Breaking a Trust to Play Politics — 3/16/2012

Context:  A bit cleaned up version of a response  at the Landmark site to the article, “RBHS board sends teachers layoff notices.”

I urge you [the prior poster] to tell taxpayers it’s a good idea to fire teachers to pay teachers.


Your history is wrong.

RBEA closed the contract conversations in conjunction with the board via a press statement dated March 7. Here are the RBEA / Board quotes, from the Landmark report:

[Begin Landmark quote:]

“‘The District 208 Board of Education and the Riverside Brookfield Education Association have concluded their informal discussions concerning possible changes to the current salary schedule and an extension of the contract between District 208 and the RBEA,’ the press release said.

“‘The board and association were able to have candid discussions about the impact of the current contract on the district. The discussions did not result in any changes to the contract but a foundation was laid for the expectations each has of the next contract.

“‘Each party wants to express its appreciation to the other for their willingness to engage in this type of discussion.”

“District 208 school board President Matt Sinde refused to say why the board did not accept the union’s offer of a wage freeze.

“‘I’m not going to talk about informal proposals,” Sinde said. “The press release states everything we want to say about this.’

“Monti also declined to comment about the talks, except for confirming that the RBEA had offered a wage freeze when he was asked if that had occurred.

“‘It is inappropriate and counterproductive for negotiation issues to be rehashed and discussed in public, especially in a newspaper,’ Monti said in an email.”

[End Landmark quote.]

Neither RBEA president David Monti, nor the board, nor the joint comunique on March 7, says, ‘there remains an issue about the full boards meeting.’

That’s because, [prior poster], obviously, as stated at the board meeting, the issue had been resolved by the Board and the RBEA before the joint statement was released.

And then Tim Walsh jackpotted our board, RBEA and the process when he ignored David Monti’s wisdom, “It is inappropriate and counterproductive for negotiation issues to be rehashed and discussed in public,” and MOVED TO REHASH A NEGOTIATION ISSUE RESOLVED AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE.

Tim’s act was political, strategic and irresponsible. It breached his duty of loyalty and confidentiality to the Board, which means us. Tim burned a bridge either with his fellow board members, or with the union, or both.

If he breaches his duties again, Tim Walsh should step down. The next 15 months are too significant for the students, teachers and taxpayers for a “Tim Tell-all” to be chattering away out of turn. After this stunt, who can trust him?

Anyone who understands negotiations, as Dave Monti and Matt Sinde’s statements in the release and to Bob Skolnik show they do, knows that those who blab in public imperil the entire activity.

What we need instead is to strengthen the Board, RBEA and the process — to take tough decisions, like a “no firing give-back.”

A “no-firing giveback” is not easy for Monti, or any of his executive board, or any of his members. It is very hard. It is painful. It is giving up something to which they are entitled.

Cutting $2 million in student activities and administrative expenses has not been easy for the last two boards, either.

And none of this easy for the students or their parents.

We are past the easy fixes. No easy resolution awaits us. Both sides need strength now to do what is hard.

But Tim Walsh decided he knew better, that he should weaken the process, and then furthered his error by cloaking it in his idiosyncratic “transparency.”  Transparency in confidential negotiations is a signed agreement.  That’s why they are “confidential.”

Tim Walsh violated his position of trust. He now personally bears responsibility for a seriously reduced level of confidentiality.

Explore posts in the same categories: Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

One Comment on “Breaking a Trust to Play Politics — 3/16/2012”

  1. Bob Says:

    One needs to question whose “trust” is actually being broken here; the “trust” between certain Board members and the RBEA to shortchange the students and taxpayers in and unfairly generous contract contrary to the interests of the community, or the “trust” between the schoolboard adn th community to bargain in a fair and transparent manner.

    I COMPLETELY disagree with MR Monti saying it is “inappropriate” to disclose proposals made by either side.

    In public contracts, there is NO reason in the public interest that ALL proposals made by both the Board and the Union be made public. This would enable the public to see when they’re being “sold out” by elected officials, and perhaps do something top stop it.

    The only reasons for secrecy here are less tha honorable ones, ad rarely do these “back room deals” work to the benefit iof studetns and taxpayers.

    I suggest in fact taking transparency in these contracts to a level even higher than merely publically disclosing contract proposals.

    I suggest that after the union has approved a contract proposal, the district makes public the contract, and cost impact study, for at least 30 days prior to a Board approval vote. Not less than one week before the vote there shold be a public hearing where the Board, and union, should be made to answer any and all public questions about the contract and its effects on education quality, stuednt interest, and taxpayer liabilities.

    This process would ensure tranparency and make it very difficult for those acting contrary to the public interest to move forward their abuse of the public.

    Compare this process to the one Mr Monti wants; hiding critical contract information from the public while selling oout the children, taxpayers, and community.

    Is there any doubt whether transparency or secrecy serves the public interest better?

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