Firing of NYC Pupil Transportation Executive Director

Oct 22, 2019 by

Alexandra Robinson, the dysfunctional, clueless and intemperate former executive director of the Office of Pupil Transportation, who acted as disoriented in the discharge of her duties as her buses were disoriented on the road, was recently fired.

At least the DOE knew which route to take.

An investigation by the Special Commissioner described Robinson’s “consistent, willful mismanagement” of a school bus GPS contract and her failure to follow-through on Medicaid reimbursement for service provided to special education students.

To put it bluntly, she never bothered with the paperwork.

The GPS fiasco consisted of a brazenly broken promise made to parents that the OPT would no longer have to endure frightful and protracted vigils for the return of their children from school, as school buses would now be tracked by GPS .

Like the buses, fulfillment of that pledge didn’t arrived on time.

Thousands of parents continued to be shaken up on a regular basis when they continued to be left waiting for their kids, whereabouts unknown, literally in the dark late in the afternoon, hours after having been released from school.

There were other allegations against Robinson as well, but recounting them would be overkill.

I have never dealt personally with Ms. Robinson, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  A few months ago, in a last-ditch effort to amicably resolve a critical sensitive but straightforward  matter for a special needs child, I phoned the OPT repeatedly. The repetitions were made necessary by numerous customer service representatives hanging up on me, despite my being polite and clear.

After all efforts were maddeningly fruitless and met with escalating incivility, I asked to be connected with Ms. Robinson.  To even have the executive director’s name identified to me required forceful interrogation, although I was business-like throughout.

It was impossible to penetrate the thick and fortified wall of defensiveness that was built around Ms. Robinson and other executives at OPT.  The staffers who answered the phone were like impatient nightclub bouncers.

Ms. Robinson could not be reached directly or indirectly. She had instituted an intractable “go to hell” business model.

My OPT-related problem was ultimately resolved, no thanks to Ms. Robinson and her cranky and useless underlings.

Twenty years ago, the OPT was a “tight ship”.  Its staff was under strictly enforced orders to speak with all customers, especially anxious parents, with deference and to find solutions to their inquiries.

Ms. Robinson coasted for around 8 years.  Her departure is no loss. 

Ron Isaac

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Rob Teten

    Hi Ron, is there any update on this story? Was Robinson replaced?

    I’m asking because you 10/22/19 post seemed so spot on but then crickets from the DOE. Now it’s the following summer and there is zero plan to get special needs students in person services and the bussing seems to be a major scapegoat.

    Curious if you have any observations on what’s been done since you wrote this.

    cheers, RT

    • Avatar
      Ron Isaac

      I have no update. Very time-sensitive issue that, like so many others, is not being competently managed by the DOE.

      I very much appreciate your reading my piece and taking the time to thoughtfully respond to it!

      Ron

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