It was no surprise to hear about the article in The News entitled "Schools in trouble," with the subheading "Audit urges massive overhaul of city operations."
Had U.S. District Judge John Curtin simply listened to my attorneys after the 1988-1989 budget fight (in which he awarded no additional money to the Board of Education) and appointed his independent accounting expert, William D. Mahaney, to oversee the Board of Education's operations for the following year, the board might already have revamped its operations by this time.
Unfortunately, he turned down my attorneys' request, paving the way for eight more years of mismanagement by the Board of Education.
This was not the only thing bungled by Judge Curtin. He had the opportunity and should have, but did not, dismiss large portions of the school desegregation lawsuit while I was still in office.
After the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its critical decision affirming that "unitary status" (i.e., desegregation) could be achieved in stages, Judge Curtin's last legitimate excuse for delaying ruling on my administration's motions for unitary status in several aspects of the case evaporated.
Yet, apparently because he could not stand to see either my administration or my attorneys get the credit for ending the school lawsuit, or because he wanted to wait and see if a new mayor might throw more money at the Board of Education (as Mayor Masiello did), with no legal or judicial justification, Judge Curtin simply refused to rule on our pending motions for several years.
This despite the fact that, for the other parties to the lawsuit, he would intervene on virtually a moment's notice and micromanage the Board of Education relative to such day-to-day matters as the retention or firing of a few teachers' aides.
James D. Griffin Buffalo