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Is there are proper way to fire someone? I’m sure human resources experts have many tips for managers on how to inform an employee she is no longer wanted.

In checking the court case of a former Rochester City School District administrator who is suing the district for age, gender and racial discrimination, I came across her termination letter. It was recently filed as evidence.

Dr. Marilyn Patterson-Grant had been employed in the district for decades and was highly regarded by peers and the community. She was principal of Wilson Magnet before former superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard tapped her to be a deputy superintendent. After several bad reviews, Brizard personally gave Patterson-Grant the following letter:

I was struck by the absence of one line: “Thank you for your service to the district.” Even if she hadn’t performed satisfactorily, it seemed a cruel way to end a long career.

Perhaps Brizard did thank her upon giving her the letter. He described the meeting in a deposition and said Patterson-Grant was silent and he assumed she was angry. Brizard told her she could resign, retire or be fired. Patterson-Grant chose to be fired, which made her eligible for severance pay. She soon filed a lawsuit against Brizard and the district after the EEOC determined she was discriminated against. The case is still pending.

Links of the Day:

– Red light cameras are hitting poor neighborhoods the most. The Democrat and Chronicle‘s Brian Sharp did a great piece on the program. The city is issuing tickets at a rate of one every six minutes – and there’s no conclusive evidence the cameras are making us safer.

– Monroe Community College is no longer a “high school with ashtrays.” This invaluable school is celebrating its 50th year.

– A Central New York town took fluoride out of its water system without talking to a single expert.

– A Buffalo man on parole shoplifted from Wegmans, hoping to be sent back to prison where he can get free treatment for leukemia.

– A Syracuse assemblyman really, really likes Destiny USA.

Incredible street photography in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

9 Responses to You’re Fired

  1. December 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm Mittens responds:

    Good for Pulaski!!

  2. December 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm Michael responds:

    Not very compassionate, but at least it was a letter and not an email. My guess is the legal department has dictated how such letters should be worded. Very unfortunate.

  3. December 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm RaChaCha responds:

    One class act, that Brizard.

    BTW, in my blessedly brief experience as a consultant at Central Office, I saw cases where people who were doing great jobs and/or were well liked at schools but perhaps fell afoul of Central Office folks were transferred against their will to Central Office jobs where they were then jerked around or put into a kind of career limbo. Often a prelude to a departure.

    Urban school district central offices are, in the words of a deputy dept. head I worked closely with, “nests of pathology.” This is one of several reasons I have come to the conclusion that urban school reform at the district level is simply an intractable problem. The charter school movement may be the only mechanism that, in the end, has a prayer of meaningfully transforming urban public school education by upending the chessboard over which big-money central office administrators and big-money teachers union officials stare each other down.

  4. HAH! The previous #2 in the Fire Dept. SCOTCH TAPED a termination letter to the door of a Deputy Chief! Didn’t even call him. Then cried, literally cried in front of me and other members at a bar the night he was canned. Goose, meet gander. Civil service slugs are expected to be saintly while the APT employees have their own loose and fast rules and secret employment contracts benefitting themselves only at taxpayer cost. “At will” means just that and unfortunately all of those high cost, out of town management classes the APT’s love to go to can’t teach class.

  5. December 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm Michael responds:

    If only we could get rid of Maggie Brooks simply by posting a note on her door.

  6. She gave that #2 guy a job running the fire academy after he was canned. But there’s no insider stuff going on with those APT people, no, strictly hiring the best people for the job. Only the best…..

  7. Rom Emanual g

    ave a simular letter to Brizard just recently…what goes around comes around.

  8. Well she won an EEOC ruling so she knew what was happening and where she was going. It isn’t how she was fired at that moment but what the process was and how it was wrong.

  9. Why let a story about how bad the DEMs are … and have been …. for 40yrs—- running the RCSD, where a “black boy” today age 6 has a 90% chance of not graduating High school…. why let a story about how bad they run that organization… go to waste?

    Lets SLAM Maggie Brooks. You know Maggie who has been elected 3 times by landslides, and one of those 3 times, ran un-opposed.

    Yea Maggie is the villain.
    The RCSD is doing a fine job. And there is no cronyism in that org…. yea none.

    Personally I can think of no bigger failure by factors of 1000 in this community than the RCSD. And how people re-elect a board member for another term on the RCSD board is beyond me.

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