Disturbing Trend

money

In October of 2013, I published a series of articles documenting Principal David Jimenez’s ineffectiveness in managing school finances. These articles illustrated how he failed to meet the New York City Department of Education’s Fiscal Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures. His infractions were so egregious they caused the already underfunded public school system to lose over $150,000 for the 2011-2012 school year.  Ironically, since he was appointed principal at the Manhattan Center of Science and Mathematics he targeted teachers for removal who earned more than average annual salary. He also denied tenure to deserving probationers as a cost cutting measure for the school budget. He also added salary to his administrative cabinet and refused to make cuts in that area. Furthermore, he slashed funding to essential school programs such as the guidance department and college office. All of these decisions have negatively impacted the quality of educational services the students receive and disrupted the functionality of the staff. The DOE has removed principals for far less. The purpose of this article is to provide further information regarding the financial recklessness of Principal Jimenez with documentation that dates back more than 6 years and on record with DOE who have failed to address these serious infractions.

     Recently, I received a document through the Freedom of Information Act that reveals Principal Jimenez complete disregard for financial protocols and procedures set forth by the DOE.

The following document was written by Principal Jimenez’s former Manhattan High School Superintendent and Supervisor of Principals, Elaine Gorman. It is dated back to June 25th of 2010.

J David Jimenez,                                                       On June 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm I met with you and your union representative, Junita Bass at 333 7th avenue in Manhattan to discuss the report of the Special Commissioner of Investigation (#2009-3135) that substantiates that you excessed $25,000 in payments to Sole Source Vendor Pamela Latt without following DC&P standard operating procedures. Further it states that you did not use Travel Reimbursement and approval Certification for international travel and exceeded the aggregate purchase limit from one vendor. With regard to use of the procurement card for travel, the investigation concluded that at the time the use of the card was permissible.

After giving you the opportunity to review the SCI finding. I asked if you had any response. You indicated that with regard to paying the sole source vendor you felt that the ISC had approved the DOE cutting the check. You added that you know that you had approvals and would find the emails. You said you were not familiar with the Standard Operating Procedures. If the ISC approves. “I thought I was in the clear.” With regard to the international travel. You indicated that TRAC was not working. You also indicated that you went online to the standard travel sites and “looked for the cheapest.” You said We did our due diligence.” Junita Bass, your CSA representative, commented that Department employees could have stopped the expenditures at any point.

After reviewing the SCI finding as well as your response and giving due consideration to the matter. I conclude that you failed to follow Standard Operating Procedures 3.8 5.1 and 4.5 as required. You are reminded of your obligation to adhere to all regulations, policies and procedures of the Department of Education. Should you have any questions you are to refer to http://dfoapps.nycenet.edu/SOP/ or contact your network or me.

Please be advised that this incident may lead to further disciplinary action including an unsatisfactory rating and your termination.

Sincerely

Elaine Gorman Superintendent Manhattan High Schools

This document was written after SCI (Special Commissioner of Investigations) investigated the allegations of Mr. Jimenez’s misappropriation of city funds. Based on this document it appears that Mr. Jimenez illegally allocated funds to Pamela Latt in the amount of $25,000 to help make him a better principal. Obviously, this was not money well spent due to the manner in which the funds were allocated from, and more importantly because Mr. Jimenez continued to violate the financial protocols and standard operated procedures mentioned earlier. It is worth noting that Principal Jimenez violated many other DOE protocols not related to finances as well. The question remains why did Principal Jimenez pay off Pamela Latt?

Please keep in mind this article is not meant to attack the character of Ms. Latt. I personally met with Ms. Latt on numerous occasions while she was employed at Manhattan Center. She was respectful and listened to the concerns the staff raised about Principal Jimenez’s professionalism from the very beginning of his administrative appointment.

In October of 2014 I received another document through FOIL. It pertained to an audit that was completed at Manhattan Center for Science and Math for the fiscal school year of 2012-2013. As I read through the document I noticed two lines in particular that were related to the financial non-compliance by Mr. Jimenez from 2010.

“There was a lack of internal control which could result in a misappropriation of funds.”

“There was a lack of compliance with Standard Operating Procedures Guidelines.”

Listed below are some of the items contained in this document. The DOE auditors discovered a number of fiscal improprieties that included:

·         No evidence of goods /services received. Items that were missing included Packing Slips, Receiving Stamps and Bills of lading signed that they were received.

·         There was a variance of $27,020.52 between the total collection per bank statement and the total collection per cash receipts Journal from the period of July of 2011 to October 2012.

·         Donations totaling $3,600.00 were not reported on the School Based Gifts and Grant Reporting system as per Standard Operating Procedures

·         School Officials (This means Principal, David) did not complete the final statement at conclusion of Revenue Producing Activity for the Senior Trip Fundraiser. The Auditor noted that these actions could result in a misappropriation of funds.

·         School Officials did not maintain an authorization from the senior class documenting the intended future use of the remaining funds from senior dues collected the total was $8,163.71

     Based on Elaine Gorman’s original document of reprimand from 2010 and the audit report regarding expenditures from 2012-2013, It has become a disturbing trend that Principal Jimenez continues to violate the financial protocols and standard operating procedures that he is obligated to abide by. In the 2010 document he made the excuse that he was unaware of the guidelines which is reason enough to have him removed from his position. The 2012-2013 audit listed above clearly indicates that Principal Jimenez did not learn his lesson in 2010.

As I read the 2010 document, I noticed Jimenez’s responses to Elaine Gorman. In one of his statements Jimenez states:

I know I had approvals and I have the emails.”

There is no record of any follow up regarding these alleged approvals and emails. Why did the investigators fail to follow up on this?

Principal Jimenez is notorious for stretching the truth. As arbitrator Lisa Brogan noted in my 3020a Decision. Below is a copy of Arbitrator Brogan’s post investigation comments regarding my 3020a hearing.

Principal Jimenez testified over a three-day period on the Department’s Direct case and then was called as a witness for the Respondent as well as a rebuttal witness by the Department and his testimony is key to many of the charges herein. HE SUFFERED A MAJOR BLOW TO HIS CREDIBILTY, however when he spoke about the incident which his subject of Specification 1 in the second set of charges. The charge involved an incident which allegedly occurred when the Respondent (Silvers) and Albetta were driving in close proximity on the FDR drive. Jimenez claimed that Albetta thought Respondent (Silvers) was stalking him and in support of that notion insisted that Respondent drove up on Albetta, an explanation which is contrary even what Albetta himself said (both on an audio recording of the meeting in question and at trial) Jimenez unwillingness to bend from that position was astounding. Either he refused to believe that the Respondent (Silvers) could possibly be telling the truth or even more troubling, he believed that his account was more damaging and therefore must be told.

In addition to lying under oath on several occasions and to his staff publicly and privately,  Principal Jimenez has proven he is incompetent as a Principal and school administrator. He admitted he was not familiar with the Department of Education’s Standard Operating Procedures. I question the validity of his argument due to the fact that Jimenez was Assistant Principal of Environmental High School in 2001 as well as Principal of Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics for two years prior to the 2009 investigation of financial misconduct. For someone who had this much experience as an administrator it is difficult to believe he had no knowledge of financial protocols and standard operating procedures. This appears to be yet another of his lies.

In the 2010 hearing, Principal Jimenez stated the following Elaine Gorman:

If the ISC approves. “I thought I was in the clear.”

This statement was a cause of concern for me. It prompted me to make more inquires about other  incidents or  investigations that involved Principal Jimenez.

During the 2009-2010 school year, SCI investigated Miclades Pepin and Francesca Pena. According to the SCI report Pepin and Pena, and A.P Randolph High School Principal Henry Rubio were involved in a romantic love triangle. Pepin a technology expert; allegedly used spyware to open the  DOE emails of Henry Rubio. Jimenez testified against Pepin and Pena. At one point during the investigation Jimenez stated that Pepin said,

“When people mess with technology people, those people will get what they deserve.”

Jimenez also noted that Pepin was:

“going to get Rubio fired, but that Pepin and higher ups in the DOE might get in trouble.”

Oddly enough, the SCI records for this particular case was not released until August of 2010. Pepin and Pena were both fired by the DOE. Henry Rubio left the DOE amidst an alleged financial scandal at A.P Randolph. Jimenez on the other hand was extended as principal the day after receiving Elaine Gorman’s write-up while other principals violating the same rules as Principal Jimenez have long since been removed.

Managing school finances are one of the most important areas for any principal. Other principals have been removed for much less. Simply put, Principal Jimenez has no excuse for violating these financial violations a second time. The troubling question is why has the DOE not removed him for this? Perhaps the most alarming aspect of all these violations perpetrated by Principal Jimenez is the following:

If the incidents in this article are official record and on file what has Principal done or not done that we are unaware of?

Furthermore, if he was in violation of these serious violations in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, what else was he in violation of before 2009. What other laws has he broken in 2011, 2014, and 2015? What else will he do in 2016 that negatively impacts his school and the NYCDOE as an organization in fiscal calamity? Can the system really afford to keep Principal Jimenez employed? Is it possible the corruption is higher than Principal Jimenez and someone is protecting him? Why was he granted tenure amidst all these violations?

If a teacher was investigated and admitted that they were unaware of standard operating procedures this would be cause for their termination, especially if they weren’t tenured. Why is there a double standard? Should Principals not be held accountable to the same degree that we hold teachers to?

Keep in mind these violations were financial infractions. It is of the utmost importance to note that Principal Jimenez has violated other school rules and even federal laws. He is currently federal subpoena for first amendment violations. In the past he has allegedly committed fraud, sexual misconduct, harassment of employees, blackmail, leaving the building on school time and theft of services.

Jimenez’s time as principal has all the elements of a Greek Tragedy. Corruption, Greed, Allegations of sexual harassment, Vindictiveness and Hubris. All that missing is the dramatic conclusion.

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