Aberdeen Middle School Teacher Ryan Burbey will challenge incumbent Randy Cerveny for the presidency of the Harford County Education Association in an election process set to begin on March 28, when ballots will be sent to HCEA members.
HCEA is the bargaining union representing all Harford County Public School teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, media specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and hearing clinicians – about 3,200 employees – approximately 2,070 of which are also HCEA members. Only members are eligible to vote in HCEA elections.
Challenger Ryan Burbey currently serves on the HCEA board of directors, and has advocated for increases in school funding at public hearings and through letters to the local media, including The Dagger. Asked why he was running, Burbey said, “I don’t want to disparage Randy [Cerveny], but I have a different viewpoint of the direction for the union,” which Burbey said “has to be more vocal, more proactive, and visibly show what teachers do besides six and a half hours per day and nine months per year.” Burbey said that he also wanted a voice to counteract that of the local tea party. “We’re not getting our message out. We have to rally support in the public. We have to present an alternate viewpoint and why we deserve what we get.”
Seeking a second three-year term as HCEA president, Randy Cerveny rallied teachers in a successful fight against a 2% salary cut proposed for the current school year and presided over HCEA as the union negotiated a tentative labor agreement for next year that includes a 3% cost of living increase. The tentative labor agreement is subject to funding availability. In an email to The Dagger, Cerveny made the case for his re-election:
“The relationship between Harford County Education Association (HCEA) and HCPS has significantly improved during my term in office, even with the change in school system administration. I believe this is partly due to my strong leadership qualities. By working to build consensus among stakeholders, better working climates have developed in many of our schools. I am seeking re-election because I am the strongest candidate to lead our educational association at this juncture in time. I have consistently demonstrated a thorough understanding of the issues and have articulated HCEA’s position with clarity and reason in all forums. As a dedicated professional, my conviction to our teachers and the communities we serve has never wavered.”
Jackie Beresh, membership director for HCEA, said that election ballots will be sent to HCEA members on Monday, March 28, and must be returned by April 8. Cerveny said that results should be known shortly thereafter for the next presidential term, which he said begins on June 15, 2011. In addition to the office of president, elections are being held for vice-president and for six member-at-large positions on the HCEA board of directors (two positions each at the elementary, middle and high school level), and for delegates to the conventions of both the National Education Association and Maryland State Education Association.