Monday, May 9, 2011

Timeline reveals truth about “Anytime, Anywhere”

Today’s front page article in the Courier Times is full of important information, including more accusations between the Board and NFT regarding the willingness of either side to meet. I’m sure the public cannot understand how two sides can’t even agree on setting a date. But if you look more closely at the emerging facts, there is contradictory information coming out of the NFT camp when it comes to meeting anytime, anywhere.

Readers of the NFT’s Facebook page are aware of Ms. Boyd’s claims that nobody had gotten back to her regarding another meeting, but that argument quickly fell apart with the revelation that the mediator had emailed the NFT’s attorney with potential meeting dates. Next Ms. Boyd said that they were awaiting an answer to a question before they would agree to another meeting. The problem with that defense is that the email exchanges between the mediator, NFT and the Board reveal that the question was asked and answered, yet the NFT still did not advise the mediator of date they were willing to meet.

So much for anytime, anywhere.

Still confused? Here is a timeline of the communications which should clear things up for you:

1) Thursday March 3rd (10:18am), Ritchie Webb emails Board solicitor, Chuck Sweet, asking that he contact the mediator to expedite another negotiation with the NFT

2) Thursday March 3rd (10:43am), Chuck Sweet contacts state mediator John Cairns via email to request a meeting be set up with the NFT. Mr. Sweet did not recommend any specific dates

3) Thursday March 3rd (12:11pm), Cairns emails NFT attorney Tom Jennings asking for a meeting on March 17th based on his own availability

4) Thursday March 3rd (12:28pm), Jennings responds to Cairns questioning if a health care contributions by the NFT will cause any movement by the Board

5) Thursday March 3rd (1:05pm), Cairns emails Sweet to see what the Board’s response is to Jennings’ question

6) Thursday March 3rd (3:32pm), Sweet responds to Cairns that the Board will not bargain via email, especially when the NFT has never “given us a number” regarding health care contributions

7) Thursday March 3rd (3:47pm), Cairns emails Jennings that the Board will not discuss a counter offer via email, then he proposes 5 dates in April for a meeting.

Keeping in mind that it was only recently that the Board learned of these email exchanges between the mediator and the NFT, and unless there are other emails not yet disclosed to the Board, there are no outstanding questions to be answered. The Board will not negotiate with the NFT through the mediator via emails. There is no legitimate reason for the NFT not to respond to the Board’s request for a meeting.

Today’s article also includes the NFT’s “proof” of the $2.8 million they claim to offer the District in savings. Of course they used the Board’s proposed self insured Rx plan to account for almost half of that savings. If we didn’t exist on Planet Neshaminy, we would simply implement that plan and begin saving money now. Instead the potential savings sits in budget purgatory so the NFT can lay claim to it as part of “their” offer.

There is one thing in the article which is not in dispute – more budget reductions will be unveiled at tomorrow’s Board meeting. Yet NFT leadership doesn’t appear fazed at the prospect of their colleagues facing layoffs as student programs are cut. Not even the loss of 3 years worth of retro pay has prompted the union chiefs to budge on the key issue of employee health care contributions.

There is some good news to report – Just yesterday the NFT finally agreed to meet with the Board, suggesting several upcoming dates. It’s a shame it took this long, especially when there was no good reason for the delay.

Does anyone out there aside from me believe that if our negotiations were attended by a Courier Times reporter and were videotaped for rebroadcast that this delay would never have gone on this long?

Just something to think about.

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