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Dirschberger Brings Too Much Baggage to Head a County Agency

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by Chris Stevenson & EC Toth

There are those who believe the name Allen Dirschberger means dirt. This is a major issue since a vote was soon be taken on Thursday morning (3/26/15) at the County Legislatures office as to whether or not to make him head of the Erie County Department of Social Services. In Buffalo you can still be considered for a promotion or run a city or county agency even if you are under fire for conduct at a previous firm. If members of Gateway-Longview’s (GL) FRC (Family Resource Center) Advisory Board considers newly installed CEO/President Carolyne DeFranco to be Jim Sampson’s “right hand man,” then Vice President Dirschberger is seen by them as his left-hand man. “By his own account he was responsible for a $10 million dollar budget. That is approximately 50% of Gateway-Longview’s annual budget. Dirschberger is responsible for participating in the no bid contracts, Inappropriate and unsupported expense reimbursement, approving business relationships with board members which resulted in conflicts of interest, and was void on any competitive procurement practices or procedures,” says one board member. What they smell behind this appointment is Buffalo School Board President Jim Sampson, and a possible monopoly of corruption that starts at Gateway-Longview and extending to the School Board and now Buffalo’s largest governmental agency, Erie County Department Social Services.

According to a report by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli under Division of State Government Accountability, between 7/1/08 and 6/30/11 “Gateway routinely entered into business transactions with companies affiliated with members of Gateways Board of Directors without competitive bidding or evidence that transactions were fair and reasonable. The cost of these related-party transactions totaled $7, 042,903. We disallowed (money spent on items not allowed by state) $1,999,744 for the amounts charged to the programs. We also disallowed $378,946 for items such as expenses lacking documentation, expenses that were not program-related; and expenses for ineligible items such as food.”

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If there are allegations of missing money at GL, then what are the possibilities if Dirschberger is in charge of Social Services?

If there are allegations of missing money at GL, then what are the possibilities if Dirschberger is in charge of Social Services? According to the FRC Advisory Board: “One of our greatest challenges was to enlighten Al Dirschberger, however, he never came around, never. He wouldn’t even speak to any of us when he entered the building at 347 East Ferry on any occasion. In his mind he was omnipotent! He mimicked Jim Sampson, his immediate supervisor, who also never spoke to or acknowledged anyone when he would come to the FRC. There is no excuse for bad manners, however, it was clear that we were less than human in their eyes.” If you think these people are some flower-waving nitpickers then you need to know the story of Vernon Dunkin and the psychological warfare he says Dirschberger and another GL employee Paul Kabala put him through.

Dunkin formerly worked for GL since 2011 and was a Childcare Residential Counselor at Hopevale (now closed because the managerial hierarchy misappropriated the public funds which sustained it). The entire Hopevale operation including but not limited too, the employees and the children were enveloped by Gateway-Longview. In a report he says he worked for Hopevale for eight years without incident, garnering excellent reviews and annual raises. This drastically changed upon his transfer to the GL Main Street Campus: “Al and Paul used intimidation, discrimination, and caused a lot of friction in the workplace. This ‘Goon Squad’ was created to foster and maintain a hostile work environment, which trickled down to the children and affected the employees negatively.” Understand Dunkin says he became a diabetic being forced to put up with superiors he claims are either alcoholic (Kabala) or bigoted (Dirschberger), surveillance and harassment seemed to run along racial lines and among those he saw fired was the union steward Bianca.

Though Dunkin says he wasn’t physically harmed by anyone at GL, what Paul and Al put him through hurt him “emotionally and spiritually.” If you are under a doctor’s care like Dunkin, then this type of pressure doesn’t do you any favors physically. If you are nonwhite and work around a white-run or white-dominated environment you know what they are capable of if the wrong people are mixed with the wrong set of circumstances. Once you are targeted good work reviews are construed or changed into bad reviews, you get their “attitude problem” label, projects assigned to you may even be sabotaged. “This organization is rampant with systemic racist behaviors and attitudes. The upper management does nothing to help the children and the children are purposefully neglected (Dunkin calls it “depraved indifference”). If anyone of color complains or offers alternatives they are ultimately written up and fired, Caucasian’s opinions are considered.”

These types of whites are known to go through trouble above and beyond normal human limitations to bring down blacks (I call this Colonial-Endurance). Eventually Mr. Dunkin was fired, he had a 2nd job he reported to, down the line Dirschberger or one of the many Dirschberger cohorts contacted his other place of employment and told them he had a Child Protective Services case going on with GL and his other job fired him. You can’t get more ruthless than that. Mr. Dunkin strengthened his resolve and it took resources that he really didn’t have and almost three years to clear his good name.

The Gateway-Longview Family Resource Center Advisory Board contends that Jim Sampson, the GL Board of Directors, and the Managerial Hierarchy rained a kind of economic terrorism within our community that equaled ‘rape’. There are 11 County Legislatures and 6 votes are needed to dissent. There is a view that Mark Poloncarz will appoint Dirschberger anyway sometime in the near future if he was not voted-in Thursday, but we are not certain of that. According to Valerie Akauola “We’ve got 30days according to the County Attorney. So this is like Al’s probationary period. Al is willing to meet with our community leaders and hopefully make amends.” Dirschberger was unceremoniously handed the position for all intents and purposes the same way he and Sampson handed out no-bid contracts. The Thursday approval vote was to make readers like you think there’s some protocol going on, County Executive Mark Poloncarz appointed him to that position a couple weeks ago. The FRC Advisory Board arrived before Thursday’s vote in time to cast some doubt, but Akauola was disappointed Dunkin didn’t show up. Nothing is final until the conformation, it would be in Dirschberger’s best interest to address the community on April 7th at the Merriweather Library.

Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog www.thebuffalobullet.com, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the comment link below or email pointblankdta@yahoo.com.

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