Mosby targets Briggs diversity, Lyons’ honesty

NORWALK, Conn. – There is a problem with Norwalk Public Schools, according to John Mosby – a lack of black and Hispanic teachers.

Mosby’s latest address to the Board of Education on Tuesday included the news that he has filed a citizen’s complaint against BOE Chairman Mike Lyons, putting Vice Chairman Artie Kassimis on a bit of a hot seat as he defended the lack of action taken on the topic. Mosby, a frequent commenter and critic at BOE meetings, also again criticized the lack of black teachers and spending at Briggs High School. Mosby was even more specific, complaining that Briggs had been a black school that is being “taken over” by Latinos. Briggs has not gotten money that was promised to it, he said.

Complicating matters is the fact that Mosby is the father of a Board of Education member, Shirley 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,” he said. “You get mad all you want. I’m going to get you straightened out. I told Dr. Rivera to start to hire some black teachers – only secretaries, you’re hiring secretaries. That’s what the problem is.”

Plus, “You never spent one dime on Briggs. That’s what I’m talking about,” he said.

Mosby said he had sent a letter to the board through Superintendent Manny Rivera. “Under the bylaws I’ve got a right to speak about it,” he said. “What happened to my letter?”

Rivera said the board executive committee had gotten a letter, and referred answering Mosby’s statement to them.

Kassimis said he had been in Louisiana and unable to deal with it.

Board member Migdalia Rivas wanted to know what had happened to the letter. Kassimis explained that the letter had been a citizens complaint against Lyons. Lyons had therefore recused himself, he said. Nothing had been done because Kassimis wanted to sit down and look at the policy with other executive board members and he was out of town, he said.

“I have never been involved in a civilian complaint,” Kassimis said. “The policy was not available to me. So I asked … can I at least come back and let’s have a quick face to face and find out what the policy says?”

Shirley Mosby said that it would have been nice if an email had been sent to all board members on the topic.

“That makes me wonder what else is out there,” she said.

Kassimis repeated that he had wanted to learn what the policy was. The original email had gone to Rivera, not the full board, he said.

Lyons provided the complaint to NancyOnNorwalk. The complaint is inspired by a NancyOnNorwalk story about the recommended dismissal of a labor complaint against the BOE. It is against Lyons and BOE attorney William Connon.

The story quotes John Mosby as saying his son, Alvin Mosby, would file an appeal of the complaint.

John Mosby’s complaint against Lyons and Connon asserts that John Mosby did not say anything at the March 4 BOE meeting about the recommended dismissal of the labor complaint.

He did not. His comment about Alvin Mosby filing an appeal was made to this reporter in the City Hall parking lot.

Mosby requested that the matter be put on the March 18 agenda. It was not.

Mosby said Tuesday that his complaint about the lack of money going to Briggs High School concerned plans to rebuild the school. He had a document that showed that nearly $3 million had been planned for construction in 2009. That construction did not happen.

Mosby is known to comment on the proceedings at public meetings, enthusiastically agreeing with board members as they speak.

On Tuesday night he continually supported Rivas as she talked about her problems with the school system.

“That’s right. You tell them how we feel,” he said, as Rivas alleged she had been discriminated against her, that the school system had failed her children.

Another legal complaint filed by Mosby has reached an apparent dead end.

The Freedom of Information Commission on March 14 recommended that a complaint filed by Mosby be dismissed. That recommendation was received by the city on March 19. A hearing is planned for April 9.

Mosby’s complaint alleges that, on April 2, 2013, the board held an executive session to discuss a document that was not made available to the public. It alleges that, on May 7, 2013, the board held an executive session to discuss contract negotiations and then came out of the executive session to vote on the contract, without ever showing it to the public.

The commission’s proposed final decision states that Mosby did not file his complaint about the earlier meeting in time to have it considered. It was not filed within 30 days, the document states.

Regarding the second half of the complaint, the board held a special meeting on April 23 in which it reported on the status of the two contracts in question, the proposed final commission decision states. The board announced at that meeting that negotiations were likely to conclude by May 7.

The board was not required to have an executive session, the decision states. “It should have simply deemed such discussion a non-meeting, not placed the discussion concerning this item on the agenda, and conducted the discussion accordingly,” the decision states.

There was no hard copy of the contract available for the May 7 meeting, the decision states.

“The complainant contends that the Board of Education should not be permitted to work off of the previous year’s contracts and vote to approve the marked-up documents as the succeeding year’s contracts,” the decision states. “Rather, the complainant contends that the board should be required to bring the finalized versions of the new contracts to the public meeting, hand them out to the public, and permit the public to comment on the new provisions before any voting takes place.

“The commission notes that, while meetings of a public agency are required to be open to the public, the FOI act does not require a public agency to permit members of the public to speak or comment at its meetings. Furthermore, the FOI act does not obligate a public agency to create records; it only obligates it to provide access to those records which it in fact has created or retained.”

Mosby complaint against Lyons




24 responses to “Mosby targets Briggs diversity, Lyons’ honesty”

  1. Mike Barbis

    Nancy, it is too bad you didn’t address this issue about NPS investment in Briggs … at the last board meeting, immediately after Mosby’s public comments, Briggs Principal Marie Allen, members of her team and three students gave an impressive presentation. This showed how NPS is investing in Briggs and how the school is completely turning around — versus the dumping ground it once was. How John Mosby can attack NPS on this issue is beyond me.

  2. Don Chiodo

    I would think that if Mr. Mosby has the best interest of the students in mind he would want to hire the most qualified people for the job regardless of race.

  3. This isn’t about hiring the best teachers – its about hiring blacks and obviously underqualified black teachers. Reverse discrimination at its best.

  4. Bill

    Why doesn’t Mr. Mosby reference the fact that his own son Alvin is making $65,000 a year as a janitor? If the Mosby’s actually cared about kids they wouldn’t be worried about the need for teacher diversity, they would be worried about the lack of resources because we pay this family outrageously above market rates for their labor.

  5. piberman

    Lets encourage Mr. Mosby to take his complaints to our judicial system and encourage NON to not make such charges a public discussion issue where they do immeasurable harm to everyone involved. We’ve worked long and hard and spilled precious treasure and much blood in dealing with such issues through our judicial system rather than self seeking publicity in the streets. Such unfounded charges are simply deplorable and demean all those working towards serious public service. Deplorable doesn’t begin to describe these charges.

  6. Inquiring Mind

    “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,” he said. “You get mad all you want. I’m going to get you straightened out. I told Dr. Rivera to start to hire some black teachers – only secretaries, you’re hiring secretaries. That’s what the problem is.”
    Okay, so it seems from Mr. Mosby’s words, he wants only black teachers teaching black students. And it sounds like he wants Briggs to be limited to only black students. Does this sound skewed to anyone else?

  7. … It’s more important to (Mosby) that black teachers are hired. The district needs to hire the most qualified teachers based on their credentials. The color of their skin is not a factor, unless of course you are a racist.

    This comment has been edited to conform to our policy.

  8. Kathleen Montgomery

    Spending time on Mr. Mosby and his rhetoric is not a productive effort either for the BOE or NON. He certainly seems to relish his “fame” and this negative reinforcement keeps him going.

    @ Irishgirl: “its about hiring blacks and obviously underqualified black teachers”.

    Really? I sincerely hope that you are not suggesting that teachers are under-qualified if they are black.

  9. Love Mosby

    Got Love this man!! He don’t quit!!!

  10. anonymous

    He doesn’t quit making sense that is.

    And wasting our money with all his lawsuits.

  11. Bill

    The ratings of an over paid janitor shouldn’t get so much of our community’s journalistic coverage

  12. Longtime Norwalk Resident

    If Mosby cared so much about the students in our system, he wouldn’t have wasted so much of the district’s resources on his frivolous lawsuits. It seems his son is continuing this dubious legacy.

    As for some of his other comments, they are just outrageous. Since when do we have ‘black’ schools? Since when can a school system decide just to hire ‘black teachers?’ Building principals look hard for the most qualified candidates, who will fit best with their team and vision, when hiring.

    Putting the Hispanics against the Blacks – seems like Mosby is very busy at this. NON, let’s not give him any more publicity in his twisted campaigns.

  13. LisaLen

    Are there enough adjectives to describe the Mosby clan? And why is this news? The Mosby’s seem to make a living filing lawsuits against the City and BOE. What could Sunday dinner sound like at there house?

  14. anonymous

    The unions endorsed Mosby’s daughter, Shirley Mosby for Board of Education, and Rillings supported her. Fine mess they got us into.

  15. @Kathleen,
    Nope, I’m saying if they were qualified in the first place, they would have been hired. But mosby wants black teachers regardless if they are qualified or not…

  16. marilyn robinson

    I’m confused….i don’t remember anyone titling Briggs as a black school…it was designed to assist pupils who were having difficulty in NHS or BMHS….it was for whites…blacks…hispanics etc..

  17. Lisa Thomson

    Nancy, it’s unfortunate that you didn’t include the Briggs read-out report by Principal Marie Allen and members of her staff and students that immediately followed Mr. Mosby’s complaint. Clearly Briggs is enjoying a renaissance that seems to counter Mr. Mosby’s claims.

    Some other observations regarding the timeliness of the sharing Mr. Mosby’s complaint: Shirley Mosby said that it would have been nice if an email had been sent to all board members on the topic.

    I was sitting in the back of the room, near John Mosby and asked him, why he hadn’t just sent his complaint as an email to ALL BOE members for immediate and simultaneous receipt, rather than relying on a handwritten note to be copied, logged and sent to the executive committee, if he was so concerned about the timeliness and discussion of the issue, at the next BOE meeting.

    Also, given that Mr. Lyons had the good sense to recuse himself from the Executive Committee, since the complaint is about him, will Ms. Mosby do the same, as she is Mr. Mosby’s daughter?

    1. Mark Chapman

      @ Lisa Thomson, et al

      Re: Briggs

      Stay tuned.

  18. EveT

    It does seem that Shirley Mosby should recuse herself regarding any and all complaints from members of her family that come before the BOE. It would be the same for any BOE member if one of their relatives filed a complaint.

  19. anon

    If she is ethical and honorable, she will recuse herself from any discussion of complaints from her immediate family members and any custodian discussion too. She is representing children and needs to set an example of good behavior.

  20. @Lisa Thomson,
    What was mosby’s response to your question?

  21. Lisa Thomson

    @Irishgirl Mosby did not give a reason- perhaps my tone was too rhetorical.

  22. @Lisa Thomson~
    Probably that or publicly reveal himself as a true racist.

  23. Bill

    Shirley Mosby needs to recuse herself from all BOE issues if you ask me. Of course she will never ask her brother to take a resonable pay increase tied to inflation or that her dad contribute to his own healthcare costs. I’m sure she believes her brothers salary of $65,868 for 9 months of work as a janitor is resonable. Obvious conflict of interest.

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