Friday, November 8, 2013


After nearly three weeks, interim Superintendent Judith Johnson finally breaks her silence regarding the asbestos cover up scandal in Mount Vernon.  Board Trustees only received the asbestos reports a few days ago.  The asbestos reports were only given to board members after they were made public on this site and Judith Johnson was named in the cover up. 

Construction at Parker Elementary School began about three weeks ago after Mount Vernon community activist Samuel Rivers held a press conference denouncing Judith Johnson’s actions and her role in the asbestos scandal. 

Johnson isn’t being completely honest with the public. Johnson has not disclosed to the public if the deficiencies cited in the report from the New York State Department of Health have been addressed.  Johnson keeps dancing around the issue hoping that it will go away.  Mount Vernon Exposed is here to stay and we will be watching Johnson’s every move.

When allegations first surfaced that work was being done at Parker school, Mount Vernon Exposed immediately put in a call to Judith Johnson’s office.  Johnson was not available but her high paid do nothing secretary Donna Jackson was.  Jackson appeared clueless and kept repeating that a F.O.I.L. request must be filled out to find out if work was indeed being done at Parker school.

Mount Vernon Exposed was informed that Aramark, the company hired to manage construction projects in the Mount Vernon City School District, sent a new sheriff to run the show.  Robert Silkes is the new liaison for Aramark.  Sources have informed Mount Vernon Exposed that Mr. Silkes is trying to clean up the “mess” created by School Board Vice President Len Sarver and former Buildings and Grounds foreman John Zambelli.  Our interactions with Mr. Silkes thus far have been pleasant and productive.  We will continue to monitor Mr. Silkes to ensure that construction projects and repairs are done in a timely and cost efficient manner. 

During a site visit to Parker school, a worker doing the renovations explained that construction did not begin until the asbestos reports were made public.  The worker said the cause of the mold issue was due to a leaky roof.  Taxpayers must demand answers on how Pennington school was allotted $1.3 million to install a brand new roof and the Parker school roof was left to rot away.  Are Parker school students inferior to Pennington school students?

Mount Vernon Exposed then received pictures anonymously of the work being done.  The pictures depicted a bathroom demolished down to the studs, an auditorium undergoing major renovation, and a kindergarten classroom in shambles.  The Johnson administration did not want News 12 to come into the school before construction commenced because of the deplorable conditions the children were subjected to.  They wanted to clean up the mess to reduce their liability.  Parents are urged to contact Mount Vernon Exposed if their children experienced any respiratory issues.  Mount Vernon Exposed has before and after photos of the construction at Cecil H. Parker Elementary School.

School Board members must never forget that they work for the people that elected them.  They have a fiduciary duty to hold the Superintendent accountable for her actions and that public funds are spent wisely.  Board members must be careful and stay focused and not let outside forces manipulate their thinking.  Board members must follow the money and the paper trail.  The road will be long and tiring, but that need not be an excuse to search for the truth.  Board members need an attorney working for the Board and not solely at the beck and call of the Superintendent.  Board members must not forget that they have all the power, not the SUPERITINDENT.

Board trustees 100% of the time rely on legal advice when they make their decisions and voting on tabs or resolutions.  Board members must trust that the person giving them legal advice is doing so in good faith.  Board members must ask their legal advisor what legal options are available to them for recouping the tens of millions of dollars stolen from the school district.  If the legal advisor cannot provide answers to any of the aforementioned questions, then it is time to seek a new legal advisor. 

Mount Vernon Exposed was informed that the construction was going on during school hours while the children were in their respective classrooms.  Johnson’s leadership has been at best disastrous for our children and our taxpayers.  Mount Vernon cannot afford Judith Johnson.

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