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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gallon flunks 'Shame' test. Does it make a difference? (With video)

Diaz has inducted Gallon into the 'Hall of Shame'

Plainfielders may love or hate Fox News, but one thing is sure: When investigative reporter Arnold Diaz sinks his teeth into a topic, folks take notice. (See video below.)

Last night was School Superintendent Steve Gallon III's 'Shame' test, as well as that of 'Jane Doe 1' and 'Jane Doe 2'.

Sadly, all three flunked. All the footage of them running from the cameras, trying to cover their faces and refusing to speak with Diaz were reminiscent of the classic 'perp walk'.

At one point, Diaz is following Gallon into the building, saying, 'your PR person said you would talk with us' -- but Gallon ducks away as a school security guard is seen following Diaz out of camera range.



Diaz cites the now-familiar circumstances: the hirings, the salaries, the lack of certifications, the rejiggering of positions, the infamous organizational chart showing the two 'coordinators' at the top of the heap, reporting directly to Gallon.

However, there is new material --
  • Board member Lisa Logan Leach is heard flat out asserting Gallon refused to allow Board members to review the Jane Does' qualifications and certifications before the hiring decision;

  • Diaz states that ONLY AFTER THEY WERE HIRED was it discovered one did not have the required Master's degree and neither was certified;

  • Diaz questions Gallon directly about his disregard of County Superintendent Carmen Centuolo's directive that [the Jane Does] 'must be placed in teaching positions', instead placing them once more in administrative slots.
Following up on allegations of cronyism, Diaz interviews Plainfield activist Laura Shoemaker, who referred to the three as 'the Miami mice', and said that that was NOT an affectionate term. He also interviews board member Wilma Campbell who says regarding the question of cronyism that the hirings 'don't pass the smell test', and further asks 'how we can allow certain people to be above the law'.

I was surprised that there was no mention of the allegations concerning the use of Gallon's South Plainfield home address by two staffers to enroll their children in that borough's public schools though the children were not living in the borough; it appears the children were withdrawn as soon as the allegation surfaced. To my mind, this is a very serious breach of the trust relationship between the Superintendent and the school district if it is true. And Dr. Gallon has not publicly denied the allegation.

In fact, Dr. Gallon has managed the whole business in a manner that embarrasses the Board of Education, the children, the parents and the taxpayers of the District, as well as himself. Instead of doing the right thing and tackling the whole story head on in an interview with Diaz, Gallon literally ducked and ran. When cornered, Gallon's answers appear panicky and evasive.

If nothing wrong was done, if there is nothing to hide, why this behavior?

Diaz has to corner Gallon for a comment.

Diaz notes the state's investigation into union allegations of 'theft by deception' and 'fraud' is not yet complete, and promises that he will revisit the topic once the state weighs in.

Having flunked the 'Shame' test, Gallon seems fatally wounded.

Does it make a difference? Will he resign forthwith? Why is the Board now so silent?

Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Gallon wants to negotiate a buyout. These are counterbalanced by rumors that the Board of Ed is hesitant, waiting for the report of the state's investigation.

If it turns out the state finds that Gallon has acted improperly, or even illegally, and brings disrepute upon the Board of Ed, one has to wonder if they could break the contract without a financial penalty.

If that is the case, wouldn't waiting be the better part of wisdom on the Board's part?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...


The South Plainfield issue could not be covered because they OPRA'd the documents and were denied. Fox5's legal department told them without the "hard evidence" they couldn't run with that part of the story. It doesn't mean that those docs will not come to light.


Anonymous said...

Shame on you Dan. You are alomost as bad as Diaz with reporting. The person speaking on camera was not a staff member of Plainfield but a vocal opponent of the superintendent.

I saw the segment and I thought after hearing the story covered at least with journalistic integrity by Spivey was much ado about nothing. Shame, shame, shame.

olddoc said...

No question, if the Kingfish is found guilty of improprieties in his position as Superintendent he can be fired for cause without any buyout. Unless the BOE was stupid enough to have a contract that does not have such an out.

How many ex officials are have we b ought out in the past 10 years or are still honoring terms of their contract?
I believe I made myself clear in my blog

Anonymous said...

Dan, I have to disagree with you on one thing having been on the scene when Diaz placed the camera in Gallon's face.

Gallon was actually getting in his car and got out and invited Diaz to ask his questions. The segment seemed to cut out most of that exchange. I walked away feeling that the superintendent held his own. It was actually Diaz who seemed to try to be the bully and really did not have any come backs when Gallon answered him.

He even challenged Diaz on the letter from the County Superintendent which intensified the back and forth. That is when Gallon said on tv that it was not true. It Diaz that kind of went silent like he was caught off guard.

That is why I don't really care for those types of shows because they will always try to edit them to make a person look bad.

Hold your head up Dr.Gallon.

Anonymous said...

That's nothing. Wait until the rest of his lies are revealed and the known fact that the BOE and BOE President BR covered it up! Now she sits on city council. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that Gallon allowed kemp and Kelly to use his South Plainfield address to send their children to the South Plainfield School District. Centoulo knows, the BOE attorney knows and so does the DOE. This man is a master manipulator and a rough. He needs to go to jail!

Dan said...

@ 6:58 AM -- you are right, it was not a Miami staffer, which I realized when I had a chance to go back over the video. It is Ms. Shoemaker, and the post has been updated to reflect the fact. Thanks for being such a close reader.

Anonymous said...

Sadly with all of the stuff that is being said, it seems like the kingfish as olddoc describes is already guilty. Only in Plainfield.

Yes, make no mistake about my position. I support the superintendent and despite all of the rumors and hoopla, there has been no PROOF that he has done anything wrong or illegal. Mistakes are not crimes. Bad judgement sometimes is not a crime.

I am a Christian and if God judged and gave up on us like we do each other we would all be doomed to eternal fire.

Dr. Gallon is still to me a bright and intelligent young educated black man with much promise. My prayers are with him.

Anonymous said...


I have to admit, I'd much rather be in Miami right now, so I didn't mind the little slip...LOL

Thanks for the coverage!


Anonymous said...

It's a sad case.

I believe Dr. Gallon is a bright, intelligent man, and he was making positive changes in Plainfield schools.

However, the reverse side of that intelligence is is intelligent enough to KNOW these women where not qualified for their positions, and he is intelligent enough to KNOW how Plainfield parents would feel if they realized he was allowing these ladies to use his address to allow their children to go to another (better?) school.

A leader can't demand higher standards of others, expect them to "toe the line" if the leader, himself will not act under those same high ethical standards. What Gallon did, and these women did, was unethical.

Bottom line: He brought value to the district, but he has completely negated that value by running this scam.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I missed it last night while playing in the snow. The shame falls on Gallon, not you. While it is true that we did not see what fell on the editing floor, I am sure it was not enough to clear his so called good name. All 3 should be fired with no buyouts and fired now. So much time, effort, and Im sure money has been put into this already. And, why does he live in South Plainfield?? He was hired for Plainfield! Or are our schools not good enough for him? Then to top it off, having staff members use the address for their kids!
Christian or not, OJ and Jason were also innocent at one time. I can only hope that this was only a mistake, and not a crime. He did well with getting the students in uniforms and apparently, budget cuts have been started. At a minimum, to make this whole issue go away, he should make the 2 in question teachers, apologize and let us all move on. Otherwise, step down.

Anonymous said...

Why is there talk of a buy out for a contract that he's breached? His contract his null and void, he should be dismissed, no further discussion.....he should be escorted out of the building in handcuffs...

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see those salaries of the Three Stooges And yet they want to cut emergency services surprise surprise surprise

Anonymous said...

Why do you still use the names of Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2.

Diaz's video names the individuals so they should not be Jane Doe's/

If I were on the Board and it was within their rights, I would push for having Gallon and his 2 cronies escorted from the building and terminated immediately. Let them do whatever they have to do to fight for their jobs in court and let's see who wins.

My though is they would be on the first flight back to Miami.

Why are their vehicles still registered in Florida. Isn't there a law that they have to register their vehicles in the state where they reside? Do they have a NJ or a Florida drivers license? Do they pay NJ State Tax?


Your poster is right Gallon does need prayer. But this is not about making mistakes; it is about admitting to them, owning them and being humble about it. He's haughty, and in his own words "WOULD DO IT AGAIN" with regard to how he handled the firing and immediate rehiring of the Floridian-Duo. So dear supporter don't mix up the situation here...God requires a humble repentive heart.

Prayer indeed -- it does change things.

Gallon is not a profession fit for this community (PERIOD).

It's not personal -- IT'S PERSONNEL!

...And Leadership and Intergrity and Trust and RESPECT!

Anonymous said...

Dan I reread your post. The Shame on You segments seemed to not be about fact finding or any real reporting. You even use the words rumor a lot in your attacks against the mayor and other city officials.

But the Fox presentation comes across as trying to create shock value. I probably would not take too kind to being literally ambushed by a loud reported screaming at me the way that Arnold Diaz was seen doing to those two ladies.

I kinda felt that Dr.Gallon should not had even talked to him as those shows are no win situations. Two people got shot in our city and you say one might die. But we are focusing in on this?

What is the update with the victim.I am sure his family can care less about this nonsense. My prayers go out to them.

Way to go Dan. Keep us all focused on the important things in the Queen City.

Taiwan Brown said...

what a great clip!!!

Anonymous said...

I wondered how these 3 could still have out-of-state licence plates when I saw the clip. ANOTHER Law broken!!!

From the NJ Motor Vehicle web page: A motorist with a valid out-of-state license who moves to New Jersey must apply for a New Jersey license within 60 days (commercial driver license – CDL - within 30 days) or before the current license expires, whichever is sooner. The out-of state license must be surrendered prior to receiving a New Jersey license. (N.J.S.A. 39:3-17.1, 39:3-10.17, 39:5D-5)

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, Diaz has even less journalistic integrity than you, Dan. Do you, or anyone else reading this, have any metrics to show that Plainfield schools have gotten worse, or that test scores have gone down, or that anything has not improved since Dr. Gallon took his position? Isn't that still important? Honestly, how do you live with yourselves with all this hate and bitterness in your hearts? You need prayer, and maybe a little prozac.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Feb 13 11:00 a.m.

Yes, test scores have gone down, just check the NJDOE website. As for the high school...reports aren't being filed as to assaults and other "incidents" so as not to be placed on "persistently dangerous."

The truancy rate has skyrocketed. Any other "metrics" you are asking about DSG? See, that is one of DSG's favorite words..."metrics."

As for Arnold Diaz's journalistic integrity...hey, when he reports on a story, it usually gets looked into by law enforcement, the state, etc. Just check the amount of scandals he's uncovered, the amount of Emmy's he won...but YOU know better right?

This is why Plainfield will ALWAYS be Plainfield. This is why we will never move forward. People refuse to see the forest for the trees and keep making the same mistakes year in and year out.

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