Monday, May 22, 2017

Not what I asked for. UPDATED 3 TIMES

On May 15, 2017, I filed a Right To Know seeking "All records, including but not limited to emails, texts, and interoffice memos related to modifying the job posting dates for Middle School Social Studies Teacher - 8th Grade US History - Contract 2016-2017 JobID:471. Dates modified include: Date Posted & Closing Date."

Here is what I got.

Response Letter They located a copy of the job posting as it currently exists. No kidding!

The records sent (redacted, yet free of charge. How about that, Keith McGill and Bonnie Cross?!!)

The cover letter from MTLSD  - check out all the people who were cc'ed!

And finally, my response to the MTLSD ORO. I enclosed the original and modified job postings.

Timmy is not giving up the information!

Update May 22, 2017 6:12 PM If you read the fine print at the bottom of the redacted emails, it appears that M Mikesell applied for the position. According to the staff directory, Matthew Mikesell teaches Grade Six Social Studies at Mellon. http://www.mtlsd.org/page.cfm?p=632 Elaine Cappucci's son won out over an internal hire, a social studies teacher from Mellon.

Update May 23, 2017 5:46 PM I wrote back to Jeanine Szalinski, Timmy's administrative assistant/Open Records Officer asking for clarification concerning my RTK.  Well, that's all she wrote. That is all I am getting, even though it is not what I requested. So here are my options. Accept it at face value or appeal it to the PA Office of Open Records. Been there, done that. Still waiting for the PA Supreme Court to hear my case on the last appeal. I lost too much money on that deal, thinking that we have the right to know where lethal weapons are being fired in Mt. Lebanon. Ha! OR one of the million attorneys in Mt. Lebanon that isn't on Team Timmy can get a subpoena, or help me FOR FREE. I can file an appeal with the PA OOR, but their decision means nothing to Mt. Lebanon.

Update May 25, 2017 5:53 PM I decided to file an appeal with the PA Office of Open Records. Here is the correspondence MTLSD and I received today: the email and the confirmation letter from the Office of Open Records. I agreed to a thirty day extension, so their final determination will be on or before July 24, 2017.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I am correctly reading all the documents, it doesn't look like any of the response documents answer the question about modifying the dates, when and by whom. It looks more like the response documents are answering info about one internal applicant and the internal job posting. Was there another RTK the documents also satisfy?

E. T. Gillen said...

Yes, there was. I received this email explaining that MTLSD needed an extension. Here is the email.
Could it be possible that the responses were switched? I don't know.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Why did they redact the email addresses of Mt. Lebanon employees? These aren't personal addresses. Don't we have a right to know who these folks are if they are using school district email addresses?

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

We don't have a right to know anything identifying about applicants who aren't hired or see their applications. It's one of the many exemptioms under the right to know law. For ex., one may be able to receive information on how many applicants applied and when and via what submission manner (in person, on-line, etc), but not names of them (if I am interpreting the exemption correctly).

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Cc comment you made Elaine: I have found that if my email to the district touches on a sensitive subject, then I can expect a lot of people to be CC'd. I wonder if there's is a special talk with new employees about the use of CCs to perhaps silence or intimidate.

-Mary E

Anonymous said...

Based on the internal email notifying staff of the open position, it would appear that the position was open for a week and the "modified" job posting has the correct information. I wouldn't be surprised if the delay involves reaching out to the vendor of the job posting site and requesting logs to see why the dates changed, whether at the hands of a district employee or because of a software defect.

I think we can all hear the air leaking of this coverup balloon. Thanks for getting to the truth.

Anonymous said...

7:02 the difference between when internal candidates were notified about the opening (as likely required by labor contract) and when the public at large was notified (less than one day with subsequent cover-up) also explains the timing.

Question: if the administration followed all proper procedures and made every effort to ensure that the best teacher was selected, then why would the dates change?

Anonymous said...

Here's what likely happened:

- The job was put up on Applitrack with an opening of 7/5 and a closing of 7/11
- An email was sent advertising the job to internal staff with an opening of 7/5 and a closing of 7/11
- Matthew Mikesell asked for an exception to the closing and someone altered the Applitrack listing to allow for his application to be submitted
- A certain segment of Mt Lebanon sharpened their pitchforks in light of the Cappucci conspiracy theories and someone corrected the Applitrack listing to reflect the original listing

E. T. Gillen said...

Nice try, 10:59 AM. Check the dates of the listings at the top of each page. The change was made after I filed the Ethics Complaint in 2017!
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Elaine, and? That comports with the theory.

You portrayed the one day opening as the equivalent of a pocket listing so that Cappucci's son would be the only candidate. Instead, it's apparent that the listing was altered for a special request by a different candidate. Yes, someone changed it back to reflect the original listing, which may or may not be problematic, but that obviously had nothing to do with nepotism.

Love is never having to say you're sorry.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it standard practice in most companies that internal applicants take priority over new applicants?
Why wouldn't Mikesell have gotten the job and a new position opened for Milesell's old spot?

Will not following this procedure create some animosity in the department?

Anonymous said...

Was the assistant coaching position job listed or did that automatically go wth the teaching position?

Anonymous said...

I hear Andrew Cappucci is not LIKED at all by other teachers or administration at Jefferson. Further I heard he is an awful teacher??

Mathew Mikesell is an EXCELLENT Teacher i don't understand how Mikesell did not get that job... Only factor is the MOMMY on School Board giving favors to Super... In Mt. Lebanon even much better teachers can't compete with that.

Anonymous said...

If that is true 12:36, where is the Jefferson PTA?
They seem to have a lot to say on nearly every other district issue and they're certainly the ones with the highest stakes in the game.

Anonymous said...

If you follow the navigation through Quicklinks/Job posting all open jobs are there. It looks like a new internal one for a WES principal is in the internal stage (judging by the date span). Of course, I have no idea how the back end of the applitrak works and have no plans to fake apply to the WES principal job to test my theory, BUT would it let an external candidate apply now? I can see the job and I can even email it to a friend.
Is there an official policy of preference to internal candidates?
I'm not an expert on teacher employment and staffing practices,but I assume the JMS job came about as a result of a retirement or resignation. Why was the job posted instead of being treated as a potential staff reassignment first (article 22 Collective Bargaining Agreement)?

Anonymous said...

I know next to nothing about Right to Know requests, but it seems unlikely that Dr. Steinhouer is going to turn over a smoking gun. Now if the teachers union - perhaps in the name of its member or members who were, perhaps, given just cursory consideration for this position - got involved, well that would be interesting. I imagine that a subpoena is a bit more powerful than a RTK (not that the value isn't there and appreciated). Let's hope the union stands up for its membership over one member.

Jason Margolis said...

There is another, somewhat related, possibility.

Did the job come with a side of coaching?

In many communities -- particularly sports-obsessed ones -- The "SS Teacher / But Really a Coach" has the inside lane in many job searches... MTL seems like it could be one of these communities that would privilege coaching experience over pedagogical dexterity.

Anonymous said...

You know what's telling? That not one Cappucci has come forward to declare their innocence.

Anonymous said...

The redacted teacher asks for an extension on 7/13, the extension is granted, and the listing is opened for one day on 7/13, presumably for the redacted teacher to submit his application. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

Was anyone able to find the job posting for the coaching job? It comes with a stipend according to the teacher's contract.

E. T. Gillen said...

Case closed? So why was it changed after I filed the ethics complaint? You're not getting it, 4:21 PM. Look at the dates at the top of the postings.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

4:21 seems to be in a big hurry to get this issue forgotten, all the more reason to keep it and Birks' ethics issue alive until after the November election.

E. T. Gillen said...

Please check out today's update at 5:46 PM.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

I guess all folks can do now is hope the Ethics Commission finds the complaint preliminary inquiry compelling enough to officially investigate and hope if something is there, it comes up in the official investigation. The preliminary inquiry should be done within 60 days after filing, That could be by 6.27.17 assuming the date of receipt is the official received date the commission uses. While that is in process, what else seems hidden from the public? Anything in the Campaign for Excellence? Is there a statement of finances, donor list, etc that has been made public? Are they anywhere close to goal?

Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right 8:34? They may not have even covered expenses on the campaign

E. T. Gillen said...

I filed an appeal with the PA Office of Open Records and received a docket number for Gillen v Mount Lebanon School District. See my third update.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Another teacher is leaving the high school. Mr. Junko, a long time History teacher, is going to USC. He is also a football coach for Lebo! He is going to coach in USC.

Anonymous said...

Yes his kids go to school and play there. He wants to coach them