2001-04-21 / Columnists

April 21st Edition

April 21st Edition

From the G-man:

Good People In A Bad System

Hey people! There are a number of agencies, at the local and state level, that are filled with corrupt officials and political sellouts. This is the main reason why so many issues and conditions within the state of New York are not adequately addressed, if they are even addressed at all. As a result, many caring, hard working and dedicated people become entrapped in a world of greed, mismanagement and backroom deal making. If they speak out against the agency, and its’ practices, the consequences can be quite severe. Let me give you an example.

Over the last five months I have been relentless in my quest to try and right some of the wrongs of the Far Rockaway post office. I have become somewhat of a hero in the eyes of those who want the system to change, and the management regards me as a no good bastard that is trying to get them fired. Whatever! Some of the employees were dedicated and caring enough to speak out and let the community know what was going on. Well, it was recently brought to my attention that the management of the Far Rockaway post office is trying to fire one of the people who spoke out. I have concerns that they may do the same for all those involved in helping me tell this story.

According to my sources, they are attempting to fire the person because of something they said when appearing on "The John Baxter Show". I won’t comment on what was said at this time, but I will say that it should not have been interpreted in the manner that it was, and the management knows this. If you view the tape, in its’ entirety, even the co-workers state that the individual is not serious about the remarks. While they note that the comments may appear to be extreme, they are quick to say that the comments were undoubtedly taken out of context and that their co-worker is not a violent person. This is so typical of the system. Instead of addressing the postal problems in Far Rockaway, go after the employees who care enough to inform the community. Hey guys, last time I checked over 70 percent of people still feel that the service stinks! Maybe you should spend less time watching taped episodes of "The Sopranos".

I find the actions of management to be a bit strange. Shortly after the segment aired, I was contacted by Postal Inspector Phil Nater, who has since retired. At the end of the conversation, he concluded that he had to investigate further. However, I was able to convince him that comments were made on the tape, by co-workers and the person in question, that also prove the individual posed no threat. I also reminded him that this person has many years on the job, and if the person hasn’t snapped after all the "BS" they have experienced, they probably weren’t going to. He agreed, but to this day the person has become the primary target of management. The person has since filed a grievance against the USPS, and I intend to do all that I can to assist this person in fighting to maintain a position with the post office.

In case there are those who believe that the management is completely justified in their actions against this person, and that they can do no wrong, let me inform you that a case was just settled in favor of an employee of the Far Rockaway post office. I will be writing about it in the near future, but at this point I will say that the employee was unfairly treated simply because she underwent treatment for breast cancer. How insensitive is that folks? Congratulations to her, and I hope she’s feeling much better these days.

The Board of Education is another big, fat cesspool of corruption and politics, and there are a lot of great teachers who are caught in the undertow. A few days ago, I heard a story about a lovely young lady, from Trinidad, who has been trying to become a teacher within the New York City school system. She has incredible education-related credentials, great references and a winning personality. Some describe her as the perfect example of what a teacher should represent, but she has been denied access to the profession that she loves for the last few years. She has been interviewed countless times, and has enormous support from friends who are currently teaching, but the system has slammed the door shut on her. Now I don’t want to assume anything, but if the two basic interview questions are, "Who do you know at the Board of Education?" and "Who do you know in this school?", it would seem like it’s a classic case of it’s who you know, not what you know. This is what the "Trini Lady" has experienced time and time again, and this is detrimental to future candidates, the children and the education process.

I want someone from the Board of Ed to tell me what the hell is going on. We see all these ads and news reports that New York City has a major teacher shortage, but yet people like the "Trini Lady" are completely passed up or ignored. I also happen to know that this is not an isolated case. There are scores of potential candidates in this position, and they end up being forced to take jobs not even remotely related to teaching just to survive. You’ll hire child molesters and ex-cons to teach our children faster than you can say "Boston Public", but the qualified and exceptional ones get the shaft. It makes no sense! Oh, by the way, while you’re attempting to explain why this situation exist, you can also tell me why the B.O.E. is recruiting, and hiring, teachers from European countries! I have no problem with hiring a few here and there because diversity is a good thing. However, students should also have a cultural connection to those who teach them. No one understands an African-American, Asian or Latino child better than someone who shares the culture. If you really want me to break it down, the exclusive hiring of teachers from European countries, instead of minority ones waiting to obtain a spot, is a slap in the face to people of color. History clearly shows that Europeans were responsible for initiating, and maintaining, the African slave trade! So, what kind of message are you trying to send? What are you guys, and gals, doing down there? Inquiring minds want to know. You know what? Have your people call my people and provide me, and all of the minority communities in New York City, with some answers. If you don’t, I’m going to have to give you a failing grade, and "Professor G" does not grade on a curve. Class dismissed!

Rest peacefully Leon.

See you next week!

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