The three rich white guys and their 2 hapless handmaidens are looking to make one final stab at relevance for their "Reform Vision Board Majority" before history's mouldering dumpster claims their failed and floundering legacy as its own. Ironic too that one guy who was able to throw away ten million dollars of his pocket change on a farcical run for Governor teamed up with another guy who blew through $64K of taxpayer funds on social club memberships for his CEO self and a third guy who walked away with millions and millions after destroying the Buffalo Sabres franchise should take such a personal burn to the idea of anyone as low heeled as school teachers enjoying the perks of a cosmetic surgery rider in their labor contract. Don't the small people realize that only the ruling class deserve perks like this? None of them ever said it openly but you can only imagine their chatter as McCarthy poured drinks and Pierce ran tappas to their table.
Fact is a lot of teachers I know would rather have better dental and/or optical than a damned cosmetic rider in the first place. We'd just as soon be shut of the thing for a lot of reasons. For one it would be one less chestnut the teacher hater class can roll out every time they run out of things to squawk about. The Buffalo News would probably have to lay off an editorial writer if we ever unloaded the damned thing. (Can't help but compare them to the poor stoners in Washington and Colorado who suddenly found themselves slackjawed with nothing to say after weed was finally legalized...) The reality that the rider was put into our contract for the best of reasons but when it was supposed to be removed by the board it wasn't never seems to make it past the copy editors at The News. Few people even bothered taking advantage of the thing until James Williams created such an unbearable level of toxicity in the Buffalo Schools that teachers seemed to say, screw it, I know I am not getting a new contract and the control board will never let us have a raise and I am so sick of hating my job and my employer. I am going to find some way to cheer myself up. And from what I hear a new rack, a tucked in front porch and some hair on your head seem to work miracles towards cheering up teachers at the end of their professional rope. It's human nature to find a way to dull the pain. And as we discussed last post, teachers in spite of what "The News" will tell you are guilty of being human on a regular basis. Besides all that I've always said -- and I still do -- that I know more teachers who've lost time from work as a result of student assaults than teachers with newly implanted DD's and surgically installed washboard abs.
The Privatization Majority whiffed on all of their attempts to slam dunk a Superintendent. Their $350.00 an hr NYC lawyer who was going to breeze into backwater B-Lo and dazzle the rubes with his lawyerly legerdemain was an overpriced bust. He didn't undo the Triborough Amendment, he didn't force teachers into longer days and longer school years for less pay and he didn't 86 the cosmetic rider. He was however able to bill the city for time spent in the air to and from this charming little hick town though. In the end I think the real point of Terry O'Neil was his ability to wrack up those billable hours. His tenure as labor lawyer is something of a mirror image of the Privatization Majority who sought him out and brought him in some like some kind of high powered Columbian hit man. He was a lot of talk and a lot of bluster that went nowhere, accomplished nothing and cost a lot.
The cosmetic rider has been something we've been willing to part with pretty much since it started making news during the Williams regime. But the idea that teachers somehow should be treated like sappy do-good know nothings who allow pieces of our contract to be surgically excised by the likes of Paladino, Sampson and Quinn is an idea the Gang of Three need to get out of their heads. Nobody allows items to be yanked from their contract unilaterally without compensation. It simply isn't done. Not by the Ironworkers or the UAW or even the come to do good and stay to do better members of the BTF. Sorry guys, as Phil Rumore has already pointed out, your lawyer should have told you this wasn't going to fly and if he didn't you might want to replace him with a lawyer who knows the law. Surely Larry Quinn has another lawyer friend who's up on this stuff?
The Reform Board Majority so called is croaking out its death rattle. As we've seen with past doomed majorities they will always perpetrate some symbolic last stand. Whether it's extending the contract of a toxic Superintendent or trying to pick the pockets of a legally binding labor contract, there's always a final desperate attempt to spray paint their names under the bridge and claim some kind of relevance. I think Dr. Nevergold who's had to sit on the Board with this crew for years has summarized the situation with a keen eye and razor wit. And it's only fitting she have the last word:
“This is grandstanding, as far as I’m concerned, because this group wants to go out as the majority that has made some difference,” she added. “They came in with a vision statement where they were going to make all of these reforms, and essentially they didn’t do any of it. This is, ‘Look what we did so you can’t see what we didn’t do.’ ”
Amen to that, Sister.