huge raises (Frechette & Senges) and and mileage- that certainly will cover a lot of the million deficit. Also did you forget Frechette gifted Datco a magic bio-diesel or something school bus a year ago? He spent what he called a $100,000.00 overage!

The Insider pulled the contracts of Frechette and Haynes, and there is not exit clause. Frechette's 3 year contract auto-renews in its second year. Therefore he is always in his second year of three, employed for life. However, contrary to rumors there is no buy out. A vote of no confidence on the part of the elected BOE board would give Frechette, the Insider feels, the much deserved boot. (hint hint) Frechette was the highest paid public employee of Middletown the past two years; his salary is comparable with other superintendents around the state, however, they do their jobs without making headlines- they do not have scream rooms or deficits of a million dollars. Haynes was hired last spring, however, did not sign her contract until August. Why? And, remind you, she was hired illegally as the State has since ruled. Now, the position will be filled again, and taxpayers will be paying for Haynes's salary and that of a person duplicating her duties. Have you ever seen "The Shining" where the twins come down the hall ? Yeah....double the pleasure, double the fun.

One would think if there was nothing to hide the books would be public, however, so far it hasn't happened, and I wouldn't hold my breath. The Insider says if we had a dollar for everytime Mayor Drew says "communication" or "transparency" the million dollar deficit would have been long paid by now. By law, the BOE does not have to give the public a "detailed receipt", which everyone and their mother has asked for over and over, therefore it will never happen.

Blue Cat you are right in the fact by our charter herein known as "Our Stupid Charter," taxpayers must fund the BOE no less than the previous year, therefore the deficit is in fact compounded. This is possibly how DEAL and Special Education got shafted. Oh Our Stupid Charter.

**Correction: according to State Law- the BOE  must provide no less funding than the year before.** Apologies for the misinformation. Also a better choice of words is that our Charter is confusing rather than stupid.

Anyone else who would like to submit a question please do! The Insider is here to answer!

March 4, 2012

Rumor Disney to make movie about Nancy Haynes & Middletown BOE!

A rumor has come to the attention of the Middletown Insider that Disney is supposedly interested in making a movie about the Middletown BOE Administration. The offer is being given serious consideration as a money making tool in order to help the department cover the $1 million dollar deficit in the budget that was the apparent result of overspending. While Mayor Dan Drew has released official statements claiming that the the deficit is no ones fault, the Insider asks readers what would you do to cover the million dollar deficit?