Claypool Pulling Same BBB Scam: Now Hiding Hiring Documents... Claypool following the Barbara Byrd Bennett coverup strategy in denying hiring information on his cronies from the Chicago Transit Authority...

One of the many administrators the latest "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago Public Schools, Forrest Claypool, has brought into "education" from the Chicago Transit Authority is Doug Kucia, above at the August 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Claypool and his staff are denying Freedom of Information requests for the qualifications for Claypool's appointment of Kucia and others who have no education background, experience, or certifications. Kucia's latest title at CPS is "Chief of Staff" (one among many, this one apparently "Chief of Staff to the CEO"). Kucia was hired in August 2015 at an annual salary of $175,000. The Board of Education is denying GOIA requests for the hiring documents justifying making Kucia one of the highest paid "educators" in Illinois. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Forrest Claypool, the current Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, is following in the footsteps of last CPS CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett (now a convicted Federal Felon). Mr. Claypool is blocking the release of hiring documents for his top crony executives, his Chief of Staff and his General Counsel. Most of the new administrative team he has brought over from the CTA have no educational experience. Substance News has asked for the hiring documents of Claypools top officials for over a month now with no response from CPS.

In one FOIA request for Claypools top advisor Doug Kucia, its been over one month and no hiring documents have been provided to Substance News. Kucia is making $175,000 plus benefits per year with no education credentials and acts as Claypools "muscle." (He likes to get in people's faces like some Chicago tough guys...).

The proliferation of "chiefs" and "chiefs of staff" at the Chicago Board of Education since the beginning of mayoral control in 1995 has become an almost metaphysical question by 2015. How many "chiefs" are in the above photo, taken by Substance reporters during the August 2015 Board of Education meeting? There are at least four: Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool (second from left), appointed by Rahm Emanuel to head the nation's third largest school system in July 2015 at an annual salary of $250,000. Beside Claypool (fourth from left) is "Chief of Staff" Abigayil Joseph (the shot female facing the camera). Beside Joseph (second from right) is "Chief of Staff" Doug Kucia. And in the corner is the "Chief Communications Officer." As to the Chiefs of Staffs -- Joseph, at an annual salary of $145,000, is "Chief of Staff to the Board of Education". Kucia, on the other hand, is "Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive Officer" (at an annual salary of $175,000 per year). No one on the Board asked why the Board's "Chief of Staff" (Joseph), who has been working for the public schools for more than a decade, is being paid $30,000 a year less that Claypool's "Chief of Staff" (Kucia) who has been working for the public schools for less than six months. Maybe the "diversity" so prized by the Emanuel administration includes a secret codicil that enables Forrest Claypool to pay underqualified guys 20 percent more than more qualified ladies. One way or the other, when the Board members voted to approve Claypool's Board Report making Kucia Claypool's "Chief of Staff" there was, as usual, no discussion or debate, so the public can only learn that Joseph is paid much much less than Kucia by digging into the "Position File" of CPS (a document not easily available on any public CPS website, by the way). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Kucia is like Byrd Bennetts Chief of Staff, Sherry Ulery. Ulery has now been exposed not only for her corrupt cronyism in Chicago but for her work with "BBB" in Detroit. Both Ulery and Kucia travel the education reform circuit spending money, making privatization deals, firing tenured teachers, creating chaos and destabilizing public school districts. It's like dj vu all over again.

To many observers, and not just this reporter, it looks like the Claypool-Kucia are the new BBB-Ulery. Including the fact that the corporate news media is again not looking into all these non-educator buddies being hired by Claypool.

Then there are a number of others -- Robert Marmer, Ronald DeNard, Andrell Holloway, Kevin McGuire, Randy Ernst, Sandra Bello, Hendrik Woods, and Israel Torres.

All have been hired by Forrest Claypool, since Rahm Emanuel made his CPS CEO in July 2015. Interestingly three of these individuals were hired on the same day as Claypool. All others were hired within a month of Claypools sweep into CPS.

In an unusual move, the Board of Education voted on its own motion made by itself to hire former Claypool friend (and campaign donor) Robert Marmer to the post of "General Counsel" (at an annual salary of $185,000) at the Board's October 28, 2015 meeting. Usually, a Board Report is in the form of a motion from a Board executive, with hirings such as that of Marmer being signed by the "Chief Executive Officer" or another top official. Robert Marmer was hired by a vote of the Chicago Board of Education to the position of "General Counsel" at an annual salary of $185,000 at the Board's October 28, 2015 meeting. Marmer, a corporate lawyer with no education law experience, had been a donor to Claypool's campaign for President of the County Board, as previously reported in Substance and the Chicago Sun-Times. In an unusual move, the Board Report hiring Marmer, which was no revealed until the "Action Agenda" was published three days after the Board meeting, is not in the usual format (which comes as a recommendation by the CEO to the Board).

Instead, Marmer was hired by Board action through a "Motion" by the Board to the Board. The hiring was approved without discussion or debate. Marmer replaces the former General Counsel, James Bebley, and Bebley's brief successor, Cheryl Colson (who served for two months as "Acting General Counsel"). Like other newly hired bureaucrats, Marmer is expected to bring in his own staff, so his annual cost of about a quarter million dollars (salary plus benefits) is going to actually be much higher.

Substance News has even asked for Forrest Claypools hiring documents. To this date none have been provided. In regular times this could be seen as the normal way of business for third largest school district in United States, but things are slowly changing. The only problem we have, is that the last CEO pled guilty to taking bribes from her former employer to steer non-bid multi-million dollar contracts back to that employer using friends as executive advisers. Anyone who believed, however, that CPS would stop its multiple cover ups of what should be public information should be taken aback by the fact that under Forrest Claypool the "None of your business" answer to requests is still standard operating procedure, just as it was under Barbara Byrd Bennett.

Substance News was the first and only news organization in Chicago to fully publish Barbara Byrd-Bennetts entire hiring resume < >

As we reported at that time, it was clear from her resume that she had multiple conflicts of interests and should never been hired. Thats not the focus of this story right here. What is disturbing in November 2015 is the fact that the newest CPS CEO is obstructing the publics right to see the backgrounds of the people he just hired to run the school district with him. It wasnt bad enough or enough of a red flag that most of his hires had been following Claypool to different governmental agencies just like Barbara Byrd-Bennetts cronies follow her around from DC, to Cleveland, to Detroit, and then the Chicago.

Some of Forrest Claypool's new appointees arrayed at the Board meeting of August 2015. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On November 5, 2015, as this is written, it is clear, that Claypool has something to hide. Just think. If any law abiding person would take over a government agency that just was involved with FBI bribery, influence peddling, cronyism, theft from children and just low-down in-your-face-lying, they probably would want to make everything they did public and transparent. Maybe even more than usual, especially with the people that are being hired as close executive advisors getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars while the school district says its broke.

Enough of commentary here are the simple facts.

Forrest Claypool including himself has spent over $1.4 million on hiring his executive staff during a time when he claims a budget deficit and has been asking everyone to go to "Springfield" asking for $480 million, claiming that the reasons CPS is "broke" is that teacher pension costs are too high.

Forrest Claypool took over CPS after the former CEO resigned following the public reports that she was under investigation by a federal grand jury by May and June of 2015. Then, in October 2015, she pled guilty to federal corruption charges. For reasons that are still secret, the CPS "Inspector General" somehow missed all of those activities, and it took the feds to expose and catch Byrd Bennett for her Chicago corruption (she is still under investigation for her work in Detroit and elsewhere...).

As of a month after Byrd Bennett's guilty plea in front of a federal judge, her successor, Forrest Claypool, is hiding the hiring documents of his executive staff. Forest Claypool is not following Illinois FOIA law. The CPS hiring process is made to document and ensure some sense of security of who is working with our children and spending billions of dollars.

Then the question becomes what is else is Forrest Claypool hiding?

The Illinois FOIA law is very clear in Illinois that documents requested should be provided within five business days. Despite using the Illinois Attorney Generals Request for Review process Claypool is still stalling the release of hiring documents. The Request for Review is a formal way of asking the PAC to take a look at the original FOIA request and determine if a FOIA violation has occurred. The FOIA law is there for monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest. (Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1)

Below is the list of Request for Reviews of CPS failure to provide hiring documents for his million dollar executive staff.

2015 PAC 38123 Doug Kucia OPEN (No Documents Provided) N001043-100315 CPS had 10-days from October 03, 2015 to respond (now 24 work days)

2015 PAC 38126 OPEN (No Documents Provided) CPS had 7-days from October 21, 2015 to respond (now 11 work days)

2015 PAC 38127 OPEN (No Documents Provided) CPS had 7-days from October 21, 2015 to respond (now 11 work days)

2015 PAC 38128 OPEN (No Documents Provided) CPS had 7-days from October 21, 2015 to respond (now 11 work days)

2015 PAC 38129 ? OPEN (No Documents Provided) CPS had 7-days from October 21, 2015 to respond (now 11 work days)

2015 PAC 38130 OPEN (No Documents Provided) CPS had 7-days from October 21, 2015 to respond (now 11 work days)

2015 PAC 38131 OPEN (No Documents Provided) CPS had 7-days from October 21, 2015 to respond (now 11 work days)


November 6, 2015 at 7:47 AM

By: Bob Busch


My wife was accused of allowing students to smoke her class, she was a special ed inclusion teacher in a Geometry class.They threw the book at her.Dcfs investigation, which came back as "Unfounded".

The board of course recommended her suspension and dismissal,signed by the crook Barbara Byrd Bennett.

I sent several FOID requests.Only after I got the attorney General to inquire did they respond.The response was so lame A investigation by the attorney general is on going.I would also like to interject that in my opinion the CTU has been totally useless.

November 6, 2015 at 3:46 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Chiefs and 'Chiefs of Staff' fetishes are creepy...

Once a system of any kind introduces military and uber-corporate models where they don't belong, the fetishes of corporate jargon slowly take over, with expensive and dysfunctional results. Instead of sniffing feel to get excited, corporate modelists trying to control education according to their bogus "model" get excited about how many chiefs, officers, and "chiefs of staff" they can replicate, like out of some scientific or science fiction monstrosity. Sadly, unlike "The Trouble with Tribbles," chiefs and chiefs of staff and network chiefs and all the rest of these arousals are expensive, dysfunctional, and expanding geometrically.

One simply question in November 2015 is "How many chiefs of staff" are currently working at CPS, and who gets one and why? Since the Board of Education approves them without public discussion or examination of their functions -- unanimously, as in the Doug thingy for Forrest -- the Board claims it's "broke" while wasting millions and millions of dollars on these people, none of whom should have been allowed to work in public education in the first place and all of whom should be evicted yesterday.

At least as Karen Lewis pointed out at the November 4 CTU House of Delegates meeting, we can now get some payback against the liars and thieves who approved these things. The reason Andrea Zopp will not get into the U.S. Senate despite the millions she is raising from the Daley family and other corporate stooges is that he voting record on the Chicago Board of Education is anti-people, anti public school, and anti professional. All that blather she spouted on the Pension Board about "minority hiring" etc etc etc was obliterated when she voted, at the Board's May 2013 meeting, to close the largest number of public schools in history -- and most of those in the "Black Community" which supposedly was being served by the Urban League, which had her as "Chief Executive Officer."

April 29, 2016 at 1:27 PM

By: Yvonne Brown

Claypool covering up hirings

Why is Substance the only news reporting this it sound like criminal activities are still occurring. Why not have Pam Zimmerman investigate this matter. Emanuel Rham hired Forrest Claypool and any corruption should be put into light after all the mayor is known for crooked behind door operations. Claypool is his ace in the hold card. The CPS is in financial crisis while Claypool and his hand picked people are fattening their bank accounts.

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