Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mulgrew Removes Brooklyn Borough Rep Debbie Poulos - Was She too aggressive on certain abusive principals?

"Mulgrew may think Poulos doesn't have the right temperament for the job," a Unity source told me. "She doesn't kiss ass enough."

Night of the long knives at the UFT

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A central office UFT Unity source contacted Ed Notes with an unconfirmed  rumor that UFT President Michael Mulgrew was removing popular Brooklyn Borough Rep Debbie Poulos. Poulos will be given another position in the UFT. The announcement is due to be made sometime tomorrow to the Brooklyn reps at the AFT convention in Minneapolis. Mulgrew often uses the occasion of AFT conventions to make these type of staff changes.  It wouldn't shock me to see other changes coming.

Poulos had a good working relationship with members of the opposition in MORE who worked in Brooklyn and a bunch of us hung out with her last Friday at the SOS march in Washington - she even took a photo with us wearing MORE shirts. "This won't get you into trouble," I joked. She laughed.

But that has nothing to do with this change. Behind the scenes Debbie has been known to be more aggressive than other UFT officials in hassling certain abusive principals. She supposedly had a top-10 hit list of principals. She played a role in the John Dewey story with the removal of principal Kathleen Irvin, sending in special reps to assist chapter leader Michael Solo in his battle. Michael left MORE and joined Unity Caucus because he was so appreciative of the help.

Debbie was a chapter leader early in her career under an abusive principal and full well knows the score. I put up a reso in the late 90s calling got more protection for chapter leaders due to the situation Debbie was in. Unity Caucus turned it down overwhelmingly.

There is speculation that Poulos had stepped on some toes in the UFT hierarchy who have especially close relationships with officials in the Farina's DOE administration who are unhappy with UFT officials who are considered too aggressive. There are rumored names of those in the UFT hierarchy who had it in for Debbie but at this point that info is not confirmed - Unity slugs are welcome to speculate in the comments section.

Mulgrew, not wanting to endanger his seat at the DOE table,  may be sending a message to those few reps who stand up for teachers too rigorously. When I checked with another source in Unity I was told they might try to turn the Brooklyn office into another Queens borough office which is considered by some to be the worst - or equal to the Bronx -

I know my old pal Howie Shoor will take exception to that but he is no longer Bronx borough rep, being replaced by Mary Atkinson who at one time was an Ed Notes distributor. Howie has moved up to 2nd in command as UFT Secretary. Howie was Debbie's guide and mentor and I wonder how he feels about this.

Debbie Poulos is popular with the Brooklyn reps who feel she  has their backs. I don't know all details but I've never considered the people I know in the Brooklyn office of being especially aggressive. But I am not plugged in to that info.

We'll report from the convention if we hear anything more.

If we find tomorrow that none of the above is true I will have to find a nice Minneapolis hat to eat.


19 comments:

  1. If this rumor is true then it will be a travesty. I have known Debbie for many years when I was a UFT delegate and had asked her advice on work conditions. If she were a man she would not be called aggressive instead decisive and assertive even strategic. Standing up to abuses of power in a school setting is about a courageous unionist!

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    1. I've known Debbie for thirteen years. She was next door at ms88 when I first became a teacher. She guided me and others through many difficult decisions and proceedings. She's a dedicated unionist I agree wholeheartedly. ive been though some ups and downs with Debbie too, but I support her 100%. The unity caucus is what it is. It taught me so much about how our democracy hates actual democracy. It also taught me about timing. My money is on Debbie. Stay strong sister! Btw I love that norm breaks this unity story. How great are you norm? Love you

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  2. Queens UFT is horrible. Rona Freiser total waste. Many of the special reps and other full time personnel come out of District 24, another hotbed of authoritarian opportunists.

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  3. I agree with Ms.Sotomayor. If this is true then it is a travesty.

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  4. If this is true then I am done with this union!

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  5. "Hassling certain principals"? Umm, bad choice of words. She did was not "hassling" any principals. She was doing her job to ensure that the contract was being upheld.

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    1. Agree. Who will have the teachers' backs now? Will miss Debbie.

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  6. I hear it's true and not a rumor. However, Mulgrew's name is mentioned here when we know that others call the shots. When Unity members complain about these changes, it's usually Leroy Barr they mention and not figurehead Mulgrew.

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    1. I don't agree. Randi in control. Ellie engler is her agent. Others aspire to be uft pres if mulgrew moves up to aft.

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    2. Of course Engler is her agent. She is not even a UFT member and was made one of the Direcor's of Staff because she was Randi's roomate in college. You can't imagine how hated she is by UFT staff.

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  7. A real shame. I am so disappointed in the union leadership for this action. Removing a "real" unionist from her position makes no sense at all. Shame!!!

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  8. True or rumors
    We should let our displeasure be known vociferously amid the horrors on teachers. I recommend we email and blog the heck in response

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  9. This is an act of sexism and gender
    Discrimination

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  10. I wrote a reply to this statement on a seperate space, but the jist of it was that, as a teacher and briefly as a CL at John Dewey HS when Debbie Poulos was charged with defending our rights from an infamously abusive principal (Elvin, who was dumped eventually, but "re-instated" a year later), I did not feel that she had "my back"; she was friendly and a warmer personality than most "specila reps" I have encountered, but she played her part as a status quo figure, including sitting with Elvin when she came to "transform" the school, and deciding, as the UFT partner in the fiasco, who stays and who goes. I didn't bother to get "screened" in that joke, mine was a "fait accompli".So I have no big defense of Debbie, she dealt with me when I was CL because she had to, and that was that. They- the UFT honchos- wanted me gone, and were happy to see me taken out by an internal "coup", orchestrated by Michael Solo and his cronies. Solo was the "compromise solutionist" the staff craved, and he used his position as CL to #1 protect his plum job as an art teacher, and #2 to further the aims of Unity in the defeated school, as he was Always Unity, although he whispered about being MORE. And he was Always on a first-name basis with his (supposed) nemisis, his "Kathleen" Elvin! Whoever heard of your CL being so cush-cush with your abusive principal?

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    1. I would have to agree. My only dealings with Ms. Poulos would lead me to believe that she's mostly falls on the status quo side. I say that while excercising a great deal of restraint.

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  11. She wasn't a nice person. She had no idea how to talk to people and held a grudge like no ones business. Once you pissed her off, there was no coming back from it.

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    1. Not my experience at all. I, and countless others, understood Debbie to be nothing other than helpful and supportive as the Brooklyn Borough Representative.

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