I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NJDOE Commissioner Chris Cerf Knows How To Pick 'Em!

Chris Cerf, New Jersey's Commissioner of Education, promoted Barbara Morgan to NJDOE's Director of the Office of Public Information back in 2012. Morgan - who apparently never moved to New Jersey, unlike the many public workers forced to move even under the most onerous conditions - only lasted in the job six months: you see, something big came up...

MAY 23, 2013

Veteran official departs after 34 years; public info officer moves on after one year to join Weiner’s campaign in NYC

Two of the state Department of Education’s top staffers are leaving this week, one a longtime official who has played a prominent role behind the scenes and another a newer, public voice of the agency.
Barbara Morgan, the public information officer and state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s press secretary, also left the department this week after a year on the job. She is going on to be the communications director for former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s fledgling campaign for New York City mayor, which was announced yesterday.
Cerf yesterday said both women made important contributions, in their own ways.
“Barbara Gantwerk had an extraordinary career as a public servant in New Jersey, and she left her mark on many, many positive initiatives,” Cerf said in an interview.
“Barbara Morgan’s move speaks for itself,” he said. “She had a very interesting opportunity arise, and we wish her the very best.” [emphasis mine]
Oh, it arose all right...

So, Barbara - how's the new job going?

[Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, this is a family blog. While the occasional PG-rated, mild vulgarity may grace your screen as you peruse this web-based tome, it is nonetheless my policy to keep the more malodorous profanities at bay. In the interests of good taste, therefore, I present a somewhat edited version of the following report. I would still suggest you read this away from children.]
Tuesday was an angry day in Weinerland.
The campaign staff awoke to see their former intern, Olivia Nuzzi, on the front cover of the Daily News. Inside the paper was an article bylined by Nuzzi in which she told a rather unflattering tale of her experience working on Anthony Weiner’s mayoral bid.
Now, Team Weiner is firing back. TPM called Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan to discuss an unrelated story Tuesday and she went off on a curse-filled rant about Nuzzi, describing her as a fame hungry “b****” who “sucked” at her job. Morgan also called Nuzzi a “slutbag,” [Is this one worth bleeping? 'Cause the next two sure are! - JJ] “t***,” and “c***” while threatening to sue her. [See? - JJ]
On Monday, Nuzzi, a college student and writer, published a story on the blog NSFWCORP that claimed multiple sources on the campaign told her there had been “six departures” from Weiner’s team, more than had been previously disclosed. She also claimed that staffers had been underpaid and that the former campaign manager, Danny Kedem, left over the weekend because Weiner “lied to him about the timing of his sexting scandal.”
Nuzzi’s post on NSFWCORP was followed up by Tuesday’s Daily News cover story in which she claimed Weiner incorrectly called multiple interns “Monica” and said people only joined Weiner’s campaign to curry favor with his wife, Huma Abedin, a close aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Along with these allegations, Nuzzi wrote in the Daily News that “a lot” of Weiner’s staff had “short résumés,” including Morgan, who Nuzzi derisively noted “last worked as the press secretary for the New Jersey state education commissioner.”
“I’m dealing with like stupid f***ing interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed NDAs and/or they proceeded to trash me,” Morgan told TPM, referring to a non-disclosure agreement. “And by the way, I tried to fire her, but she begged to come back and I gave her a second chance.”

Morgan went on to suggest Nuzzi would be unable to get a job in New York City’s political scene as a result of her actions.
“F***ing slutbag. Nice f***ing glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again,” said Morgan.
Whew! I don't know about you, but I have to sit for a minute...


OK, let's continue:
According to Morgan, Nuzzi stopped interning for the campaign “like four weeks ago.” Nuzzi’s story on NSFWCORP described her as having spent “four weeks” as a Weiner intern. When asked whether the claims in Nuzzi’s stories were true, Morgan suggested many of them were “bulls***.”
“It’s all bulls***,” she said. “I mean, it’s such bulls***. She could f***ing — f***ing t***.”
It's just terrible to see Barbara's Morgan's career ruined by this f***ing t***! Why, after reading Nuzzi's account, people might get the idea Morgan doesn't know how control herself in front of the press!
Morgan also expressed disbelief that Nuzzi criticized her credentials.
“And then like she had the f***ing b***s to like trash me in the paper. And be like, ‘His communications director was last the press secretary of the Department of Education in New Jersey,” Morgan said. “You know what? F*** you, you little c***. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her.”
So I guess the career lesson here is that when you're on a sinking ship, the best thing to do is run to the press as fast as you can and start talking like a f***ing trucker. Right, Barbara?
We emailed Morgan to see if she intended her comments to be seen.
Her response: "NO NO NO NO NO."
Here is Morgan's full statement:
"In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation. It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize."
Josh Marshall, the editor and publisher of TPM, said, however, that the conversation "definitely" came on the record. He said it came during an interview for an unrelated story about Weiner's fundraising numbers.
"During that discussion, Morgan launched into a very animated series of comments about Nuzzi, which we quote in the piece," Marshall said in an email. [emphasis mine]
Nice job, Commissioner Cerf: not only did you hire a communications director who doesn't know the most basic rules of the game, you undoubtedly turned the coffee room at the NJDOE into a sailors bar.

Barbara, I like your style - you're f***ing hired!

ADDING: According to my man Norm Scott, Chris Cerf doesn't deserve all the credit for bringing a truly unique talent like Morgan into public service:
Poor Weiner press spokesperson Barbara Morgan who I met on one of her first days at the job flacking for Joel Klein at the DOE. I always had fun with her. Boy does she make poor choices but these people will defend serial killers if it pays.
Remember: Joel Klein was the guy who recommended Michelle Rhee for her job in Washington, D.C. The man should run a talent agency...
Barbara, sweetheart, tone it down a little, OK?


truthfirst4 said...

Yeah, Cris Cerf really does know how to pick 'em. When I saw the title of your article, I thought of my former boss, David Hardy. He was the principal of a charter school in Brooklyn. As such, he was a complete disaster. Of course, Cerf handpicked him to lead a RAC in Camden, NJ. Now, Hardy's responsible for "turning around" (read: closing) 30+ Camden area schools.

As principal of the charter school, Hardy systematically coached low performing students out, denied special ed students their mandated services, spent over $40,000 on a fancy trip for his favorite, high performing students while the school was understaffed, and often tried to ensure that teachers weren't paid their full due. He loved to say "This is a not a job, it's a mission". So . . . even though he made over $150K, he tried to pay one first year teacher $25K. Despite the fact that the pay for first year teachers at this charter network is 48K.

The fact that this man in now in charge of supervising multiple schools in Camden is truly frightening.

Just thought you should know.

jcg said...

These deformers are an incestuous group, aren't they?

Duke said...

Got that right, jcg!

Duke said...

Interesting tf4 - will be checking it out...

truthfirst4 said...

Duke: Check out this article about the school Hardy "ran". Unfortunately, the paper got his name wrong, and identifies him as "Harding". But I worked at the school at the time. It's about David Hardy, the new director for the RAC ("Regional Achievement Center") in Camden.


ad77 said...

That's interesting TruthFirst4 but it appears that David Hardy does have some experience as opposed to Bing - the Broad intern who literally had no experience and was to head the reform of Camden!

So some would think it to be an improvement!

Tried to see if David Hardy is involved with the Broad Foundation (Cerf's Godfather) but the name comes up for a charter in Philadelphia not NYC.

Mrs. King's music students said...

I read what tf4 said about David Hardy and its alarming but no more so than several inner city principals who I've experienced first hand in Trenton and in Camden. Briefly, in Trenton, I saw the school librarian hit a 4th grader in the back so hard, it knocked him face first into a brick wall and he couldn't catch his breath afterward. I told the union rep who begged me not to report it to the principal. But of course I did it anyway, and the rep was right. The principal entered a letter of reprimand to MY file over at HR. My current principal in Camden can't touch the level of corruption and incompetence of the one in Trenton-but she's giving it her all.

I think that's the issue behind the issue in Camden. The more they get away with the deeper their sense of being above the law. It permeates everything else around them. Even the kids know somethings wrong.

truthfirst4 said...

ad77: Yes, you're right. Dave Hardy has spent time working in schools. Since I worked with him, I certainly know that! However, he spent the vast majority of his time in his office, and refused to interact with children. He judged teachers on test scores alone, failing to take context into account. (He fired one special ed teacher because her scores didn't match those of mainstream students).

So yes, he has worked in schools. But, if anything, that only makes him more dangerous. He is very ignorant as regards to children with special needs (insisting that they simply need to "try harder"). Because he has experience in schools, he feels he is always right. He's not. He knows literally NOTHING about how children learn. Please don't be fooled by his "experience". I saw first hand how he spent his time in schools.

He is a nightmare for the children of Camden.

truthfirst4 said...

ad77: to clarify, there is more than one David Hardy. There IS one who heads a charter school in Philly. That's not the guy I'm referring to. The David Hardy who directs a "Regional Achievement Center" in Camden is a different guy! (David Hardy Jr.)

Mrs. King's music students said...

Will he shove first year teachers into 6th grade classrooms to 'sink or swim' w/o a uniform plan or procedures for student behaviors and then give the new teachers 'U's on their evaluations when the RACs point out long-term behavior problems that didn't crop up overnight? Will he stipulate that teachers are not to hold Af. Amer. children to the same standards as Hisp children because they don't get the same level of parental support at home? Will he put reading and math coaches to work in the lunchroom, morning announcements, purchasing supplies, and so on, till the only time they can actually teach kids is during their preps? Cause if he doesn't do all of these things, he's still in danger of making modest improvements in student achievement in Camden.

truthfirst4 said...

Mrs. King's Music Students:

If his history is a guide, then YES: he will shove first year teachers into classrooms with no plan. That's what he did at the school he "ran". He had NO VISION, but was extremely harsh in judging teachers. He played favorites. Those who showed fealty to him were rewarded, regardless of results. Those who questioned him (legitimately), were fired.

As far as misusing coaches. . . probably. At our school, he asked the Sped. Coordinator to do lunch duty rather than working with high needs kids.

He also did all he could to make sure that teachers weren't paid their full salaries. He had an obsession with making people work for less to "prove their loyalty". He's messed up.

So yeah, he's a HUGE problem.