Rubber Room Administrator Michele Nacht Exiles Educators Far From Home

When an educator in NYC is reassigned from their position, pending very, very slow investigations, they go to the Rubber Room Hub first. That hub is room 1201 of 49-51 Chambers Street, NY, NY.

Room 1201 of 49-51 Chambers St. - Rubber Room Hub

Room 1201 of 49-51 Chambers St. – Rubber Room Hub

There you first meet the receptionist, Dr. CY, who has you sign in and then gives you some ground rules. “No Charging of cell phones, laptops in any outlet -including the halls and bathroom” Not only is your career pulled out from under you, but you may not use any of the DOE’s kilowatts so you can contact your union, family, friends or attorneys. By the way the average smartphone uses about 2.52 x 10^-3 kWh per charge or 0.00252 kWh. At an average of 18 cents per kilowatt-hour for supply and delivery we are talking about pennies. Is it really about the money or just more punishment?

Rubber Room Hub Rules

Rubber Room Hub Rules

You can sleep, but you can’t disrupt the rest of the people.” was something they actually said to someone who fell asleep and was snoring. Although I was there only half a day on April 26,2012, I did not sleep, but I was getting low on my battery.

You might be thinking “Wait, I’m a taxpayer and I’m paying these educators to sleep at $75,000-$150,000 to sleep?” I am not condoning it, but you try sitting in the same seat for 7 hrs and a day, with your eyes open and a dead phone. Keep in mind you probably do not know what’s going on or why you are there which adds to the mental stress.

In any case, you sit there for a day or a week, while office Administrator Michele Nacht calls around to see where to place you pending your investigation. While I sat there, 595 days ago, Michelle Nacht called my principal while her door was open. I guess she did not know I was sitting there.

Michele: “Hi Linda, it’s Michele. (pause) Good. How are you? (pause) Ok, the teacher was given the letter? (pause) Any problems? (pause) Did he go up to his room to get his things? (pause) Oh OK, I’ll wait for him here. (pause) yeah I- (pause) No Problem. I will take care of it. (pause) OK. Take care.”

(I’m only slightly paraphrasing from memory.)

Michele comes out and Dr. CY informs her that I was there. She calls me in to her small office and opens a manila folder with my name on it. “What’s this about?” I ask. “I really can’t give you any information.” she replies. She then excused herself to get a fax or something. I was left alone with my file that had “Non-Arrest” written on it.

I quickly grabbed my phone, switched to video and started recording all the papers in the manila folder. I was flipping through them quickly, but slowly enough so I can extract still images later to read. I heard her coming back and put everything back the way it was. “Pheww.. that was close.” I thought. I’m not made for this secret agent stuff and was sweating profusely.

She states the following- “Mr. Portelos, you are being reassigned pending one or more investigations. You are to be assigned to your network office, but that is all the way in Rockaway and I am not going to do that to you. Instead you will report to Kristine Broschart at the Petrides Center in Staten Island. You can grab a lunch now and be there as soon as you can. Take this letter with you, but sign it first.

Funny, because back then I had no idea what a school network was or who it was. She was not really doing me a favor, but really complying with Chancellor’s Regulation C-770. That reg basically states that reassigned employees must be assigned to their own district. My district is 31 (Staten Island).

You can read more about what happened next here:

Angela, Who Is Greg Bowen And Why Is He So Concerned With Printer Ink Levels?

and here

Arbitrator Carol Wittenberg Doesn’t Need DOE Evidence

If you do not have time to read it, I’ll give you the quick run down. Former Superintendent Erminia Claudio and Deputy Network Leader Greg Bowen, who is also building manager at Petrides, did not want me there. Claudio was extremely involved in my case, and that might have lead to her unexpected retirement a year later. Being that I was extremely cordial to my supervisor at Petrides and followed the rules they had to just make up things and give Michele a reason to violate CR C-770.

See below email from Michele Nacht to her former boss, HR Executive Director Andrew Gordon.

image
*added 1/31/14

Reason for Petrides Removal

 Babysit? Wanderer? Recording video of alleged misconduct? Hacking?

I opened False Accusation cases (violation of NYC Charter Section 1116) on Andrew Gordon (2012-4638R/OGC), Erminia Claudio and Greg Bowen (2013-3720 R-OSI). They were all referred to DOE’s OSI. Without ever being contacted by the Office of Special Investigations, Director Candace McLaren and Deputy Director Christopher Dalton “administratively closed” them.

In any case back to the violations of CR C-770. In my case Michele Nacht sent me 6 districts, two boroughs and 20 miles away. What bothers me even more is that Michele Nacht, under the supervision of Katherin Rodi, continues policy with other educators.

Due to this blog and my name being spread around, I am being contacted by more and more educators in need. Some still in the classroom, looking over their shoulder and some already reassigned. My heart goes out to them and I spend a lot of time trying to guide them, so they are in a better situate than I am in.

One teacher told me he lived in Long Island, worked at a school in Queens and Michele Nacht sent him to a reassignment center in Manhattan. Why? Why not? She can. So what he could grieve. He gets denied and then waits a year for an arbitration. The poor guy wound up missing his physical therapy sessions, because he couldn’t make it in time.

Our very own South Bronx Blogger www.southbronxschool.com was recently sent our of his district and reassigned. Two other teachers in his school were reassigned, but kept in the actual school.

When educators try diplomacy with Ms. Nacht, before the long dead end grievance process, she sometimes snaps back at them. “There is no room at the location you want! I have room in Staten Island…you want me to send you there??” she threatened a teacher from the Bronx. No room? Didn’t Mayor Bloomberg, UFT President Michael Mulgrew do away with the Rubber Rooms in 2010?

Last week I arrived at my hearing at 49-52 Chamber Street early. Being that my access to payroll has been suspended for over a year and a half, I decided to see if I can get it from the reassignment team at room 1201. I walked in and told Dr. CY I needed my Cybershift sheets to cross reference with my days out for hearings. She instructed me to go and wait in a room. I walk in to a 12′x12′ room with chairs placed around the perimeter. In there I saw 5 educators sitting quietly. Two were reading and the other three gazing out the window or ceiling. I sat quietly and thought to myself … “Fresh Fish.” I of course do not know their stories, but know that their rights will probably be violated. The breakdown was two older caucasian males, one  younger minority male and two younger minority females. When we speak about the bigger picture of this educator exile, we often agree that it is veteran and minority teachers that are targeted. Well, the demographics of that room fit that theory perfectly.

Out of nowhere I just spoke up and woke the crowd up. “Reassigned teachers?” They looked at me and all of sudden in twenty five seconds flat I gave them the low down of what I have gone through and what they are going to go through. Michele Nacht came in and told me she would give me the documents I want and I left to go to my hearing.

Yesterday another teacher called me and told me they have her traveling over an hour and far from her district as well. I thought to share and spotlight the poor and cruel practices that come out of Room 1201 and are condoned by Human Resources Lawrence Becker, Katherine Rodi, Office of Labor Relations and Tweed’s General Counsel? You would think this wasn’t happening in the United States, but actually it’s happening right here in NYC.

I sent an email to Ms. Nacht and basically asked her to stop doing this to our educators. I copied the UFT and others. No response.

————-

From: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 10, 2013
Subject: CR C-770 Violations
To: Nacht Michele J <mnacht@schools.nyc.gov>
Cc: “Rodi Katherine G.” <krodi@schools.nyc.gov>, ESchlenoff@schools.nyc.gov, Amy Arundell <aarundell@uft.org>, Leroy Barr <lbarr@uft.org>, mmulgrew@uft.org

Good morning Ms. Nacht,

 I hope all is well. Just so you are aware, I receive about four to five calls a week from teachers who are  targeted and or have been reassigned. That’s four to five NEW educators a week. I assume they do a little searching on the internet and somehow come across my website.

It deeply troubles me when I hear that you continue to move people outside of their district in violation of CR 770. It deeply troubles me, because I know first hand the burden on family life and financially. You don’t seem to care at all and that’s not good Ms. Nacht.

May I ask what protocol or policy you follow when you decide to move someone out of their district or keep them in their district?  Is it a preference based on what the principal requests? Is the principal saying in some cases “Hey make life a living hell for this person and send them farther away.”

My next question is if you enjoy doing this? You move people around, corralling and herding educators. You are part of a problem. You are part of a broken system. I just don’t know if you are directed to do this, or you just get a kick out of it.

Reading the emails where you were involved in reassigning me six districts away, YOU made the decision. I posted them here in my article http://protectportelos.org/dear-arbitrator-wittenberg-doe-evidence-not-needed/. I reached out to you and you said “I’m sorry, but don’t shoot the messenger.” You are more than a messenger.

May I suggest you stop this bad practice of hurting my colleagues?  Stop for no other reason other than it’s wrong.

I was serious when I asked what procedure you follow, or is it just arbitrary and capricious?

Sincerely,

Francesco Portelos

“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

 ——————-

In some defense to Ms. Nacht, some reassigned teachers tell me she placed them out of their district, but much closer to home. That’s good, but only reinforces the idea that it’s arbitrary and her choice. Ms. Nacht and others involved…stop.

NYC DOE Reassignment Administrator Michele Nacht

NYC DOE Reassignment Administrator Michele Nacht

One teacher emailed me for the first time, while they were actually in room 1201.

Hi,

I was reassigned two days ago have been sitting in a room in Manhattan. I found your website and see you have gone through this. Any insight?

After some back and forth, they sent me this shaky picture with caption “You mean her?

Yeah, that’s her.” I responded. “Make sure she puts you in your district.

PS: I was kidding about video filming my file.

 

See also Chaz’s Post about the same exact violations here: http://chaz11.blogspot.com/2013/12/why-does-doe-violate-chancelors.html

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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3 Comments

  1. From David Pakter-

    Dear Francesco:
    Regarding your story: “Rubber Room Administrator Michele Nacht Exiles Educators Far From Home”, you and your readers might find the following of interest.
     
    Please feel free to publish this entire communication on your Web Site.
     
    The well known NYC Dept. of Education retaliatory technique of illegally banishing so-called suspended teachers to locations far from their home schools, home Districts and especially their own private homes, has been going on for many years. 
     
    The idea is to visit as much inconvenience, stress and unnecessary out of pocket expense on teachers as possible, in the hope that by wearing them down, in every way possible, they will eventually decide to just “throw in the towel” and retire before their teacher trial ever reaches a Decision.
     
    The first time I was removed from my Manhattan High School for refusing to surrender quite damaging evidence in my possession,  I was illegally banished all the way to the Chapel Street Rubber Room deep inside Brooklyn.  Quite a trip to make each day from my home in Manhattan.
     
    The second time I was removed, on knowingly fraudulent charges, despite the fact that the District Office Rubber Room was 3 (Three) blocks and a three minute walk from the school, I was assigned to report to a small, windowless Rubber Room in Harlem, more than 5 (Five) miles from the school which required both a train and bus ride to reach.
     
    While I was told that there was no more space in the Rubber Room near my school, just a few days later another teacher from my school was removed and assigned to the very Rubber Room where the DOE claimed there was no space.  And a week later, still another teacher from my school.
     
    The person who was directly responsible for this punitive and illegal behavior, Judith Rivera,  like most people in positions of power within the New York City Dept. of Education, was fully convinced and believed she was above the Law and thus could do as she pleased to whomsoever she pleased.  
     
    But eventually Ms. Judith Rivera paid a very heavy price for her evil deeds.  And she paid that price long after her dastardly deeds had been committed against me and when she least expected to pay that price.  And that all happened by my own design.
     
    The motto of Scotland is “Nemo Me Impune  Lacessit”, Latin for ‘Nobody shall provoke/injure me with impunity’. (The origin of the motto reflects the feudal clan system of ancient Scotland, particularly the Highlands.)
     
    The popular expression, later on became “revenge is a dish best served cold” and suggests that revenge is more satisfying if enacted when least expected. 
     
    I have always found  the above ideas to be quite true in practice, in particular in dealing with the New York City Dept. of Education, a Twenty Three billion dollar entity, which at its top is totally controlled by people devoid of the slightest decency and/or morals and who rule by means of their legions of well trained lap-dogs, hatchet men and women, clueless flunkies, countless vicious paid lackeys and enforcers and other assorted walking automatons too numerous to name.
     
    And thus Judith Rivera, who once did to NYC teachers what the Rubber Room Administrator Michele Nacht, who you wrote about, does now, eventually received her well earned “just deserts” for the evil she had visited upon me and so many other innocent NYC teachers.
     
    Here below follows the story of how I wrote a letter to “The OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSIONER OF INVESTIGATION FOR THE NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT” about Judith Rivera.
     
    As the attached letter states, I announced that it was my intention to go to the FBI if the above “Office of the Special Commissioner” did not act on my information.
     
    And thus long after Judith Rivera had visited so much grief upon my life, in so many ways, the long arm of Justice reached out and delivered unto Judith Rivera the punishment she had more than earned, and so justly deserved.
     
    The “system”  finding itself “caught between a Rock and a Hard Place”,  realized it had no choice but to fire Judith Rivera forthwith lest I go to the FBI with what I knew.
     
    Again, please feel free to publish this entire communication on your Web Site.
     
    David Pakter
    Paris, France
     
    ________________________________________________________________
     
    From: david_pakter@msn.com
    To: fbyrne@nycsci.org
     
    Subject: RE JUDITH RIVERA, STROUDSBURG, PA- NYC DOE Employee
    Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 13:09:18 -0400

      
    The OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSIONER OF INVESTIGATION
    FOR THE NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
     
    Attention:  FRANK BYRNE, Investigator, SCI
     
    Re:  Judith Rivera,  Deputy Human Resources Director,  NYC DOE
            333 Seventh Ave. NYC, NY
    __________________________________________________

      
    Dear Mr. Byrne:
     
    I understand that you have an interest in JUDITH RIVERA, a DOE employee.
     
    In that regard I offer you the following information.
     
    I have had dealings with your office in the past in which a serious interest in establishing facts and truth often appeared to be outweighed by other considerations.
     
    From the time I contacted Chancellor Joel Klein on Oct. 2, 2003 to report serious Federal crimes occurring at my former school I have been the victim of egregious non-stop Whistle-blower retaliation which has continued, unabated, for the past seven years. 
     
    Currently undergoing a State Teacher 3020-a Hearing based on such preposterous charges as allegedly bringing a plant to school without the Principal’s permission, I have recently received new charges equally absurd and some wholly fabricated which will be exposed at a future trial.
     
    I reached out to your office for assistance as long ago as 2004 and quickly discovered that when people do not like a message they revert to the old knee jerk reaction of attempting to destroy the messenger.
     
    A type of reaction to bad news that stretches back to the dawn of history.
     
    I was personally honored in a NY City Hall ceremony by the former Mayor of New York City, the Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani, as a ‘Teacher of the Year’.
     
    Nevertheless, all my past contributions and achievements in the field of Education proved of little assistance/protection, once I became a Whistle-blower and approached your office with the assurance I would be protected.
     
    I mention the above only for the purpose of informing you that I have no expectation either now or in the future, of receiving fair protection from your office for any information I may bring to your attention.  That hope is long gone.
     
    As I understand that you have taken an interest in Deputy Human Resources Director for Manhattan, Judith Rivera, I offer the following information.
     
    Ms. Rivera was caught in several rather humiliating admissions during Cross Examination by my NYSUT Attorney, Christopher Callagy, Esq. last summer during my current State 3020-a Hearings. 
     
    Among other facts that came out during  a most skillful Cross Examination, Ms. Rivera was forced to admit under Sworn Oath, that she had knowingly personally ordered me transferred from the Manhattan Rubber Room to a Brooklyn, Rubber Room in 2004, contrary to the Chancellors Regulations.
     
    Ms. Rivera under Sworn Oath was forced to admit she had knowingly violated the Chancellors Regulations in transferring me out of Manhattan where I had taught for decades.
     
    It may interest you to know, Mr. Byrne that my first removal was the result of the fact that I refused to surrender evidence in my position that my School Principal at the time, Madeleine Appell, had been applying for and receiving Special Blue Print for the Arts school funding for Music, amounting to over $ 75,000. per year to her school, but had in reality, illegally gotten rid of her Music Dept and its staff.
     
    Within 24 hours after I exposed her illegal actions, she retired but not before guaranteeing I would be removed myself a day after she tendered her resignation. 
     
    The Whistle-blower retaliation against me continues to this very day and I will soon be facing my third State Education Law 3020-a Teacher Hearings.
     
    Should any of the above interest you, you need only Google my name to learn what happened to me after I voluntarily approached SCI in 2004 fully believing the stated promise by SCI that “Whistle-blowers are protected”.
     
    After all these years I hardly expect your office to suddenly act any differently than it has in the past. This is something not in your personal control, I admit.
     
    I rather doubt your office will care about the fact that Ms. Rivera, appears to be the individual responsible for ordering the illegal withholding of all my DOE printed and issued paychecks since October 1, 2009.
     
    Nevertheless, I reaize that your office may have suddenly taken an interest in Judith Rivera for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with David Pakter.
      
    If your office is serious, for example, about establishing that Judith Rivera, on information and belief, appears to be a NO SHOW City employee, for much of the time, who has possibly cheated the DOE out of tens of thousands of dollars then SCI should stake out her addresses in Stroudsburg, PA., immediately with cameras and live SCI investigators.
     
    It is virtually inconceivable to believe Judith Rivera drives almost 100 miles EACH WAY, twice a day, (Total 200 miles),  five days per week (1,000 miles) to NYC from her residence in Stroudsburg, PA to New York City to report to her job as a Human Resources Director at 333 Seventh Ave., in Manhattan.
     
    SCI should subpoena ALL her home phone and cell phone records for the past five years which will prove where she was at every time of the day all these past years.
     
    SCI should also subpoena the DOE phone records, all incoming and outgoing calls for Rivera’s Assistant, Vicky Santiago at 333 Seventh Ave and then they will have a second record of Rivera’s whereabouts for the past several years.
     
    SCI should subpoena  ALL cell phone records of Rivera’s Asst- Vicky Santiago, and see who she called each day and to what City.  These home and cell phone records NEVER LIE–THEY PROVE EXACTLY WHERE A CALL ORIGINATED AND WHERE IT WENT TO AS WELL AS THE TIME OF DAY.
     
    If SCI is really serious about tracking the whereabouts of Judith Rivera, a very highly paid City employee and establish if she has taken money under false pretenses, the above strategy is a necessary part of that investigation.
     
    If these allegations are true–then Vicky Santiago becomes a co- conspirator in Judith Rivera’s possible attempt to commit fraud and theft of taxpayer dollars.
     
    Remember to get all cell phone records as well as office and home phone records for both Judith Rivera AND Vicky Santiago at their homes and place of employment.
     
    Finally- SCI can very easily attach a GPS device under both women’s cars and SCI will be able to track them within 50 feet anywhere in the USA, 24/7.
     
    Let me emphasize that all above information is supplied to SCI on information and sincere belief but is not guaranteed to be completely accurate which is why it is necessary for SCI, with the possible assistance of the FBI, which has investigated many such NY State employee situations, to establish how often Judith Rivera is at her residence in Stroudsburg, PA when she is being highly paid to carry out her job obligations in NYC at 333 Seventh Ave.
     
    Finally, there is a possibility that Judith Rivera is aware she is being investigated and has therefore been remaining and residing in NYC for the past several months.  This is why all her cell and Stroudsburg, PA phone records MUST be checked going back several years.
     
    Obviously, the less people who know about your investigation/s of Judith Rivera, the better.  Sharing the contents of this email, Mr. Byrne, should be done on a strictly “need to know basis”.
     
    I believe that you have arranged to meet with my private Attorney, Dr. Joy Hochstadt, Esq. at 2 PM on May 10.  I will be attending a State Hearing on that day but Dr. Hochstadt can relate to you all the information that is in my possession.
     
    I would like to believe, Mr. Byrne, that you are the exception, rather than the rule, at SCI, where fairness and integrity in Investigating, has not always been the order of the day. 
     
    If that hope is borne out, you will, at least to some extent, have restored some degree of Honor to your Office.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    David Pakter, M.A., M.F.A.  (former ‘Teacher of the Year’)

     

  2. I have a story to tell you about my experience there. When you have time to talk.

    David Suker

  3. I have story after story of the ghetto behavior that Ms. Hill and the PTA president and the SLT exhibited to me as the title 1 rep when asking too many questions. I had to curse one of the members out for sending me an email that had nothing to do with nothing. since it wasn’t about SLT or IS49, I sewed her a new butt. And I loved it. I should have cussed all those sad women out long time ago but want to stay to aggravate the hell out of them since I knew they wanted me off the team because i was not a follower of ms. hill.

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