Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Portelos Hearing: DOE Legal Invalidates Chapter Leader Election at IS 49SI

Imagine a union allowing the employer to invalidate an election for building rep and remaining mute.  

Multiple contract violations involved in principal's refusal to meet w. elected CL on a regular basis, consult committee, etc. Not that they ( union bureaucracy)  care.... observer at Portelos hearing
How absurd. They've had 500 +days to investigate him and they are just *now* "checking" his "in-laws' wi-fi"? WHILE the hearing is underway?  And for what purpose? Are his in-laws Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? Are they looking for H-bomb diagrams? WTF ! Last week that investigators were there... or at his *own* parents' house ....  THE NIGHT BEFORE THE OPENING HEARING. They were talking to HIS CHILDREN. I was appalled..... observer
I am adhering to a non-mandatory request from the hearing officer not to go into the details of the charges and the hearing. But what follows occurred before the hearing formally resumed on Monday (Sept. 23) with an objection from the DOE attorney – there were 2 of them plus an assistant -- when will the press begin to question the astronomical cost of this case where not one negative word about how this teacher taught children is mentioned?

The DOE lawyer,  Jordana Shankman, objected to Portelos standing outside the school from which he has been banned since April 26, 2012 and claimed he was doing it to intimidate witnesses. The fact that he might have been there as a way to address issues that some staff members might want to raise with their chapter leader lead to the bizarre DOE claim that he was not the chapter leader.

We were all shocked to learn that IS 49SI principal Linda Hill's refusal to recognize Francesco Portelos as the duly elected chapter leader was ordered by DOE legal.

In other words, the DOE has interjected itself into a chapter election by unilaterally declaring the election for chapter leader as null and void. When questoned by NYSUT lawyer Chris Callagy, Principal Hill said it wasn't she who made the decision not to deal with Portelos but the order was issued by DOE legal. Later on in the hearing, the DOE attorney made a point of reiterating this. Callegy managed to get Hill to confirm that the Staten Island UFT maintained that Portelos was still the elected chapter leader.

DOE lawyer Jordana Shankman also outrageously asserted that Portelos had no right to be in front of his school even on his own time and that he should be in the "place he was assigned."

In the meantime, since last year, the principal's cronies have initiated 3 failed attempts to recall Portelos.

My question to the UFT is: What will you do about it when the DOE, looking to paint a teacher as dangerous and threatening to a staff as grounds for dismissal must suffer the inconvenient truth that said staff elected this "threat" as their union rep and then the DOE declares that he is not their union rep as a way to make their case?

In fact it is hard to decide who to be more pissed off at: the DOE or the UFT for standing by while this farce continues. Imagine a union allowing the employer to invalidate an election and remaining mute. Wouldn't one expect the Staten Island UFT borough office to take a strong stand here? To consistently affirm that Portelos is the official school chapter leader? To go into the school and address the principal's attempts to foment recall votes? To join Portelos in holding meetings outside the school grounds to show support instead of letting him stand there alone and be accused by the DOE of acting like a terrorist while trying to serve the people who elected him?

In fact, information sometimes filters out of the UFT inner sanctum that UFT officialdom would be perfectly happy to see Portelos be found guilty and just go away. I'll leave the "why" to speculators.
There were 4 MORE retirees at the hearing. The next hearing date will be Monday, Sept. 30, 10AM.

Principal Hill testified how she consulted with DOE legal, network legal, her union's legal and goodness knows how many "legals"? The major "educational" innovation of Joel Klein has been the number of lawyers he added to the payroll.
Imagine the costs of this attempt to get rid of Portelos.


  1. The DOE has absolutely no problem hiring a principal such as James Brown at Flushing HS after he was asked to leave the Baldwin school district at a cost of more than 1.5 million dollars to settle a federal lawsuit. (NY POST Sunday 9/22). But Mr. Portelos is banned and expunged by DOE legal? The UFT must immediately file an Article 2 PERB complaint for interference in union activities. If the testimony claimed in this account is accurate it is a slam dunk and the DOE should be cited and that aspect of the charge be stricken from the proceedings.

  2. What if anything is the staff doing to protest this? Are they protesting outside the school?? Or are they so afraid of retaliation, nothing is being done. There is strength in numbers.

    I just posted a story of a teacher who committed suicide on SPS because of her principal's constant harassment. What is anything are we doing to stop this type of behavior? I am not a BAT but I know you are---if there any movement for a national day of outrage?

  3. So the UFT wants Portelos gone so they (NYSUT) assign him one of the most experienced Lawyers. You logic really adds up Norm. I am going to through a Normism at you. "Look what they do, not what Norm says"

    1. Give me a break. We hear some inside stuff. You guys don't trust people like him. Too active, proactive, etc. You want quiet as a mouse while you do your "magic" behind the scenes. How is that working out with rediculus witch hunts over facebook stuff. No outrage from you. The UFT doesn't want Portelos as chapter leader esp since he is working with MORE, so they go silent in the face of a direct attack by the DOE on basic union rules. Your abandonment of chapter leaders generally is what is undermining the union. But why should you care? Your gang has its gigs.

  4. Norm -- let the Unity slugs list what they do. I'm laughing already.

  5. So how exactly does the amount of money influence the particular selection along with the prospect? It fees more money to perform intended for company every single selection routine and there is absolutely no result in perception Win elections online


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