2 General counsels, a chief of human resources officer, 1 Deputy, 2 Associate General counsels, a contractor and Board counsel too.
Prince George’s county public schools have two General Counsels, a Deputy General counsel, two Associate General counsels, a contractor, Board counsel Abbey Hairston of the infamous Thatcher Law Firm and an officer for appeals a Mr. Aaron Price. Only one is the de facto General counsel. The Deputy General Counsel acts and is seen by ordinary Prince Georgians as the custodian and enforcer of the law of the land. She is the people’s General Counsel. She speaks for Prince Georgians and looks after the public good. The other five are the de jure General Counsels – the General Counsels according to the law. They are the Executive’s General Counsels and watches their back as they squander public funds.
Prince George’s county public schools’ two General Counsels are Shauna Battle, chief General counsel of the Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) and George H. Margolies who doubles up as chief of staff. These two persons represent two powerful and at times antagonistic constituencies. The former represents the people, staff in schools, students and the subjects. The latter represents the rulers, the master, the lords and oversees the other.
The Associate General counsel James Fisher represents the interests of the Thatcher Law Firm, Dr. William Hites, Roger Thomas and others as well as cover up Federal crimes committed willfully in order to defeat justice. Mr. Fisher recently worked as an Attorney at U.S. Department of Education and was an Assistant Attorney General at Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia. The current situation involving him creates a major conflict of interest and he is not serving for the public good. He is currently getting paid double by the Thatcher Law Firm and the school system for the work he is supposed to be doing during business hours.
The other Associate General Counsel Demetria T. Tobias, Esq represents the interests of the Maryland State Board of Education, Dr. Lilian Lowely, Dr. Charlene Dukes and the State attorney General who are involved in Prince George’s County corruption scandal as cover up agent. Both of these lawyers are not serving for the best interests of the county.
Deputy General Counsel Gail B. Viens’ national profile has lately skyrocketed at the expense of Shauna Battle’s. But it is not a case where the former has usurped the power and space of the latter. No! It is a simple case in which one answers the public call to duty while the other ignores every such plea!
Shauna Battle and George H. Margolies, sleeps on the job, and sleeps soundly, while Gail B. Viens toils and toils hard for the public. Because of the shift in their public performance, it is Gail B. Viens rather than Shauna Battle and George H. Margolies that ordinary Prince Georgians see as their saviour in matters of governance and law.
Shauna Battle and George H. Margolies as General Counsels are not visible. Whether it is their pronouncement of a county issue or defending the local school government’s policies, Shauna Battle and George H. Margolies have been low key as they dissipate ill gotten $18 million package from the reserves of the youth for themselves.
Identifying a single, meaningful achievement of their tenure – no matter how mundane – is a torturous and unfruitful exercise.
In a county where corruption is killing the body politic, Shauna Battle fumbles. In a county where discrimination, racism, professional misconduct and corruption is treasured, Shauna Battle nods in approval. In a county that cries for a strong and reformist Judiciary, Shauna Battle spares no effort to shut down every suggestion. In every instance where a constitutional commission tries to implement its mandate, Shauna Battle spares no effort to declare that its actions are out of order to support Mr. Rushern Baker who appear embroiled in a number of corrupt activities.
In a county where the basic human rights of ethinic and religious minorities are abused by the county and the State, Shauna Battle characterizes State abuses and transgressions as welcome.
Shauna Battle is both the conductor and the cheerleader for a new choir in town that is singing songs in praise of Corruption, Nepotism, professional misconduct involving millions of dollars. Shauna Battle – without blinking an eye – disowned her own legal opinion on Thomas Addison Elementary School infamy when she realized the direction of the political wind had changed.
She wants everyone to believe dishonest that “it’s ok to give the schools away to the highest binder.” Surely, the saga involving Thomas Addison Elementary School disposal is a tip of the iceberg and could have been handled better with public participation. Democracy and public participation are closely connected. Democratic societies have incorporated public participation rights into their laws for centuries. For example, here in the US the right to petition has been part of the first Amendment of the US constitution since 1791. Why should the PGCPS General Counsel want to change that?
In all litigations on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Shauna Battle’s blanket policy is to oppose no matter the public good. Shauna Battle is the shining knight in armour of the county government to destroy devolution after the passage of HB1107. Every time she appears as a friend of the court, Shauna Battle argues the case as the enemy of the people.
The defining feature of Shauna Battle’s tenure is the worrisome trend of an avalanche of legal opinions authored by the General counsel attached to every multi-million-dollar scam. Some of this scam involves millions of dollars in personal benefits while destroying children’s education of Prince George’s County.
Such legal opinion is then waved in support or in opposition to a given scam depending on one’s motive. Why the General Counsel should personally monopolise authorship of such routine legal opinions remains a lasting conundrum. The same scenario happened during the reign of Mr. Roger Thomas before he was sacked.
It is these gaping voids in governance that we hear Gail B. Viens has gleefully filled. She speaks for Prince Georgians when it matters.
The General Counsel is supposed to contests every corruption scandal and to make things right. These persons don’t always participate in every court case that seeks to entrench good governance and the rule of law. George H. Margolies who earns questionable $207,586 serve as the district’s liaison to the school board; and is supposed to help create policy. We are yet to see anything worth the money and the protections of rights. Prince George’s County public schools continues to seize and destroy with impunity the worldly possessions of a vulnerable group in our society.
As we have said before, a considerable portion of corruption emanates from the Office of Chief Legal Counsel and Labor Relations. Both offices can say “job well done” after they have paid off attorneys, including hearing examiners reviewing worker-related cases. Bob Gaskin (Chief Human Resources) works closely with Shauna Battle, during this most recent reorganization. The December 2013 General Counsel job description specifically requires Human Resources and personnel experience and litigation experience. How many cases has Shauna Battle litigated for Prince George’s County Public Schools (or for that matter, anywhere)? What experience does she have with HR processes?
There is no question that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) owes its existence to the General Counsel’s office, which was managed by previous Chief legal officer Mr. Roger Thomas Esq. When Roger Thomas Esq. could no longer sustain the corruption, Mr. James R. Whattam picked up the torch. After James R. Whattam was fired, Shauna Battle, George H. Margolies, James Fisher, Demetria T. Tobias now wields the power and commands the community’s lawyers in the direction of the school system’s destruction. We must collectively demand an end to this culture. This is not what we fought for when we lobbied the Maryland legislature to help create proper changes. This is major fraud being hidden in plain sight.
The continuation of Shauna Battle, George H. Margolies, Demetria T. Tobias, James Fisher or any one that is appointed by her including Shani K. Whisonant, is a continuation of Union corruption in Maryland as well. Shauna Battle has asserted the message: “Long Live Shenanigans” a torch passed on to her by Mr. Roger Thomas and Mr. James R. Whattam.
These are the officers in the Chief legal counsel offices in Prince George’s County Public schools destroying our school system.
Call your elected officials now and the media. A proper investigation will tell us who is responsible for this calamity and, therefore, who should lose their jobs. While talking to your elected officials, request Mr. Rushern Baker resign and to take responsibility for this mess. Demand an end to this fraud and the madness!
The People of Prince George’s county deserve better.
George H. Margolies
Shani K. Whisonant
Mr. Rushern Baker –The all powerful current County Executive for Prince George’s County is known not to be a man of his word according to Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter. He makes promises he cannot keep and is deeply involved in the scandal comprising Dr. kevin Maxwell. (Read more Major scandal Developing in Upper Marlboro). On this note, Mr. Baker needs to take responsibility and resign!