Saturday, April 30, 2011

Leaked Legal Memo Reveals Plymouth Schools Violated Bidding Laws, Raises Questions of Possible Cover-Up

Dan Tyree
Remember the alleged legal opinion that Plymouth School Superintendent Dan Tyree claimed to have obtained from an Indianapolis attorney stating that school officials complied with legal requirements when they purchased $400,000 worth of roofing materials without going through a required bid process?

You know, the one that a private citizen asked for and was told to "kiss off" by school board attorney Ed Ruiz after he told her "don't fucking preach to me."  He's also the same attorney who told her she would not receive the letter because it was protected by attorney-client privilege.

That so-called privilege doesn't matter anymore, because the letter has been leaked to the public.  It's no wonder Ed and the boys didn't want the letter released.  It's quite revealing.  The letter, dated February 15, 2011, speaks about concerns I raised on my blog, which raises serious questions since I posted my first story on the Plymouth controversy about a month after the date the letter was supposedly drafted.

Some taxpayers are speculating whether officials may have engaged in a cover-up to hide the fact that they violated state bidding laws when they purchased $400,000 worth of roofing materials that could have been purchased for about $100,000.  In addition to the date discrepancy, Superintendent Dan Tyree has changed his story about the controversial purchase to this blogger, stating that he made a mistake when he first discussed how the purchase was made.

Ruiz's letter states, "It is my opinion that the Plymouth Community School Corporation is in full compliance with the statutory requirements to procure materials valued under $150,000.00 via requests for proposals.  It is also my opinion that the law clearly supports the practice of bidding out the three schools separately rather than requiring all three schools be lumped together as one single project."

Now, there's a hefty admission, folks, since it reveals the fact that school officials are now trying to break the purchase up into three separate invoices in order to circumvent public bidding laws.  The only problem with this is the fact that two of the projects exceed the $150,000.00 no-bid limit, which Ruiz readily admits.

"The amounts in excess of $150,000.00 were not substantial," wrote Ruiz.  "Had the proposals come in at $175,000.00, for example, I would have advised to redo the process and request bids.  However they exceeded the $150,000.00 mark by only two to three thousand dollars."

I hope Ruiz didn't charge taxpayers for this flawed legal advice since he knows full well that the law doesn't allow for overages in any amount.

The overages also aren't as small as Ruiz claims.  Materials for the Plymouth High School totaled $159,586.95 while the total for the Lincoln Middle School project amounts to $163,752.50.  Perhaps Ed Ruiz should take a couple of refresher courses in legal ethics and Math since none of this is acceptable to taxpayers.

Ruiz also claims to have spoken with legal staff at Ice Miller to obtain a second opinion.

"As you recall, this is the firm that prepared the lion's share of the paperwork involved in this project," wrote Ruiz.

I would advise Plymouth taxpayers to make a request for this "paperwork" since Ice Miller knows full well of the controversies surrounding this no-bid process as they were involved as Tremco's attorneys when it received full public scrutiny a few years ago.

Perhaps the most laughable advice provided by Ruiz was when he stated that "Ms. Vice has successfully campaigned with the Attorney General's Office in Indianapolis to either investigate or audit other school corporation projects and question expenditures.  It does not appear she has had much, if any success."

Really, Mr. Ruiz?  You don't call the 2008 official opinion of the Attorney General a success?  That opinion stated that it was illegal to circumvent the public bid process when it comes to school roof jobs.

What are you really saying, Mr. Ruiz?  Are you saying that since no one was punished for the crimes they committed, it's okay to circumvent the bid process?

Ruiz also wrote that I lacked legal standing to file a lawsuit against the school district, but that I could convince local citizens "to undertake this task and expense."

That's already being discussed, Mr. Ruiz, but I didn't have to encourage it.

Ruiz was dead wrong when he wrote that I had "no history of going this far against any school corporation."  Wrong again, Mr. Ruiz.  I sued my school district for violating bidding laws, and you can bet they will never forget what they went through for breaking the law.

Ruiz closes the letter by saying that "At no time, to my knowledge, did anyone stand up and contest this project.  Therefore, I believe any person who now would come forward to challenge this project has already waived their right to do so."

Wrong again, Mr. Ruiz.  I warned your superintendent about the illegality of entering into a no-bid contract of this nature in plenty of time for him to change course, and I have the emails to prove it.  I'll gladly provide them as evidence to any Plymouth taxpayer who would like to mount a challenge to the laws that have clearly been broken and the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that were foolishly wasted.

Plymouth taxpayers likely can't count on their local prosecutor to investigate this matter since he has already blocked one citizen from exercising her constitutional right to petition her government for a redress of grievances.  I've been told that this same citizen has also been blocked from petitioning school officials for a redress of grievances as well.  I guess they respect the constitution about as much as they do your tax dollars.

It's time for a federal investigation, don't you think?

Here's the letter that Ruiz and the boys didn't want you to see.  Click on to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

North Central High School Arrested for Bringing Handgun to School

A sixteen year old student was arrested yesterday at North Central High School for bringing a loaded handgun to school.  School officials found a gun in the student's book bag along with five bullets in the magazine clip and one bullet in his pocket.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Submission: The Plymouth School Saga Continues as School Board Attorney Behaves Dishonorably Toward Citizen

Dan Tyree
The following was submitted by Plymouth citizen, Dare Hawes, in response to questionable activity by Plymouth School Corporation officials.  In addition, Edward Ruiz, a school board attorney wrote the following to Dare Hawes in response to a recent inquiry into matters relating to an alleged legal opinion that Superintendent Dan Tyree claimed to have obtained from an Indianapolis attorney.  This unprofessional outburst from an attorney should not be tolerated by Plymouth citizens or the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Ed Ruiz to Dare Hawes:  "God and I are cool. Don't fucking preach to me.  I don't need your assistance there."

By Dare Hawes

Plymouth Superintendent Dan Tyree publicly stated that an Indianapolis attorney wrote a legal opinion that asserted Tyree had done nothing illegal and everything was above board in regards to the controversial roofing project. Tyree also stated that all these related documents were available for public review.

Under Indiana Public Access Law a citizen then requested Tyree to:
Please identify that attorney, and send copies of both his legal opinion and a copy of the invoice for his specific services.” (Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 3:39 PM)

Tyree responded on Sunday, April 17, 2011 4:01 PM:
The letter you requested is protected by attorney client privilege. There was no invoice for services.”

The citizen responded:
Please  send the name of this attorney who has advised you on the roofing project and his contact information so that we can thank him personally for his free services to our school system!.... This is my 2nd official written request under IPA.” (Sent: Monday, April 18, 2011 1:00 PM)

Tyree  then admitted the attorney was not from Indianapolis, as he had falsely stated to the public.
The attorney who did the research and who provided our board with the opinion was our board attorney, Mr. Ed Ruiz.”  (Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 2:38 PM)

The citizen’s 3rd IPA request for the information on April 20th at 3:15 PM was in part as follows:
 “I have communicated at length with Andrew Kossack, IPA counselor, and reviewed the applicable Indiana Code Statutes . . . ..Seeing as the legal opinion prepared by Mr. Ruiz and provided to the board by himself is not a document prepared in preparation for a law suit, or in response to ANY threat of a law suit, I again ask for a copy of Mr. Ruiz's publicly paid legal opinion  . . . This requested document is also one that both you and Roger publicly declared was available for anyone who wanted to see it. I want to see it, as do others. Please send it to me, or have Mr. Ruiz forward it to me. This is my 3rd and last IPA request.”

On April 20, 2011 3:56 PM, 41 minutes later, Tyree had Mr. Ruiz respond directly to this 3rd IPA request for information:
I am writing to advise the you will not receive any memorandum prepared for my client, the PCSC.  It is confidential as my attorney work product and under attorney / client privilege.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 5:44 PM the citizen responded:
“ . . .  . . . .why would you want to willfully choose to with hold info from the Public that should be supportive of our public school administrators' actions, especially after Dan and Roger publicly stated it was available to anyone in the public?   Do you understand it makes suspect what you might be trying to hide? Yet again?
       Are you abusing the law to protect wrongdoing or using it to promote transparency and accountability of our public school administrators?

Then at  6:01 PM this citizen sent Attorney Ruiz the following information provided by IPA counselor Andrew Kossack (on Monday, April 18, 2011 3:35 PM) who wrote:

"..... the district should release records that contain such information unless the school has a legal basis to withhold the record.......

Information subject to the attorney client privilege retains its privileged character until the client has consented to its disclosure." Mayberry v. State, 670 N.E.2d 1262, 1267 (Ind. 1996), citing Key v. State, 132 N.E.2d 143, 145 (Ind. 1956)...... 

Pursuant to I.C. §5-14-3-4(b)(2) a public agency has the discretion to withhold a record that is the work product of an attorney representing a public agency. 

The citizen then respectfully asked Mr. Ruiz the following:

“In view of these facts, please answer the following questions:
1. What legal basis does Mr. Tyree have to withhold the record?
2. Why valid reason does Mr. Tyree possess to not consent to its disclosure?
3. Why does Mr. Tyree not exercise the discretion to release your work product of your LEGAL OPINION?
4. What is the difference between a memorandum and a legal opinion?
5. What proof can you present that you in fact wrote this legal opinion for PCS regarding this roofing scandal, as asserted publicly by Mr. Tyree?”

What was this local attorney’s publicly paid response to this citizen (on 4/22 @ 8:53 AM and 2:14 PM)?

“First, you are wrong.  Second, do not waste my time e-mailing me.  I do not have time for for you.  If you are really serious, which I am sure you are not, you are welcome to set up a time to meet with me in my office and discuss anything you want.  My hourly rate is $200.00 and I require payment up front of no less than one full hour.  I will not accept a personal check, cash or money order only.  If this is not acceptable, kiss off.  I hope your Easter is full of happines and prozac . . . .. Don't fucking preach to me. “ 

Summary: PCS Superintendent Dan Tyree first publicly stated an Indianapolis attorney wrote a legal opinion (Note: according to another local attorney, there is a difference between a legal opinion and a memorandum, which is what  Ruiz wrote). This legal opinion, Tyree said, asserted no illegal activity has occurred in the controversial roofing contracts. Tyree also publicly stated these documents were available for citizens’ review. When a citizen properly requested these records, they were rudely repeatedly denied. Why? Why would these documents which allegedly would prove Dan Tyree has committed no wrong now be so unethically refused to citizens by both Tyree and his publicly retained attorney?

And, the question must be asked again, why would Tyree and his publicly retained attorney similarly
adamantly refuse 13 citizens’ request for access to the complete computer records if those records would have in fact provenTyree was not lying about alleged computer tampering on 10/4/07?

Rather than factually proving to the public his innocence by providing these pertinent documents on both these serious issues, as he originally promised to do, Tyree uses tax payers’ money (more than $25,000 and escalating) to retain several different attorneys to prevent the release of these documents to protect him—NOT the interests of our educational community! This is wrong. The Plymouth School Board (Todd Samuelson, Larry Pinkerton, Frank Brubaker, Melissa Christiansen, and Larry Holloway), the Indiana State Police, local prosecutor David Holmes and state officials all persistently support this public wrong by their chosen silence. Why? Why will no one in public authority seek to hold these public officials accountable?

On April 22, 2010 at the Plymouth School Board meeting Dan Tyree stated, under the topic of  INTEGRITY ---
“For the third time Dare Hawes has filed an Open Access Violation against Mr. Dan Tyree and his staff . . . .. While Mrs. Hawes has the right to file, there are costs involved in her accusations and it is time the community tells Mrs. Hawes enough is enough. Plymouth School’s money should be spent on our children, not on our lawyers.”

Yet again, Mrs. Hawes has properly requested three times under IPA the legal opinion promised by Tyree to the Public for review in this roofing controversy. It is most suspect, yet again, that Tyree and his attorneys now without sound reason have persistently refused these critical records.

Thirteen times 13 citizens properly requested the complete computer records to prove who committed the fully documented computer tampering in October 2007. Tyree and his attorneys without sound reason have persistently refused these critical records.

Mrs. Hawes can choose not to file yet another complaint, and let these public wrongs continue to go unaddressed, or she can file yet another IPA complaint. She will—with others..

Tyree can choose to at last provide these records at no cost  to PCS and avoid a complaint being filed, though he has refused 3 requests already; he can answer that IPA complaint himself, saving PCS money; or, he can hire more attorneys to again protect himself—not PCS-- at significant additional cost to taxpayers. Regardless, Mrs. Hawes is not, and has not, cost PCS a cent.

It is grievous that no one in public authority has dared to seek to hold Dan Tyree—or his school board-- accountable, to tell him and his publicly retained attorneys that “enough is enough”  . . . ..To say loud and clear that public school dollars should not be spent on his attorneys, but to protect our schools!.....That all these records should be released so INTEGRITY, not public corruption, will prevail at last. Too many innocent “former” PCS employees have been injuriously maligned by this administration. People live in fear, and rightly so at the unquestioned power of these public officials.

“Injustices feed on the silence of men intimidated by the assertion of power. Whether that power is social, political, financial, or empty legal rhetoric makes no difference.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Won't Superintendent Day Tyree Release Legal Opinion? Did He Mislead Taxpayers? Is Pinnochio's Nose Growing Longer?

Dan Tyree
Once again, taxpayers find themselves frustrated by Dan Tyree's lack of honesty as he attempts to defend himself against criticism for a controversial roofing project that is costing Plymouth taxpayers much more than it should have.

Tyree defended his actions via a local radio talk show when he touted a legal opinion that he reportedly received from "an Indianapolis attorney" stating that everything was on the up and up.

It seems that such an opinion may not exist since Tyree refuses to produce the alleged legal opinion.

"The letter you requested is protected by attorney client privilege," wrote Tyree to a Plymouth taxpayer.  "There was no invoice for services."

After the taxpayer persisted with her request for the Indianapolis attorney's legal opinion, Tyree claimed that the alleged opinion was actually drafted by Ed Ruiz, a local attorney, but why won't he release it?

Show us the proof, Dan!  And why did you say that you had an opinion from an Indy attorney if it wasn't true?  Why should anyone believe anything you say if you can't back it up with proof?  More importantly, why do taxpayers in Plymouth put up with this nonsense?

Which is it, Dan, and why are you having trouble keeping your stories straight?  Could it be that your lies are catching up with you?

Taxpayers also asked Tyree to produce invoices for the legal opinion.  He responded by saying there were none.  Seriously, Dan?  Do you think taxpayers are gullible enough to believe that a lawyer would do this type of work pro bono?

If there is such a legal opinion, why won't you produce it, Dan?  If what you did was legal, wouldn't you want the whole world to read the legal basis for your actions? 

Could it be there is none?  Could it be that you foolishly spent thousands of dollars for items that could have been purchased for much less?  Could it be that you did not put the materials out for public bid?  Could it be that you're trying to hide your negligence from the taxpaying public? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Help is on the way for Plymouth taxpayers

To my taxpaying friends in Plymouth, Indiana:

I am not abandoning my post.  I am merely taking a little time off to tend to personal business, but this will be temporary.  In the meantime, I am continuing to gather records and facts, which are being turned over to proper authorities.  This blog will continue to expose corruption.  Stay tuned and remain hopeful.

Gone for Now But Not Forever

I'll be taking an indefinite break from this blog to pursue other interests; however, during my absence I will be turning the reins over to others who are interested in holding public officials accountable for the way they spend our tax dollars.  I will continue to follow the public interest stories in Plymouth, Indiana, and will make this blog available to its citizens.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guest Submission: A Plymouth Citizen Responds to Superintendent Dan Tyree

Superintendent Dan Tyree
The following was submitted by Plymouth citizen extraordinaire, Dare Hawes.  It should also be noted that this blogger is still waiting for Tyree to produce public records and will not be deterred by stall tactics.

Plymouth Superintendent Dan Tyree has repeatedly, unprofessionally and publicly falsely accused Dare Hawes and Diana Vice of ridiculously costing taxpayers money by their justified citizens’ efforts to hold him accountable through Open Access requests/ complaints. (See WTCA 3/24/11 talk show, 4/3/11 Plymouth Truth 6:37 PM comment, 4/22/10 PCS minutes.)  Tyree craftily does this to manipulate the public spot light away from his most questionable actions into a disrespectful public attack on citizens. These facts should be thoroughly examined and acted upon by responsible authority figures to end this exhaustive public dispute.

Dare Hawes was forced to file Public Access complaints ONLY because Tyree absolutely refused to properly and expediently provide critical documents, and then Tyree willfully publicly lied (under the topic of “INTEGRITY” no less-- again see 4/22/10 PCS minutes) about the results of those complaints (See Pilot News 5/1/10—attached). If Tyree had willfully provided these documents in a responsible, good faith manner, no complaints would have ever needed to have been filed. Therefore, there would have been no cost to taxpayers, and no dispute.

As a public school superintendent making over $100,000.00 per year, Tyree directs a personal staff of numerous secretaries and assistants to assist him in providing these documents to the public. If Tyree has committed no wrong, there is no need for Tyree to publicly pay Plymouth attorneys Joe Morris and Ed Ruiz, as well as Indianapolis attorney Thomas E. Wheeler II, to irrationally prohibit the release of these public documents-- or to conduct a SECRET $13,000 defamatory investigation of a private citizen by our government! 

If Tyree had initially provided these critical documents as requested by at least 13 citizens, these documents would have immediately proven who committed the alleged criminal act of computer tampering on at least October 4, 2007. If Tyree had provided these critical tell-all documents, this 3.5 year public battle never would have transpired.

Question: why do Tyree and his school board adamantly refuse to provide these tell-all documents? His refusal makes it glaringly obvious he and his board have something sinister to hide. Why else would they refuse to cooperate, and prove their innocence once and for all? And willfully lie to the media about others not cooperating?  And continually, most unprofessionally, attack Hawes and now Vice publicly? It is the actions of Tyree and his board that has caused at the very least $25,000 in public legal fees to protect them, NOT our school community. These colossal PUBLIC legal fees were authorized by Tyree and his board alone. Mrs. Hawes and Mrs. Vice NEVER did not authorize any public monies being spent in this on-going debacle, nor has either filed any law suit against Tyree or the Plymouth Community Schools. As respected citizens, they have exhaustedly volunteered hours for the public welfare, not their own. Hawes and Vice are attacked again and again by ill informed public leaders because they dare to exercise their rights and freedom as citizens to confront obvious corruption in the public arena.

What is the genuine cost of the Truth? What is the cost of citizens exercising their freedom to
properly and justifiably question their suspect elected officials? What has this cover up of
Plymouth Superintendent Dan Tyree’s and his school board’s public wrongs truly cost our
educational community?
         Freedom is never free. Corruption always costs.         
                                                                                       554 Words --Dare Hawes, 574-936-6853                                                                                           719 S. Michigan St., Plymouth, IN.
Pilot News Letter to Editor 5/1/1—quoted from PCS Board Minutes  4/22/10

Dan Tyree stated (under the topic of Integrity) that, “For the third time Dare Hawes filed an Open Access Violation against me and my staff. And for the third time we prevailed. “

Superintendent Tyree’s words are again not true.

Two questions: Why were these complaints filed? What were the honest written opinions of the Indiana Public Access Counselor?

Complaint #1:
    13 citizens requested the complete computer record under dispute to resolve the grave conflict of who are lying—administrators or teachers. They were denied 13 times, even though the PCS attorney Thomas E. Wheeler II stated our superintendent was obligated under the Access to Public Records Act to provide these records to the media/ public. Then he stated the records do not exist. Then he stated they were ghosted and could not be accessed. (He is publicly paid $220 per hour.)
    Citizens appealed to the IPA Counselor. His opinion was that since PCS says the records do not exist—PCS did not violate APRA. 
    Fact: the tell-all records do exist—but these administrators and board hide them. Why?

Complaint #2:
    Citizens filed this complaint based on evidence that PCS board violated the Open Door Law. The IPA counselor’s opinion: “I express no opinion regarding the factual matters upon which you and the school board disagree.”
    Fact:  “No opinion” is not a prevailing opinion.

Complaint #3:
    Three times citizens requested copies of the original invoices of PCS attorneys’ legal fees under APRA. Three times Tyree refused such—forcing a complaint to be filed.
Only then Tyree sent incomplete invoices—NOT what was requested. The IPA Counselor’s opinion: “PCSC has assured me that it has produced all responsive billing statements in accordance with your request.  I trust this resolves your complaint.”  He also opined that “PCS has not yet sustained its burden of proof to demonstrate that the time it took to produce Mr. Wheeler’s invoices was reasonable.”
    Fact: This is not a prevailing opinion. 
Tyree stated that “Our money should be spent on our children, not on our lawyers.”  
   Fact: if Tyree and his board had ever once properly cooperated, no complaint would have
            ever needed filing. They forced the complaints.
   Fact: Tyree did not have to retain any attorney to answer any of these citizens’ appeals. It
            was his choice.
Fact: Citizens agree that money should not be spent on lawyers—and have consistently been appalled that Tyree and his board have spent over $25,000 just in legal fees to protect themselves, not our educational community.

Tyree said the IPA complaints were against "me and my staff." Again not true. Justified complaints have been against Tyree, Hill and this school board---never against any of the dedicated, conscientious, professional Plymouth staff members--including building administrators, teachers, secretaries, aides, and custodians.       
P.S 4/12/11 Inexperienced IPA Counselor Kossack’s opinions suspiciously parrot the preeminent Wheeler’s opinions. When the facts are correctly comprehended, Kossack’s opinions are illogical. Do note Kossack was suddenly appointed by Governor Daniels to this task only after the respected/experienced IPA Counselor Heather Neal had to recuse herself due to a conflict of interest when the IDOE conveniently and suddenly offered her a job right after this IPA  complaint was filed against both  the IDOE and  Plymouth administrators. Also note close political connections between Governor Daniels, Thomas E. Wheeler II and IDOE Chief Tony Bennett exist.                                       

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Closer Look at Indiana's Conflict of Interest Laws: Have Felony Offenses Occurred at Plymouth?

Did Samuelson commit a Class D felony?
Plymouth Superintendent Dan Tyree has been spending days trying to convince patrons that he sent public records to me when, in fact, I never received them.  Let's not get sidetracked with Tyree's falsehoods when there are bigger issues at hand, including an alleged Class D felony conflict-of-interest that was revealed in the November 18, 2010 board minutes.
"Dr. R Smith, Mr. D Schoof and Mr. Doug Copley, of Tremco Corporation reported on the proposed project.  A PowerPoint presentation was made by Dr. R Smith which was prepared by Umbaugh & Associates outlining the proposed capital improvements....Member L Pinkerton made a motion to approve the Project Resolution.  Member L Holloway seconded the motion...Secretary T Samuelson again voiced his conflict with Umbaugh & Associates as an employee and stated he was still going to vote given this association with Umbaugh & Associates was stated into the record...The motion passed unanimously," read an excerpt from the minutes.
So, now that the conflict-of-interest has been admitted to, lets take a closer look at the facts.  Tyree and his cronies would have you believe that filing a conflict-of-interest statement magically makes such an alleged felony offense disappear, but that's not what the law says at all.

What the law says is that the state takes conflicts-of-interest so seriously that not only are public officials required to refrain from promoting, discussing, or voting on matters where he or she could potentially derive a profit from, but they are to notify the State Board of Accounts, in writing, of any potential conflicts-of-interests.

This heads up to state auditors is for the purpose of verifying later that the public official refrained from voting on a matter involving a potential felony conflict-of-interest.  There would be no purpose for a conflict-of-interest law at all if public officials could simply sign a form releasing them from liability.

In addition, a conflict-of-interest statement is required to "be filed within fifteen days after the final action on the contract or purchase with; (a) the state board of accounts; and (b) with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the governmental entity takes final action on the contract purchase."

Was a statement filed with the Plymouth Circuit Court within 15 days of Samuelson's conflicted vote on the roofing materials contract?  We'll check it out and get back to you, but even if it was filed, it doesn't make a potential Class D Felony go away if, indeed, Mr. Samuelson profited as an Umbaugh & Associates partner when he voted for the foolish roofing materials contract.

Was this Mr. Samuelson's only conflict as a Plymouth School Board member?  We're checking that out, too.

Readers can access the entire Indiana Code at this State Board of Accounts link, entitled, "Accounting and Uniform Compliance Guidelines for Indiana Public School Corporations."

Readers can also access the Conflicts-of-Interest policy for Indiana University at this link.  The University has zero tolerance for the type of behavior demonstrated at Plymouth School Corporation.

I spoke with a seasoned school board member-friend of mine who said that ignorance is no excuse for what happened at Plymouth School Corporation recently.  He told me that the professional associations for school board members and superintendents offer law seminars where conflicts-of-interest laws are clearly expressed and defined.  School board members are also provided with ample documentation of their responsibilities as they pertain to Indiana laws.

The citizens of Plymouth deserve better than this.  Not only should they expect laws to be complied with, but they should expect to be treated with dignity and respect when they exercise their rights to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

It's time to hold your elected officials accountable for their actions.  And Mr. Tyree, you can continue to call me names and spew your venom while I continue to dig up the truth.

Oh, and here's a post script for Mr. Tyree.  I completed all of this before 8 a.m.  You know what they say about the early bird catching the worm? 

Now, I'm off to live my rich, full life, which includes caring for grandchildren, advocating for abused children in my community as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and enjoying the fact that I can sleep at night.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Guest Column by Dare Hawes: Setting the Record Straight Against Dan Tyree's Unprofessional and Bizarre Attacks

The following was written by Dare Hawes, a Plymouth citizen, who has been repeatedly maligned by Superintendent Dan Tyree in violation of the Indiana Superintendents' Code of Ethics. 

Day Tyree Spews More Venom
Ironically on the “Plymouth Truth” blog, Plymouth Superintendent Dan Tyree again stated many things that were definitely not the truth---and clearly a willful attempt to discredit Mrs. Vice’s facts and make unthinking individuals think he has done no wrong. This is distressing. We all want our public school leaders to be men of integrity and transparent. Truthful men. After all, our children spend 13 years in public school developing their character as well as their mind under the influence of public educators. Mr. Tyree has repeatedly stated publicly that he is transparent, has integrity, and is genuine. A highly respected Plymouth citizen (a former coach who is in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame ) once wisely told me,  “If you have integrity, there is no need to tell anyone.”  That, readers, is truth.

What particularly troubles me about Mr.Tyree’s present falsehoods is the following:

In this 4/1/11 most twisted “Plymouth Truth” blog, at 3:15 P.M. Mr. Tyree invites responsive comments, but only subject to his approval for his publication. 

At 4/1/11 at 4:08 Anonymous responded to Tyree’s blog site by stating:
      She (Mrs. Vice) apparently has no life since she spends her time trying to dig up dirt on numerous individuals all over the state. She claims that she is saving taxpayers money, but one should wonder how much money and time she wastes by demanding information for her witch hunts. She claims to be such a holier than thou Christian but her blog is anything but Christian. She is a venomous snake!”

Mr. Tyree has knowingly and willfully allowed this mean-spirited, slanderous comment by Anonymous to remain on his “Plymouth Truth” blog.

Please compare that with the fact that Superintendent Tyree chastised Mrs. Vice for removing a similar mean-spirited, slanderous comment from her own blog, submitted by Anonymous. It is curious and most revealing, that Tyree first knew about Mrs. Vice removing this comment; a secondly, he publicly chastised Mrs. Vice for that removal of this comment---when he asserted to her with clear irritation the following:
   Now listen! A citizen from Plymouth (How did Tyree know the anonymous blogger was from Plymouth?) wrote on your blog and you took it off because they didn’t agree with you (How/ why did Tyree know Anonymous did not agree with her, when the comment was only on very briefly?), and then you have Mrs. Hawes who has been writing about superintendents here for 20 years and you leave her on!  Now when you start doing things like that I start questioning, I start questioning, you and your ability to be fair and impartial and listen to all sides.
                                                                                                                     (quote from WTCA tape)
It appears Superintendent Tyree IS in fact the same Mr. Anonymous on this particular venomous email removed by Mrs. Vice from her blog site. It is important to note that when Mrs. Vice responded in her blog to Tyree’s WTCA tirade, she stated:
     I also want to answer a question you asked me on the radio yesterday.  You wondered why I deleted your comment on my blog while leaving the one left by taxpayers up.  It's simple.  You launched a personal, mean-spirited attack against a private citizen, which violates the ethical code for superintendents.  Others raised public interest issues while calling the actions of a public official into account.  I can't help it that you happen to be the public official.  I didn't do stupid things.  You did.” 
                                                                                                         (from Vice Blog, 3:01 Pinocchio’s Nose)

When Mrs. Vice referred to these comments as being Tyree’s-- he never denied writing them.

You might find it interesting, and revealing, to learn what Anonymous-Tyree’s unprofessional, venomous comments he left on Mrs. Vice’s blog site were . . . This is an exact quote:
“Dare Hawes is a screaming idiot who has terrorized teachers, principals, and superintendents in Plymouth since she did not get a job teaching art. I was on the committee that did not choose Mrs. Hawes as an art teacher, however, she claims that she talked to me and I and the others supported her as the choice.

Mrs. Hawes and others that bad mouth Plymouth Schools: go away. The only corruptions is that the first amendment allows idiots like Mrs. Hawes and the other contributors to this Blog to write whatever they want without a shed of accountability.

Hey, Mrs. Tea Party, do you really think the framers of our constitution were thinking about you and this blog when they wrote the first amendment. I think they would turn over in their graves.”

Mrs. Vice sent Tyree’s irate email to me only on my insistence as I wrote this today.  Anonymous- Tyree lied yet again in his assertions. I won’t go into the details, but it is necessary for me to briefly explain the following:
1. I as a stay-at-home-by-choice mom (in the late 1980s) was on justly upset because of the
    unethical, unprofessional  way  in which the hiring decision was made for this one-day-a week 
    position. (An unlicensed, untrained individual was employed to teach art to our students)       
2. Tyree was not on that committee. The one man who was on this committee did not write this
    current blog as Dan sought to not-so-craftily imply. 
3. I never said Dan, especially as he was not on this committee, or the others supported me. The
    Acting-Assistant Superintendent forbid them to express their professional opinion on who should be
    selected, in clear violation of the then recently adopted PCS hiring policy—a policy that was not a
    “recommendation” but basically school  law.
4. Tyree at that time as PEA vice-president signed a statement asserting he witnessed (with others) 
    the Acting-Assistant Superintendent’s admitting his lie about this hiring committee’s selection.

I still possess Tyree’s signed statement in this regard, that definitely refutes what he has now again dishonestly told the public in his anonymous and slanderous blog tirade. (Remember signing it in the PHS teachers’ lounge, Dan?) All the documentation that further proves Tyree is now lying about that sad historical event still exists. That incident occurred only after I with four other women had successfully led a community-wide effort to establish a just, equitable hiring policy for PCS—as there was no previous written hiring policy! The serious need for this policy was publicly realized after the former superintendent hired 14 teachers based on blackballing, favoritism, and nepotism—not their true credentials-- in two years time. This is a lot more than readers needed to know, except the pattern of Tyree lying is fully documented.

Tyree publicly berated Mrs. Vice for removing his venomous comments from her blog, and she gave reasonable reasons for that removal, as I shared above. He has chosen to leave venomous comments on his “Plymouth Truth” blog, as I shared above. However, what troubles me is that I shared my citizen’s comments on his “Plymouth Truth” blog—three times—(Signed. I don’t believe in being anonymous.) and he persistently refuses to approve my comments. Why? Are they venomous like his? Decide for yourselves. Here is my submission to Dan’s blog that he will not approve:

The “Plymouth Truth” espoused by our superintendent regarding the WTCA talk show is full of falsehoods, as can and will be proven in due time. This is all so sad—for Dan and for our community.

Please listen carefully to the 3/31/11 WTCA program (as Dan urges readers to do). Despite the rude and unprofessional treatment Mrs. Vice received, she was gracious and most knowledgeable of her researched subject. She, understandably frustrated with Dan’s manipulation of the documented facts, did end the conversation when it was not going anywhere positive due to Dan’s leadership. She was wise and gracious to end it when she did. (She was speaking for the Public’s welfare, not Dan’s.)

Yet again, Dan has falsified the facts. I never knew anything about Mrs. Vice or her statewide efforts to uncover public corruption. I never fueled this issue (Why does Dan keep giving me such power?). Those in the Indiana roofing industry exposed this additional corruption by our school board and administrators. Now, like a can of worms, other disturbing facts communicated by a host of other citizens are currently ringing Mrs. Vice’s phone off her wall.

Again, this is all so sad. May God do as He has promised to those who act unjustly. Please pray for Dan, for our Plymouth school leaders, as well as our Nation. Proverbs 6:16 -19.”

Why does Dan refuse to publish this on his blog while he disdains Mrs. Vice for removing his on hers?
In my opinion, Dan is full of double standards, on what serves or doesn’t serve him.

What is sad is that our leaders, our publicly entrusted school board --Todd Samuelson, Larry Pinkerton, Frank Brubaker, Melissa Christiansen, and Larry Holloway—and  our superintendents Dan & Roger Smith have consistently refused to act in the sincere interests of our educational community in regards to one too many issues. In my opinion, based on facts, they have too often only acted in self-promoting or self-protecting interest. Dan’s obvious unprofessional, unethical, and possibly criminal  behavior should be cause for his instant dismissal (or at least suspension without pay until these matters are legally resolved) ------instead of the numerous former respected PCS employees (educators, coaches, custodians, and techies)-- he has forced out in a childish power play. I fear our educational community is morally bankrupt because of this present leadership.  

Most sincerely,

Dare Hawes