Target Acquired!

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.         Saul Alinsky  Rules for Radicals                                                                                                                 

Today’s email from Dr. Metzler to me:

July 24, 2014

Mrs Green – Today it was reported to me that you were both disrespectful and harassing to several employees. Of course I will investigate this report and if validated I will need to limit your access to the SAU. This is both disturbing and unfortunate. I will also be consulting with both the Plaistow Police Department and district council.

Dr. Earl F. Metzler II

Today I went to the SAU to pick up some Right to Know information.  The monthly expenditure and revenue report was ready ($8) and Mr. Peter Bealo’s letter of censure from the school board dated May 15, 2013 (50 cents). I have also previously arranged to review the year’s correspondence folder for material sent to the school board including the  email address, as well as the lawyer’s letter detailing the email policy unilaterally imposed on the budget committee and voluntarily imposed on the school board itself. This is the second time I’ve read this letter.

After reviewing the correspondence folder, I said to an SAU employee that I found it interesting that none of my emails to TRSB were included in this folder.  The employee replied, “I respectfully request you take up this issue with the proper authority,” or something pretty darn close starting with “I respectfully request….” To this I said, “I understand you just print off what you are told.”  Then again:  “I respectfully request….”  At that I said, “OK.”   Then read the lawyer’s letter after which I immediately left the employee’s office to stand at the reception desk to await change for my RTK information bill. While there, this employee came back with a giant binder with the official school board minutes of 2013-2014.  I was told that my emails to TRSB were behind the official minutes of each meeting, but not attached to the minutes. (This means my emails are not available online with the official minutes. It also meant to me that the board as a whole was not reading my emails since they were not included in the correspondence folder for board review.)  At this I said in a tone that was sterner than it should have been something to the effect of “Are you telling me that my emails are kept secret in this binder that nobody knows about?”

The employee responded by flying off the handle, with voice raised saying that my implication was offensive and personally insulting.  I raised my voice and responded with something to the effect that with this arrangement, the board was not seeing my emails that were specifically sent to TRSB so the entire board could see them.  Mrs. Nancy Danahy emerged from her office, stood near the inordinately upset employee and asked if everything was alright.

I made light  and said not to worry that we were not going to come to blows and smiled.  She smiled back and said I’m just doing my job or some such thing. Then Mr. Stokinger appeared and invited me to see the cheque run – an invitation I could not resist.  For the next hour and more, I sat at a desk in the SAU reviewing invoices, matching them to cheques and the cheque register, which I then signed for the first time.  During this time I asked Mr. Stokinger some questions about 4 invoices and conducted a convivial, courteous conversation with all those around me – the lady sitting next to my desk, Mr. Hughes, and a gentleman to see Mr. Stokinger.  As I was about to leave, the employee with whom I had had words passed my desk.  I asked if I could speak a moment and this is how I started.

“I just want you to understand things from my point of view.  I specifically sent emails to TRSB so all the board could see them and now I find they have not been seeing them.  You know I have always considered you a consummate professional. Then I proceeded to say my remarks were not a personal attack.  The reply was that the way I say things does sound accusatory, rude and personal and further that I was mistaken about who was reading the emails. I did not respond.  Then my interlocutor apologized for not acting professionally.  I did not apologize as I felt I had nothing to apologize for.  By the end we parted understanding each other’s upset and what seemed on good terms.

And now Dr. Metzler, using Alinsky’s tactics, wants to exaggerate and escalate a simple exchange of words with someone at the SAU who by their own admission stepped out of professional demeanor.  The apparent goal of his method is to keep me out of the SAU building.  Now why would he want to do that when he has invited me into his office by automatic email at least 80 times?

School Board policy requires school board members to get permission from the superintendent to visit schools even on an informal basis. Now it looks like the objective is to keep at least one school board member from visiting the SAU.

You will note that Dr. Metzler plans to talk to everyone but me about the incident. The battle for the “collective truth of the district” heats up.

TriTown Times CORRECTION:  Today’s paper says that by my calculations the district received $1.5 million from the LGC HealthTrust refund while only $850,000 went into surplus.  This is not correct. The district has received $1.05 million.  With the third tranche to be received in September, the district will have received in total $1.55 million. I’m pretty sure I said the correct numbers in an interview but if I misstated, I apologize to the reporter.



Filed under My censure, Right to Know issues, Sandown Issues

3 responses to “Target Acquired!

  1. Mark Richards

    “In the main there are no conspiracies. Instead there are simply a lot of dumb people aiming for the same dumb goal.” -me

    Within the institution, whatever it may be, can be found a collection of very good people who have the unfortunate task of carrying forth very bad policy created by wholly incompetent leaders. This is at the basis of, I would venture to charge, the majority of our public institutions and certainly a predominant measure of those outside of the public revenue stream. It is the average and very mediocre human way.

    Ineptitude, and when actualized, incompetence, causes the least harm where a potential victim can vote with their feet. Really awful bad happens where public institutions, and especially of all places schools, are dysfunctional at their core. There’s no place to walk. There are no options. Dysfunctional schools, and in your case the combo of dysfunctional and wholly corrupt schools, present a great danger to society. They damage economies, they damage students and worst of all they damage hope.

    Schools should function administratively in a manner which emulates the very integrity, honesty, accountability and respect that most of these same institutions demand of their students. Reading, and because of such good word-craft, experiencing the level of the malignancy into which you are thrust, evokes a deep sadness, coupled with a sense of cleansing rage. I any hope of value is lost and any hope of living out even one of these basics is unlikely. Will sadness and rage combine into a cleansing force? Perhaps. But, I am a pessimistic sort, and see only one solution. It is one that is far too late to employ, and therefore takes you off the hook. It is this: join them.

    You have stepped into a nasty, dirty, vengeful political business. Your presence shakes and threatens to the core. Speaking “truth to power” is one thing; being truth amidst power another. You have demonstrated both. That your presence in a room threatens is a wonderful thing. Use it.

    Survival in this nasty realm demands the maintenance of a sordid balance of power where each side has sufficient dirt on the other to do them in. One then navigates and, with some luck, begins to effect change from the inside. It is a slow, disheartening process. Short of mass firings and indictments, it may be the only other solution.

    Trust no one. Reveal nothing. Get all the dirt on the lot that you can. Spill the beans.

    So they want to play legal? Fine. Show them what you’ve got. Do it for the taxpayers, and the children. Good luck!

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