Thursday, October 29, 2015

COMMENTARY by John Milardo: Did Drew Earn His Degree on City Time?


In May 2015, Mayor of Middletown, Daniel T. Drew, earned a masters degree from Columbia University in New York.

My first thought was, “Wow, I give the guy credit for doing this!  I wish everyone who wants a college education could get one.”  But how does he earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree from such a prestigious university like Columbia, while working full-time as the Mayor of Middletown, Connecticut?   

I sent Columbia University officials some emails regarding Mayor Drew’s attendance to their program.
My first question was: Are their any on-line-courses for the “Social-Organization Psychology, M.A.” program?  The answer from Lynda Hallmark, Program Manager of the University was, “It is an in person only program – no online options”

Next question; Does the “Executive Masters Program in Change Leadership” program have any on-line options?  Ms. Hallmark’s answer was, “Sorry, no, it does not.  It’s a “residential” cohort program that meets 4 times/academic year for about 10 days per module.”
 (editor's note: The Columbia website indicates that modules are seven days in length)

I asked Ms. Hallmark one last question, which she forwarded to Dan Drew’s professor.  The question was as follows: Did Columbia University make any exceptions for Mayor Drew regarding his presence and attendance for his classes in New York?

Dr. Debra A. Noumair, the Director of the “Executive Masters Program in Change Leadership” responded with the following; “We did not make any “exceptions” for the mayor regarding his presence and attendance for his classes in New York.”

For the “Executive Masters Program in Change Leadership” program it states – “The program is delivered in four 1-week modules extending over one year and includes pre-work, post-work, and guided independent study/action research as part of the formal program requirements.”

According to the university, it was mandatory that students be physically present in classes at Columbia University.  The program with the minimum time spent in New York as described by the Ms. Hallmark is the “Executive Masters Program in Change Leadership.”

According to the website, it is a 7-day per module, 4 modules per year, residential only program.  That equates to 28 days in New York to attend these classes at Columbia University.  The University made no exceptions for the Mayor.

According to Columbia University’s website, The “Executive Masters Program in Change of Leadership” classes begin at 8 a.m. and end sometime in the evening, sometimes going into the weekends.  Along with this time spent in classes, students are also responsible to complete “10 hours a week on course-related assignments and action learning projects,” and “There will be monthly virtual check-in sessions in between the modules in order to provide scheduled time for project supervision, teamwork, information sharing, and additional hot topic lectures.”

Where am I going with this?  The FOI of Mayor Drew’s calendar provides 17 hours devoted to Columbia University from September 2014 through August of 2015.  Most of it is for “conference calls” to the University. 

Why isn’t there any the time marked on his scheduling calendar for the time he took off to attend classes at Columbia University in New York? 

The mayor seem to put everything else on his calendar.  How does a mayor of a town, miss 28 days of work and no one notices it?

I expect the Mayor of my town, to perform his full-time duties as Mayor.  If you want to further you education, that’s great!  Then the mayor should have taken a leave of absence, and appointed someone to be in charge of Middletown while he was away.

The rigorous academic schedule raises other questions too, including whether the Deputy Mayor was put in charge during absences, and how transportation costs were handled.

Middletown’s Charter, Chapter IV, Section 2 states; “The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City and shall devote full time to the duties of office.  Full time shall mean primary occupation.” 

According to Dan Drew’s own calendar, he has been a part-time mayor for Middletown.  Over the past ten (10) months, including his education at Columbia University, days off from work for various reasons, and the time he has spent with his paid political advisors, The Vinci Group, he has missed a record 77.5 days of work (and that’s based on the minimum time at Columbia

 The taxpayers should be outraged over this!

In my opinion, Dan Drew has been a part-time Mayor for Middletown, obsessed with furthering his political career and promoting himself through his paid political advisors. His disdain for the people who pay his wages and expect him to put Middletown first is not only shameful, but in my opinion unethical.


Anonymous said...

I know plenty of people who obtained masters and even doctorate degrees while holding down full-time 40 hour + jobs. Several of them obtained degrees commuting to universities in NYC.

The real question is whether or not Mayor Drew is doing his job. If he is, re-elect him. If you think Ms. Russo-Driska will do a better job vote for her. I want a Mayor who will get the job done. I don't care how long it takes him/her.

Anonymous said...

What has he really done?
Strapped us with debt.
Raised taxes.
Rumor has it he doesn't even care if he wins, because Dannel is da ring the deputy chief of staff position for him.

John Milardo said...

To Anonymous 6:24pm,

Did those people you know get their degrees during hours they should have been at work and not tell their employer they were going to school? I don't think so.

If you don't care about paying higher taxes, your property values decreasing instead of increasing, more lawsuits, highest bonded debt Middletown has seen,and someone who knows how to divide the community on issues....then Dan's the man for you!

Anonymous said...

What exactly is "city time"?

The Mayor is a salaried, managerial position, paid, (and elected) on results and accomplishments, not by counting hours sitting at a desk. "City Time" implies a time clock, schedule set by superior managers, scheduled vacations, overtime payments, and wait for it... time when the employee is off duty. Can the mayor not answer the telephone when he's off-duty? Do we pay our mayor overtime to attend evening and weekend responsibilities?

Dictated work hours is one of the tests for hourly vs. salaried employees. I suggest anyone who thinks the mayor, or any other salaried manager, works on anything known as "city time" to read up on State and Federal wage and hour laws pertaining to hourly vs. salaried employees. It's all online, if you can read this comment, the information is easily available to you.

Today's communication systems make everyone instantly reachable and fully aware of any situation. Ask your kids if you don't understand how. The mayor is not a first responder, we have professional fire, police, EMS, and public works organizations. The mayor simply needs to be available if needed. He was in New York, not Fiji, so he could easily be back in town in 2 hours if his physical presence were necessary.

The statement by Mr. Milardo that "no one noticed he was gone" tells me that he was properly managing his meeting and appearance obligations and available when needed.

I also obtained degrees while working 40+ hours a week, with 7x24 managerial responsibility. Salary increases and promotions supported my excellent performance reviews while I improved my education. I stepped out of class, and sometimes missed lectures on occasions where I was needed on the job. I'll bet the mayor did as well.

As a 31 year salaried managerial employee at a Fortune 50 company, this looks like yet another last minute pre-election smear rerun.

Anonymous said...

"The Mayor is a salaried, managerial position, paid, (and elected) on results and accomplishments" good job spin doctor.
It has been my impression for quite some time that this mayor regards Middletown as merely a way station in the game of life.

Anonymous said...

You have to laugh at the "outrage" of Mr. Milardo - he who had the art of not working down pat while on the clock when he was a city employee. The hour long coffee breaks in the basement of city hall with his wife in HR, followed by his "lunch" break, followed by his afternoon "break", using city resources and time to write and send his (ahem) newsletters. And Ms. Driska was not much better, spent more time socializing than working, which should make her perfect for filling Drew's shoes.

John Milardo said...

These individuals who come to the aide of Dan Drew are the same people who complain that they saw a City employee standing outside in the cold smoking a cigarette and not working.
And the anonymous "my spy" must have really been busy during the workday to follow me around all day! What a joke!

Anonymous said...

John, I totally agree with you. The idea of accusing someone of not doing their job without actually understanding what they do and whether or not they did it is a joke.

Anonymous said...

People in glass houses should not throw stones,John Deb sandra linda stevie Just saying

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

And, anonymous 1:34, so brave of you to say so. You are?

My name is Ed.

john Milardo said...

I rest my case. 1:34pm is the type of person Drew wants under his wing. People that will lie and smear others for no good reason other than they are his pals, just so Dan doesn't have to answer the questions of his attendance at Columbia University. It's called "diffusing".
Same person who's been doing it for the past several years. No brains, no substance, and a coward. I'm sure he'll continue.
Anonymous. Next time you need a ride to rehab, don't call us.

Anonymous said...

Everybody, just GROW UP!

Anonymous said...

Don't make me turn this car around!