Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kingston Freeman is Right-Cuomo is Secretive

I agree with the July 29, 2012 Kingston Freeman editorial that Cuomo is overly secretive.  He appears on Fred Dicker's Albany radio talk show, but he does not take calls from listerners.  His positions and public relations with tax payers are extremely scripted and controlled.  For example, nobody in state govenment seems to know what Andrew Cuomo's position on the Repeal of the Triborough Amendment, which keeps state, municipal and teacher union contracts in place (complete with scheduled annual step raises)?  If anybody can find a reference to his position on this important Mandate Relief, please send it to me at

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Decentralize Schools for Success

Comparing the USA and Finland demographics is like comparing apples and oranges.  I am not in favor of Educational programs centralized with the Federal Government as in Finland, and in the USA to some extent.  The more decentralized your schools are, the better.  Home Schooling in USA is the best example of decentralized success.  Then comes voucher education where parents are given grants or vouchers and choose which public, private or parochial school they wish their children to go to.  Then comes charter schools where the unions have less control and the teachers are highly motivated to innovate new education techniques.  In last place is the traditional consolidated public school system which we have now.  Trying to improve things in a traditional consolidated public school system, where the teacher's unions are in control is fruitless.  The results are higher local school taxes, less economic activity moving in, less school population, closing of schools, more higher taxes, and on and on.  That is what we have now in Ulster and Dutchess counties and NY State.  Think decentralization.  Think lots of independent schools paid for by parental school vouchers.  You will have involved parents who are carefully choosing the correct schools for their children.  You will have lots of teaching jobs for our unemployed college graduates who want to be teachers.  You will have lower school taxes, and you will have companies wanting to come and locate in Ulster and Dutchess counties again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Triborough Amendment is about Step Raises Not Strikes

The following was posted by E.J. McMahon on June 20, 2012 on the blog.

"Unions have long claimed that there was a link between Triborugh and the strike prohibition.  But this is simply not true.

'As explained in our recent report, “Triborough Trouble,” the law was not enacted pursuant to any “agreement by unions not to strike.” Public employee strikes have never been legally permissible in New York. They were explicitly outlawed by the Condon-Wadlin Act in 1947, a full 20 years before unionization and collective bargaining in the public sector was authorized on a statewide basis. In 1967, the Taylor Law reaffirmed the strike ban, weakening some of the more draconian Condon-Wadlin strike penalties.

The Triborough amendment was enacted in 1982, based on a “doctrine” cooked up by a state labor arbitrator a decade earlier. In the mid 1970s, the state Court of Appeals ruled the Triborough doctrine did not require payment of automatic “step” increases after expiration of a contract, which is why public employee unions fought for the stronger law. They got it,'

So therefore the Triborough Amendment is all about Step Raises and nothing about unions ability to strike.

Three Points in Favor of Repealing Triborough

1)  New York State is the only state in the USA that gives municipal, state and teachers unions the unfair advantages of the Triborough Amendment. 

2)  The overwhelming majority of government union contracts in NY State have Automatic step raises in them.  Try getting these provisions out of these contracts.  With Automatic step raises for everyone across the board including poor performers, NY State with the Triborough Amendment has truly rigged labor negotiations in favor of the government unions.

3)  Private company unions do not have a Automatic step raises guaranteed to continue after contracts expire.

The government unions are going to have to give up this Triborough benefit or the only alternatives are school district and municipal bankruptcy which would cancel all current contracts

See 3 bankrupt cities in California.

See Kingston Schools Superintendant Padalino's comments in a past Freeman article (June 13, 2012) which states that the Kingston Schools are facing "Education bankruptcy".

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Support Assemby bill to Repeal Triborough Amendment

After 5 years, the $25 Million savings from closing 4 Kingston Schools will have been spent on Automatic Teacher step raises, pensions and health benefits. They are closing schools so they can keep the "rigged" game of unsustainable teacher benefits growing. If we citizens of NY State want to do something serious about this disaster, ask you NY State Assembly and Senate candidates to support Westchester Assemblyman Robert Castelli's assembly bill A01329, which would Repeal the Triborough Amendment. With this bill, no longer would teacher, municipal and state unions have the Unfair advantage of continuing Automatic Step Raises after a contract has expired. We really need this bill.