Diana Lam, Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, gets Fired
Chancellor Klein says the NYC DOE will not be giving her a severance package or buyout, as in San Antonio, Texas ($781,000).
Deputy Chancellor Diana Lam, the New York City school system's highest-ranking instructional official, took aggressive steps to have her husband hired by the school system without the required conflict-of-interest clearance, city investigators said yesterday.
The special commissioner of investigation for the city's schools said in a report that Department of Education officials then sought to cover up Ms. Lam's efforts by saying that her husband, Peter Plattes, was simply a volunteer.
If we look back into Diana Lam's work experience, (to do this, go to the home page of the San Antonio Express-News, and obtain all of Roddy Stimson's articles on Lam), she was acclaimed by school districts as a kind of "wonder woman" who made scores on Math and English/reading jump. Is this factual, or simply good public relations?
DAILY NEWS Editorial March 6, 2004:
Speaking of lies
"It is fitting that Deputy Chancellor Diana Lam occupies an office in a building named after Boss Tweed. She apparently believes the power of her position entitles her to disregard basic rules of ethics and, when confronted with her offenses, lie through her teeth.
Special schools investigator Richard Condon has found that Lam, who was hired in August 2002 to revamp the curriculum for the city's 1.1 million school children, had her underlings arrange an administrative job for her husband, Peter Platte, in the Bronx.
Not just any job, but one in which Lam would have been his superior's boss. She didn't seek a waiver for such a blatant conflict of interest.
After she evidently told a NYC DOE ethics officer that she had had no involvement in getting her husband hired under her, she then stated that no one knew they were married. Yet Richard Condon, the Special Investigator, spoke with DOE personnel who told him that not only did Lam order her husband hired, but said to human resources employees that the background papers were her "husband's". Then Chancellor Joel Klein blocked the hiring of Mr. Plattes, but Ms. Lam got him a job in a Bronx High School, again without going through the Conflict of Interest Board. Again Klein blocked the hire, but Chad Vignola, Chief Counsel of the NYC DOE, when asked about the husband's working in the Bronx school, said he was only a "volunteer".
Chad Vignola, General Counsel to the Chancellor is cited in Condon's report as aiding in the coverup and falsifying the status of Lam's husband.[NY Daily News, March 6, 2004]
Diana Lam resigns on March 8, 2004, and Richard Condon's office issues their report.
On March 9, The New York Times publishes an article on Ms. Lam, stating that both Chancellor Joel Klein and General Counsel Chad Vignola knew very well that Ms. Lam was trying to get a job for her husband. This article says nothing about curriculum issues and the controversial math program forced upon the San Antonio children, nor does it go into her buyout there for $781,000.
Then, Chancellor Klein compounds the problem by hiring Carmen Farina to fill Lam's shoes.