Deputy Chancellor of the New York City school system Diana Lam was accused of nepotism reported before. She resigned March 8. Reports in The New York Times, the resignation is an embarrassment for Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as they seek to overhaul the nation's largest school system. Richard J. Condon, the special commissioner of investigation for the New York City schools, released his investigation report Friday stating Ms. Lam had helped her husband, Peter Plattes, get a $102,000 supervisory job in the Bronx.
According to Ms. Lam, Mr. Klein had been fully informed about her husband's efforts to obtain a job, and that she had been in close contact with the Education Department's top lawyer, Chad Vignola, about the matter. "I was given a green light to proceed," she said. About an hour after Ms. Lam's statement, Mr. Klein issued his own, saying he had asked for her resignation and had appointed Michele Cahill, his senior counselor for education policy, acting deputy chancellor for teaching and learning.
Ms. Lam, 56, earned $250,000 a year, a salary identical to Chancellor Klein's. In 18 months on the job, she has been the most controversial figure in the Department of Education. She also came under fire for remarks criticizing programs for gifted and talented students and stirred controversy over her choices of 10 superintendents to oversee the city's 1,200 schools. She was instrumental in developing plans to strengthen the city's programs for non-English speaking students.
Ms. Lam built her reputation as an educator over two decades in the Boston area, where she started as a bilingual teacher in Framingham, Masschusetts, and rose to become superintendent of schools in Chelsea, Mass. She quit the Chelsea job in 1991 to run for mayor of Boston but ended her candidacy after reports that she had filed late tax returns. In Providence, R.I., Ms. Lam also developed both supporters and detractors. During her time there, almost all of the city's 23 elementary schools improved academically, but middle school scores were mostly stagnant and the teachers' union gave her a vote of no confidence .(Source: David M. Herszenhorn and Elissa Gootman, The New York Times, Mar. 9, 2004).