Monday, July 19, 2010

This didn’t have to happen (Updated 7/19)

I didn’t know whether or not to bring this up.  I knew about it at the beginning of this last school year, but it’s a very dicey issue and I chose to avoid it.  Well, it’s news now, not only locally but around the state as well, and I’d figure to throw it out there to show the massive immaturity of members within our district.
Our negotiating team, lead by Mr. Dennis Boaz, released a report out to the membership near the beginning of the school year.  In the report it was stated that “the tenor of the negotiation tactics of the (district office) has become increasingly negative and niggardly”.  As you might imagine, there was a problem with the wording of the statement, especially due to the fact that the Superintendent of Ukiah Unified is black.  It caused quite the firestorm.  The District AND the County Office of Education wrote a letter to our union condemning the language and stating, "This memo is formal notice to UTA that Mr. Boaz's communication is insulting and unacceptable ... (and) racism or suggested racism has absolutely no place in this district.”  Mr. Boez in turn sued the District for damage to his reputation, and physical and emotional stress.
Two things to start.  No, I don’t think that Mr. Boez is a racist.  And yes, I think the small claims case is a joke and should be thrown out.  If you read Boez’s own comments in the article you can see that he’s trying to elicit a reaction from the District, something he was strongly discouraged from doing by members of the Union.  He did it anyway and the District told him off in strong terms, to which he claims a variety of damages.  Look, I don’t know about his home life, but having been to plenty of union meetings, I would gather that he relished the attention a hell of a lot more than he was damaged from it.  And members of the union had be asking for his removal from the Bargaining Team during the previous year. 
The whole incident pretty much typifies our current leadership’s negotiating style.  They allowed this report to come out, accepted no responsibility for it, and then cried foul when called out.  It ended up taking up the time that should have gone towards working on the Districts fiscal situation.  One wonders how anyone on the other side of the table respects us at all. 
Note to new teachers, unions are entirely political, yet necessary for the current climate that teachers are working in.  In my district, very few new teachers (working 8 years or less) have come forward to make their thoughts known.  I understand the probationary teachers, they have no protection.  But tenured teachers are often given a bad name because they are associated, by force, with groups of people that don’t always think about the good of the group.  And don’t say “Agency Fee Payer” either, the Union still negotiates my wages, working conditions, health care, and benefits.  So, get involved.  And if the structure seems nasty and corrupt, work on tearing it down and starting anew.  Remember, even Tammany Hall came to an end. 
Oh, and with that $7,500 Mr Boaz is looking for, I could fund the basketball program (three boys’ teams) for about two years.

Updated July 2, 2010

Mr. Boaz didn't get his cash and the judge ruled in favor of the District.  Good, move on. 

Updated July 19, 2010

Looks like Mr. Boaz has extended his fifteen minutes of fame thanks to the Ukiah Daily Journal.  Surprise, he's writing a book that looks to include the current situation.  Remember when you read the article that this man lead our negotiating team.  
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