Friday, December 5, 2008

Joseph Vindicated II

One of the better moments of Rich Joseph's hearing in Southeast Delco last night came during the cross examination of Human Resources Director Lynn David.

Finally, after 10 months, David named the female staffer who complained about Joseph for supposedly violating her space and touching her arm.

(It was that complaint that led to Joseph being hauled before Superintendent Trudie Bennett at an Aug. 24th 2006 meeting to insultingly discuss his learning about "bounderies." And was one of the charges brought against him for his dismissal.)

And just who was it who secretly complained about Joseph?

A woman named Mary Arnold, said David.

That bit of news sent a shock wave through the small crowd.

On cross, Joseph's lawyer Barry Van Rensler, asked David if Mary Arnold was still employed by the district.

No, she was not.

And why not?

Her employment was terminated.

And why was it terminated?

For theft of funds from the district.

Joseph's secret accuser Mary Arnold, turned out to have a gambling jones that led her to steal more than $250,000 in district funds.

She was fired two months after she claimed Joseph had somehow invaded her space. She was later criminally prosecuted.

No wonder, Ms. Arnold wasn't called as a witness for the prosecution. She's in jail.

Asked by Van Rensler if she still believed the charges Mary Arnold leveled against Joseph, Mrs. David replied "I still believe her."

She was the only one in the hearing room, with the possible exception of Trudie Bennett.


UPDATE/CORRECTION: In the comments, "Delco Blogger" points out we have our chronology in this matter wrong. He (or she) is correct. The date of the meeting was not 2007 it was 2006 (since corrected). Arnold was arrested a short time later. It took another 18 months or so for Joseph to be charged by Bennett and David with the infraction anonymously alleged by Arnold.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unreal is absolutely correct. The light is shining brightly on Lynn David and Trudie Bennett, and like John Madden in HD, they don't look so good.

December 5, 2008 at 1:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Bennett once told Lynn David that dressing up as a penguin was crucial to improving student achievement. When asked how she now feels about this practice, Ms. David replied, "I still believe her."

December 5, 2008 at 1:30 PM 
Anonymous Delco Blogger said...

This is an allegation that effectively ends Rich Joseph's career.

Undoubtedly, untrustworthy people can be the victims of crime or harassment, and deserve to have their complaints addressed. It is also not impossible to have sympathy and empathy for Arnold. However, without evidence supporting Mary Arnold's claim - specifically her own testimony, one has to question the motive of Arnold's complaint, especially given the timeline. You don't need to have watched more than a two episodes of Matlock to see the opportunity for a claimant, especially one in dire financial straits, to extract a quick cash settlement out of someone.

The district had already made several claims against Josephs in the events surrounding his dismissal. All of the claims were subsequently regarded as "unfounded", and as of the 2008 due-process hearing, the Times' article no mention is made of a staff sexual harassment complaint. Spencer's timeline doesn't sync with prior Times' coverage - it appears the claims against Joseph's occurred from Summer 2006 through 2007. Arnold's thefts took place in 2001-2006, with her being terminated in September 2006, and arrested, charged and sentenced in Spring 2007. The formal process against Joseph's took place in late fall, 2007, with hearings occuring in summer and fall 2008. When did Ms. Arnold make her claim? That seems to be the pertinent question regarding Mr. Joseph.

The school district may have made their choice to believe Ms. Arnold, and was unwilling to change their stance for fear of losing face or legal financial liability. Or perhaps the cost to the District for a sexual harassment claim was greater than the cost of a lawsuit by Joseph's for wrongful termination. Now they'll have the ability to face the consequences of both. There should be professional risk for these education professionals, just as there are risks for Josephs and for the School District's taxpayers.

The continued employment of the Superintendent, the Human Resources Director, the District's Legal Counsel, and Financial Controller should be seriously debated. Whoever is on the board's personnel committee and advised and counseled on this process needs to consider stepping down.

This was not a one-time event. She took $20k in 2001-2002. No one noticed? She didn't take anything in 2002-2003. $57k in 2003-2004. $103k in 2004-2005. $101k in 2005-2006. She was fired in September 2006 after she wrote checks to herself. It was until those $4400 in checks were misappropriated that the school district was even aware that the embezzlement was occurring. Was she staff member that the Superintendent said (in an earlier Delcotimes article) had her "shoulders rubbed"?

If this is the caliber of judgment we can expect from the education professionals helming the school district in Human Resources related manners, how can we trust them to make informed and responsible decisions about students, curriculum, and teachers?

December 5, 2008 at 2:38 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Gil, I remember the paper when this lady was on the front cover, she was let go in 2006, that is a long time to wait for a meeting about bounderies

December 5, 2008 at 3:39 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great!!! Trudie and Lynn are being exposed for what they really are!!

I never thought I would see this day but it is finally here.

This will be a great holiday coming up because my buddy Richard has won!

December 5, 2008 at 6:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gil, I can't find the latest Joseph article on-line. Can you please put up the link on your blog. Thanks

December 5, 2008 at 6:41 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today is a victory for all!

Trudie tried to sink her teeth into many administrators, but Rich Joseph a la David and Goliath, has restored a sense of hope in all of us!

This is simply a case of deception, and the acts of this Superintendent and HR director seem rather capricious and arbitrary, not to mention injudicious! The Board should call for both of their resignations so as to allow this district to begin the rehabilitation process.

December 5, 2008 at 8:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey don,

i double dog dare you to dress up in that penguin suit @ the next board meeting!

December 5, 2008 at 8:20 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a Festivus miracle!

Congrats Rich Joseph!

Festivus for the rest of us!

December 5, 2008 at 8:46 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delco Blogger really lays it out well. The fact is, everybody has known about this terrible Superintendent, her lackey HR director, and the bumbling Finance Director, but it is the Board that has let them continue. Mr Young better wake up and realize the serious damage he has caused. That Penguin suit is one thing, the law suits are another. Mr. Young should step down first, setting the example for Bennett and David to follow. But Don probably likes seeing his name in the paper so much. And what about your attorney? If a Board member didn't even believe Bennett, then what kind of advice was this Levin giving? How much did he make on the deal?

December 6, 2008 at 9:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Resign Trudie.

December 6, 2008 at 11:34 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the face of this troubled economy, our tax dollars are being misappropriated. This is OUR money the school board is spending! A person who has proven herself wreckless should NOT be given carte blanche! Ron Cubbage didn't believe this (bleep), but he allowed Levin's legal fees to accumulate under his direction. How much did Levin siphon from this district? Where is his moral compass? Better judgement should have been exercised, while better legal counsel should have been extended.

I for one will see you at the next board meeting. I want answers!

December 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get it right! Don dressed up in formal wear (tuxedo) at the Springfield Country Club. The principal of the high school volunteered to dress as the penguine. Both, as I see it, are flightless birds!

December 6, 2008 at 6:20 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A penguin is a penguin, formal wear or suit, how much did the country club cost?

December 6, 2008 at 11:57 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally attended the hearing sessions of the South East Delco School District and Ms.Trudie Bennett versus Mr. Richard Joseph, What a charade! From the beginning it was apparent that this was nothing more than a misguided attempt of Ms. Bennett to ruin a career and facilitate retribution on Mr. Joseph.

As for the school district's legal representation by Mr. Levin... disgraceful! His personal conduct was one of rudeness and arrogance often displaying a slumped back posture in his chair. His presentations were without focus, facts,supporting evidence or organized thought. It was one of the most feable attempts I have every witnessed in case preparation and presentation.

My family does not reside within the SE Delco school district (thank God!) but if we did, I would certainly want to know why this process took so long to reach its obvious conclusion of Mr. Joseph being completely vindicated...almost a year!

You need only look as far as the school district's attorney Mr. Levin who continuously stalled, postphoned and delayed the hearing schedule with ridiculous situations such as "I'm taking time off to go the Disney World, I don't have enough time to coordinate my witnesses, or the best one of all and his most recent... I can't make it because I hurt my elbow and am taking pain medication! Rumor has it on this one that he was reported as attending another function that conflicted with the hearing time for S.E. Delco.

Hey Levin! ... did you bill the school district enough to cover your Disney trip to Florida???

After this sham, I think we all need to take some pain medication and to a mandatory degree, undertake major corrective surgery to once and for all, eradicate the cancer of Trudie Bennett and her cadre of lackies!

By the way, it would be nice for the school district to get around to paying Mr. Joseph for the time that he has been under suspension without pay as well as reimburse him for his extended attroney fees. How he is repaid for his character damage will probably be left up to another court but in the meantime this good man needs to be put back to work for the benefit of the school district and its kids!

Merry Chrismas Rich!

December 7, 2008 at 10:27 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should fire Trudie and the solicitor now, pay Mr. Joeseph and consider him for the supt. job. This school board is a joke but we keep electing the same group of idiots over and over. Has anyone met the new school board member from Sharon Hill are you kidding me this is the best we can do.

December 8, 2008 at 7:40 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough with the mud slinging. Did anyone forget about the good things Dr. Bennett & Ms. David have done for the district -- like making people accountable. Lets not forget how far we have come from the "good ole boys club" of the past.

December 8, 2008 at 12:47 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I love what all said and as a resident of SE delco who has children that go to the schools, I for one would love to know what she has done for the district, and the answer to the Springfield Country Club question is 16,000 is what the rumor is that was spent for all employees to go there and it was manditory for them. I feel bad for Lynn David she was put in a really bad position, either she does what Trudie wants or she loses her job. They need to clean the house completely starting with the board, they (president and vice president) should resign and go down the line from there. Maybe they can go to Manhattan Bagel and get a job.

December 8, 2008 at 7:35 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mudslinging? You've got to be kidding.

December 9, 2008 at 3:32 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This at all dosen't surpise me, I mean when the district has different rules for different employees. Some can take vacations during the school year and some can't. Why wouldn't they have different rules for sexual harassment case.

I read all the comments about who is paying for the lawyer fees and back pay to Mr. Joseph.

What about putting some of the money towards books for the students, instead of the new radios for police, brand new business office cubicals, and all those cameras in the schools.
When is the next school board meeting or are they on christmas break already.

December 9, 2008 at 11:33 PM 
Anonymous r said...

Enough with the mud slinging. Did anyone forget about the good things Dr. Bennett & Ms. David have done for the district -- like making people accountable. Lets not forget how far we have come from the "good ole boys club" of the past.

Apparently not very far, judging by the carrying on by the "good ole girls club" of the present, sexist poster.

December 10, 2008 at 10:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is now June and Trudie and Lynn are on their way out. Trudie, retirement ( who would hire her after the Joseph fiasco?), Lynn on her way to another position where she can make sure that qualified people are treated poorly. Both of them are the cause of many, many competent administrators leaving the district. I hold Trudie accountable for all that has gone wrong within the District and give her no credit for what has gone right. Trudie is known to make the lives of any administrator who she thinks has attacked her policies, failed to agree or expresses their own opinion. The Board knew this and allowed it to go on...and on without question. So, I guess they all got what was deserved LOTS OF NEGATIVE PUBLICITY. Trudie and Lynn remember what goes around comes around.

June 3, 2009 at 10:31 AM 

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