Monday, March 15, 2010

Can you spot the facts?

I can't.

What next, outsourcing causes cancer?!?

I've looked at this NESPA ad from today's Courier three times, and I can't find anything factual about it. I've gotta get back to work now, but if you find anything worth mentioning, please feel free to post a comment. Maybe if I get a break later, I'll chime in with some facts . . . you know, verifiable pieces of information instead of emotional statements, useless platitudes and fear mongering.

Great timing for this ad, too. Tonight is the first meeting with the State-appointed Fact Finder (following two previous cancellations due to inclement weather).

NESPA Ad 03152010


I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

"Outsourcing causes cancer". LMAO!! I am sure that will be in their next advertisiment.

Danielle said...

Iam so glad you find it funny. When maybe if you school board members where running things properly then maybe just maybe we would not all be in this situation and playing games on blogs! Your a school board member maybe you should be alittle more professional and try and solve the problem instead of making jokes!! Some tax payers like myself don't find it to be funny at all!

acs said...

This union is really out of control and clueless. They are "overcharging" taxpayers millions per year and have been for the past X years of contract now they want the taxpayer to HELP them. Now that is FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY.
The union wants to avoid the fact that all their employess will keep jobs in end. That hurts the UNION though since they lose the dues which is all mindy cares about as a union schill. If this board passes up $31.5M in savings vs the pittance we get with a new NESPA contract they should all be impeached.

st319 said...

Lighten up, Danielle. I don't think Mr. O'Connor was making a joke. He was just pointing out how ridiculous the ad was...making it sound as if our children will be doomed and cost will go way up in five years. The only joke I read this morning was the ad. I too find it "funny" that this ad comes out the same day they are to meet with a fact finder. Sounds to me like they are scared. They should be! I’ve noticed that Ms. Anderson never says how much they are willing to pay towards benefits. Perhaps you should ask her sometime. You might be surprised at the answer.

Let me ask you this, Danielle...

How much has it cost the tax payer for the outrageous medical cost over this last contract? And how much would it cost us taxpayers if the benefits stay the same vs. the savings of outsourcing? Since there will be savings over the next five years, we will already be ahead of the game with the cost. And if I read the proposals correctly, the companies are locked in as to how much they can increase after the five year deal.

Everyone needs to remember that we are in very tough times right now, and the board has a budget to finalize. Since the majority of employees will be hired back in their original jobs, and the majority of the support staff employees don’t have medical benefits, I see this as the best way for the budget to be met and still keep our educational programs in tact. After all, we the taxpayers are obligated to make sure the students have the best education to be successful in life.

Str8 Shutr said...

Take a chill pill Danielle. I assume you are either a support worker or one of those parents who doesn't really pay attention to the business of running the district. I can't help you if you're a support worker, but if you're a parent then follow this.
You probably don't like all the controversy and nastiness so you just want it to end. Just like the last few boards did which is why we have the financial crisis we are now in. You are right that this board isn't doing THEIR job because they are doing the job that the last few boards didn't have the guts to do. They were left with somebody elses mess and they are cleaning it up.
If they weren't doing this job now then your poor little Suzy or Johnny might just be losing their art class next year. How would you feel then?
It's really ironic that you put down O'Connor and his blogging because if it weren't for him you wouldn't even know these things were happening until it was too late. This guy has done more to keep residents informed about the school board. If there is any way to reduce costs and keep up our education, this guy will figure it out.
If you don't like his humor then maybe you need to cut him some slack. For two years now this board has dealt with frustrating negotiations and being yelled at by the unions. They deserve to have a laugh or two before they get back to business.

JS said...

Danielle, they've offered a solution to the problem. One that NESPA turned down.

Here is the bigger issue to remember. There is no way that the NFT would ever take paying 15% to medical benefits while the NESPA members pay far less, so that means the Board would have to offer them the same, which would then entitle the Administrators to the same.

So essentially every inch of "negotiated" contribution is just another dime out of the tax payers' pocket or out of the funding for some educational program.

This ad is a joke, because it does nothing but try to arose emotion and fear. It also mysteriously looks designed by the same person who did the NFT flier for Back to School night.

Actually commenting on the NESPA's case made on their website (longest run on paragraph in history with way too much repetition and use of bolding and underlining, fyi) I would like to ask Mr. O one thing. I tend to agree that the thing that will kill the savings outlined in the outsourcing is under-calculating how much ancillary service will be needed. (i.e. snow removal, set up/break down of events, weekends, holidays, etc) Would it be possible for the Board to make the actual outsourcing contract details (not just the bids) public before they are voted on? I realize they will become public record afterward, but that would be a bit late for the tax payers to have a say, wouldn't it? If that were done then no one can say there were unexpected consequences.

Looking at the numbers there doesn't seem like much hope to keep custodial services from being outsourced. No matter what company is chosen (for any outsourcing department) the District would save 8% (or upwards of 33% in coming years) straight off the top because of the elimination of pension contributions. Even if a company charged us the same we are currently paying out for salary and medical benefits, that would still be less than what the District would have to pay once you include pension payments.

Once you take into account the fact that some custodial staff are making upwards of $18-$19/hour, it's easy to see where any company coming in would be able to make a profit while still saving the District money. $12-$15/hour, few free benefits, and no pension payments. Sorry, but one of the aspects NESPA can't negotiate away is pension, and that matters.

I worry more about the outsourcing of busing, mostly because once we sell the buses we have little to no leverage. If we're at least locked in to a 5 year deal, the savings accrued could be used to replenish the District savings in case in year 6 First Student hikes the cost.

I realize secretarial probably won't be outsourced because of the type of turnover those private companies have, and that could be EXTREMELY detrimental when involving educational records and operations. Even so, can we put a bid out just to figure out how much it would be to outsource just Mindy Anderson's job, so she could feel the same anxiety as the rest of her members.

Basically it looks like 1 of two choices. NESPA take the offer on the table, or have certain portions outsourced while the rest have a wage freeze until taking the current offer. Plain and simple.

tiredparent said...

Yes!We all need to thank this man for his dedication to our school and the fact that he wants everyone to know what is going on....

acs said...

William has done and does an outstanding job for the community both in the blog but more importantly balancing the needs of students and taxpayers in his board work.
The next offer that NESPA sees will = the outsourcer's pricing with a beat and final bid request from NESPA. Then the board will likely go forward and outsource busing(which everyone does) and custodial which many do.

ssrudy said...

It would be great if everyone on this blog attended the meetings. There is a Finance meeting on the 24th of March and maybe you will understand the boards decisions.

tiredparent said...

I would have love to attend the last meeting but it is on tues that my kid was running a 102 fever. I plan on going tonight and going to try for tomorrow. next Week the 24th is the food language thing with my daughter and CCD for the other. I might see if my other half can attend if allowed to leave work early. Doesn't get home til after 8 many nights.

acs said...

JS, By the way, NESPA can make an offer with many more concessions than the board had in the original offer they rejected and beg the board to accept it and unless it isvery close to the outsourcer bid pricing(which it can't be due to sale of buses being included)the board is not obligated at all to accept it. They can then move on to outsourcing all or some of services.

csld said...

Danielle you can not blame William If I am not mistaking you are a fulltime employee and as far as I am concerned you have no one to blame but our union and your fellow fulltime coworkers who refused to pay for their benefits.The ad is a joke as far as I am concerned it says alot of nothing in fact I am annoyed that my union dues went to probably pay for this ad .This union should of took the first offer and ran with it.Now because they thought they could win we now stand to lose our jobs.So before you place blame you need to look at our union and yourself and other fulltime employees who thought that they can go without paying part of their benefits like 98 percent of the country does.

JS said...

Wow, Danielle called out by a fellow union member.

CSLD, I feel bad for you and others who understand the issues and the choices that should have been made. I really wish there were some way for specific departmens (in your case Food Service) to settle independantly so that you don't have to be sacrificed by those not fearing for their jobs.

acs said...

csld, Why is it the union wants to keep propagating the MYTH that workers lose their jobs. The bids are quite clear that satisfactory employees are fully retained. You may not like pay and benefit cost but you still have a job to the tune of 90% of workers. Do you think an outsourcer has people laying around to take you jobs? No they take the district employees unless they are crappy workers or don't pass drug/background checks sothen who cares about those anyway since it is only 10-20% maybe.
We are all getting very tired of Mindy whining and lying to everyone including her members. You all should get a new union leader if the union survives that is.

IrishFarm said...

Hats off to tiredparent! You remind me why I'm glad I only have one child = )

Wouldn't it be poetic justice if food services keeps their jobs but the secretaries lose theirs? I wouldn't wish job loss on anyone but kharma finds a way to even things out. It could happen!

I'm thinking good thoughts for you and your co workers csld.

Danielle said...

really csld you don't know crap about me and I'll tell you what I NEVER refused or said I would not pay for my health benefits so before you run your mouth and hide behind some letters get your facts straight about me because I want my job and would pay for benefits. So wow to you too JS get your facts about what I've said first. To all of you who thought the cancer comment was funny I surely hope you never had anyone who has died from it or battled it in your family, in VERY POOR taste not funny at all! I will take a chill pill when the support staff stops getting bashed because not all of us have control over what is going on. Start trimming the fat from the top, I don't make 100,000 plus!

csld said...

Danielle your right I dont know you personally but I do know this if you were so hell bent on paying for your benefits then you should of told your union.You know what we can go round and round on this and get no where.All I know is that all the part timers are in this postion because the fulltimers did not want to pay for their benefits or they were willing to pay but they wanted to keep the cadillac plan they have.Who do you know in this day and age pays 5 dollars to go to the doctor .My spouse works for a big company and we dont pay 5 dollars.The offer that our union put before the board about no raises for the first year so the full timers dont have to pay for the benefits the first year...Where does that leave the part timers.This has been about the fulltimers from the beginning.
Danielle I have a question for you why do you think this is all the boards fault that we are in this position? I do not make 100,000 a year either but I do know this the raises that the higher up got was the same offer we got .I can tell you that every parttimer I know would love to go in front of the board and say we will gladly take that offer.What was about the offer that you did not like if it wasnt the paying of the benefits.I dont hide behind my letters I just speak the truth and I am sorry it hurts.
Also my mother and a few other close people died of cancer and at no time did I take offense to that comment.
JS I don't know what is going to happen to Mindy when this is all over I would think there wont be a union once the services are outsourced .
ACS once this is over and if my job is outsourced I still will have a job it probably at a lower rate of pay but I still will have a job.

William O'Connor said...

The following comments submitted by ACS have been edited for content.

Danielle, Again no one loses their jobs PERIOD unless they deserve to.

You elected [Mindy Anderson] to be YOUR voice so you can't come on here and hide behind "non of us have control" she is representing your will and unrealistic demands

People on this blog have been very sympathetic to the staff as human beings and do not bash anyone so relax if you want to play here. and I have said this several times there are not enough administration to lay off to save $31.5M like outsourcing does.

The only way to save yourselves from outsourcing is to get NFT to take the boards offer also then the combined savings is close to the private bids for services


William O'Connor said...

One of my new Facebook "fans" admonished me for not considering the Ad's statement about negotiating a fair premium co-pay as factual. It is true that NESPA did make a counter offer to contribute as much as 5% towards their monthly health care costs, but I didn't consider this a "fair" offer since they were also asking for higher salary increases that would have all but wiped out any savings resulting from their contributions. The name of the game here is reducing expenses, and if we aren't doing that then it's all just talk.

So while I may not have considered it a reasonable offer, I do want to acknowledge that NESPA did say they would contribute something towards health care costs.

Now that I've cleared that up, I hope this same FB Fan (and other NESPA rank and file) will admit that their claims of "more costly contracts" from outsourcing are baseless, and are nothing more than a fear tactic. That is, unless someone can produce a historical study that proves otherwise.

acs said...

William, Thanks good job in editing. The hour was late but I do not think I said aything inappropriate just listed a few facts laced with a bit of opinion for Danielle but really not bad stuff. Some of the points I thought added clarity but you are the boss of us :)

Danielle said...

ok well if facts are what you want then here are a few! William when is the board going to admit that the main reason they want to outsource the support staff really has little to do with benefits but really is because of retirement. Because the district did not pay their fair share like the employees and now are trying to save the tax payers pardon my french but from a bill from hell! When are you going to address that and that one of the reasons the union did not accept your off was because it was a 3 year contract stating that you could outsource at anytime and how funny Iam sure it would have been before the 2012 hike..that by the way was caused by who? Thats right the ones that were not paying there share. So where also did that money go that wasn't being paid. Oh into a high school that has problems already because it was rushed.. how about the other day when the power was out and the gates came down and locked kids hazard I would say! But that is besides the point the point is there are more reasons this is all going on and it is not just because of benefits lets be real finally! I do and will continue to go to school board meetings so hope to see the rest of you there!

JS said...

Yes, Danielle the fact that there would be less pension contributions is an important factor. That's part of why the District would save so much by outsourcing.

The truth is there are 500 some odd school districts and only 1% are paid into their pension requirements. The reason?

Back in 2001 the state lawmakers gave themselves a 50% pension increase. To keep other state pension employees (that would include some of NESPA employees) quiet they gave them a 25% pension increase. I don't seem to see you blaming PSERS members for taking that increase do I?

Now to keep everyone else quiet in the state they lowered the employer contribution rates. It would not have gone well if state taxes got raised because of all these pension increases, not smart politically. So School Districts paid into the fund EXACTLY what they were told to.

Maybe our Business Manager should have been smart enough to see that we were in serious trouble if the market ever crashed, but something really odd happened back in 2002. A Cadillac of a contract was given to the NFT, thus wiping out pretty much any savings from those lowered contribution rates.

Neshaminy is not alone in the fact that pension contribution rates will jump to 33% in coming years. Like I said 99% of districts are in the same boat.

I am not saying that money that was contributed by employees is not owed to them, but I don't see anyone volunteering to give back that 25% pension raise either.

Danielle, I'm sorry, but welcome to the real world where economics actually drive labor decisions. Just be glad Neshaminy bucked that trend this long or outsourcing might have happened years ago. How long has CR outsourced busing after all?

William O'Connor said...

Danielle, I couldn’t help but notice you started off your comment claiming you were about to give facts, then you offered up supposition stated as if it were fact. This is exactly the objection I have to NESPA’s Ad which misleads people into believing outsourcing will lead to more costly contracts. But enough about that, allow me to address a couple of the points you raised:

1. Our Motives – You can choose to believe whatever you want, that these negotiations are over benefits or retirement or whatever. It doesn’t change the big picture, which is what we are focused on. Our labor contracts are extremely expensive, and each year the costs to support these CBA’s propel our budget beyond the Act 1 inflationary limit. Either we cut labor expenses or we cut student programs.
2. Paying our fair share – Do you really understand how the funding of this retirement system came to be? It was not a school district decision, it was a Harrisburg decision. And not a particularly good one. Any money we were spared from paying into the retirement system went directly to our bottom line to offset operational expenses. Had previous boards set aside that money as some have suggested, our tax increases would have been greater and more unaffordable years ago, and that would have drawn attention to our high labor costs sooner. Maybe that would have been a good thing because it would have forced previous school boards to negotiate the former CBA’s more aggressively. But the undeniable reality of the situation is that all of us were going to have to deal with the cost of our CBA’s sooner or later. Thanks to Harrisburg, you were spared the pain for a few years but that only served to make things worse.

Believe me, I wish we weren’t going through all this. Do you think any of us really jump for joy at the prospects of outsourcing if we are unable to reach an agreement with NESPA? I could sit here all day wishing that previous boards negotiated a more cost effective agreement years ago but that doesn’t change the facts, and this goes back to #1 above … Either we cut labor expenses or we cut student programs. Neither option is pleasant to think about but cutting student programs isn’t something I’m prepared to do.

William O'Connor said...

Thanks JS. As usual you explained something much better than I did. I knew I kept you around for a reason :-)

acs said...

The retirement is a component of savings but the real and actual savings is recurring cost of salary, healthcare and bus ownership. There is really no way to compare NESPA cost to outsourcing. Apples to oranges. Also pnsion cost for Full TIme nespa pails as compared to NFT members. As I look at it even if you tried to keep bus assets NESPA would still a big premium cost to taxpayers for Healthcare and retirement.

William O'Connor said...

Note to jls08 - Although I appreciate your submitting a comment, it didn't abide by the Blog rules of civility. In the future, please try to avoid any comments which are insulting and that don't contribute to the discussion.

Thank you!

Hazeleyes said...

Interesting that you corrected your facts but none of the nespa followers will admit they are over hyping the cost dangers of outsourcing. I believe in complete honesty but it isn't serving you here Mr. O'Connor because they will never admit to any mistakes they made. It is that prideful stubborness that will land many of them in the unemployment line.

As others have said here I do not want to see anyone lose their job but if the choice is between outsourcing and that hideous list then the decision is obvious.

I really admire what you are doing for the community. Between this site and facebook you are keeping many hundreds of residents informed of things they would not otherwise pay attention to. Please keep doing what you are doing so that no programs are cut.

acs said...

William, Do not let NESPA and individual staff members get away with continuing to paint this with the brush of "people will lose jobs". The board has gone to great pains to protect jobs by ensuring subcontractor bids take all qualified employees. You need to make sure that word is out and say it over and over. If the community knows truth that they will be retained then they will support the board in pursuing this course which is right for students and taxpayers.

William O'Connor said...

Note to Fred - I didn't print your comment because you made a specific reference to a person that I cannot verify at the moment. I will have to look further into it. You raised other points I will address shortly.

csld said...

Hazeleyes what do you mean by this comment
"Interesting that you corrected your facts but none of the nespa followers will admit they are over hyping the cost dangers of outsourcing ".
ACS you keep saying that Nespa members are saying they will be losing their jobs but I can tell you I have never heard anyone that I come in contact everyday make this statement they know that they will be retained by the contracted company.

acs said...

Mindy et al say it all the time and the letter writers she has writing to the BCCT say is her mantra....she said it in her wild rant at board meeting and the people speaking at board meetings say it everytime. Other than that you are right.

JS said...

I'll agree that besides First Student, I highly doubt ANY of the outsourced support staff in the other departments will keep their jobs.

I've also only seen Fist Student directly reference rehiring NESPA employees either.

C said...

Why have you not pulled the trigger on NESPA. The proposed final budget is due 4/6/10 how can you finalize a tax increase if you don't know your final expenses unless you already plan to over tax the taxpayers with an inflated tax increase to cover any type of settlement or non settlement before July.This seems like the old Neshaminy trick of MORE IS BETTER THAN LESS STATUS QUO LET IT FLOW RAISE THE TAXES.

acs said...

csld, I am sure you read the propaganda on your website but it sounds like you are too smart for it. However, everyone else on William's go to this site and read and you will get an awakening of how out of it NESPA really is:

William has debunked virtually every assertion on this site. The fact is even if the school board was wrong by 50% in savings estimates(and they are not wrong since it is contractual)we would still save a ton and the standards are higher in Private sector than public so we get BETTER not worse service.
Alos it is much easier for the district to deal with a private subcontractor then ANY PUBLIC WORKER UNION ON THE PLANET.

csld, Read the quotes from Mindy indicating her union workers will be replaced by outside workers. THESE are not true AT ALL based on the contract language the board received.
Mindy Quote-
"Who are these companies? Will they be bringing people from outside the community in order to save a buck? "

Mindy Quote-
"Is someone coming from outside the district going to do these things for the community?"

Mindy Quote
"We work for the district the companies employees WILL NOT."

You see csld, she lies to her own members on this site so where is the fairness and integrity from NESPA?
There are so many I cannot list them all.

But here is her best quote:
"A living wage needs to be made to live in this community and the taxpayers of Neshaminy should be able to expect to be paid a living wage by the people they pay their taxes too"
Living wage? You have to be kidding. The NESPA workers are overcharging the district by nearly $31.5 M over 5 years. I would say relative to equal wages for exact same private sector services they are making quiet a bit more then "living wage".

Mindy you should have taken the first offer you had.....I feel bad for csld and danielle they are really hurt as all the good workers are by union leaders overreaching yet again. Amazing you didn't see this coming with the recession and an anti-union anti tax mood in country.

William O'Connor said...

There is a saying that if you make both sides angry then you're doing a good job. Based on C's reaction, I'd say we're doing a great job!

Seriously C, hasn't anything this board has done over the past couple of years earned any street cred with you? We are committed to our students and the taxpayers, so give us a chance to see this thing through.

Note to Fred - There is no evidence to support your claim of a special bonus, so unless you can provide me with something verifiable, there isn't anything else I can do. Regarding the one particular contract you referenced, you should direct your question/comment to one of the board members who voted in favor of it. I did not. If you have other questions I haven't previously answered, please resubmit them and I'll address what I can.

I'm glad you mentioned the NESPA URL, ACS. I want to put that link up on the home page. People should have access to any and all information so they can form their own opinions.

I'm leaving on another trip folks so I won't be approving any comments or adding any new posts till middle of next week. You can submit comments but they may not be published until I get back.

Peace out!