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Labor Issues, Lamont’s Message Problem, Foley’s Opportunity

June 10th, 2010 · 21 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, Education, State Politics

Negotiators for the Bridgeport Board of Education and teachers union have been talking. Doesn’t sound like the union reps want to hear it.

The BOE is operating with a flatline budget for the spending year that begins July 1. How about some concessions to avoid layoffs? No way, say union negotiators. Okay, here come the layoff slips, starting with more than 100 teachers. For now, at least, the teachers union is willing to sacrifice teachers. The larger question is, how many? It’s not like BOE management has a history of sticking a gun to the head of union workers. Doesn’t it seem logical for the union to give back something to save a lot of jobs?

Budgets are tight everywhere and union negotiations will take center stage with education spending, city spending and state spending. I listened in on the first half hour of Ned Lamont’s “town hall” phone conversation with voters last night. These phoners have become common with candidates. They call, you listen and have the opportunity to ask questions. Ned talked about the $3 billion budget deficit the next governor will inherit. When someone asked him how he’ll cut spending he ducked awkwardly, and I paraphrase: that’s what we need, input from callers like you.

Egad. Such leadership.

If Ned manages to win–and that’s a big if–the Democratic primary against party endorsed Dan Malloy, the presumptive Republican Tom Foley will fillet Ned on the question of union concessions. Ned doesn’t want to piss off the union votes he’ll need by stating clearly that union givebacks must be part of the solution. Foley won’t play a winking game with unions. He doesn’t need union votes to win. He has stated unions must be part of the solution to reduce spending. If not, guess what? Layoffs.

Ned’s problem is he has a Republican message in a Democratic primary–I’m a businessman, I’ll create jobs, vote for me. But the message is hollow because it doesn’t connect the rhetoric with reality. Employee concessions are a major component of closing the budget gap. Doesn’t Malloy have the same problem as Lamont? No. Because Malloy, former Stamford mayor, comes from the perspective of a municipal chief executive who has negotiated employee contracts.

Unaffiliated voters, the state’s largest voting bloc, will decide the general election. Ned had a problem appealing to general election voters in 2006 against Joe Lieberman. Ned still has that problem.

From Ken Dixon, CT Post:

HARTFORD — “Significant” deficiencies in controlling revenue, compensatory time for employees and purchasing procedures were reported Wednesday in a multi-year audit of the Attorney General’s office.

The 35-page report indicates that the managerial problems fall short of being serious lapses, but the auditors said that better administration procedures need to be put in place.

In response, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s office said that in some cases, auditors found only isolated instances of administrative lapses.

But Robert G. Jaekle of Stratford, one of the two auditors of public accounts, said that the relatively small sampling in nine crucial areas of office management can be extrapolated as a wider-ranging problem.

The audit found:

That review procedures indicate a pattern of lax management, including lateness in depositing cash receipts in interest-bearing bank accounts.

The need to improve controls over pre-approved comp time. There was no written documentation of compensatory time for at least three upper-level employees.

Costs for contracted outside legal services exceeded contracted amounts.

The office’s receivables was overstated in accounting information one year by more than $360

Father’s Day from the Y

The Bridgeport YMCA Celebrates the 100TH Anniversary of Father’s Day

This year, the Bridgeport YMCA will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day. First celebrated in June 1910 at the Spokane YMCA in Washington, Father’s Day is now recognized all over the world.

“The Bridgeport YMCA is proud to join in this historic celebration honoring fathers,” said Timothy Bartlett, Executive Director, Bridgeport YMCA. “Dads, and moms, play a paramount role in children’s lives, and the Y is committed to helping foster those relationships.”

Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Louis Smart Dodd, the daughter of a single father who served in the Civil War. On Mother’s Day in 1909 Smart Dodd heard a sermon honoring mothers and wondered why there was no similar tribute for fathers. With the support of ministers in Spokane, Smart Dodd launched the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. President Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 1972.

Today, the Y remains committed to strengthening families. The Bridgeport YMCA offers programs that foster understanding and companionship between children and their dads – and moms – such as Family Swim Time, Open Gym and First Friday Family Fun Nights.

For more information about the Bridgeport YMCA’s family programming, visit www.cccymca.org or contact Erin Fraenza at 203-367-5449 or efraenza@cccymca.org.

###

About the Bridgeport YMCA: The Bridgeport YMCA is the leading provider of children’s programming in the city of Bridgeport serving almost 1,300 kids each day. The YMCA is proud to serve over 4,200 individuals uniting men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. The Bridgeport YMCA is a place for people to belong, serving Bridgeport’s children, families and communities for over 126 years by building “Strong Kids, Strong Families and Strong Communities.” Please visit www.cccymca.org for more information.

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • BPT Teacher

    From someone that knows:

    Bpt teachers are the largest group of spoiled brats that walk the earth.
    Reason to become a teacher?

    Have half the year off and full vacations and holidays while working. We should give back to save jobs and furloughs for the people who furloughed last year.

  • town committee

    Last year the teachers did not give back anything while the rank and file from the other city unions gave back at least 8 days and postponed raises.
    What makes the teachers think they are special and do not feel that they should help out in this financial crisis? What other profession has the protections the tenured teacher in Bridgeport has? Become a tenured teacher and it takes an act of congress to get rid of you no matter how bad you perform. With a 68% dropout rate there is enough blame to go around about the failure of the Bridgeport education system. Yet the teachers still want raises and increases in benefits. Only in the public sector can you get away with this kind of BS.
    Most teachers live outside of Bridgeport and could give a shit less about our problems here in Bridgeport.
    The city unions have taken it on the chin and are being asked again to almost double what they gave back last year. In their case I can see them saying NO but teachers have given back ZERO.
    With all this being said I support laying off teachers.

    • banmenow

      TC
      It is a mathematical formula as to how many teachers Bridgeport needs. If they have too many teachers, then layoffs should happen. Teachers should not be giving back. Don’t agree to a contract and then ask for stuff back. Bad tenure teachers remain in Bridgeport because they have bad administrators who don’t take the necessary steps to rid the system of bad teachers.
      The teachers union, unlike perhaps the police or fire unions have no plans to give back because for the last several contracts teachers have seen pay freezes or no increase in the step they are on. Additionally, unlike the police and fire, no one is promising the teachers big increases in better economic times. What was promised to the police/fire? 11%???

  • Grin Reaper

    TC does not stand for Teachers Count.

  • Grin Reaper

    TC does not stand for Teaching Children.

    • town committee

      Grin: With a dropout rate of 68% who is teaching and what are they teaching? Times are tough asking the teachers for givebacks is not the end of the world. What makes them different from Cops and Firefighters? What makes them different than the lowest-level city employee when it comes to givebacks? Top pay $74K for 184 days minus personal days and 15 sick days.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Does it stand for trapping children?

  • Bridgeport Now

    Unions are a big issue also in other areas. I understand that, for example, at the public library in Bridgeport, there is only one NON-union employee and that is the head of the whole library system.

  • john gilmore

    Take the Employment Challenge

    Pick your favorite municipal contract and compare

    Public Benefit vs. Private Sector Benefits

    Base salary _____ – _____

    OT potential _____ – _____

    Drug deductible _____ – _____

    Dr. visit deductible _____ – _____

    Education benefits _____ – _____

    Total annual work days _____ – _____

    Paid sick days _____ – _____

    Vacation days _____ – _____

    Paid retirement health insurance _____ – _____

    Rate employer fear factor (of unions) _____ – _____

  • town committee

    banmenow: many of the contracts that were agreed to were done before the financial problems hit. Sure the PD & FD were given delayed raises but guess what they are now being asked for more givebacks or in the PD’s case they will face 48 layoffs.
    The teachers don’t want to give back? That’s fine with me, then face layoffs. You know and I know there are other schools that can be closed besides Roosevelt and Dunbar. They can close Edison and Hall just to name 2.
    Look I know it sounds like I am picking on teachers but I am not. They do have to realize the consequences of their actions. Not an easy choice.
    The truth be told I think this administration is going about this in the wrong way.
    1. All appointed jobs should take a 10% pay cut and not get the 4% pay raise they are going to get.
    2. Review all the city jobs and eliminate those that are really not necessary.
    3. Use contractors for all boiler repairs, masonary repairs and the like.
    4. Privatize where it would produce a cost savings.
    5. Reopen all contracts were it can be done and renegotiate terms.
    6. STOP UNNECESSARY SPENDING
    Failing all else raise the taxes.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Let’s get it done!

    www .tomfoley2010.com/

  • Joel Gonzalez

    This is a cheap shot at Linda McMahon:

    www .youtube.com/watch?v=FGnCY64Oerk

  • Grin Reaper

    And I know it sounds like I am picking on TC but the city administration and OPM have been waiting for the day where the schools get no new city money. If the teachers give back this year, you know the city will absolutely plan on the same next year.
    Did you read that nonsense from Ramos in the paper? We don’t have 18 failing schools; we have 18 schools failing to make adequate progress.
    Is that what the highly paid administrators tell the teachers to tell the parents? Mr. TC you do not have a failing child you have a child failing to make adequate progress. In either case they are not getting promoted but at this rate by the time he is 22 years old he will be ready for the next grade.

  • Grin Reaper

    And we don’t have 100 administrators making over $100K. Well we actually have 102 people making over $100K but they are not administrators. They are principals and their assistants.
    What’s that Mr. TC, if they are not teachers aren’t they administrators? A mere technicality, like failing versus failing to progress.

  • city hall smoker

    When you look up “sacred cow” in the dictionary there is a picture of a Bpt teacher. They don’t live here, they take, take, take and give back nothing. Lay their asses off. All the other unions gave back last year and still have not recouped their money. It’s now the teachers’ turn. The City needs to stop stalling and just do it. Shit or get off the pot already.

  • city hall smoker

    The entire Finch administration is failing to progress.

    How many of them are spending more time working the Lamont campaign than dealing with this budget crisis? Answer: Finch, Wood, Ruben Felipe, Tyrone McClain to name a few. Biggest budget crisis since the Moran bankruptcy and the entire mayor’s office is competing to see who can stick his head the farthest up Lamont’s ass.

  • Bridgeport Now

    Maybe some were put off by comments about BOE possible waste and mismanagement. After all, the school system was set up for our children, and not for all the benefits that adults get out of it, right?

    Well, if you saw the topic in the New York Times, would you believe it? Look at today’s front page–teachers tamper with grades. This is right out of Dr. Fusco’s book, which we reviewed on the last TV show “Bridgeport Now.”

    By the way today’s CT Post (6/11) has a big article on him on page 7. Regarding the coming audit … Dr. Ramos, head of BOE says the citizen’s audit is not a bad thing.

    Come tomorrow at 10am at the main Bridgeport downtown library and get involved.

  • Unemployed2ru

    I am a Union member & have been all of my adult life. The Unions negotiated with the City in Good Faith. The Unions all have made concessions to attain the best deal for their membership. Are the previous concessions made during negotiations being revisited? This is a lopsided attempt by the politicians to to appear qualified to the Voters.

    All employees must share the pain equally. Nobody wants to give back any benefits. Why does the Board of Education feel they are above concessions? In fairness to the Teachers themselves they really are being unfairly cast as the Bad Guys. The reality of the situation is that the Board of Ed. Administration is a horribly bloated, out of control Black Hole. It sucks everything in with no visible return. The failure is at the expense of all our Children. The Superintendent of Education is trying to justify his failures at the expense of the Teachers, the Students, and last but not least the Taxpayers. They are avoiding performing an Audit that will expose Gross Abuse that will result in many convictions. My hope is that the F.B.I. Investigates them with the same zeal they had with the Ganim Administration.

  • Milton Johnson

    Those contracts were negotiated and signed during this Finch administration, so to say they came before the financial problems is incorrect. They either were not negotiated in “Good Faith” as state labor law demands, or those at the top have no clue as to what they are doing, and should be fired. Since we’ll see no movement at the negotiating table, I’ll just have to assume the negotiations were not in “Good Faith.” I think that needed to be said.

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