Wagner Withdrawal Shows Depths to Which School Board Will Go to Maintain Control

Written By: Robert Cox

Jack Wagner told Talk of the Sound he formally withdrew his name as a candidate for New Rochelle School Board earlier today following our exclusive report yesterday on his decision to step aside in the wake of a whisper campaign organized by supporters of his opponents for school board.

Wagner left the race after deciding there was no time this close to the election on May 19th to sufficiently explain the context for the consent decree and that his continued presence in the race would draw votes away from Vincent Malfetano the only remaining candidate with the support and name recognition with a good shot to defeat long-time candidate Deidre Polow.

A consensus has developed among many New Rochelle political observers that Ms. Polow created an opening for a challenger to take her seat following a disastrous, hostility-laced performance at the League of Women Voters forum at the New Rochelle Public Library on Monday. Many expect Vincent Malfetano will pick up much of Dr. Wagner’s support based on Malfetano’s call for an embrace of good government principles. He has called for greater transparency and fiscal responsibility.

As the only candidate supporting a “no” vote on the school budget this year, Malfetano should benefit from the expected rise in “no” votes on this year’s school budget from voters suffering as a result of the economic downturn and those unhappy with the poor leadership of the school district by Superintendent Richard Organisciak.

In response to our story yesterday, Wagner provided some context for the patient at the heart of the consent agreement. Wagner wrote:

My surgical practice at Montefiore was primarily taking high-risk cases referred to me from other surgeons. In this case, the patient involved was a 92 year old woman who had a DNR order which means not to resuscitate her if she has a heart attack or pulmonary embolus or stroke, etc. It does not mean do not treat for an illness. This lady had a cancer of the upper end of the stomach and esophagus that prevented her from even swallowing saliva. Consent was obtained from her health care proxy.

Most importantly, I was not the doctor who performed the trans-thoracic esophagogastrectomy (removal of the stomach and esophagus through the chest), which was the operation immediately preceding this 92 year old lady’s demise. The surgery was performed by Dr. Stanley Fell.

OPMC refused a delay of my initial hearing in order to permit me to have cataract surgery and the hearing was held “in absentia”. I agreed to enter into the consent decree with OPMC on the advice of my attorney who informed me that going to trial would cost in the neighborhood of $100,000, and that the decree would be a confidential way of handling the matter. OPMC insisted that I plead “no contest” to the charges in this case although I was not the operating surgeon.

Talk of the Sound sought comment on Dr. Wagner’s withdrwal from Deidre Polow, Jeff Hastie, and Vincent Malfetano. TOS did not have contact information for Kenneth Chorzewski.

Deidre Polow and Jeff Hastie whose supporters are widely believed to be the operatives behind the political hit job declined comment.

Vincent Malfetano issued a statement to Talk of the Sound:

I am sorry to hear of Dr. Wagner’s withdrawal form the school board race. The issues he has raised in this election should be addressed and the public should not be distracted from its task of selecting independent persons with new ideas to help our children and our schools become better without bankrupting the taxpayers. I am sure that there are powerful forces within our community affraid of change to the status quo and will leave no stone unturned to keep control of the School Board and will use any method to discourage any challenge to their power. Digging for dirt to damage people and silence opposition is the dirty politics of the past we need to get away from in our community. I should live so long. I wish Dr. Wagner all the best.

School District Hack Aman Ali of the Journal News has a story up on lohud in which he fails to credit Talk of the Sound.

A former doctor running for school board in the district has withdrawn his name from the race after admitting the state required him to stop practicing medicine in 2000 because of gross misconduct, The Journal News has learned.

Yeah, by reading Talk of the Sound! Heh!

19 thoughts on “Wagner Withdrawal Shows Depths to Which School Board Will Go to Maintain Control”

  1. Censorship on this Blog!

    Censorship on this Blog!

    I submitted a comment last week…The comment was never posted…I feel overall this site is worthwhile but as a first time poster I am disillusioned.

    1. First, governments censor
      First, governments censor not people or companies. You have no RIGHT to post a comment on this site.

      Second, we have no way of knowing who you are and so no way of knowing whether you are a first time poster as you claim or just another troll.

      Third, our policy is quite clear. If you comment anonymously we may or may not publish your comment and if we do we may or may not edit the comment. Anyone can register and comment so that their comment appears without pre-moderation.

      If you do not want to follow the rules of this site then don’t be surprised when your comment is not published.

  2. Dr Wagner knew that he would
    Dr Wagner knew that he would be dragged through the slime if he persevered. Maybe people don’t know what nolo contendere is; probably not even the legal geniuses on the board or district. It simply means no contest — it is not an admission of guilt or innocence; it is a way to avoid the incredible costs of conference and trial, etc. that the “suck it up” legal lights impose in our litigiousness society. Yet, a coterie of really rotten folk would take advantage of what is a tragedy to a number of people, Wagner included, and exploit it for their ends. So we lose a strong voice and I applaud this man for doing what was right to avoid a distraction and to show the moral fiber to announce he plans to continue to attend board meetings. Vincent Malfetano is the new standard bearer and we need to support this man. He has all of the credentials plus enough classroom cred to see beyond the classroom crud some blind-eyed folk see when they actually even whisper that tony bongo is an educator.

    warren gross

    1. The attempt to slime Jack
      The attempt to slime Jack Wagner blew up in the face of Ms. Polow when Dr. Wagner immediately withdrew from the race leaving Malfetano as the only candidate running against the school budget. Polow further damaged herself with her hostile performance last week at the League of Women Voters forum. Who knows, Wagner may live to fight another day but hopefully Polow will be defeated as a first step in clearing the board of the deadwood that has cluttered it up for too long.

  3. Shame on the Jornal news.
    Shame on the Jornal news. Where is the Journal News when its time to report out of control spending on the part of the school district? Where is the journal news when its time to report on Mr. Daly receiving $105,000 dollars in salary for working ONE hour a day in the Issac Young school system? Where is the Journal news when its time to report a major conflict of interest betwwen the teachers union and the school board. Mr.Daly (head of the union) is a major supporter of Hastie a school board candidate, I am sure that those negotiations will be at arms length. Instead of reporting on the past of Dr. Wagner why not report on some very troubling issues that have been in place long before Dr. Wagner came on the scene. So much for fair reporting on the part of our local media. It really makes you wonder whats really going on. We all know that the head of GE (Immelt) which owns NBC was named to head Obamas economic advisory board. As Immelt runs GE into the ground, he may be one of the last people who should have that position. Which is why you will never see or hear a critical word from NBC on this administration. I wonder whats going on at the Journal News.

    1. It has been readily apparent
      It has been readily apparent for a long time that the Journal News is “in the bag” for the people who run the school district. They constantly run stories at the behest of Maggie Skau (the flack for the District) that paint the District as a utopian world full of free computers and straight A students who all go to Harvard and Yale.

      In case you don’t get it, the plan was for the Journal News to run their hit piece on Jack Wagner a day or two before the election to damage his candidacy just enough that he would take some votes from the other two non-union candidates (Polow and Hastie). Talk of the Sound broke the story before they could, taking the wind out of their sails and disrupting their little plot. You will notice, however that the Journal News wrote the story with a copy of the consent decree in hand, wrote their first story BEFORE talking to Dr. Wagner and wrote a story based on the accusations against Dr. Wagner rather than the actual settlement.

      These same crooked politicians are the same people who want to be responsible for one of the core missions of public schools — to teach children about civic duty.

      I would encourage anyone who shares my view and subscribes to the Journal News to call them, cancel their subscription and make sure they know why.

      LIkewise, if someone cares to please list their New Rochelle based advertisers so we know who NOT to support with our business.

      The best thing that could happen to New Rochelle is the Journal News to follow the path of many newspapers recently – fold. While New Rochelle needs a vigorous press, the Journal News simply provides a fig leaf for corrupt organizations like the New Rochelle School District to hide behind.

      Shame on the Journal News is right.

  4. What does this really have
    What does this really have to do with Dr. Wagner running for school board? Any trick to get Dr. Wagner off the ballot. And it worked. I bet Dr. Wagner would have been great on the School board. We needed someone like him. I wish him the best.

    1. It’s All About POWER!!!
      It’s All About POWER!!!

      If you are not part of the established in-crowd who knows what’s best for everyone you’re nothing and there is nothing they won’t do to silence you. You challenge the establishment and they annihilate you without conscience. Every position of prominence, from elected to appointed to volunteer is arranged and bartered for with tokens placed strategically. While politics plays a major role the real prize is power to control. Like a crack junkie the power-brokers become intoxicated with the power they crave and disregard the ills they impose.

      Since the new Bramson regime has taken over there is in-fighting between them and the Idoni, Klugman faction. It appears the citizens of New Rochelle realize there is something amiss since they elected three non-lackeys to council to encourage full disclosure and transparency in government.

      I pray the citizens are strong enough to continue this mission by shaking up the school board with the election of non-lackeys and defeating the school budget. This will send a message to Mr. O and the teachers union that a $13,000 raise and contracts with any increase is unacceptable. It’s time to take the slop away from the pigs feeding at the trough!!!!!!

      1. I happen to agree with many
        I happen to agree with many of the thing you are saying, except one. This is a New Rochelle problem. Most New Rochelle home owners remain silent and wont get involved thats where the problem is. The corruption in our City Government & school system has been unchecked for years, and needs to be stopped. You should have enough balls to put your name behind your comments, you’re a coward and hiding alike everyone else on this site who is anonymous. Stand up and be counted.

        Again, The Mayor, Councilman Stowe, & Fertel, and Council Woman Susman must go. Dido for most of the school Board.
        They are all crooks.
        I will be voting No tomorrow.

      2. By Mr. O. they mean the
        By Mr. O. they mean the Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle; Mr. Organischiak.

  5. May 19 looms large and it is
    May 19 looms large and it is important to challenge the nonsense issued by the district in defense of the school budget. The citizens have many good reasons to reject the current board and district management. Lets just look at one misleading statement. They say that the budget increase is 3.2% the lowest rate increase in the past 12 years. They go on to say that this is below the state cap of 4%

    Duh — what state cap? The state has not got around to the Suozzo report recommendation of either 1.2times the inflation rate or a maximum of 4% whichever is lower. In short it is not even law; where it law it would be the inflation rate which for all extents and purposes is at 0%.

    What is painfully ture is that the recession, job losses and considerable drop in home values makes this increase monstrously high.

    What is also true is that there is nothing exceptional about the increase rate state or national wide. What is painfully true is that there are no significant union givebacks as evidenced by the fact that there are no reductions in force.

    Here is what you don’t konw –this state’s ridiculous approach to the teacher’s retirement system will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more within 2 or 3 years hastened of course by investment losses.

    Do you have any idea of the average contract increase this year for FUSE members? Of course you don’t. You ask and you’ll be told by the board that the information is privileged. It is not and hopefully the state legislature will make such nonsense crystal clear by overriding Paterson’s veto of recent actions that would have fined districts for non-disclosure of information. I think they will override the veto given a growing sentiment that districts are out of control.

    Vote for Malfetano for openers.

    warren gross

  6. Hey cox, it was you who
    Hey cox, it was you who broke the story. How could anyone else have told you or known about this. If you go to http://www.google.com and type in dr jack wagner, it’s all right there on the first page. The depths you will go to try and destroy New Rochelle cox.

    1. I am sure you imagine you
      I am sure you imagine you have some point here. Is that we should NOT have reported this? Or that reporting this is going to “destroy” New Rochelle.

      Or is it just that the little plan backfired when Wagner dropped out allowing Malfetano to present himself as the clear alternative to Polow. You had hoped to damage Wagner with a malicious smear days before the election so he would not have time to explain what will folks will come to realize — the charges against him were trumped up by the same sorts of people who engaged in this smear.

      The evidence is clear from the document itself — the charges were made in 2000 for cases going back to 1990. Why is that? Why would someone wait a decade to bring forward a complaint? Why didn’t the family come forward? Why didn’t Montefiore come forward? Simple, the charges are bogus – some political enemies went back through his case files of over 4,000 cases cherry-picked a handful that had a negative outcomes and the spun them to the State board. When you handle thousands of high-risk surgical cases as Dr. Wagner had done before retiring (several years before the charges were even brought) you are going to have some negative outcomes. I would venture to say that any surgeon in that line of work would have 4 patients with negative outcomes by the time of their retirement.

      There was no time to undo the damage done by the cowards behind this smear but I expect as Dr. Wagner tells his side of the story people will come to realize that voters were deprived of the opportunity to voter for a well-qualified and excellent candidate.

      As far as the story, seems to me we broke a story about a document being circulated by supporters of Deidre Polow and Jeff Hastie. We report many things that we do not support such as school guards emailing around photos of naked children in their care.

      We report, you decide.

  7. not surprisd at the
    not surprisd at the reports.Journal News has rarely looked deeply into school district performance and will support those who speak to them.

    My deepest sympathy to Dr.Wagner who would have made a difference for the board and district. Ms. Polow’s role in all of this is not personally knnwn to me, but I have a personal sense and perspective on her ad hominum approach to disagreement and her lack of responsiveness to the needs of the community. She is part of the “curia” of privileged self-serving educrats who, frarnkly, possess little to no talent, a love of self-promotion, a dreadful record of outreach, and oh, well…. if you are an open and fair minded citizen, you would see right through these people.

    Mr. Malefetano is a voice we now need to listen to and get begind. He is from the other side of the tracks so to speak and seems to be a cut above the pseudo-educators, lawyer, and PTA base that has held this district in a vise for many years, Unfortunately no one in office in the city or county has the sand to question, much less challenge the status quo.

    God Help Us

    warren gross

  8. You know, we should have
    You know, we should have some sort of protest event against the Journal News. I wonder if the Journal News would cover it? I suppose News 12 would!!!

    They really are shameless hacks. At the very least we should start a “cancel your subscription drive” to protest their one-sided statist coverage of New Rochelle.

    1. An observation –
      Based on

      An observation –
      Based on the video interview, it looks like the Journal News didn’t do their homework. Endorsements seem dolled out to those who showed up.

      How can we trust that they objectively endorse the best qualified people in any Westchester contest? Do they go out and get all sides of a story or do they wait for it to come to them?

      1. They are about as
        They are about as independent as Pravda was in the Soviet Union and Granma is in Cuba. They are the official news organ for the state — in this case in New Rochelle. In the last year I have seen THREE articles that were not articles that the District wanted covered (two from us – the Trinity collective punishment story and the Girl, Interrupted censorship story). The other being the monkey/noose federal filing. Even in those 3 stories the JN took the District’s version of events at face value in two of them even though Organisciak lied in both the Trinity story and the Girl, Interrupted story (I pointed this out to them but they failed to act)

  9. Like always, the Journal
    Like always, the Journal News only gets one side of the issue. They report whatever the City School District orders them to report. Why did they not bother to interview Dr. Wagner? I guess they could not find his information.

    What does the Journal News get in return? Exclusive rights to School District propaganda. Guess what, people know about the backroom deals. This is the same reason why News 12 never gets an interview with the school district. News 12 refuses to play patty cake with City Hall. Shameful!

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