A case study on arrogance: “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski

It started with a no-bid, $450,000 no-bid contract and ended with a state job that was never posted.  It is the story of Governor Dan Malloy and Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor’s successful effort to ensure that “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski lives up his “Special Deal” reputation.

Three blog posts from Wait, What?

9-27-13:  Let’s just name him Steven “Special Deal” Adamowski and call it a wrap…

On September 4, 2013, the Connecticut State Board of Education met.  One of their agenda items was the “Extension of Term: Special Master, New London Public Schools; Windham Public Schools.”

Upon the recommendation of Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, the State Board of Education, led by Chairman Allan Taylor, voted to grant Steven Adamowski a one-year extension in his role as the Special Master for the Windham and New London school systems.

At the time, Pryor announced that it would be moving Adamowski from his position as an employee of SERC (the State Education Resource Center) to that of a state employee within the State Department of Education.

Four days later, on September 10, 2013 it was reported here on Wait, What? that Steven Adamowski had been hired as a $162,000.09, Durational Project Manager back on August 30, 2013….

Five days before the State Board of Education even met to consider whether or not to extend his term as Special Master for the two communities.

Now, according to state documents acquired this afternoon, Commissioner Stefan Pryor was actively working to hire Adamowski weeks and even months before the State Board approved the action.  More at:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/27/lets-just-name-steven-special-deal-adamowski-call-wrap/


9-28-13:  Malloy/Pryor; It is time to come clean on “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski

Why did the Malloy Administration rush through hiring Steven Adamowski?

Why did Adamowski start in his new state position even before the State Board of Education voted to extend his appointment as Special Master for the Windham and New London school systems?

It turns out the answer, at least in part, can be found in the no-bid contract Adamowski was given in July 2011.

More than two years ago, with the support of Windham state legislators, State Senator Donald Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson, the Connecticut General Assembly authorized the creation of a Special Masters position with the adoption of Section 138 of Public Act 11-16.

A month later, without any open, competitive bidding or review process, Malloy’s Acting Commissioner of Education gave the Special Master’s job to Steven Adamowski by directing the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to hire him, a move that later drew a rebuke from the Connecticut State Auditors.  More at: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/28/malloypryor-time-come-clean-special-deal-steven-adamowski/


9-29-13:  “Special Deal” Adamowski state job was not part of Pryor’s “Sweeping Reorganization Plan”

A primary question facing Governor Malloy and Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor is how did they have the authority to create a special position for Steven Adamowski when the State Board of Education hadn’t even voted to continue Adamowski’s role as “Special Master” for the Windham and New London school systems.

In fact, the position for “Special Deal” Adamowski wasn’t even part of the State Department of Education’s organization plan.

More at: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/29/special-deal-adamowski-state-job-part-pryors-sweeping-reorganization-plan/

  • mookalaboona

    Arrogance and bullying. That is the Malloy way!

  • buygoldandprosper


    Mayor Finch, Superintendent of School Paul G. Vallas, Bridgeport Board of Education members and parents, students and teachers from Roosevelt School will celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Roosevelt School on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. The Roosevelt School band and chorus will provide entertainment, and students from the school will take part in the groundbreaking ceremony.
    The new 82,000 square foot, two-story school will include a new cafeteria, gymnasium, playgrounds and a multi-use, synthetic turf playing field that will enhance the surrounding community. The school was designed by Antinozzi Associates of Bridgeport and Fusco Corp., will provide construction management services. The school is slated to cost $32 million, with the state paying 80 percent.
    WHAT: Roosevelt School Groundbreaking
    WHERE: Corner of Park Avenue and Prospect Street, Bridgeport CT
    WHEN: 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 3

    • buygoldandprosper

      YOU ARE ALL INVITED!! Just bring your checkbook!
      One wonders if Dan and his security detail will take the train in…

      Tonio Burgos
      invites you to join him for lunch with Governor Dan Malloy
      Friday, October 4th, 2013
      At Capital Grille
      120 Broadway
      On Nassau at Pine StreetNew York, NY

      Co-host — $5000
      CDP Founder — $1000

      To rsvp, please contact Samantha at 212-566-5600 or

      • jonpelto

        Does it say who it is paid for by

      • Mary Gallucci

        Maybe I can get a temp job bussing tables that day… Will the Sackers be there? The Klaus-Tolls? Kathryn Wylde? Or Pryor? I’ve heard Pryor snagged one of those new luxury units that post 9/11 NYC decided to build rather than replace the working- and middle-class housing lost….

  • jrp1900

    When Rep Johnson and others crafted the legislation for the office of Special Master, they should have taken more care in delimiting the powers of this government agent. A certain fuzziness around some of the clauses has permitted Adamowski and Pryor to conceive of the position as a form of absolute monarchy. In other words, they have conceived of the office as allowing legalized tyranny. Over the last two years it has been quite extraordinary watching Adamowski behave (in Windham) in a purely dictatorial fashion. He has not negotiated, he has commanded. He does not collaborate, he orders. He has not consulted, he has gone ahead and done his own thing. He has consistently bullied the school board into voting for his desires. He has never spoken directly to the people of Windham about the education of THEIR children. He goes about his business with hardly an acknowledgment that Windham is a town, full of complex social dynamics, and not simply an “opportunity” to carry out dogmatic versions of corporate school “reform.”

    The Special Master law is a disaster for a host of reasons. Most significantly, it leads to the mis-schooling of children and the effective disenfranchisement of people (and especially people of color) in poorer school districts. Adamowski, Pryor and Malloy don’t care about that. Perhaps Adamowski believes his own nonsense that he–and he alone–is going to save “poor children” from shitty educational standards and the big bad teacher’s unions who are only in it for themselves. Perhaps Adamowski truly believes he is a kind of Superman. Or perhaps he is hustling in the good old American fashion, of selling snake oil to the naïve and the credulous. Or perhaps Steven Adamowski is the paid enforcer of some very powerful people in the 1% who would like to see schools privatized as part of their ongoing attempt to undermine democratic republicanism and replace it with plutocratic and oligarchical rule…

    • msavage

      “Or perhaps Steven Adamowski is the paid enforcer of some very powerful
      people in the 1% who would like to see schools privatized as part of
      their ongoing attempt to undermine democratic republicanism and replace
      it with plutocratic and oligarchical rule…”

      My vote is for Option C.

  • Linda174

    Mass Insight’s fat financial gain from ed reform:


  • Mary Gallucci

    With this story bursting out at the seams, what is the Hartford Courant covering? A case of fleas at the dog pound?
    Bullying and tyrannizing have been hallmarks of the Special Master deal since the beginning, and yet newspaper in the state of Connecticut will cover the story. Achievement First, Pryor’s own charter school management company, can suspend, expel, and abuse children, and then get rewarded with future school contracts. Can it get worse? Certainly–it can become more widespread. Pryor and Adamowski are chomping at the bit to usurp more public money with less public scrutiny; they are straining to strip the public schools of Windham and install charters. For some reason, Eastern Connecticut State University is being used as a wedge to bring a charter in (they’re saying it will be dual language since Adamowski has never been a friend to diversity or bilingual ed; this makes it seem as though he is…). Windham does not need any charter schools, just like they do not need the elite voucher program for the select few that Adamowski concocted with Norwich Free Academy–when Columbia residents want to send their children to NFA rather than to the agreed-upon options, they have to pay themselves due to the cost (more than double in some cases) of NFA tuition. Same with Mansfield parents–the district of Mansfield is not about to pay the inflated costs of NFA, because it would be unfair to its own schools and district. Beware the Special Master. He is not about to help Windham Schools. He would let children sit in a moldy, leaky building until it collapsed around them if it meant he could score a charter school out of its destruction.