Sunday Notes Feb 1 2015

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If the Manager, Supt. and Atty are the negotiating team, shouldn’t the public and especially the Union be informed of that?

[by Mayor Rodney Elliott]: Request that the School Committee vote to delegate full authority to City Manager, Superintendent of Schools and Labor Attorney, to negotiate collective bargaining agreements School Department employee unions, for ratification by School Committee.

How often are Mayor Elliott and I on the same side of an issue? In this case the Mayor is 100% right! Not only in making the motion but for MOST his reasoning behind it.

It never made sense to me that the Law allows 7 School Committee members to all participate in negotiations.

Under the Mass Ed Reform Act the School Committee has the responsibility to negotiate contracts.

D. Collective bargaining (Bold Mine)

State law: The school committee continues to be the “employer” of school employees for collective bargaining purposes. (G.L. c. 150E, [[section]] 1)

It makes perfect sense to allow a small group to negotiate the contract which the State allows and supports: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommendations: The school committee chairperson may appoint the municipal official to be a member of the school committee’s negotiating subcommittee.

Putting aside the shameful treatment by members of this School Committee towards Jean Franco, having a trio made up of the City Manager, the real person who controls the School Dept’s Budget (regardless of what Connie Martin thinks she has control over) and who understands net school spending and city finances, The Supt. who understands the needs of the district, scheduling, and the School Committee’s policies and the Lawyer who understands Labor Law and contracts makes perfect sense.

It makes sense to follow the same process the rest of the city and unions follow. They negotiate with the Manager, then the City Council ratifies in an open session.

The Committee can meet with the sub-committee in advance in Executive session, lay out the basis of what they want, what they will settle for and let those people with experience negotiate. Unlike Connie Martin, some members work in the private sector not the semi-private sector like she does and have to travel for work. They also have family commitments and can’t be out 3-4 nights above and beyond their commitments to the school system already. Getting 3 people together is a lot easier than getting 7 people together.

You also don’t have people going off on tangents because they think they have been there so long, they know it all and want their way and want to micro-manage everything from recess to MCAS. Let the Manager, Supt. and Lawyer have FULL POWER to make a deal and let the committee publicly ratify that or not in full view of the voters.

The only thing I disagree with the Mayor on is his comment that “I don’t think it’s the most ethical way to have discussions when you have large unions who endorse candidates, provide financial contributions to candidates, sitting directly across the table negotiating benefits and agreements with those individuals who they either endorse or they don’t endorse,” Elliott said.

It calls into question the Ethics of the Individual School Committee members and while I understand his viewpoint, he didn’t need to say it in that fashion. That just causes resentment when he needs to get the members behind this idea.

Again Connie Martin is becoming a focal point for the problem the School Committee’s seem to have with Supt. and teachers contracts and while she started off as a decent school committee member, it may be time for her to move on. She is an obstructionist rather than someone who can get everyone together for the betterment of the system. She appears to want to be Supt. and have her way with the direction of the school system and she is the main reason we have lost the last two Superintendents. Watch the meeting this week, she will oppose the Mayor’s motion and won’t want to let go of what she perceives as her power.

Paul Georges the UTL President called in to WCAP yesterday and again has he did last week, stated that the Union has No Issue with notes being taken and releasing them AFTER a contract is settled, I’ll take Paul’s word for that but to verify I will send a formal Public Records Request for all minutes / notes to be released after a contract is reached (Trust but Verify)

I asked Supt. Taylor about the social media buzz aimed at trying to change the restrictions Lowell has on firearm carrying permits. He stated he had no intention of changing what Supt. Davis and Lavallee had in place and in fact provided a report that shows that States with Weak Gun Laws and Higher Gun Ownership Lead Nation in Gun Deaths, New Data for 2013 Confirms. Mass ranks 2nd to only Hawaii in States with the Five Lowest Gun Death Rates. The report states:

The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2013 were Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and a lower rate of gun ownership.

Today’s Sunday Column in the SUN has DHA member Brian Bond questioning the ethics of fellow members regarding if any of them received financial support from the father of someone recommended for hiring? REALLY? I like Brian but sometimes his mouth operates without support from his brain or common sense! The guy who contributed to the State Rep. who supported his appointment and lobbied for it. The guy who also contributed to LT. Gov. Tim Murray who was close to Mike McLaughlin and recommended Bond for the Appointment and the guy who texted a person battling cancer something about dying has the gall to question anyone’s ethics?

His Appointment expired January 26th 2015 and last week’s Blizzard probably delayed the announcement of his replacement (Who is NOT Mike Maguire) but the end can’t come soon enough for his fellow board members.

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One thought on “Sunday Notes Feb 1 2015

  1. jerryflynn

    Paul George’s is absolutely right and to have all six members and the Mayor being part of the negotiation team is utterly ridiculous. This is just another attempt to circumvent the process of collective bargaining and to ensure these elected official get enough face time and to invoke their lack of knowledge in the “Collective Begging” process. Isn’t this why labor lawyers are hired and representatives of a sub committee are utilized? Obviously a disappointing failure by those whose policy setting authority has now reached well beyond their designated usefulness, in an attempt to stroke their own political agenda. This has become nothing more than a political football with deflated egos!

    On another note. . . DHA COMMISSIONER Brian Bond is clearly a dead man walking in terms of his political career and Aaron Hernadez has a better chance of being pardoned than Mr. Bond has being reappointed by the Governor. Say Goodnite!

    Reply

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