Mosby files new ‘suit’ against Norwalk Board of Education

NORWALK, Conn. – A perpetual Norwalk Board of Education critic has again provided Norwalk lawyers with something to do.

John Mosby – who worked in the school system for 30 years as a custodian –  said at Tuesday’s BoE meeting that he had filed a lawsuit against the board. That “lawsuit” is a complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights (CHRO) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging an illegal discriminatory practice.

Mosby alleges that the board is not responding to his comments because he is black. He specifically mentions the March 18 and April 8 board meetings.

“I charge the city of Norwalk and the Board of Education have retaliated against me and submitted me to disparate treatment because I filed a previous complaint of discrimination against the B.O.E.,” Mosby writes in his complaint, attached below. “The B.O.E. perpetrates its disparate treatment by systematically ignoring my complaints, while actually acknowledging and investigating the complaints the White parents and or citizens bring to its attention.”

BoE 061714 049
John Mosby

“Of all his complaints to date, this is the strangest, because he’s seeking relief under employment discrimination statutes for something that has nothing to do with employment (his false claim that we never answer his questions when he talks at board meetings but do so for white speakers),” BoE Chairman Mike Lyons said in an email. “Even if his claims were true (which they aren’t), since they don’t involve employment matters, neither the CHRO or EEOC have any jurisdiction to hear them, so I assume they’ll be dismissed. But it will take up Corporation Counsel and staff time and once again waste taxpayer resources fighting frivolous complaints of his.

“Jeff Spahr is handling the matter,” he wrote, “(fresh off his latest success in getting Mr. Mosby’s final appeal for reconsideration of the dismissal of his FOIC complaint against us itself rejected; see attached).”

Mosby FOI Decision



28 responses to “Mosby files new ‘suit’ against Norwalk Board of Education”

  1. Lifelong Teacher

    This is absurd. Add it to HIS long history of harassment, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1916&dat=19960322&id=KypJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=pAYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1750,2869156

    He’s wasting money that should go to our students. Again.

  2. John Hamlin

    The anti-discrimination statutes don’t guarantee respect in the political process. You earn that, usually by saying something or doing something worthy of respect — certainly not by filing a frivolous complaint.

    We need a legal system where the loser pays the winner’s legal fees. Then he would have to pay for the city’s legal fees if he lost. But he has nothing to lose by filing this — except the respect of the city.

  3. Kyle M.

    “What we have here, is a failure to communicate.” John may speak a little to much and sometimes out of place and even a little off the wall once in awhile but he is a citizen, a lifelong Norwalker and thus his views and concerns should be respected, regardless.

    He isn’t going away and really just wants to do his part and help out and make it better. He has been BoE’s self appointed uncompensated watchdog for a long time and attends meetings regularly through out numerous boards and administrations which is to be commended. We cant get elected board members to attend meetings, even with critical business on the agenda. But John’s there.


    He feels that kids, especially minority kids have been getting the short stick and he is right, no arguments accept its not always, only, the minority kids getting the short end. Of late, with our newest and brightest Superintendent, the BoE’s ship has been righting itself up after listing critically for far too long.

    Mr. Mosby and quite a few others, not all in the spotlight, feel left out of the process and true or not someones impressions and feelings are what they are and indicates more must be done to help folks feel included and recognized.

    There were whispers, some months back, that the new administration would find some way for Mr. Mosby and others to contribute positively and feel included and part of the process.

    Sounded like a smart idea but its beginning to look like the status quo’s vice grip remains. Mr. Mushak, who wasn’t and isn’t the issue with that board either was sidelined and the status quo won yet again. If you make waves, try and make things better the powers that be will get rid of you. They don’t like looking bad and foolish. You either go along to get along or your excluded. Is that the governance we expect, we want, we deserve?


    When Mr. Mosby brought up the outsourcing of custodians, he was dismissed with, “its in the contract and we are doing attrition so it doesn’t matter. Now sit down and be quiet or be escorted out.” That’s plain wrong, it does matter if someone has a concern and privatization is an issue that needs discussion and proper evaluation, long and short term. Privatization has many serious concerns and those concerns need to be addressed. Saving a buck here and there may end up being more costly, in the end, that is often projected. And costs seem to be the only concern, by many, often myopic public administrators, boards and councils.


    Hear they are hiring a receptionist for the 3rd floor to direct folks.. How about a task force for youths? Just ignoring an asset like Mr. Mosby because some may feel that he is too long winded and can be irritating and off the mark at times, doesn’t mean he does not have something valuable to contribute. He isn’t just going to go quietly into the sunset, as many probably wish.


    He wants to participate, to contribute, to help, to (feel) included, so whats so difficult to understand and resolve? A good leader surrounds himself with smart folks and is adapt at putting the right people in the right spots to make things happen and happen as smooth as possible to move forward and make progress.

    You grown ups should know better, give the gentlemen a mission and a tittle and let him feel included and make a difference. Or continue to alienate him, which somewhere down the line, may very well have more costly repercussions than a few billable hours on frivolous complaints.


    We have a new communications professional, was this premise not taught in communications 101? It’s called listening and actually hearing the message than acknowledging and responding.

  4. LWitherspoon

    @Kyle M
    I have never seen a constructive solution from Mr. Mosby, just a lot of […] sometimes bigoted ranting, and frivolous lawsuits. He derives no benefit from the lawsuits as he hasn’t won a single one, and they cost taxpayers lots of money. Yet he continues to file them out of what can only be spite.
    I like your idea of drawing Mr. Mosby into the process. Perhaps the Mayor could create a task force to address the problem of frivolous lawsuits against the city, and appoint Mr. Mosby as chair?

  5. EveT

    @KyleM, if you listen to Mr. Mosby’s speeches, don’t you find that HE’s the one with the communication problem? He just rants incoherently, makes wild unfounded accusations, cites no specifics, and proposes no constructive solutions. “A good leader surrounds himself with smart folks” — yes, and a good leader does not put incompetent people in positions of influence just to “give them a mission” and make them feel included. What responsible citizen in their right mind would want to serve on a board or commission with this guy? Are you personally willing to work with him?

  6. Joanne Romano

    Perhaps we should all sit back and take a deep breath..while I like Mr. Mosbey personally I find it infuriating that each and every time he files a lawsuit its about discrimination. When are we going to, as a community, stop labeling everything as discrimination?

    Why are we always pitting color and race against each other? If something is broken, fix it but fix it for all not just a few. Am I to believe that only minorities will be affected by the outsourcing?

    We all need to take a step back and consider all factors in this and stop costing the city undue financial burdens for Frivilous lawsuits that go nowhere…

    We are all part of the same diverse community and we need to stop trying to conquer and divide.

  7. Joanne Romano

    I wish NON would allow for corrections on posts because many times phones choose their own words.

  8. Kyle M.

    ” just a lot of ignorant, (), ranting,” That attitude/perspective is why the complaints keep coming, justified or nay. And that statement leans heavily on the justified side. Does Mr. Mosby have a degree in education, business or public management that would qualify him to present solutions? Is he being compensated to devise insto presto solutions to complex challenges? Has he even ever been asked, just once, by anyone what his ideas for solutions are? Maybe if someone took the time to chat with him, just acknowledge his and others concerns.


    Look, this is not rocket science. Basic human relations. Give most anyone responsibility and they will respond and accept that responsibility and gobble up the pride they get in doing the assigned task and doing it to the best of their abilities, whatever it is.

    We can continue to dismiss folks that have concerns and or berate them, talk over them or toss them out of meetings but does that resolve anything, or just make us feel superior over others and continues the merry go round to nowhere of complaints?


    When will elected officials begin to respect constitutes and their concerns and find ways to fit the right peg in the right whole, address and alleviate concerns and utilize all that energy to effect progressive, positive change?


    Did our parents not teach us to have respect for others, no less seniors that have put in their time and did the work? So much wasted time and energy attacking one another, often like grade school children instead of just dealing with and resolving the core issues that folks are concerned about.


    Many feel under attack and bullied by some with power, real or imagined and that does seem to be the case more often than not, ask the folks here at NoN.


    That must and will change.
    A house divided cannot stand, a house united will stand for eternity, well, a good long time for sure. Hope some, are taking notes. Insight, is far superior to hindsight.

  9. Kyle M.

    Eve, incompetent? Oh that’s excellent public relations. Yes, I would assign Mr. Mosby to a task force for youths and yes absolutely I would feel privileged to have an opportunity to work with Mr. Mosby in addressing his concerns and feelings and the concerns of many others and work together to find solutions. Mr. Mosby may not be an eloquent public speaker and may veer of course but he does represent many folks that feel the alike. It’s a major mistake to dismiss and or ignore those folks and there concerns. Major.


    Can we please behave with some tack and decorum and have discussions with insulting and or attacking one another? Especially when they are not participating to defend themselves.


    C’mon peps, we are better than this. We are all our brothers and sisters keepers, lets conduct ourselves accordingly and with some class, eh?


    Try and learn from each other. Its amazing what we can all learn from each other if we can get passed the them vs us, you vs me, mentality. Hey, psst, we are all here together at this place in time, how about we make the best of it and try helping each other up instead of knocking each other down.


    Just a thought..

  10. Kyle-
    Minority kids getting the short end of the stick…
    This comment was edited to comply with our policy against racist comments.

  11. p.o.taxpayer

    if he (mosby) was a illegal undocumented immigrant they would do back flips to listen to his complaints and help him.

  12. Oldtimer

    Mr Mosby may not be the most eloquent speaker, especially when he knows his audience is not only not listening, and has already decided he is some kind of a joke, but he is no fool. He was a well respected union president when his union made enormous gains in contracts with the city. He was re-elected many times because his members respected his leadership, his courage to speak up when necessary, and take the inevitable abuse from people who disagreed and “knew” they were smarter than any janitor. There are plenty of valid reasons he objects to outsourcing and he will not stop speaking against it. If it is defensible, why not listen ? If it was not negotiated but mysteriously included in the contract, his argument has merit, and he will not hesitate pursuing that argument. Ignore him at your (the city’s) peril.

  13. LWitherspoon

    @Kyle M.
    Mr. Mosby has a right to express his opinion, no matter how bigoted or repugnant it may be. And Norwalk has a right – some might say a duty – to seek more enlightened individuals to serve on boards and commissions.
    Perhaps you missed this gem from Mr. Mosby:
    “We are the majority in this school system. You trying to put the Hispanics against the black, right there in Briggs High School. That was a black school once. Now you loading it with all Hispanics. You setting up the blacks. I’m not going to let it happen,”
    Source: https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/03/mosby-targets-briggs-diversity-lyons-honesty/

  14. Oldtimer, re “If it [the right to outsource] was not negotiated but mysteriously included in the contract, his argument has merit, and he will not hesitate pursuing that argument. Ignore him at your (the city’s) peril.” Of course it was negotiated. It was included in the exchanged contract proposals from the very beginning of negotiations, and in the final version approved by the union and the Board and signed by the union president and me. The thing that I find mysterious is how certain union and Board members can claim ignorance of something they approved. When I vote on contracts, I read them first. If others don’t, that’s a problem with them, not with the contracts.

    Now I do have to agree that disagreeing with Mr. Mosby always involves “peril”, since he files complaints against just about everyone who does. But he ALWAYS loses; whether at the State Labor Board, Board of Mediation and Arbitration, Freedom of Information Commission, you name it, every objective outside entity that evaluates his complaints invariably rejects them. As I confidently predict will happen with this latest complaint to the CHRO. I agree that Mr. Mosby has great passion. But a person who passionately argues that 2+2=5 is still wrong, passion or no.

  15. One and Done.

    My child’s teacher sent notes home requesting that we consider donating disinfectant wipes because so many of the children were getting sick. They would be used to occasionally clean desks, doorknobs, and sinks and water closets.
    It was then I learned that our school janitors are not responsible for cleaning anything. Barely taking the garbage out on time seems to be the lofty expectation for this bunch. When something breaks or needs minor repairs, they call in a work order and NPS gets to pay outside contractors to actually fix things. We paid them like building engineers and they provided us service that an 8 year old could provide. Good riddance.

  16. Kyle M.

    And some wonder why Mr. Mosby feels alienated, ignored and disrespected. Why he repeatedly seeks relief. This thread is a decent example why the complaints keep coming. Wouldn’t it be great if some member of the board, particularly from the republican side of the table, exercised a little diplomacy and took a few moments once in awhile to just have a cup of java and talk with Mr. Mosby. But alas, its easier to just dismiss and ignore and berate than to establish a dialog and some kind of a rapport. Ok, granted Mr. Mosby has difficulty expressing himself in ways that better illustrate his concerns but that gives who the right exactly to dismiss and/or ignore or insult the gentlemen.

  17. cc-rider

    Kyle- do you know anyone else that has sued the city this many times? Surely, you can’t think filing all these suits is an effective way or strategy to get a point across.

  18. Bill

    no one holds Mr. Mosby’s race against him, in fact, we love all races in Norwalk, but we do have a problem with grandstanding and reverse racism.

  19. Oldtimer

    Mike Lyons
    Nobody is questioning that the language is in the contract. The issue I raised is the possibility that nobody on the union team ever reported agreeing to that, yet it appears in the final copies. If I was Mosby, I would be polling members of the union team. If they all deny agreeing to that language it could get interesting. We both know the membership voting usually takes place before member copies of the contract are distributed. You probably got a copy to read well before the custodians.

  20. RU4REAL

    @ Joanne
    I think it would help if the powers that be actually investigate ALL allegations of discrimination in all departments for real and publically.
    If unfounded you shut the person complaining up for good, that would be worth it.
    The recent fire department allegations come to mind, everyone simply shot the messenger ignoring any allegations.
    This is why discrimination allegations will continue, WE as a community, when these allegations surface must either prove they’re true or not, publically.

  21. “the right exactly to….insult the gentlemen.”
    I guess when the “gentlemAn” doesn’t insult the council members or the rest of the public, then he will receive exactly the same treatment that he gave – respect.

  22. Mike Lyons

    Re Oldtimer: “The issue I raised is the possibility that nobody on the union team ever reported agreeing to that, yet it appears in the final copies. If I was Mosby, I would be polling members of the union team. If they all deny agreeing to that language it could get interesting.” The union team was represented by State union officials and legal counsel throughout the process. Mosby’s son made the exact claims you are raising here in his complaint to the State Labor Board against both the Board of Ed and the union, and the State Labor Board rejected the claims as unfounded (See https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/03/union-members-complaint-against-boe-recommended-for-dismissal/). The Labor Board said “There is nothing on the record to even remotely suggest that the School Board acted in bad faith with the union over the recently concluded negotiations that resulted in a successor collective bargaining agreement. Complainants presented no evidence whatsoever that the School Board conducted itself in an insincere manner at any phase of the negotiations.”

    There’s more. Even the State union (AFSCME) representative praised the contract (see http://m.thehour.com/mobile/news/norwalk/schools/board_of_education/boe-approves-contract-with-custodians-despite-urges-to-revisit/article_ad25432d-b35a-51a5-b4ae-6982117e9740.html). In fact, the State union official, after Alvin Mosby filed his complaint with the Labor Board, noted that AFSCME was NOT supporting that complaint: “In May American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 4 Public Affairs Director Larry Dorman called the contract “reasonable.” AFSCME is the parent union of the custodians. Wednesday, Dorman clarified that his organization is not party to the complaint.
    “I can’t emphasize enough that our members almost unanimously voted in support of the collective bargaining agreement,” he said. “Our members not only supported the agreement but understood it with near unanimity.” See http://m.thehour.com/mobile/news/norwalk/schools/board_of_education/custodians-allege-boe-engaged-in-unfair-labor-practices/article_e532d4ea-bf71-58a4-b459-3cc29eb9401d.html.

    “Our members not only supported the agreement but understood it with near unanimity.” That’s not me talking, Oldtimer, that’s AFSCME.

  23. Don’t Panic

    What is amazing is that any Union would ever agree to, or any municipality would even propose a “trap door clause” which permits the option of privatization at all.
    It negates the whole concept of collective bargaining altogether.

  24. LWitherspoon

    You find it amazing that a City would try to negotiate a clause which allows it to save money for taxpayers? I wouldn’t call that amazing, I would call it “about time”.
    The City doesn’t exist to preserve the concept of collective bargaining, it exists to deliver essential services to taxpayers at the lowest possible cost.
    What I find amazing is politicians who carry water for municipal employee unions while ignoring the needs of taxpayers they were elected to represent. Miklave, Watts, and Pena are prime examples – they voted to deprive taxpayers of millions in savings because it meant that eight union workers would have been reassigned to different jobs.

  25. Joanne Romano

    @RU4REAL —If this is what is needed and in some cases it should be done then by all means! I do not condone discrimination of any kind..be it racial, gender or any other manner but my point being is that before lawsuits are filed one must gather all the information and present it to the powers that be so they can investigate and hopefully alleviate the problems before all the attorneys get involved and the city is dishing out 100’s of thousands of dollars only to find that what the lawsuits accuse are found not to be valid. This should not be a he said/she said situation. The proof/truth will eventually rectify the situation.

  26. RU4REAL

    Even when the information is gathered and passed on nothing has been done. I feel that is the inherent problem and that’s why these suits won’t stop. All it will take is for the powers that be to take a real interest, and it is not happening, the person making the claim has done the hard part.
    It would make folks think twice about their actions if all those in power we’re involved.

  27. Mike Lyons

    RU4REAL, what “information” are you referring to? I don’t equate false accusations with “information”, and since the state agencies doing these investigations invariably find in the Board’s favor, they obviously don’t either.

  28. RU4REAL

    First of all Mike I’m not agreeing with any frivolous lawsuits or complaints, as it costs US time and wasted money. I’m not just speaking of BOE this is happening in other departments too, I have no knowledge of the BOE previous suits and their outcomes. What I’m saying is there have been complaints from other city employees within city departments that have not had the same investigations or publicity as the BOE. Inherently employees will not come forward for fear of retribution from department heads, this is a fact, so at times a person like Mr. Mosby is vital to obtaining the truth.
    We would hope other departments investigate as the BOE does, my initial response was to Ms. Romano’s question “When are we going to, as a community, stop labeling everything as discrimination?
    The answer is when discrimination allegations are fully investigated every single time, and PROVEN to be false BEFORE any lawsuits begin.
    An example I can give is that a mayor awhile back brought in an employee that had previously been mentioned in the use of discriminatory practices in a previous position.
    These allegations we’re heard about by council members during that time but ignored (just ask them yourself), now here we are addressing the exact same allegations with this employee, but it appears anyone that can do something about it seems to not care.
    Ironically that same former mayor is now a big wig with a civil rights organization, how does this happen? It happens because no one in a position to do something at the time instead stuck their heads in the sand, so now these employees are getting knocked around due to the inaction of some politicians. I’m sure those politicians will say I didn’t know or what could I have done, the answer is ask questions, speak to everyone you possibly can before bringing someone into our community with such a history, it is not good for our community to have the ugly cloud of these allegations not being addressed.
    If at the time the allegations were investigated as well as the BOE did in their cases (we think), I wouldn’t be posting right now, someone should have just said no to bringing in a person with such history.
    I’m not looking for someone to blame because it lies at the doorsteps of all Norwalk residents including myself, we just want to be sure ALL allegations are investigated simple as that, so they don’t end up exploding in the headlines.
    Time to step up Common Council members and ask the tough unpopular questions!

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