Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sticking His Nose Into Other People's Business

You have to wonder how Howell public school teachers are feeling right now.

They just voted to not only freeze their pay but take home fewer dollars by paying more for their health insurance, all while agreeing to take on more work.

And for their sacrifices, they've gotten nothing but criticism.

First, three of the seven members of the school board voted against the contract because the cuts weren't deep enough.

And then, a board member from a neighboring district shows up to criticize the contract with the teachers. John Conely, a member of the board for Brighton Area Schools, thought he should stick his nose into Howell's business by pushing the Republican agenda of attacking Howell's health insurance carrier. Statewide, Republicans love to attack the carrier because it is related to the Michigan Education Association.

But he didn't stop there. He went on to accuse Howell teachers of "strong-arming" the public into not attending board meetings -- with absolutely no evidence to back him up. And he criticized Howell board members who had family members who were teachers.

And he didn't just come to one Howell board meeting. He came to two of them and made similar remarks.

Being lectured by Conely didn't sit well with Howell board members, given that his district is in deficit and theirs isn't.

But it probably didn't sit too well with Howell teachers, either. They have to be wondering -- where does this guy get off? Conely's comments make it harder for teachers and other public employees to agree to concessions. If you know you're going to get beat up no matter whether you take concessions or not, why bother? You might as well fight harder to hang onto what you've got if this is the thanks you get.

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