Harford County teacher’s union president Ryan Burbey appears headed for re-election this spring, emerging as the sole nominee for the post following a representative assembly held Thursday, sources said.
Harford County Education Association members were allowed to self-nominate in advance, and from the floor of the assembly. Burbey said afterwards that the process had been advertised, but no other nominees came forward and he would therefore be running unopposed in an upcoming election for the next three-year term. “I’m going to take it as a mandate that I’m doing a good job,” he said.
Uncontested elections for president were not unusual, Burbey said, but he planned to seek clarification on the process that he believed still required him to win fifty percent of the votes cast plus one, on a ballot allowing for write-in candidates. He said that the election would be planned for March or April.
The full time position pays whatever the incumbent was last earning as an HCPS employee, plus 20 days of summer work, Burbey said, which, in his case, translates into approximately $60,000 per year.
Burbey is currently serving out the term of former president Randy Cerveny, who stepped down not long after winning a landslide victory over Burbey in a 2011 regular election. Burbey was tapped to fill the vacancy by a special vote of union representatives in the summer of 2012.
Since then, Burbey has been an activist for higher teacher pay, admonishing school and county government officials for the lack of teacher salary increases in four out of the past five years, and warning of the effect on teacher morale and the quality of new recruits. Burbey also organized protests and led hundreds of teachers who decided to “work to rule” by working only as their contract required, and declining to take on extra paid or volunteer jobs such as coaching or tutoring after school.
The Harford County Education Association (HCEA) is the largest bargaining union in Harford County Public Schools, with exclusive collective bargaining rights on behalf of the school system’s 3,000 teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, media specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and hearing clinicians. According to the HCEA Web site, approximately two-thirds of represented employees are also union members.