Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Why is it so hard to get an answer?
At Monday's School Board meeting a question was asked repeatedly - Who on the Board had actually met the negotiator they were about to vote to hire? After much insistence from Robin Kaliner it was finally revealed that 5 of the nine members (a majority!) had not even met, let alone interviewed a legal consultant they were about to hire to the tune of $200 per hour. Doesn't sound like a process that was thoroughly vetted to me. It was also revealed that the Board took a "straw pole" at their 12/12/2011 executive session. A straw poll is a vote, and it is against the Sunshine Act to take a vote on an action item in executive session. Also, when the teachers agreed to a pay freeze in April, they also agreed to begin negotiations with the teachers at the start of school back in September. The Board majority chose not to keep that promise, and wait until the election was over. I've negotiated 4 contracts with the WCEA over the past 20 years. It is not as difficult as this new board makes it out to be. And, how would they know, since none of them has been involved in any substantive negotiations before. You have to be patient, honest, and bargain in good faith. It takes a lot of work, but when you commit to being a board member that comes with the territory. Later this month the administration will be presenting the proposed suggestions from the community budget task force in a tiered approach. When we're looking at "pay to play", increasing class sizes, and the possible closing of an elementary school should they really be in a hurry to hire a paid negotiator they haven't even met?......Stay tuned.