Lawyers for the city’s Department of Education have been scrutinizing First Deputy Chancellor Daniel Weisberg behind closed doors this week, accusing him of covering up the misconduct of two senior executives and then rewarding them with hefty pay rises, The Post has learned.
On Wednesday, DOE attorneys met with Weisberg and his chief executive officer, Christopher Groll, and asked them to explain why they had granted pay raises to Amanda Lurie and her boss, Chief Enrollment Officer Sarah Kleinhandler, a source familiar with the situation said.
They also asked Weisberg if he shared a sensitive Office of Special Investigations report into the wrongdoing with Chancellor David Banks, the source added.
The meeting came days after the results were released against Lurie, senior director at the Enrollment Office, and Kleinhandler, who is accused of failing to supervise Lurie.
That evening, Brooklyn teacher Martina Meijer angrily raised the “elephant in the room” during an education policy committee meeting, at which Weisberg filled in for the vacationing Banks.
“I’m asking you to demand answers because we’re still waiting,” she told the panel.
Meijer said the scandal inspired her to coin a new DOE acronym, RISI, for “Rewarding Incompetence and Stonewalling Inquiries.”
Weisberg said nothing.
“Is that the kind of leadership Dan Weisberg wants schools to have?” the teacher asked after the meeting. “I hope that the Department of Energy will try to ease public suspicion by taking this corruption seriously.” Instead, what we see is a cover-up and another lack of responsiveness. How does trust build up?”
According to Jonathan May, the OSI investigator who conducted the investigation, Lurie was chronically absent, rarely attended the Family Welcome Centers under her supervision, and sold clothes on Poshmark during the DOE period, while Kleinhandler long ignored complaints about her subordinate.
Weeks after receiving the report, Weisberg appointed Lurie as a “special counsel” in his office. Groll, who handles finances, increased her salary from $199,118 to $208,000 a year. Kleinhandler also received a salary increase from $204,106 to $220,000.
“Weisberg sat on the report for months and took no disciplinary action, instead giving them promotions and raises,” the source said, calling it unacceptable.
It is unclear what role, if any, Chancellor Banks played in the matter. “Where does David Banks stand on this?” The source said DOE officials are asking about it.
Last April, both Weisberg and Banks received emails received from the Post from a registry clerk imploring them to stop “retaliating” for cooperating with the investigation. The employee was assigned to an office much further from her home. The Special Inquiry Officer for City Schools is investigating this complaint.
Weisberg, Banks, Groll and an Energy Department spokesman did not respond to questions.