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UPDATE: New Counsel, New Hearing Date & GoFundMe



The purpose of this blog it to inform you that I have retained counsel, and we are well on our way to rescheduling a final date on the hearing which was originally scheduled for June, 3, 2016.


Replacement Counsel


The new attorney is Kevin Brown.


Please see the Notice of Appearance wherein is information is provided.


This attorney was referred by a colleague, Roderick Barbosa.


After I hired Kevin Brown, his partner, Stephanie Vergara would see my name on the legal documents and recognize my name. It turns out that Stephanie and I are friends!


It is comforting to know that Kevin is friends with one of our colleagues, as well as the fact that I am friends with Stephanie, the other partner. I have an excellent feeling about this.


Serendipity?

Hearing Date

Although an exact date has not yet been decided on, we have agreed with opposing counsel, the union's attorney, that it will be scheduled between August 9, 2016 and August 31, 2016, As soon as I know the exact date, I will notify you.


The case is still intact.

GoFundMe




At this time, I am not in a position to return the GoFundMe monies.


At the time that the monies were donated, the stated purpose of the collection of monies was for the purpose of hiring an attorney to represent the interests of the MDCPS teachers, through me, in front of the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC).


I -- no one else -- had anything to do with that complaint. I worked on it from late December until it was filed on February 3, 2016 by myself.


Some of you may recall that my intention was to retain attorney Barbara Duffy. At the time I stated my intention, it was suggested by Shawn Beightol that I join him and select Thomas Elfers to represent me. In a showing of good faith and in the interest of unity for this common cause, I agreed -- no questions asked. This shows that I am a team player, and the teachers who work close to me will attest to the fact that I really did want to work with Shawn.


Unfortunately, as time passed, events began to unfold where I realized that my efforts for unity were futile. I would come to learn that while I was reaching out to Shawn for unity, he was engaging in activity which has proven to be divisive. Where I would rather not address this, I know that many of you are wondering the reason for my decision to terminate Mr. Elfers and distance myself from Shawn. So you may ask, what happened?


On February 17th and February 23rd, I e-mailed Shawn and/or others my complaint for them to sign. In fact, I made the document available to anyone interested in signing on with me. You may even recall we had "signature collections" at various banks and locales after school. In any event, during the time that I was collecting signatures, I would later learn from Mr. Elfers that Shawn approached him to tell him that "no one was going to file a complaint with PERC, and that therefore, we would miss the March 9, 2016 filing deadline." I was in dismay when I heard this from Mr. Elfers because Shawn both knew that someone (me) was doing something to not miss the March 9, 2016 deadline, as well as that I sought to work together with Shawn, hence the reason why I asked for his signature. Without telling me, on the same day, March 9th, that I would file my complaint, Shawn filed a compliant which Mr. Elfers himself has described to be a "Siamese twin" of mine, But, unlike me who was open with Shawn and reached out to him to participate with me, he did not offer me the same courtesy. I would not learn of what he did until after it was filed -- when it was too late.


It was only after realizing this that I realized I had to disembark on my own. It was a hard decision, but all trust was lost.


No one can say I did not try to work with Shawn.


Put yourself in my shoes, please.


I am deeply hurt when I see posts attacking me personally because I was working tirelessly, quietly and on my own for months for all the teachers of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. I have never done anything wrong -- except seek unity -- ironically. I obtained a hearing on my own merits to help ALL teachers and now some of those teachers are attacking me. Really? It is painful.


It is important to underscore that all of the work which this hearing relates to was done well before Shawn and I came together in late April, as evidenced by the fact that I filed this complaint on February 3, 2016 -- long before Shawn came into the picture.


In spite of all this, however, I want all teachers, including Shawn, to know that I will continue to take a stand for all of them. I also welcome all teachers to join me because there has never been anything else other than unity which I have really desired. This really is the only way we will win.


Whereas I cannot sugarcoat the facts, and I am being truthful, truthfulness should not be confused with defamatory commentaries which is when someone makes false statements, Nothing which I have stated herein is not a fact, indeed.


My Personal Absence

As an aside, in case it is not obvious to you, I wanted to let you know why I have not been as visible on the Facebook page.


First of all, I had to place almost all of my energies on looking for and retaining counsel since today was the deadline to fine the Motion to Reschedule Final Hearing. As you know, this is my "volunteer work," and I have other obligations which hold me back from being able to dedicate myself fully to this cause. I, nonetheless, dedicate close to 90% of my free time to Helping Restore Teachers' Salaries.


Additionally, my sister, who is also a Miami-Dade County Public School teacher, had a baby yesterday, June 7, 2016.


I have been stretched out very thin.


I appreciate your understanding and patience, as I transitioned the case before PERC.



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