Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Over the last several months, Mount Vernon Exposed has revealed several instances where Mount Vernon City School District Board members have been lax and have failed to properly vet resolutions put before them at the request of Superintendent Judith Johnson. 

In a perfect world, board members could take Judith Johnson at her word and trust she is doing the right thing and has the best interest of the students and taxpayers at heart.  However, this isn’t a perfect world and Judith Johnson isn’t honest with board members and puts her own self-interests above taxpayers and the students of the Mount Vernon City School District.

Because of nepotism that has manifested itself as standard operating procedure in Mount Vernon politics, many persons have been able to circumvent civil service requirements, and in some cases failed to gain board approval altogether before being added to the Mount Vernon City School payroll. 

For starters, Interim Superintendent Judith Johnson was not properly vetted before taking her high $269K per year job as the top educator in Mount Vernon.  Board member were so excited that Johnson was an Assistant Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton, that they failed to look into her background to see exactly what she did while she was in Washington D.C. 

When one criticizes Johnson, some Board members come to Johnson’s defense only to state, “she worked under President Clinton”.  What policies did Johnson put in place to ensure that children across the United States, especially in the inner city would receive a quality public education?

For starters, President Clinton’s Goals 2000 program was a failure.  The Clinton 2000 goals program did not ensure uniform quality of standards among all the states because President Clinton compromised on oversight to get the program passed by Congress.  Sounds familiar?  You bet it does.  The impact therefore varied by state and Clinton never fulfilled his goal of equalizing education standards and improving results for all students. By 2000, six years after the program was implemented, only 17 states were in full compliance with the standards.

Late last year, Mount Vernon Exposed revealed that Judith Johnson is preparing students for the Valhalla Prison Preparatory School instead of preparing our youngsters for college. 

Under President Clinton’s administration, public taxpayers funds were not used substantially to invest in education. Under President Clinton, hundreds of new prisons were built.  Under President Clinton, we also saw the mass privatizing of Federal and State prisons.  More prisons were built while President Clinton was President than the presidency’s of Reagan, and the two Bush’s combined. 
President Clinton, wanting to prove that he can be tough on crime, escalated the drug war far beyond what Regan and his predecessors could have ever imagined, railroading the youth into a prison system for profit.  Is it a coincidence that Aramark, the largest supplier of commissary products to the prison system in the United States, is also the supplier of food and oversees building and ground operations for the Mount Vernon City School District?

Judith Johnson’s reckless behavior doesn’t end there.  Johnson tried to circumvent civil service requirements when she tried to sneak Rene Davis, daughter of Mayor Ernie Davie, on a tab that board members were to vote for.  Prior to being considered for full time permanent employment, Rene Davis worked as a substitute teacher at A.B. Davis Middle where there were several reports of Davis losing control of the classroom. 

Last week, Mount Vernon Exposed learned that Johnson has continued her nefarious and reckless actions.  Johnson hired Jennifer Coker-Wiggins as the secretary for the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.  Johnson did not seek board approval for this hire and Coker-Wiggins is still employed and working for the Mount Vernon City School district.

Prior to being hired as a secretary for Human Resources, Coker-Wiggins was employed as the Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources for the City of Mount Vernon.  Her tenure while working in City Hall was mired in scandal and controversy.  Taxpayers were outraged by then Mayor Clinton Young, for creating over $1M in new positions immediately after taking office.  Coker-Wiggins position as Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources was a part of this controversy. 

Cokers Wiggins trouble’s don’t end there.  Sources say Coker-Wiggins and Kim Johnson, the then secretary of the Civil Service Commission repeatedly broke the law and circumvented civil service rules to hire their friends and others to patronage positions.  Sources told Mount Vernon Exposed that when Federal agents paid a visit to City Hall, Johnson abandoned ship and Coker Wiggins rode off quietly into the sunset.  Sources have told Mount Vernon Exposed that Coker-Wiggins has been unemployed since leaving City Hall.  Why would Judith Johnson seek to bring in such an unqualified person to work in Human Resources, especially one that has questionable ethics practices?

Coker-Wiggins isn’t totally to blame for her egregious acts while acting as Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources.  Again, another unqualified person was put into position without the proper educational requirements or pre-requisite work experience. Coker-Wiggins last three jobs prior to being hired as Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources, was a buyer at several national retailers.  Perhaps a job as a purchasing agent would have been suitable for Ms. Coker-Wiggins. 


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