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Monday, July 14, 2014

Union President Booted From Office Then Grabs $60,000 of Union Members Cash On the Way Out the Door

David Chiarelli and Richard Brock 2013
A provincial discipline committee of OECTA booted longtime Halton OECTA Elementary President Richard "Dick" Brock from his position as President on August 23, 2013 for a two year period after complaints were filed by other union members. Five months later $60,000 goes missing and he quietly retires.

Dick's Plan - Lets Delete The MOU
Richard has a few fatal flaws. Chief among them is never take no for an answer. Secondly, threaten legal action at the drop of a hat and lastly act as if you are the provincial President. For some time Richard had been furious that the provincial executive of OECTA had cut a deal with the government and signed the MOU agreement in July 2012 without his permission. It cut him and all other local unit presidents out of the loop by eliminating much of their local bargaining power. Richard would have none of it and set out to hatch a plan to eliminate the MOU agreement and contravene what the provincial union and Government had agreed to. In his mind, what the provincial union had done was nothing short of treason.

Brock Gets Ass Handed to Him at The OLRB
Always the self styled amateur legal expert, Dick decides in February 2013 he will challenge his provincial union and get the MOU thrown out by going to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), (an an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal). HCDSB NEWS has learned that he had been given actual legal advice prior to filing his OLRB complaint that advised him that his complaint would very likely fail. Turns out that's exactly what happens.

His complaint to the OLRB was a spectacular failure. The Board (OLRB) used uncharacteristically strong language to rebuke Brock and friends by telling him he was abusing the OLRB process by filing this type of complaint and then lecturing him on how a provincial union deals with disputes such as his. Seems the Board saw right through Richard's plan and said so. The Board's decision in part stated;

"No one disputed that there are upcoming elections in OECTA where virtually all of the leadership responsible for the MOU will be challenged. That is the appropriate place for the wisdom of these choices made by the OECTA leadership to be measured – not under the guise of an application of fair representation pursuant to section 74 of the Act. Leaving aside whether OECTA’s conduct can be said to be arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith (a decision I do not make here), the nature of political arrangements it reaches with the Government of Ontario as a mature stakeholder in the education sector are not matters that this Board is either qualified to or should intervene in, question or regulate. This kind of accountability to OECTA’s membership is best determined through OECTA’s own internal democratic procedures."

Going Rogue
The first OLRB complaint and resulting failure didn't get him booted from office but it didn't make him any new friends at the provincial union. What it likely did was send someone to the hardware store for a hammer and a bag of nails. Some people can't take "no" for answer and Richard Brock is one of them. A perfectly admirable trait if one has a history of success and a completely regrettable trait if one has a history of failure.
Unbelievably after wasting his own time and thousands in expenses of his members money on his first failed OLRB complaint he finally crosses the line by inserting himself in a second OLRB MOU complaint in August 2013 and this time he joins the complaint as an intervenor on the side of the employer (Durham Catholic School Board) and against his own provincial union.

You are not invited to intervene in a complaint you have to request it and Richard does.This is the equivalent of a union member crossing the picket line and joining the employer against their own union. It is usually considered a disgraceful and dishonorable action on the part of any union member to act in such a way. He quickly withdrew his participation as intervenor in the Durham case when caught but it was too little too late. This was the last straw for the provincial union and lead directly to a formal disciplinary hearing after complaints were filed against Brock by other upset union members for his disgraceful conduct. He knew all along he'd be in hot water if he lost but it was nothing he couldn't manage. Once again he would rely on his own legal ability to defend himself and once again it would turn out to be a fatal error.

Sources tell HCDSB NEWS at worst he was expecting a written reprimand or something similar, they wouldn't dare remove him from office, after all he had been an OECTA president longer than anyone could remember, 25 years or so. When he was given a two year suspension he was gobsmacked to say the least. It probably didn't help matters that his legal representative at the hearing was fellow amateur legal expert and close pal Bob Boyle (whose official position was paid "release officer" of Richard's unit) insulted the General Secretary by accusing him of acting in bad faith and conducting an illegal proceeding. It would be the legal equivalent of telling a judge to throw the case out because the judge is unfit. In typical and predictable fashion when Richard didn't like the answer he threatens legal action of one kind or another and this is where things start to go from bad to much worse.

The Wheels Fall Off The Wagon
On August 23, 2013 Richard was stripped of all membership privileges and his presidency for a two year period starting immediately. This meant he had to go back to the classroom after 25 years and that held very limited appeal. Sources tell HCDSB NEWS that on return in August he continued to enter the local unit offices and conduct business as if he was still the President in direct violation of his discipline conditions. In other words he was violating his parole conditions from the get go. It takes a while for the provincial union to tune in but they eventually gain full control of the unit offices about 4 months later in December 2013/January 2014 and literally change the locks on the local unit's doors. Almost immediately alarm bells went off and professional independent auditors were brought in posthaste. It's a safe to say that a provincial union doesn't order an immediate independent forensic financial  audit of a local unit because of a few missing receipts or minor bookkeeping errors.

Here in part, is what the auditor's report stated;
  • "We have been asked to investigate financial concerns involving the Halton Elementary Unit"
  • "Specifically we have been asked to: Identify any potential financial impropriety"
  • "In 2014, Richard Brock had the unit budget adjusted by $60,000 to fund his legal costs for his claim against OECTA."
  • "We understand that Richard Brock opened a bank account at CIBC and transferred $60,000 of the Unit's money to the account to pay for his lawsuit against OECTA."
  • "We have not been provided documentation regarding how the funds ($60,000) were released and by who."
    Additionally HCDSB NEWS has learned that the auditors were unable to locate any financial records prior to 2011, the secretary / bookkeeper was paid over $100,000 in 2013 and the auditors where not able to interview Richard Brock or the secretary / bookkeeper for unspecified reasons. The Halton Catholic District School Board (his employer) is aware but it is unknown if they are investigating.

    Get The Cheerleaders, Circle The Wagons, Lawyer Up
    Long time friend and blogger David Chiarelli (retired teacher) is to Richard Brock what Sun reporter Joe Warmington is to Rob Ford. He starts making supportive posts of Richard and disparaging posts of the disciplinary process misdirecting readers to examine in minutia the processes surrounding the discipline hearing and creating a gathering place for "Brock Nation". Chiarelli's blog seems completely engrossed in endless procedural debates (something I guess he thinks readers are interested in) and is seemingly completely oblivious to real news of claims that members money is missing. Brock himself does not make any posts to the blog under his own name. Chiarelli latest blog about Brock posted on May 1, 2014 one day after Brock's retirement took effect stated there was "a gag order on further news and a proposed July 5 "court date may or may not be on", oddly he fails to mention Brock has retired. HCDSB NEWS thinks it's rather unlikely that there is a court order suppressing news reporting regarding Brock and rather likely Richard has simply self imposed one on himself and his pal Mr. Chiarelli. In the end it looks like the friends didn't help, the blog didn't work and the lawyer gave him some advice about his lawsuit.

    No Candles and Cake
    At the May 20, 2014 Halton Catholic District School Board regular Board meeting it is recorded in the minutes under the heading "Retirements" simply that "Richard Brock, effective April 30, 2014" Using the search function on the HCDSB website will not locate the minutes or his resignation. No mention of Richard's retirement from the HCDSB shows up in any other publication including the list of retiring employees. Former Chair Alice Anne LeMay a close friend and trustee was conspicuously silent as were all the other trustees. No well wishers, no parties, no watch, no cake, no nothing. Not a good sign.

    Special thanks to InsideHalton.com and award winning reporter Tim Whitnell for completely failing to cover this story.


    As always the HCDSB NEWS invites your corrections, comments and criticisms and any replies received from people or institutions mentioned in any article will be published in full.



    8 comments:

    1. Nice photo, have no seen before, but please, I have lost a lot of weight since then!

      David

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      1. Ya sure looks like it - I'd guess about 250lbs with a baseball cap

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    2. Thanks! You can think what you will. Your attacks help my readership numbers. By the way, wheres the little counter showing how many people read your site?

      David

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    3. Glad to hear I'm helping out your numbers. I'm well aware that it may have that effect and your more than welcome to it. I just thought I'd add a few new readers and anonymous commentators instead of just you, Richard, Angelo, Jodi and Sonia - it gets a bit repetitive.

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      Replies
      1. Sure Mark. I'm glad to see more teacher bloggers with different points of view throw their hat in the ring. I'll provide a link in my March Teacher News + Views.

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    5. Richard D Brock- 2015 sunshine list hcdsb elementary teacher 130, 000 (??????)

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      Replies
      1. Good eye - I'll be checking into this one - looks like they paid him as a Principal when in fact he wasn't

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