September 8, 2005

How Thoroughly Typical

Andrew has just posted the results of the vote on the Cranston teachers' union contract. [Read the first comment to that posting for an interesting perspective from someone who attended the meeting.]

Steve Stycos, a School Committee member, was quoted in the referenced ProJo article as saying that board did not have sufficient information about the cost of the contract.

How thoroughly typical. And how absolutely improper.

A contract extension came up when I served on the East Greenwich School Committee. The union had voted to accept that contract extension before the School Committee had even discussed the contract terms for the first time. Former Superintendent Jolin had unilaterally gone out and struck the deal without a full Committee discussion in advance. Then, when we did meet to vote on it, the school administration provided zero information on the cost of the contract - and expected us to vote immediately to approve the contract.

And that is why I voted against the contract extension - which, it turns out, awarded 9-12% annual salary increases to 9 of the 10 job steps, required a zero co-payment on health insurance premiums, and provided a rich cash buyback (worth $6,800 last school year) for those employees who did not use health insurance.

We are overpaying for underperformance across all of Rhode Island. It is critical that these games involving spineless politicians and bureaucrats as well as far-too-powerful public sector unions stop for the good of all the working people and retirees whose hard-earned monies fund these extravagent actions.

No more rides on the gravy train.