From the Argus
The Howell Public Schools Board of Education on Monday approved a contract with the district’s second-largest union despite board member concerns that they had not read the agreement.
The district’s contract with the Howell Educational Support Personnel Association — which represents nonteaching staffers such as secretaries, financial assistants and food service workers — is valid through June 2010.
I don't know if this is a good contract or not. That's not my complaint about this contract. My complaint is with the process. Board members and trustees need to read the contract before signing off on it. It's just common sense. Robert Parker, one of the three votes against this (Along with Ed Literski and Debi Drick) said it best.
“This board has enough interest, when you have the second-largest bargaining unit, to have an obligation to look at the contract,” Parker said.
Trustee Wendy Day agreed, but said it would be unfair to not approve a contract she said met the requirements the board gave its bargaining committee.
“I do not want HESPA to be punished for discussion that came up today,” Day said. “I think this is a good contract.”
Always read the contract. Always. The last thing needed is a rubber stamp. I don't expect boards to be micromanagers, but if your name is going on the record as approving the contracts, you better read it first. Contracts are the most important matter school boards deal with.
I like Wendy(who explained her vote on her site), but I could not disagree more with this comment. I don't think she's shocked by my view on this either as she's well know how cautious I am on financial matters going back to our time on the GOP executive committee. I think HESPA would not have a problem with the board reading the contract. They shouldn't have a problem with it. I hope it is a good contract, but reading it first would make sure it was a good contract. It's not a matter of punishment, but of checks and balances between the admins, union, and the board. Is this a good contract? I wouldn't know unless I read it. This vote should have been tabled until the next meeting.
Lastly, if there was any reason for the Howell School Board to read a contract before signing it, the Argus reminds us of what happened back in 2002.
In 2007, it created a stir when the Daily Press & Argus reported that some former and current board members at that time were not aware that the contract of former Superintendent Chuck Breiner did not have a “just cause” clause, which allows a district to fire a superintendent for good reason without incurring additional financial responsibility.
The newspaper’s review of the contracts showed the clause disappeared from Breiner’s contract starting in 2002. Breiner worked as superintendent from 1999 to last year, when he accepted a board buyout offer valued at more than $202,000.
Read before signing. Kudos to Bob Parker, Ed Literski, and Debi Drick for NOT voting for contracts before reading them. This should have been tabled until the next meeting so everyone could read it and make an informed decision. It's just common sense not to sign a contract you don't read.