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Long-Time Employee Says Bullying and Abuse are the Price for Whistlblowing at LAUSD

VOICES-Apparently some believe that AB 2806 would "significantly weaken the investigative powers of LAUSD's Office of the Inspector General and reduce their ability to uncover charter school fraud, corruption, and waste.” To that I say, bravo! (Photo above: Cheryl Dorsey guesting on the Dr. Phil TV program.)

The last thing that the LAUSD's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) needs is more power. The OIG has been yielding tremendous power; retaliating and investigating me since I went public with my whistle-blower blog in February 2016.

As a retired twenty-year veteran sergeant of the Los Angeles Police Department, I know firsthand what it means to take on a super power like the LAUSD. This is not my first rodeo. I will not be bullied nor silenced.

Ironically, this started when I reported on what I believe to be potentially criminal activity at best or administratively inappropriate activity at least, to then superintendent Cortines, in the presence of Michelle King. I wrongly assumed he would be outraged.

I advised the superintendent that the Office of the Inspector General's "unholy trinity" -- also known as Inspector General Ken Bramlett, Deputy Inspector General Frank Cabibi and Supervisory Investigator Jorge Urquijo -- have been playing a game with Charter Schools Division, Facilities Services Division and the Bond Oversight Committee regarding their requested investigations  to "uncover school fraud, corruption, and waste.”

During a September 2015 meeting with Cortines and King, I posed the question, "How does one investigate fraud, waste and abuse when one is committing fraud waste and abuse?" The bullying and retaliation was swift and has been unrelenting.

On January 12, 2016, I was informed in a written letter from Inspector General Ken Bramlett that the Office of the Inspector General had a problem with "...the effect my conduct is having on staff and management..." That's when the forced resignation treatment began. Yes, to AB 2806!

On February 24, 2016, I reminded now Superintendent Michelle King via email about that September 2015 meeting, that what I believe is ongoing is malfeasance, tax payer and payroll fraud; I also told her of my desire for an investigation into my complaint of retaliation and bullying by the OIG. The Office of the Inspector General is attempting to force my resignation under the threat of "disciplinary action which could lead to termination.”   Yes, to AB 2806!

On February 25, 2016, in response to my email to Ms. King, I received a written response from Lynn Ibara, LAUSD Associate General Counsel, directing me to "discuss" this matter with someone other than Ms. King and that "the District is aware of your correspondence and will work toward a resolution of the issues [you] presented.”

Well, what Ms. Ibara didn't say in her response is that the "resolution" would involve my forced resignation. I didn't understand at the time that "working toward a resolution" was code talk for the fact that the Office of the Inspector General, Office of General Counsel and Staff Relations would now be coming for me. Yes, on AB 2806!

On March 1, 2016, I received a "Notice of Unsatisfactory Service" from Staff Relations Manager Melinda LeDuff Menefee, Frank Cabibi and Jorge Urquijo. There were a litany of "charges,” albeit unsubstantiated, leveled against me; however, Cabibi recommended, "No Disciplinary Action" in this notice.

I found Cabibi's "recommendation" to be remarkable since several of the charges that the Office of the Inspector General alleged reported I had been found guilty of "fraud" and "falsifying documents,” yet Cabibi decided not to discipline me on these seemingly serious administrative charges. How could staff relations find me guilty (without an investigation) and Frank Cabibi not discipline me on the charges?

Please explain how staff relations manager Ms. Menefee could charge and sustain allegations of fraud against me without a proper investigation…which should have included my interview? Power, that's how. Yes, on AB 2806!

Ms. Menefee's investigation appears to mirror that of Cheryl Broussard, Employee Opportunity Section, Office of General Counsel, when I alleged discrimination, retaliation and disparate treatment based on my ethnicity. That is, take whole cloth statements made by the unholy trinity (Bramlett, Cabibi, Urquijo) as truth; require no documented evidence to substantiate the statement and neglect to provide me, the employee, an opportunity to refute allegations with my own documented evidence. This is power. Yes, on AB 2806!

This, however, is not what I have come to know as an "investigation" based on my twenty years as a police officer/sergeant.

The Los Angeles Unified School District continues to circle the wagons. The Office of the Inspector General puts forth an uncontested version of alleged "employee misconduct" and it is adopted as truth -- so more power is the last thing this office should be granted. Yes, on AB 2806!

I wonder what it will take for taxpayers and parents of LAUSD students and other District employees who have been mistreated as I have, suffered emotional harm, loss wages, been bullied into resignation (as they are trying to do to me) to wake up and compel a real investigative agency to look inside the Office of the Inspector General at LAUSD. Apparently, bullying District employees into resignation in the midst of an administrative hearing is typical of them. Yes, on AB 2806!

On March 1, 2016, I received an unsolicited "Settlement Offer" from Kathleen Collins, Chief Administrative Law and Litigation Counsel, Los Angeles Unified School District, Office of General Counsel, which demanded my resignation. This "Offer" if agreed upon, would also require that I "cease making or causing to be made any statements public or private that disparage the District, the OIG, or individual employees of the District or of the OIG.

Apparently, the all powerful OIG and District will "allow" me to resign in "lieu of proceeding with discipline. Now, that kinda sounds like a veiled threat. Why is the Office of the Inspector General trying to silence me under the threat of "discipline that could lead to termination”? Because the Office of the Inspector General has power. I feel as if Ken Bramlett, Frank Cabibi and Jorge Urquijo have been plowing over me with impunity since June of 2015. And now, they want me to "cease making public statements disparaging the OIG or individual employees." When did truth become disparaging?

Understand, I have been a District employee for ten years and have never been the subject of any negative discipline -- that is, until Cabibi and Urquijo (who were both only recently hired in April 2014) placed a manufactured "Notice of Unsatisfactory Service" letter in my personnel file on March 1st.

I will not be quiet.

When I discovered that the Office of the Inspector General was seeking more power and more authority to bully, mistreat, and retaliate against me with impunity under the guise of an "investigation" I felt compelled to say, "hell no.”

Those connected to Charter Schools under the purview of the LAUSD who are familiar with and in support of AB2806 probably already know that the OIG does not deserve more power -- you just didn't know why

That's where I come in.

The Superintendent, president of the LAUSD Board of Education and Director of the Office of General Counsel are seemingly steadfast in their unwillingness to investigate malfeasance and corruption occurring in the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). They have ignored my complaints and refused to intervene and stop the Office of the Inspector General administrators from their unrelenting retaliation campaign against me as a whistleblower.

And the staff relations manager in HR has joined the campaign to force my resignation. They already have too much power. I am just one person taking on the LAUSD machine -- the Superintendent, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the Inspector General, Staff Relations. While they may chew me up, they won't be able to spit me out. Not quietly anyway.

It is my hope that California Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon and California Assembly Members Scott Wilk and Matt Debabneh will not expand the authority and reach of an already out of control LAUSD Office of the Inspector General when this bill comes to the house floor for a vote. Yes, on AB 2806!

I will end this blog as I do in every article, attesting to abuse of authority by an unholy trinity. Should I befall any hurt, harm or danger, I am requesting my friends and family to begin their investigation at the steps of the Los Angeles Unified School District – and more importantly, in the Office of the Inspector General, Investigations.

 

(Cheryl Dorsey is a retired LAPD sergeant, speaker, and much sought after police expert on important issues making national headlines; as such she has appeared as a guest expert on the Dr. Phil Show ,  and is a frequent commentator on CNNDr. Drew,  HLN,  MSNBC and KPCC. She is the author of The Creation of a Manifesto, Black & Blue; an autobiography that pulls the covers of the LAPD and provides an unfiltered look into the department’s internal processes. Visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryldorsey.net., listen to her on Soundcloud  follow on Twitter @sgtcheryldorsey  and BlackandBlueNews) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.