Rev. Moales; It’s called the Freedom of Information Act and it even applies to you…

Earlier this week, Bridgeport’s illegally appointed Board of Education held a meeting of its Ad Hoc Budget Committee to hear from part-time superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas, about his plans to over-ride local support and pull Bridgeport’s successful alternative high school program out of the University School, a non-profit entity that has been part of the Bridgeport community for decades.

Although the meeting agenda was explicit, with only two items to be discussed, parents, University School supporters and other community members had to sit through a meeting in which the Budget Committee members and staff held a wide-ranging discussion on a variety of issues.

When an audience member, Carmen Lopez, a retired Connecticut judge, raised the point that Connecticut law requires that the members of a public board or committee limit their discussions to what is on the agenda, the Committee’s Chairman, Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr., became verbally abusive yelling that he “will talk about anything he wants to talk about” and that “no-one is going to tell him what he can talk about at his meeting.”

When informed that failure to follow the agenda would be a violation of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act, Moalas was reported to have said “I don’t care.”

Considering that Rev. Moales served as Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer in last year’s mayoral campaign, one would expect that he would understand the law and appreciate the importance of respecting Mayor Finch’s constituents, but apparently that isn’t the case.

Following his unwarranted attack and diatribe, the Mayor or someone on the Mayor’s staff would do well to provide Rev. Moales with a copy of the law or they could simply print off the following:

Sec. 1-225.  (Formerly Sec. 1-21).  Meetings of government agencies to be public.  Recording of votes.  Schedule and agenda of meetings…

“(c) The agenda of the regular meetings of every public agency…shall be available to the public and shall be filed, not less than twenty-four hours before the meetings to which they refer…Upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of a public agency present and voting, any subsequent business not included in such filed agendas may be considered and acted upon at such meetings.”  [This means that the members can only discuss the items on the agenda unless, by a two-thirds vote the members move to open the agenda and add additional items.  The reason this law exists is that the public has a fundamental right to know, at least 24 hours in advance, what their public servants will be discussing.]

In addition, Bridgeport’s illegal Board of Education should specifically note that;

“(d) Notice of each special meeting of every public agency…shall be posted not less than twenty-four hours before the meeting to which such notice refers… The notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted.  No other business shall be considered at such meetings by such public agency. “[This means that if the meeting in question is a “special meeting” then the agenda cannot be modified in any way.]

As a member of the appointed Board of Education and a Democratic candidate for Bridgeport’s reconstituted Board of Education, Moales’ public behavior sends a clear message about his approach to ensuring public input on education issues.

However, what may be an even bigger issue for Rev. Moales, is whether he faces a potential conflict of interest when it comes to even serving on the appointed or elected Board of Education.

Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc., a company affiliated with Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. received approximately $600,000 in public funds for day care and after school services that it has provided to the City of Bridgeport over the past year.

Most, if not all, of these funds were paid through a contact between Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ Inc. and the Bridgeport Board of Education.  Since 2006, Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc. has received over $2.2 million in public funds.

While the corporate records have not been properly maintained or updated, according to the documents filed with the Secretary of the State and the IRS Form 990s that are filed with the Federal government, Peggy Ann Moales, Kenneth Moales’ mother, serves as the President of Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc. and the President of Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc.

Considering the corporation’s records have not been updated since about 2004, it is unclear what, if any, corporate position Reverend Kenneth Moales presently holds, but traditionally a financial conflict of interest occurs when an official or an immediate family member of that official is associated with a business that would benefit directly from that official’s actions.

Since the Board of Education contracts directly with Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ Inc., Rev. Maoles may have just such a conflict, in which he should not even be serving on Bridgeport’s appointed Board of Education, let alone be running for a seat on the upcoming elected Board.

There is absolutely no excuse for public officials to flaunt the law, regardless of whether it is the Freedom of Information law or the conflict of interest laws.

  • Castles Burning

    Thanks for shining the light on what is happening, how people are being treated, and the apparent lack of knowledge (I hope it is not IGNORE-ance) about BOE procedures.  I thought this was supposed to be the “new and improved” (albeit illegal) board.  Vallas does not seem to understand–among many other things–that he is working in a particular community at the present time.  As you say, “Bridgeport’s successful alternative high school program out of the
    University School [is] a non-profit entity that has been part of the
    Bridgeport community for decades.”  I know that we are “paying” (double entendre) for unprecedented and SUPERIOR guidance for our “failed” school system, but most people might go with the OLD ADAGE: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and certainly, do not get rid of it.  I am so glad that advocates for the University School are doing what they can to be HEARD and to change this seemingly “mindless” course that is being laid out for BPS.  We need more of such people. CONGRATS to all who are SPEAKING OUT, especially since it is so challenging to do and let us pray that you will BE HEARD.

  • Buygoldandprosper

    Kindom’s Little One’s grant money went from $318,000 to $597,696 about the time Big Dan got control of the state purse strings.
    Bridgeport was part of the mess that gave Dan his slim win for office.
    Any connection? Dan-the-Mayor spent an awful lot of time in BP steakhouses prior to running…
    In spite of the hard,efficient work of the top five officers (two hours a week?) of the organization,that kind of money can buy a lot of votes in Bridgeport,and say! That rent seems a tad high for,even for the Park City! Who has that lease?

    • jonpelto

      Have you been reading my notes again? Lol!

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • guest

      Thanks again for pointing out the very special relationship of Bridgeport to Dan Malloy’s successful bid for governor.  I guess Foley didn’t bid high enough to get the extra ballots… (not that I’d want him, but I don’t want anyone who prostitutes themselves and then sells out public institutions).

      • Bill Morrison

        I suppose that the words “integrity” and honesty do not exist in the world of conservababble!

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    You don’t mean Rev “Contracts are made to be broken” Moales, do you?  The next Superintendant Bridgeport will bring in should be an exorcist, but it will probably be Bill Finch’s son or maybe Michelle Rhee’s boyfriend.

    • AM

      If It’s Rhee’s husband, hire some security to protect the teenage girls in the schools.

      • Linda174

        We need border security to keep Rhee out of our state…mark my words, she will be back next legislative session to try and screw us some more and of course, it will all be for the children.

  • sharewhut

    Dumb? question-
    If a high school can’t rent a church hall for graduation, how is a religious organization given a contract of this size by a city?
    ACLU, where are you?

    • guest

      Excellent question!!!  Get ready for the vouchers!  No, public schools cannot rent church halls, but churches and parochial schools can have pubilc tax dollars for their non-standardized-testing, non-tolerant schools.  Once more, look to Adamowski…

      • Bill Morrison

        I was the principal of a Christian school in  Maryland for one year. That experience was an eye opener; private school teachers have no certification requirements or other qualifications beyond those stated by respective boards. In that particular school, and the movement to which it was a participant, teachers only had to be members of the church. They did not have to prove any course, content, or pedagogical knowledge because, in the words of one of the board members, “God would provide the teachers with the necessary expertise”! Their motto was that God inspired Noah to build the ark; secularly-educated men built the Titanic. I left because I couldn’t take their nonsense; I felt professionally degraded by working with them.

        This is one of the unprofessional systems that the conservative right wants to replace professionally taught and run schools. Towards that end, they create a myth of failing schools, then have themselves put into places of responsibility where that can realize the myth through artificial grade inflation, social promotion, and cutting funding. Unbelievable.

        • guest

          Many parents are lining up, hoping for funds and vouchers so that they can send their little geniuses to parochial schools.  I doubt that they care about teacher certification and the like.  I strongly believe in the church/state separation and I see no reason to allot any money to these so-called “schools.”  Jodi Rell passed legislation requiring failing districts to fork local, public tax dollars to any nut-case institution calling itself a school.  They should get nothing, not only because of their intolerance, but also because they are not subject to the high-stakes tests and therefore cannot be rated alongside public schools.
          Yet conservatives and reformers like Adamowski are busy funneling money to them, further depleting weak education budgets.

  • R.L.

    Where is the Attorney General?  Where are the RICO cops?  I’ve written to the Attorney General twice, my local representatives three times, the governor at least three times, our federal representatives, I’ve had no response from any of them.

    • Bill Morrison

      I have written to Senator Blumenthal about this as well. I suggest that we all do so. He might, at least, advise us about how to proceed legally against the political thugs running the state and Bridgeport.

      Also, to keep everyone informed, Tom Burns and I finally made a first contact yesterday to organize a parent/teacher/community resistance to these thugs and their illegal activities, from Adamowski to Vallas to Malloy. We will keep you informed as we progress.

      Bill

      • Linda174

        Thank you and keep us informed. I will write as well.

      • I also wrote to Blumenthal…  his response was very close to a  form letter  about education and  it implied that as governor
        he is not in this battle.  Very disappointing.  

  • jschmidt2

     Doesn;’t the Board Audit these organizations on a regular basis? And they shouldn’t be getting any money if their paperwork isn’t up to date. Something sounds fishy in Bridgeport. But of course that can’t be this is a Democrat run town in a Democrat run state.

    • Linda174

      Yes, we know…everything would be on the up and up and strictly by the book if this was a Republcan state.

      • jschmidt2

         I’d like to see that. It couldn’t be worse.

        • Linda174

          Happy not to be in Wisconsin, Florida or New Jersey.

        • jschmidt2

           Wisconsin has turned around thanks to Walker with no major layoffs, pay cuts for state employees. We could use some of that here. Ever wonder why a $10 billion hedge fund and Norden with 300 employees are leaving?

        • Linda174

          To go to the promise land of Wisconsin I suppose.

        • jschmidt2

           Norden to North Carolina, Hedge fund to Florida.Much better tax situations.

  • LutherW

    “When you mix politics and religion, you get politics” – Roger Williams

  • Querculus

    I wonder how many teachers will show on 6/25.  I’m inspired to speak out as a teacher, but petrified, too.  Besides, as a city employee who lives out of town, I’m not sure I’d have the right to stand and speak during public comments.  

    • Luv2Teach

      I’m not sure about the speaking… Can we submit letters to the BOE that night? are they obligated to read them? DO they read them?

  • Guest

    Off Topic but if CEA gets into bed with this woman we will leave it in droves.
    Michelle Rhee’s Group Asks Teachers Unions To Promote Reform Policies At State Level

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/michelle-rhees-group-asks_n_1616382.html

    • R.L.

      Are we allowed to leave?  Am I allowed to leave AFT?  I am absolutely pro-union, but these guys don’t seem to be fighting.  They should be pushing for investigations and making sure the story behind the education “reform” movement is on the forefront of any discussions on education. 

      The unions have failled miserably to stand up for teachers, students, and communities, and  against the tyrants of education “reform”.

      Are we allowed to stop paying dues and form a new union?  Is there a way to stop money from going from my paycheck to the AFT?  Can I redirect that money to ……..The Green Party, for instance?

    • Linda174

      I just noticed your post. I added info. about Stand for children and Jonah Edelman…see below. I knew she would be back.

    • Linda174

      To guest,

      Thanks for posting. All please read…scroll to the bottom and you can read the letter Rhee (and many other organizations, including Stand for
      Children) sent to the NEA and AFT. If the unions fall for this, we are screwed!

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/michelle-rhees-group-asks_n_1616382.html

  • Linda174

    Jon,

    I will post this on your next entry if that is okay. Just when you think it can’t get worse, it does and it will.

    I knew the snake Rhee was not done. He she is complimenting the unions. We shoud all be alert and beware of her sleazy tactics.

    I know I post many articles, but PLEASE read these. I will put on the next post. I have this problem a lot on the iPad.