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I have acquired a new name in the slammer (Rubber Room) -“Frankie the FOILer”. I was introduced to the power of Freedom of Information Law by some supporters back in March 2012. Since then I have submitted quite a few interesting F.O.I.L. requests to the NYC DOE FOIL unit. Examples:

  • All emails to and from my principal’s official email account with the word “Portelos” in the Subject or Body of the email from certain dates. What was said?
  • All emails to and from Andrew Gordon HR Director’s email account with the word “Portelos” in the Subject or Body of the email from certain dates. He would have the answers.
  • My principal’s school credit card statements for the last 5 years. Here they are by the way
  • My  principal’s and assistant principal’s per session time cards for the last three years. Here are some of the findings
  • Any SCI or OSI report that had my principal and two assistant principal’s mentioned as a subject or witness to an investigation in the past.
  • Any audit report conducted at my school the last 7 years.  Here is what they sent
  • The entire personnel file of my former UFT Chapter Leader, Rich Candia, who called in 8 fake allegations about me so I don’t win the election. (I won anyway)
  • A whole series of other financial records….

HOW TO GUIDE: FOILing is very easy. Here is how to do it.

  1. First you need to request documents that are from a public agency (NYC DOE) and can be of public concern. (Example: Your principal’s entire DOE personnel file, or the credit card statements from her school credit card (P-Card)). You need to be very specific as to reduce any delays. Give time constraints like From 2007 -2012.
  2. Next send an email to JBaranello3@schools.nyc.gov, rchasan@schools.nyc.gov, foil@schools.nyc.gov
  3. Then enter the following:

Dear Mr. Baranello,  Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, please send me copies, by email, of the following records:
[List What You Want. I would recommend breaking requests up into different emails for different searches] 

I would appreciate a response within five business days of receipt as required by law. Thank you for your cooperation.
Sincerely,

4. Send! Easy right?

Be prepared for delays though as they have a lot of FOIL requests. See coog.gov for more info

Here are some of my requests, responses, findings and appeals:

1) FOIL Request #F8467 – Principal and AP’s Time Cards. Status: Incomplete

From: Francesco Portelos To: JBaranello3 Cc: MBest ; DMWalcott
Sent: Sat, Mar 24, 2012 9:24 am
Subject: FOIL REQUEST – Principal Timecards
Dear Mr. Baranello,
Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, please send me copies by Email of the following records:
1) Principal Linda Hill’s (R049) time cards for all per-session activity from January 2009 to February 2012.
2) The periodic time sheets, or equivalent records, that were submitted to the Per Session Payroll Unit (or wherever they may have been submitted), and that reflect, or contain, the number of per session hours for which Principal Linda Hill had been paid during each reporting period from January 2009 to February 2012.
3) Assistant Principal Denise Diacomanolis’ (R049) time cards for all per-session activity from January 2009 to February 2012.
4) The periodic time sheets, or equivalent records, that were submitted to the Per Session Payroll Unit (or wherever they may have been submitted), and that reflect, or contain, the number of per session hours for which Assistant Principal Denise Diacomanolis had been paid during each reporting period from January 2009 to February 2012.
The time cards are probably located at IS 49 in Staten Island, and the periodic time sheets are probably located at both IS 49 and 65 Court Street.
I would appreciate a response within five business days of receipt as required by law.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Sincerely,
Francesco Portelos
 
RESPONSES:
F8467 – 2012-03-26 – Acknowledgement Letter
F8467-2012-04-30-Further Time Needed Letter
F8467-2012-05-29- Partial Findings Letter
F8467-Principal Hill- records-Jan 2009 through May 2010 
F8467-AP Diacomanolis records 2009-2010
 F8467_2012-07-25-_Records 2010-2012 not found Letter
F8467 – 2012-09-10 – Appeal Determination
________________________________________
 

2) FOIL Request #F8535 – AP’s OSI Investigation Report for clocking in for Per-Session, leaving and being clocked out. Status: Denied

*Note: This request was made just 5 days before I was removed from school and sent to the Rubber Room.

 From: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM Subject: FOIL REQUEST – OSI Case for AP Denise Diacomanolis R049 To: JBaranello3@schools.nyc.gov, MBest@schools.nyc.gov, DMWalcott@schools.nyc.gov
Dear Mr. Baranello,
  
Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, please send me copies by Email of the following records:
 
1)  OSI Investigation report as it pertains to Assistant Principal Denise Diacomanolis’ (R049) allegations of punching time card in, leaving the school premises and being punched out approximately 2 hours later in April of 2011. 
 
I would appreciate a response within five business days of receipt as required by law.
 
Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely,
 
Francesco Portelos
RESPONSES:
F8535 – 2012-04-27 – AP OSI Denial letter -Request was denied because the investigation by the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) found it to be unsubstantiated. I was told the principal was asked and replied the AP was in the building. I’m no special investigator, but a quick glance at the archived video surveillance would have shown AP Diacomanolis walking out the Southeast exit and leaving with her car. Perhaps a more in depth investigation would have looked at possible EZ-Pass records for her car tag showing tolls paid. But what do I know? I’m just an educator.
————————————————-

3) FOIL Request #F8658 -Principal Hill’s Procurement Card Statements & Emails with word “Portelos”

Status: Open

 From: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>

Date: Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 8:31 PM
Subject: FOIL REQUEST –
To: JBaranello3@schools.nyc.gov, rchasan@schools.nyc.gov, foil@schools.nyc.gov
Dear Mr. Baranello,  Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, please send me copies by Email of the following records:

  1. All  credit card statements for Principal Linda Hill’s Procurement Card (P-Card) from January 2007 to May 2012
  2. All email correspondence to and from Principal Linda Hill’s lhill2@schools.nyc.gov account. If this is not possible, then please provide me with the emails with the word “Portelos” in the subject and/or body of the email.

 I would appreciate a response within five business days of receipt as required by law. Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely,

Francesco Portelos
 
Addendum:

Mr. Baranello,
I received the response to FOIL request F8658. I apologize. I thought I had submitted a time frame for the emails.
I have rewritten the request as follows:

All email correspondence to and from Principal Linda Hill’s lhill2@schools.nyc.gov account between and including December 1, 2011 to June 11, 2012. If this is not possible, then please provide me with the emails in that timeframe with the word “Portelos” in the subject and/or body of the email.

-Francesco Portelos

 

Responses:

F8658-2012-06-11 Hill Financials and emails Ackn .Letter

F8658 -2012-08-07-Delay Letter

F8658 – 2012-09-05 – Delay letter

I FINALLY RECEIVED THE CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS. TAKE A LOOK AND SEE IF YOU FIND ANY POTENTIAL DISCREPANCIES.

The emails still keep getting delayed so I sent the following appeal:

From: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 5:36 PM
Subject: Appealing FOIL F8685 -Principal Linda Hill’s Email Correspondence
To: CJackson-Chase@schools.nyc.gov, foil@schools.nyc.gov, JBaranello3@schools.nyc.gov, rchasan@schools.nyc.gov, DMWalcott@schools.nyc.gov, mbloomberg@cityhall.nyc.gov, “Robert.Freeman” <Robert.Freeman@dos.ny.gov>, Beaufils Natacha <NBeaufils@schools.nyc.gov>

Greetings Ms. Jackson-Chase,

I hope this email finds you well. I am emailing you to appeal the delayed response to part 2 of the Freedom of Information Law request pasted below. On June 11, 2012 I requested a copy of :

  • “All email correspondence to and from Principal Linda Hill’s lhill2@schools.nyc.gov account between and including December 1, 2011 to June 11, 2012. If this is not possible, then please provide me with the emails in that timeframe with the word “Portelos” in the subject and/or body of the email.”

I have attached the acknowledgement letter as well as several delay letters associated with this request. The DOE email system works off an Exchange platform. From my own personal experience and research, I know that the results of this search can be obtained in just under two minutes. I contacted a specialist who works as a consultant to the DOE’s Information Technology Dept., to ask what it would take to do a simple search in a single account for a keyword. Their response was:

“If a user is using Microsoft Outlook client to access their mail, there is a search feature which you can type in either a users name, or a word that was in the subject of an email and if its located in that folder (Inbox, Sent, Deleted, ect…) it will present it.  I just did this on a search of my inbox with the words Samsung Epic which is in the body of your first email and it found it.  ”

If the above method does not work, then the information found in this link should help: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2006/12/18/3397563.aspx

Since there was an acknowledgment letter, I believe that this request falls within the guidelines of the Freedom of Information Law. Especially since I believe the results of the emails that went back and forth between my principal are of “public concern”. My removal from a public school was arbitrary and capricious and I believe the public needs to know what transpired. Please grant this appeal. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Francesco Portelos
Parent
Educator
UFT Chapter Leader
Protectportelos.org

—-

One thought on “Freedom of Information – F.O.I.L.

  1. Pingback: Page not found | Protect Portelos

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