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One great overriding example how how adult professional bullying is “fuzzy around the corners” as I previously wrote is incompetence. Despite an operating budget of over $25 Billion, the NYCDOE administration is well known for simple incompetence regardless of who the mayor is. Incompetence when it comes to terminating someone’s life’s work morphs into a tactic of sorts, to hide outright bullying from legal repercussions.

My union lawyer had an explicit strategy of counting on NYCDOE’s incompetence which was massively effective. He advised me not to file an appeal of the 3020-a ruling, despite his agreement that the charge should not have been substantiated based on evidence presented on the record and the fact that precedence suggests that I have a right to my six months of back pay. He did not want me to file because he expected the NYCDOE to mishandle their appeal of my right to return as ordered by the arbitrator. If I were to file a proper appeal, I would be tipping them off as to the correct procedure and I would risk helping them argue against my eventual return to work.

The amazing thing is that I did file an appeal, and yet the DOE still messed up their appeal of my right to return to my position, just as my lawyer had predicted. It’s hard to imagine that this was not an intentional strategy to delay an eventual loss, forcing me to pay a private lawyer to ask the courts for an injunction. Again, my lawyers insist that this is incompetence, not a crafty bullying tactic. I’m not sure which is worse given that these are the people charged with protecting the academic growth of our future leaders and spending billions of taxpayer dollars in the process.

It’s funny that they attack me for not following the rules when they have refused to follow the rules so blatantly throughout their failed termination efforts. Each time they do so, my lawyers insist that it is simple incompetence. This is their defense. Can you imagine if employees were allowed to feign incompetence and lawyers would accept this saying, “at least they were not intentional in destroying those kids’ lives.” And yet this is exactly what I have witnessed when it comes to DOE lawyers as they threaten my livelihood as the leader of one of their successful school communities.

Consider the simple fact that they have not returned me to my post at the school as ordered by the arbitrator’s ruling. Any lawyer will tell you that an arbitrator’s ruling is final for all intents and purposes. They didn’t even appeal the arbitrator’s based on the rules set forth in our collective bargaining agreement. My only recourse was to spend thousands of dollars more to appeal to the state courts, a process which has taken the best par of a year and I still have not received a ruling nor have I been returned to my school community.

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