Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Enthusiastic Brooklyn Librarian Charged with Ethics Violation

Robert Grandt is an educator of some 39 years experience.

He is also a very proud father.

So what's the problem? Well it seems that Grandt's pride in his daughter has gotten him into hot water with NYC's Conflicts of Interest Board because he had the audacity to place copies of the new book that his daughter helped illustrate into Brooklyn Technical High School's library. Now keep in mind that Grandt was not selling the book, Shakespeare's Macbeth, from the display table he set up. He was giving the book away to anyone who showed an interest in it.

The New York Times has all the details of this ridiculous waste of the city's time:
On Monday, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board announced it had settled a case it had brought against Mr. Grandt for promoting his daughter’s work. He agreed to pay a $500 fine and admit in a three-page stipulation that he had violated the city ethics code.

Mr. Grandt, who said he was an unwitting villain, was disappointed the board did not see things his way.

“There are so many things going on they could investigate,” he said in an interview, “and they had nothing better to do than allege that my daughter would have gotten 20 cents in royalties if someone bought the book. But nobody did. I gave out free copies. I was just so proud of my daughter for writing it.”
Mr. Grandt said he did not envision that putting a few copies of his daughter’s book on a table or promoting it in the newsletter last spring would cross the line.

“I’m supposed to, as part of my job, display new books and encourage the kids to read new books,” he said. “So here, I displayed my daughter’s book and encouraged the kids to read it and am told that I had done something illegal.”

Trouble first surfaced in June, he said, when he was summoned to an assistant principal’s office. Representatives from the city’s Department of Investigation were there to ask about the book.
You know what? Even if this man's daughter made a whopping twenty cents for any books purchased as a result of her dad's efforts, who cares? Is this is all the fine folks in New York City have to worry about? If so, they must never turn on the local news.

The members of the Conflicts of Interest Board should be ashamed of themselves and rushing to give Grandt the apology he deserves. Yeah, right...that's gonna happen.


  1. Well, I for one would apologize to him for the idiocy of this situation. I'm sorry he had to incur it. I'm sorry he was punished for being proud of his daughter. I'm sorry he was prevented from encouraging literacy. Everyone who doesn't say something (bravo Sam) should be embarrassed for silently allowing such a thing to take place!

  2. Well, Jen, he got at least two apologies (us), but that's probably about it. Somehow I doubt that the agency involved cares enough to do the right thing here.