Feb 25, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Principals’ personal gripes go public
For months I’ve been hearing teachers and parents in the Liverpool Central School District privately grousing out loud about Superintendent Nick Johns. Last weekend, the private sniping suddenly became public. A letter from the Liverpool Administrators Association-the union representing school principals here-surfaced to spell out the complaints in no uncertain terms: “Our unit members have…experienced a working climate of fear, trepidation and vindictiveness when work done by members is not perceived to meet an unspecified standard,” the Feb. 11 letter said.
The missive was issued by the 33 members of the LAA to explain why they refused to cooperate with Johns’ suggestion that employees accept a pay freeze to help offset the district’s multi-million-dollar budget shortfall. The LAA also griped that Johns has spent money on the development of a “FOCUS Academy” and renovations at the former Wetzel Road Elementary School, which was closed last year.
The LAA refusal to freeze its members’ six-figure salaries follows in the muddy footsteps of the United Liverpool Faculty Association which thumbed its nose at the super’s cost-cutting suggestion earlier this month. That 2.2 percent wage hike for 2011- 12 is in their contract, darn it, and they want it no matter how bad off everyone else is!
What’s most disturbing about this turn of events is not just the unions’ greed, but the way they’re steering the debate. Grumbling about the academy proposal and about asbestos removal at WRE is a classic case of misdirection. The unions don’t want people to focus on the real issues that cause our budget blues-soaring salaries, beaucoup benefits and profligate pensions. Three other LCSD unions, Liverpool Association of Middle Managers, Service Employees International Union Local 200 (representing maintenance staff), and Unite Here Local 150 (representing cafeteria workers) have informed Johns that they are willing to take a wage freeze for 2011-12.
Now that’s an example of caring and cooperation from which the teachers should take a lesson. Johns and four other non-unionized administrators have already agreed to the pay freeze. The superintendent will unveil his proposed budget to the school board Feb. 28.
Selfish vs. selfless
The line in the sand drawn by ULFA and LAA rankles district taxpayers especially in light of more reasonable decisions made by teachers in the West Genesee, North Syracuse and Syracuse city districts. Those union brothers and sisters demonstrate true empathy and community spirit by agreeing to pay freezes in order to forestall the budget firestorm.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was so impressed by the West Genesee’s teachers that he publicly praised them last week. Cuomo cited their selfless efforts up as an example to be followed by public-employee unions across the Empire State. Meanwhile, here in Liverpool we taxpayers are told that the unions want more money just because they don’t like the superintendent. That’s disingenuous at best and downright deceptive at worst.
Who really cares? They all know Liverpool taxpayers will bear the burden.
Limp Lizard lagging
Since September, workers have been renovating the old Mother’s Restaurant at 201 First St., to turn it into The Limp Lizard Bar & Grill. New owners Chuck Orlando, Mike Rotella and Scott Schimpff initially hoped to open during the holidays, but now they’re shooting for sometime around St. Patrick’s Day. Staff is now being trained and there’s a good chance villagers will be chowing down on barbecued brisket, ribs and chicken by April 1. No joke!