Monday, March 12, 2007

Is TPS Board hamstrung?

This article in today's Blade has an interesting point to consider.

The article is about the potential salary that the TPS Board can pay a new superintendent. Basically, the story relates that there is an agreement between the Board and the unions saying that the new superintendent cannot be paid more than Dr. Sanders was - at least until the unions get a raise.

Now, I understand the logic of this agreement. If I were a member of the unions, I'd be urging my union leaders to stay strong on this issue. In fact, David McClellan, president of the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel, said, "They will not be able to pay him more than [Mr.] Sanders, and we are not budging on that." Fran Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, was more diplomatic in saying she's "willing to have an open mind about it and enter into discussions with board members."

Now, you may ask, what's the interesting point? What I find so interesting is that the unions have ANY negotiating ability regarding the wages, terms and conditions of employment for someone who is not a member of their union.

I don't blame these unions for seeking such authority or negotiating power. I blame the administration and the board for ceding this right. The first time that the union mentioned the superintendent's salary, they should have been told that they don't represent the superintendent and that his wages were a matter for the Board - not for negotiations with them.

I understand having an agreement about increases in general - saying that if one segment of employees gets a raise, then all employees would get their raises. However, hiring a new superintendent is a different matter. The salary for this position was advertised and the Board should be able to offer wages within that range - without interference from the unions.

If this isn't possible because of the memorandums of understanding that have been signed by administrators and not voted on by the board, then the board needs to hold such administrators responsible for tying their hands in such onerous ways.

2 comments:

Kate said...

Well stated Maggie. While the unions may wish to weigh in with an opinion - that had better be all that it is.

You are absolutely right. The board members are publicly elected officials. They are negotiating for the employment of a Superintendent who will work directly for them.

There is no excuse for each and every one of them to have a clear mandate on how the public expects them to conduct this district business. When you want to hire someone, you make them an offer. You don't discuss it in the newspaper.

They've been talking about 'customer service'. Well, the time for talking is over. They'd better show up at the game on this one.

Anyone who steps outside of their official roles at this time is going to be facing an historical public furor.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

I couldn't agree with you more!

I'd also like to compliment Fran Lawrence on her refreshingly tactful comments, for once.

I bash her (and others) when I think that they deserve it, so it is only fitting that I take notice and mention it when they behave sensibly for a change.

;-)

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