SUBSCRIPT: Performance Management chief can't get her own performances to start on time

Chief Performance Management Officer Sarah Kremsner (above left, at a recent Chicago Board of Education meeting) is being paid $150,000 per year by the Huberman administration to oversee a Rube Goldberg system that would have principals and other administrators laughing if the current CPS chiefs weren't the nastiest and most self-serving in history. Kremsner makes a point of being late for everything or canceling activities at the last minute, just to show she has more power than the mere 30-year veteran principals and assistant principals who are ordered to grovel at her feet. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The Chicago Board of Education didn't know it needed a $150,000-per-year “Chief Performance Management Officer” until it hired Ron Huberman from the Chicago Transit Authority, and then Huberman began hiring dozens of his old City Hall and CTA cronies for top executive jobs at the Chicago Public Schools. One of the most widely hated aspects of the Huberman administration has been what more and more teachers and principals view as a crazed process: so-called "Performance Management." Dozens of administrators and principals have told Substance that the so-called system is actually a kind of Rube Goldberg that highlights trivia and has nearly nothing to do with the education of human children in the real world of Chicago skills. Huberman's performance chief has many problems, but one that has become most obvious as the school year has gone forward is her inability to get her meetings to start on time — and in some cases, at all. Sarah Kremsner is budgeted at $149,899 per year by Huberman. She was one of the first administrators Huberman hired in early 2009, and as a result, her taxable earnings in 2009, according to CPS W-2 data provided to Substance as a result of a request under the Freedom of Information Act, was $123,899. Fewer than half of Chicago’s classroom teachers earned half that much in 2009. Kremsner has no experience, training or credentials in education. What has amazed close observers is that doesn't know how to get on time to her own “performance” meetings. Along with dozens and dozens of others, she knows that Huberman's clout — from Richard M. Daley — keeps dozens of Kremsners in office, despite cuts all around the central office. As the cuts — based on phony budget “deficit” projections concocted by Huberman — go deeper, more and more people who once would have kept their mouths shut are asking Substance why the Huberteam hasn't been given the axe, instead of the axe falling on veteran teachers, principals, and other educators. We look forward to hearing from more and more in the months ahead.. 


May 2, 2010 at 9:48 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

How do you know Huberman is lying? When words are coming out of his mouth, or he's in Power Point

Since last summer's silly story in Chicago magazine ("Numbers Man", Chicago, August 2009) about how cool Ron Huberman is, Chicago has witnessed a version of the Big Lie that even this town should be shamed by. Since September ("Data Driven Management" which we at Substance called "Data Driven Drivel") Huberman's been marinating his lies in Power Point, his favorite fig leaf. The most recent series of lies includes the ongoing Power Point presentations he's given to our colleagues in the media and to the Board of Education on the "deficit." That one so far has worked to destroy the careers of a number of people who worked in central office and "citywide" (you'll never guess where most of those cuts came from — NONE from Huberman's $100,000 a year crew of CTA and other patronage hacks. He deliberately obfuscates the whole "Central Office Cuts" scam by whispering, like in the fine print, "...and Citywide."

This guy's always been a hustler. The interesting thing this time through is that the people who own and run Chicago are encouraging the biggest hustle of all. And the question is beginning to come to even the dimmest bulb in media land that there must be something more for Mayor Daley's supporting of Huberman, but nobody's talking too loudly yet.

The biggest scandal of all, of course, is the patronage orgy where Huberman and the Board of Education hired all those "Chiefs" and "Chief Officers" and "Executive Officers" since January 2009. But the scandal that will probably bring down the whole hypocritical bunch of them will probably be a bit sleazier than simply wasting tens of millions of dollars on the salaries of incompetent hacks while firing hundreds of people who were doing something to educate children.

We are enjoying our e-mail and phone calls, but more than this is still to come.

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