Its a Hard Knock Life

13 Dec

You’ve Got To Be Kidding
Submitted by Frank Murphy on December 13, 2011

In a post I published last week, I jokingly wondered, whether Dr. Evil was Arlene Ackerman’s financial advisor.  I didn’t expect to make a reference to this humorous embodiment of the bumbling mastermind of worldwide domination again so soon after my last “You’ve Got to Be Kidding” entry.  But here he is once more.

I couldn’t help but bring Dr. Evil back for an encore performance.  I decided to do so after reading our former school chief’s response to the resignation of Estelle Mathews, published in last Sunday’s edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Ackerman expressed shock and dismay over the allegations that Matthews had demonstrated favoritism and nepotism while discharging her duties as a district employee.

The results of an internal school district investigation revealed a number of troubling findings concerning Matthews’s management of the School District’s personnel office.  She had hired her son for two different school district jobs, though he didn’t meet the qualifications required for either of these positions. Additionally Matthews approved raises for a number of district employees without first acquiring the approval of her immediate supervisors.  According to the preliminary report of the District’s inspector general several of the individuals who received raises were either friends or relatives of friends of Matthews.   In response to the charges leveled against her, Matthews choose to resign from her position as the District’s chief human resources executive.

In her statement, Ackerman denied having authorized her former subordinate to make any of these questionable decisions.  This response is a typical one for her.  Throughout her history as the leader of the School District of Philadelphia, Ackerman consistently bestowed blame on her underlings.  She rarely assumed personal responsibility for any of the missteps or failings that resulted from the administrative decisions made under her stewardship.

Michael Masch, the School District’s chief financial officer is her current scapegoat.  In Ackerman’s view, Masch is the person responsible for the financial disaster that the District has waded through during the last year of her superintendency.  This budgetary nightmare still threatens the financial well being of our school district and in all likelihood will continue to be a major problem for years to come.  But according to Ackerman, this problem isn’t her fault.

I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to learn that Arlene Ackerman was making disparaging remarks about Ms. Matthews.  For Ackerman to do so is consistent with her well-established habit of pointing the finger of blame away from herself. What I did find surprising was her denial of any personal friendship with Estelle Matthews.  From my own observations, I was under the impression that they were like two peas in a pod. I felt as though the Ackerman/Matthews connection was quite similar to the relationship that existed between Dr. Evil and Mini-Me.

The only real difference I can see between how Ackerman and Dr. Evil related to their close associates was that Dr. Evil demonstrated a greater ability to remain loyal to his accomplices.  In particular, he stood by his Mini-Me despite the many hard knocks that rocked his life.

Perhaps Dr. Ackerman could learn a little something about loyalty by viewing this video clip.


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