State of Maine, Cumberland ss
Superior Court Civil Action Docket No. CV-04-98
On Behalf of the Plaintiffs: Ronald R. Coles, Esq.
On Behalf ot the Defendants: Melissa A. Hewey, Esq.
Transcript of Hearing, 27 August 2004 before Thomas E. Humphrey, Justice
10. TESTIMONY OF TIMOTHY MCCORMACK
MR. COLES: Call Timothy McCormack.
THE COURT: Please raise your right hand.
(The witness took the witness stand and was sworn in by the court.)
TIMOTHY MCCORMACK, after having been first duly sworn, testified as follows:
BY MR. COLES:
Q. Mr. McCormack, you remember coming to my office on June 10th, 2004 and being deposed by myself?
A.. I do.
Q. At that time you were the superintendent of schools of the Falmouth School Department?
A. That's true.
Q. Your position ended the end of June of this year?
A. June 30.
Q. You are no longer employed by the Falmouth School Department?
A. That's correct.
Q. Are you the interim superintendent of any other school district?
A.. I am.
Q. And what school district is that?
A.. MSAD 35 that's Eliot in South Berwick.
Q. It's not a permanent position, it's an interim position, is that correct?
A. Correct, ten months.
Q. So you don't know what they are going to do after ten months, is that fair to say?
Q. Now you remember we marked it as an exhibit at your deposition McCormack Exhibit Ten was a nicely bound book called Falmouth Public Schools District Report Card March 2004, remember that?
A. I don't recall talking with you about that at the deposition, but I certainly recall that document.
Q. Okay. Well, don't you remember telling me that you participated in putting this together?
A. Yes, I do recall that.
Q. And we asked a number of questions dealing with particular pages of this study, is that correct?
A.. Uhm, yes.
Q. Page 17 of 20 in the beginning does a Falmouth public school district report card demographics and it identifies that when this was written in March of this year 194 teachers?
Q. With other support staff, custodians, librarians, ground keepers, cafeteria workers, what were the total number of employees of the Falmouth School Department as of March of this year?
A. I don't recall.
Q. More than 200?
Q. More than 300?
A. I would guess somewhere between 3- and 400.
Q. Thank you. You were here during the testimony of Robert Soucie, a police officer of the Falmouth School Department?
A. I was.
Q. And he testified as to a telephone conversation that he had with you on September 1st of last year?
A. September 1st?
Q. I'm sorry, December 1st of last year?
A. Yes, I believe he testified to that.
Q. And you remember at your deposition when I asked you about that same conversation your testimony was that you don't remember the gist of the conversation?
A. I don't recall that. I don't recall that conversation at deposition.
Q. You do remember though that Barbara Powers telephoned you on December 1st telling you that the parents of Jan Rankowski had rejected their offer for a new assessment, you remember that, don't you?
A. I don't recall that. I do recall that information that the F B A had been -- they hadn't agreed to the F B A, but I don't recall who told me that or when.
Q. Now you also testified that you would have periodic meeting with your teachers?
A. I would have what, excuse me?
Q. Periodic meetings with your teachers that you supervise?
Q. And in your meeting with teachers from September 2003 to when I took your deposition were there any discussions as to procedures, as to note taking of students of children in the playground? A With meetings I held with teachers?
Q. So you had no discussions whatsoever with those teachers as to the procedures involved in taking notes on the playground?
Q. You don't recall any specific conversations you ever had concerning Jan Rankowski in terms of his suspension, right?
A. I had conversations about Jan with Polly and Barbara, that's all I can recall.
Q. But you don't recall the specifics of conversations, do you?
A. Uh, not a lot of details, no.
Q. Now in some of your team meetings with your staff would it be fair to say that you never discussed harassment and bullying of students?
A. No, that isn't accurate.
Q. You remember again being at my office to be deposed. Did you ever have any discussions with teachers at your team meetings involving bullying of students?
A. Well, first of all, Mr. Coles, I rarely had meetings with teachers. I had meetings with my staff which were the administrative team of the district.
Q. Page 60, line 7 through 10, let me ask you if you recall being asked the following questions and you giving the following answers. Stay with me here. Question, you have in part of your team meetings discussed with your personnel school teachers that they are to try and stop bullying when they see it? Answer, no, I have never had that conversation with my staff.
A. Well, you are referring to the teachers. I rarely meet with the teachers. I have had that conversation with the administrators. That's what I meant by the team.
Q. Let me go through the question and answer again.
A. All right.
Q. Do you recall me asking you the following question and you giving the following answer, question, have you and part of your team meetings discussed with your personnel, school teachers that they are to try and stop bullying when they see it? Answer, no, I have never had that conversation with my staff. Do you remember that question and that answer?
A. I don't, but it's written there in the deposition, so I'm sure it was asked that way, but I am telling you now --
Q. I am not concerned about what you are telling me now. You swore under oath on June 10th to tell the truth, did you not?
A. I did.
Q. Was that question and your answer was that the truth, no, I have never had that conversation with my staff?
A. It was the truth as I understood what you were asking me.
Q. You would also agree with me that whatever policies on ethical and responsible behavior of the Falmouth School Department are not distributed to the teachers?
A. You mean the policy was adopted by the board that every teacher in the district received a copy of that policy?
Q. Let me rephrase my question.
Q. You would agree with me that the policies of the Falmouth School Department on ethical and responsible behavior are not distributed to the teachers?
A. There is a policy manual.
Q. Yes or no.
A. That question does not lead to the truth if I answer it yes or no.
Q. Page 62 lines 15 through 18. Question, you know the copy, do you know the copy of this policy, that's the policy on ethical behavior, principal level, you are not quite sure if it goes down to the individual teacher level? Answer, the policies aren't distributed to, to the teachers. They are not, they are not every policy that gets passed by the board isn't distributed to the teachers, no, I don't believe it is. Did I read that question and answer correctly?
A. You did.
Q. Do you know of any other student, any other child in Falmouth school system other than Jan Rankowski that's been suspended for seven months from the playground use during school hours?
A. I do not.
Q. No further questions.
THE COURT: Thank you. Attorney Hewey.
BY MS. HEWEY:
Q. Thank you. Why did you call Officer Soucie on or about December 1st?
A. I knew that the situation that Barbara described this morning had escalated to the point where the meeting had been held, the F B A had been offered, had been rejected. There was concern that despite the meeting, the offer of the F B A, that and the escalation of the behaviors on the playground that Gayle was gonna bring the youngster back despite being told not to do so by Barbara, and I called their home several times, I would guess somewhere between six and eight times over a period of a day or two trying to reach either Charles or Gayle, was unable to do so, they have never called back, so I called our SRO.
Q. Let me interrupt you for a minute when you say SR0 what do you mean?
A. School resource officer.
Q. And could you just briefly explain what the role of a school resource officer is?
A. Well, it's a, it's a police officer from the community that has been assigned to full-time duties in the schools, and he or she becomes almost like a staff member in the school, and everyone knows who the S R 0 is. The children, many of the students know him particularly at the secondary level, the teachers and the administrators know him, and when we have a situation that we think he can help us with we contact him.
Q. So you called Officer Soucie, your SRO?
A. Right, and I asked him --
Q. Why did you do that?
A. I asked him for some advice because I was concerned that we had a situation that was going to escalate, that Gayle and the youngster may show up despite Barbara's telling them not to do so. we had a situation where they wouldn't agree to the F B A, was an untenable situation. I was concerned for family, for Barbara, for the staff, for the children on the playground, and I asked Officer Soucie for some advice.
A. I asked him if he would contact Charles and Gayle and ask them to please contact me, and he said that he would, and I don't know, I'm not sure whether he visited their home or whether he called them, but he must have been able to reach them because Charles called me back shortly thereafter.
Q. And could you tell us what Mr. Rankowski said to you and what you said to Mr. Rankowski during that telephone conversation?
A. Well, I don't recall. I recall explaining to Charles my concern about escalating situation on the playground, our desire to have the assessment done so that the plan could be developed for Jan, concern that Gayle wasn't allowing that to happen, and expressing great concern to him about the fact that they may show up on the playground and when they have been told, directed not to do so, and that I was looking for some help from him in this matter, and I wanted to have the family understand that they shouldn't do that.
Q. And what was his response?
A. His response was basically we had a very good conversation. I believed that Charles understood the position I was taking. I believed he actually empathized with that position, and he said that Gayle manages Jan's education, but he would try to speak with her, and he didn't say intercede, but I got the impression that he would try to communicate to her the concerns I just expressed to him.
Q. I have no further questions.
THE COURT: Thank you. Attorney Coles.
BY MR. COLES:
Q. You seem to recollect conversation you had with Charles Rankowski on December 1st, but you are very vague as to your conversations with the police officer, is that fair to say?
A. No, it isn't.
Q. Do you recall what you told Officer Soucie on that day, yes or no?
A. I recall some of it.
Q. Page 48 lines 4 through 25, do you remember me asking you at your deposition the following questions and you giving the following answers: While at the Falmouth High School, Falmouth High School, question, I received a call from Tim McCormack. Tim stated that he had been having problems at Plummer-Motz school. Do you recall telling Bob Soucie that you were having problems at the school? Answer, no. Question, according to Tim Jan Rankowski was a student at Lunt School two years ago while in second grade, do you remember telling him that? Answer, no. Question, Jan and his mother Gayle had problems with the school department. o you remember telling Mr. Soucie that? Answer, no. Question, last year Jan was home schooled by his mother Gayle. Do you remember telling Mr. Soucie that? Answer, I don't. Question, this year Jan is still being home schooled, but his mother Gayle asks him if she could bring Jan to the playground at p.m. Plummer-Motz so he could play with his fourth grade peers. o you remember telling Bob Soucie that? Answer, I do not. Do you remember me asking you those questions and you giving the following, those answers?
A. I don't, but I can see from the deposition that you did and those are the answers that I gave.
Q. It's your testimony that you called or tried to call Charles six to eight times that day?
A. I can't recall if it was on one day or over the period of several days.
Q. So when you testified previously a few minutes ago that you called Charles Rankowski six or eight times that day, that was incorrect?
MS. HEWEY: Objection, that's not what he said. He said over a two day period, so --
MR. COLES: I will withdraw it.
THE COURT: Thank you.
BY MR. COLES:
Q. The only time that you discussed Jan Rankowski with the chairman of the Falmouth school board Mr. Brinn was in passing, is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. And the only question that was presented was how's the litigation going, do you remember that?
A. I don't.
Q. No further questions.
THE COURT: Thank you. Attorney Hewey.
MS. HEWEY: Nothing further, Your Honor.
MR. COLES: Plaintiff rests.
THE COURT: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. McCormack. Plaintiff has rested. Attorney Hewey, do you wish to call witnesses?
MS. HEWEY: Yeah. May I have one minute to see which of my witnesses are here?
THE COURT: Go right ahead.
MS. HEWEY: Thank you. Your Honor, the defendant calls
Reported by: Diane L. McManus, Official Court Reporter
(This transcript was scanned from a certified copy of the original and converted to text using OmniPage Pro 14.)