It looks like the big news in town today is the release by Montclair Kids First of a trove of emails Michelle Fine sent using her public employee email account at CUNY – which is subject to public records law. The emails contain her communications with a bunch of political figures and fellow activists.
We haven’t had a chance to read through all of them yet – there are literally hundreds, but what we’ve seen so far is pretty fascinating – and, in places, shocking.
The emails we’ve seen point to a well-coordinated effort mostly between Michelle Fine, Maia Davis, and Regina Tuma – coordinated with David Cummings and Gayl Shepard, among others, to attack the district in order to discredit the leadership of the old superintendent and try to do…what exactly, we’re not sure. The emails aren’t really anything about a positive agenda, mostly just planning different ways to attack folks. The emails basically confirm exactly what we’ve been saying here about the aggressive efforts here on the part of MCAS/MEA as part of a broader political effort supporting the union’s agenda (which the emails, incidentally, show Fine extensively coordinating with, in case there were any doubts about their ‘independence’). If nothing else, they should make anyone communicating with Fine very cautious – she’s got quite a habit of forwarding folks’ emails around. She’s also quite disrespectful in her treatment of folks throughout the district – more details on all that later.
We’ll have more in the coming weeks on this as we get a chance to dig through it all – it’s clear that there’s some big news in there. The degree of coordination and plotting on the part of Cummings, for instance, seems completely inappropriate in a public official, and we’d be surprised if Jackson didn’t seek to replace him on the board quickly. Given that Cummings’ wife manages the paper, it will be very interesting to see whether the Montclair Times actually investigates these issues, or just brushes them aside. As far as we can tell, they represent some fairly major ethical breaches on his part, and betray a clear partisan agenda. We’ll certainly be looking into them.
So, more soon, in more detail. But in the meantime, we wanted to pass along the news and encourage everyone interested in these issues to give the emails a read themselves…
They can be found here: http://www.montclairkidsfirst.org/public-disclosures–data.html