Spending Questions Surround Huberman, Too

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Little noticed in the press rush surrounding yesterday's revelation that there would be an investigation of sorts into Board members' spending was the fact that, just a few months ago, schools chief Ron Huberman tried -- and failed -- to get a proposal passed that would have allowed him to hire staff, give raises and bonuses, and report little or none of it to the Board (or to the public). 

The proposal was rejected by the Board (in executive session, naturally) and has not yet been re-introduced thought that is apparently the plan.  (See previous post:  Huberman's Secret Salary Power Grab).

So maybe while we're investigating Board members expense accounts and spending habits we ought to check out what Huberman and his appointees are up to as well.  Clearly, the Board members aren't the only ones who want to get paid.

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  • substance news is investigating huberman for illegal hiring practices including local administrators that violate labor law and budget tampering.

    john kugler
    kuglerjohn@comcast.net

    According to the CPS

  • Huberman Guilty Of 'Significant Management Failure' $2.25 Million Irregularities
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1802378,CST-NWS-huberman02.article

  • Ron Huberman is really living a charmed life. He just bounces from places like the CTA to the Chicago Public Schools, and leaves a trail of mismanagement in his wake. This guy's ready for Wall Street I tell you.

  • Daley Plan a 'Gimmick' opposition to rubber stamp politics.

    http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/politics/local_politics/alderman-call-daley-tax-relief-plan-a-gimmick

  • I am disgusted with Mayor Daley and all of his pals.
    Parents volunteer tirelessly to fundraise for better programs in these school while these crooks steal money from the public school system. Shame on them all. I am sorry that a person lost his life but what a coward... he could not face the music! Oh I forgot CPS doesnt have money for Music.

    Parents dont work so hard at your child's school to raise money for MUSIC, ART , ETC. The money is there and we need to demand it.
    I could not believe my ears when I heard that Micheal Scott raised the boards expense accounts as soon as he was in command. Gee, $30,000 could pay for a good after school program or an extended day so kids could have recess but no it goes to Micheal Scott and his wife so they can have fun fun fun. What losers they all are!!!!
    We need to make some noise!!!!
    This investigation will be interesting. Tribune go for it!

  • Huberman inflated expenses for salaries by more than a half billion dollars to create phony 'deficit'... But cuts will hit schools across Chicago this week!
    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=921§ion=Article

  • I caught huberman trying to get this guy a job who was also stealing school district money.

    Huberman appoints convicted fraudster to new 'AO' position
    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=843§ion=Article

    it starts to be a pattern from the data that is now public that huberman is a political crony who does not hire the best people for the job.

    oh sorry i made a mistake he does hire the best crooks and conmen/women that steal and hide the stealing of educational funding that is suppose to help children instead he uses it to hire political insiders.

    remember this story - November 5, 2009

    $154K schools job for ex-Daley aide
    Despite a burgeoning financial crisis that has forced a $43 million property tax increase and hundreds of job cuts, the Chicago Board of Education has found a $154,000-a-year job for an all-purpose mayoral troubleshooter.
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1866575,CST-NWS-skul05web.article

    it is obvious cps misappropriates public funds for political gain.

    John Kugler
    kuglerjohn@comcast.net

  • Seriously, the CPS press conference on the investigation of expenses announced that the review would includ BOTH board & staff. Staff, too. --- Or, has that element been canceled already?

    Am concerned about the fact that the attorney doing the investigating is from a firm that gets business from CPS.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I watched the whole 12-13 minute clip from the press conference yesterday, but don't remember anyone saying that the investigation was any broader than the Board.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    have they even been legally hired?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    No one with any self respect and talent is still working at Central Office. The people remaining are some combination of frightened, cynical, ignorant, and/or beaten down.

    And the local foundations are scattering like rats on a sinking ship. No "intelligent" philanthropic dollars will be flowing toward CPS anytime soon.

  • 1) There's a real deficit - but knowing how large is always difficult (it seems to shift all the time).
    2) Huberman makes no attempt to hire the best people - just the 'yes' people. Woe be unto those who dare to disagree.
    3) Huberman undid all the good that was happening (although we had a long way to go), has instituted a mishmash of PM craziness with no plan, has the audacity to ask local foundations to fund his lack of vision, and has senior leadership who routinely ignore and bully their staff.
    4) Huberman is charmed. The disaster he'll leave in his wake is unlikely to affect whatever cushy high-paying city job he gets next.

    -yellowdart

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    If I were a foundation, I would run away from Huberman. They can't trust CPS folks like Huberman and his Machine Cronies of spending the money wisely. I cannot see a foundation wanting to end up being investigated along with these crooks!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Daley is making CPS and Ren 2010 schools patronage heaven for his cronies. Foundations and businesses should run away until Daley converts his ways. He must keep CPS independent of his grubby hands.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    huffington post commentary on the board's decision not to release spending information to the public

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-farmer/id-love-to-talk-to-you-bu_b_368605.html

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    huberman warned of a $900 million deficit in 2010. And now we're paying a former federal prosecutor to tell Mu

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The current policy does not demand receipts. Just a loose description.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Regarding Farmer's piece: Why is it that writers are mentioning ONLY Scott's Olympic trip expenses on the CPS credit card? One journalist already reported that in addition to the Olympic trip spending, Scot's home-town CPS expense claims were being investigated, and local restaurants have had their records involving Scott spending requested by the investigators. I guess not mentioning that aspect of the investigation keeps it simple for the public.

    Also, what leads Farmer to guess Munana is a "class act?" Isn't that what people called Scott, and now it seems he perhaps did a lot of unclassy things - not to mention unethical and boorish (see that backroom meeting tape). I'd say Munana's seeming ignorance on the board policy - would it have hurt to read the thing before a press conference?! - shows she no class act.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Plus, why is media spinning this (CPS not turning over documents) without any explanation about FOIA? You don't turn over records during an active investigation, even if it's likely to be a sham review because of the "outside attorney's" conflict of interest? Maybe Farmer could have used a read of FOIA regs?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    District299Reader at 9:32 am raises the question of FOIA rules as they relate to active investigations. There is a history here of the city and cps blocking FOIA requests that blog readers should be aware of. Below I have posted an Tribune article from May 2009 on this issue.

    Rod Estvan

    Chicago City Hall, Mayor Richard Daley's administration routinely deny requests for public documents

    Daley administration routinely denies requests for documents that could shed light on how the mayor really runs the city

    By Dan Mihalopoulos, Todd Lighty and David Kidwell
    Tribune reporters
    May 4, 2009

    Mayor Richard Daley portrays himself as the most transparent big-city mayor in the country, yet he presides over an administration that routinely denies requests for records that show how Daley really runs Chicago.

    With a nod from the mayor, Chicago's police chief defied federal judges who demanded a list of officers repeatedly accused of misconduct.

    Daley's schools superintendent, now the nation's top education official, refused parents' requests for the documents behind a controversial decision to relocate their children's gifted program.

    And the mayor scoffed at reporters and aldermen who demanded records detailing how he wanted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars he was seeking as part of the national economic stimulus plan. He was alone among big-city mayors in not revealing his wish list.

    "We did not put that out publicly because once you start putting it out publicly, you know, the newspapers, the media is going to be ripping it apart," Daley said in February, before he learned Chicago was in line for nearly $1 billion.

    The mayor's office continues to resist efforts to see all the documents behind the decisions his administration made on stimulus projects, just one of the latest examples of how Daley officials aggressively cite exemptions in the state's public records law to avoid releasing information and frequently drag out for weeks or even months efforts to get records.

    Controversial plans to lease city parking meters to a private firm and redraw the struggling blue-bag recycling program were likewise cloaked in secrecy while journalists and others battled city officials to obtain records that ultimately told a different story from the mayor's official version of events.

    The Tribune once sued the Daley administration over what it contended were routine violations of the state's open records law, and the case was settled in 2003 with the city promising to "abide by the mandates" of the law -- including answering requests on time.

    The newspaper on Sunday documented hundreds of complaints from citizens about how state and local governments -- including Chicago's -- sometimes ignore and often deny requests for public records. The newspaper's examination of requests made to the state attorney general's office was accompanied by the launch of an online help desk at chicagotribune.com/secrecy to assist the public in efforts to pierce a culture of secrecy pervading government.

    Glenn Krell of Chicago was among taxpayers who sought the help of the attorney general's Public Access Bureau to get answers when Chicago Public Schools officials were making changes to his son's gifted program that now require him to be bused about 45 minutes from home.

    When Krell and other parents questioned the decision to close Edison Regional Gifted Center, school officials said the move was necessary to ease overcrowding at other Northwest Side schools. But officials rejected Krell's request for records supporting the decision, including consultant reports and memos.

    Five months after Krell formally sought the documents, he received a letter from Daley's then-schools boss, Arne Duncan, telling him staff recommendations and reports justifying the gifted program's move were secret.

    Duncan, who since moved to Washington as President Barack Obama's education secretary, relied on an exemption in the records law for preliminary drafts and opinions. Even after the decision to move the school, the city wouldn't release some of the underlying records.

    "This exemption protects the decision-making process by allowing the free flow of information among the decision-makers and the individuals who advise them," Duncan explained to Krell in a letter in September, after the move.

    Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan's public access counselor referred the case to the Cook County state's attorney, but the Chicago schools' general counsel said that matter went no further because there was no violation of the records law. Many of the records have never been released.

    "They use these exemptions to keep us in the dark because they simply don't want the hassle," Krell said recently. "They want us to know what they want to tell us, and that's it."

    The city's Environment Department employed the same exemption when the Tribune sought reports produced by consultants who were paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to analyze city recycling policies and recommend alternatives to the mayor's favored blue-bag program, which was underused and ineffective.

    Daley aides would not give the newspaper the findings the consultants gave them in 2005. Without those reports, it is impossible to know how the new curbside recycling system eventually adopted by the city compares to other possibilities the administration considered.

    The city cited another often-used exemption -- for privacy -- when lawyers for alleged victims of police abuse sought city records.

    In February the mayor backed Police Supt. Jody Weis' defiance of two federal judges who ordered him to turn over a list of officers accused multiple times of misconduct. Daley argued that the officers did not deserve to have their names made public because the department determined that many of the complaints were "unfounded and meritless."

    "Those [officers] should not come under scrutiny of any lawyer," he said. "These are public servants."

    Weis ultimately relented. But disciplinary files of public employees are not open records under Illinois law, a policy that puzzles officials in other states where such documents are public.

    Without seeing the files, "how else can the public evaluate whether a public agency is adequately investigating those claims?" said Laurie Beyer-Kropuenske, Minnesota's top public records official. "Doesn't the public have a right to know why the Police Department found all 100 complaints against Officer Friendly to be completely without merit?"

    Likewise, citizens have little chance to evaluate how the city decided to spend the federal stimulus money because the city didn't release its catalog of projects until they were already approved and the nearly $1 billion was on the way from Washington. In response to Tribune records requests for e-mails and other documents about potential stimulus projects, the city last month provided hundreds of e-mails -- many with the contents blacked out or with details of projects left out.

    Daley has also refused to release records detailing his official travel expenses, in some cases saying private groups paid for his trips and in others claiming under records law that it would be too hard to itemize the expenses. Asked for copies of his official appointment calendar -- released by many other public officials -- Daley press secretary Jacquelyn Heard said the chances "are very slim."

    "Some of the people who he meets with don't want it known that he has met with them," Heard said.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Democracy is a joke in Chicago. Made me laugh when I heard Michelle Obama's "leadership" rhetoric to teenaged girls prior to the state dinner at the White House yesterday. Transparency. Sure.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Ronnie wont even go in the dsame elevator at 125--has to go up privately. ignores employees as they say hello or pass by him.
    A sign that he really lacks people skills--any skills!
    Maybe he has aspergers syndrom...

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    This is not surprising, actually. He's a hatchet man hired specifically by Daley to cut staff. His job as CEO is to downsize and fire people, not make friends.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    "Chainsaw Al" and "Rambo in Pinstripes". However, his reputation was ruined after he engineered a massive accounting scandal at Sunbeam-Oster.was best known as a turnaround specialist and downsizer The ruthless methods he employed to streamline ailing companies.

    Not long after the SEC sued Dunlap, The New York Times reported that he'd engineered a massive accounting fraud at Nitec, a paper-mill company in Niagara Falls, New York. He'd been the company's president from 1974 to 1976, when he was fired due to his abrasive management style. An audit by Arthur Young (now part of Ernst & Young) revealed numerous irregularities, including inflated inventory and nonexistent sales--circumstances similar to the Sunbeam case. The final result was that Nitec's $5 million profit for 1976 was actually a $5.5 million loss. Nitec sued Dunlap for fraud, but was ultimately forced out of business. However, Dunlap never mentioned Nitec on his resume.

    In May 2009, Conde Nast Portfolio.com named Dunlap the 6th worst CEO of all time. Al Dunlap drove Sunbeam into the ground http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_J._Dunlap

    lets see if there is data correlation with the hub-mister himself

    Huberman Guilty Of 'Significant Management Failure' $2.25 Million Irregularities
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1802378,CST-NWS-huberman02.article

    $154K schools job for ex-Daley aide
    Despite a burgeoning financial crisis that has forced a $43 million property tax increase and hundreds of job cuts, the Chicago Board of Education has found a $154,000-a-year job for an all-purpose mayoral troubleshooter.
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1866575,CST-NWS-skul05web.article

    looks like sh--, smells like sh--, it probably is sh--

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I get Ronnie's job cutting and his licking shoes of Daley--but his use of friend Don put students in harms way and death, he has helped to put the man who could have harnessed and tempered him to suicide, (and Daley badly needed MS) and his data and huberteam have only caused havoc and consternation and budget glut. Everyone asked for the plan--where is it? Everyone asks for who is in charge and names of the deparments-who are they? The new Board pres will have to keep Ron in chcek--will need the ear of the mayor to tell him when Ron is getting out of control or really--as it stands now, putting the sytem in more chaos. here's hoping..

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    That's a very interesting insight. It does seem that much of his behavior and ways of thinking have Aspie elements. Not that we all can diagnose him from afar.

  • Right on yellowdart--you are correct, however Huberman does not have 'senior' leadership, his people do not even qualify for junior achievement.

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