From Randy Cerveny, President of the Harford County Education Association:
There has been much in the news regarding my actions and statements during the amendment process of the “bonus” with the County Council last week. Below is my response to the information that was published December 19.
Part of my public testimony at the hearing for bill 11-54 – The School Board and the Association shall negotiate those funds pursuant to the collective bargaining guidelines established in state law. Using that process could lead to the same outcome that was proposed by the County Executive. We don’t know how that will turn out.
Discussion as to why HCEA could not sign the MOU first occurred with Councilwoman Lisanti following the Council meeting. We engaged Nancy Giorno, a member of Executive Craig’s staff about the legality of money conditioned by county executives. She did not feel that there was a problem, but that opinion is contrary to that of our legal counsel who has cited cases where it has been overturned by Attorney Generals. One recent ruling concerned Harford County in 2008.
Lisanti and I continued to discuss this over the phone the next several days.
HCEA held a Legislative event that included members of the council. Much of the talk revolved around the “bonus”. Councilman Woods also agreed to help with amendments to fix the bill so teachers could be part of those receiving the money.
Wording for an amendment from HCEA’s attorney was sent to Lisanti. She informed me that this language would not be acceptable.
I believed that the issue was dead, but called Council President Boniface late Tuesday afternoon and explained that HCEA had been unable to come to an agreement on the amendment with council members and we would not be able to agree to the current terms the “bonus” bill. HCEA would not sign the MOU because we still believed that these funds cannot be conditioned and they must be negotiated. A short time later, I received a call from Lisanti with a suggested amendment that included many of our attorney’s recommendations. When I explained to Lisanti that this would work, she asked if I could hold on as she would like to have me talk with Boniface. He asked if this amendment would enable HCEA to do what it had to do to get this resolved. I responded with a simple “Yes” and ended the call. There was never any intent on my part to do anything but to represent the same position to the Council that I had been professing all along. This money cannot be conditioned and the funds must be negotiated with the school system and the result of those negotiations could be a one-time stipend.
The bill passed that evening
My statement at the end of the County Council meeting – Teachers work daily modifying instruction to meet the needs of all students. The council, with your modifications through amendments to bill 11-54, will now enable HCEA to work with Harford County Public Schools, within the state guidelines of collective bargaining, to see that teachers also benefit from this revenue.
My email to members was not meant to mislead anyone. My email stated that the Labor Board could use this money. This was not the only money that was available.
I have reviewed my MSEA and HCPS email accounts and have not found an email from Lisanti
December 16 – Present
Currently all bargaining units except HCEA have settled their contract for the 2011/12 school year. HCEA filed a complaint with the Labor Board to resolve our dispute with the BOE. Since our contract was unresolved our attorney argued (as she stated in her briefs shared weeks before with the BOE and the Labor Board) that no money should be applied to any other bargaining unit until the HCEA contract was settled. She proposed that the school system’s surplus from the previous year and any new monies coming to the BOE should be considered as part of the solution to resolve the dispute.
Following the Labor Board hearing I called the County Council offices late Friday afternoon and left a message to return my call. Having not received a returned call I called their office again Monday morning. At this time I have not heard from the Council.
Harford County Education Association