Flaherty Says School Committee and Teachers Union "Snookered" City Council and Public

Save Westfield Schools will be monitoring developments of this story closely. If you have any information related to this matter, please contact us. We are awaiting responses from the School Department and the Teacher's Union.

Below is the full text of Flaherty's email along with the Memorandum of Understanding and some charts he sent along as an attachment:

From: David Flaherty <flaherty.westfield@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 23:47:16 -0400
To: Andras, Patty<patchesan@aol.com>; Bean, Brent<brentbean72@hotmail.com>
; Beltrandi, John<johnbelco@comcast.net>; Brown, Jim<jbrown3535@hotmail.com>; Chris & LisaCrean<chris@peterpanbus.com>; Keefe, Chris<ckeefe73@aol.com>; Knapik, Dan<d.knapik@cityofwestfield.org>; Miller, Peter<pjmiller76@hotmail.com>; Morganelli, Nick<morganelli@comcast.net>; O'Connell, Mary<mocmary@aol.com>; Onofrey, Richard<REOnofreyJ@comcast.net>; Sullivan, Brian<bsullivan@altonpatrick.net>; Tracy, Gerry<gtracywccal@gmail.com>
ReplyTo: flaherty.westfield@gmail.com
Subject: Information related to tonight's discussion

This is all public information, so I'm sending it to everyone - even if you
can't vote on the school budget.

Attached is the proposed unit-A teacher agreement with two sections highlighted.

The red section is something the school department and mayor failed to mention
in their press releases and statements to us before the votes back in July. I feel
they have intentionally mislead both us and the public. This little two-line detail
completely changes the financial scenario they presented to us. It was promoted
as a savings of $570,000, when in reality it could cost us over $5 million!

The yellow highlighted section clearly states that the furlough will be bought
back at the time of separation. The mayor told us and the public that if the
city can afford it, he'd buy back the time sooner. There is no clause in this
contract that would allow for that. Therefore, he can't commit to us that
this could happen. He'd have to renegotiate it with the union, and we all know
they won't give up anything without getting something in return.

In several statements to the press the school department and union stated "No salary
increases" when in fact this new agreement gives EVERY SINGLE UNIT A MEMBER a salary
increase - including those who would not have received one under the old contract.
Every single one on these raises is worth more than the furlough day they gave up.
Not one employee in this unit lost money, even though their public statements would
suggest otherwise. Not only that, if they stay in the system long enough, they will receive
$8,400 more than they would have under the old contract -- plus increased pension
benefits for life! Plus the taxpayers have to buyback the $300 furlough day for around
$1200-1500 in the future. This agreement will cost the city over $5 million dollars.

See the two attached graphs. The first one shows the salary increases given for steps 2-13.
The second one shows the salary increases step 13 - 30 (years of services) would have
received under the old contract (green), and the new money given out by this
new contract (red).

We got snookered, and the teachers union and the school department have mislead
the public.

This agreement has not been executed by the school committee yet. I will be asking
them to not approve it, and I will be making a motion at the next city council meeting
for an advisory letter supporting this recommendation. I will further ask for the council
to investigate ways to recover the over $700,000 that the council approved for the
school department based on intentionally misleading information provided to us.
This is the fair thing to do for the taxpayers.



PS. In case you are wondering, all tracks have similar profiles. I only
provided the Master's track to save paper.

PPS. I understand the vote on the motion to suspend rules, and the precedent
that it may have set for the future. Thanks.