|. . .||
OCSEA Board Candidates' Statements
Candidates for President:
Mary Jane Roberts
My name is Mary Jane Roberts and I am running for the office of president for the Orange County Schools Educators' Association. I have worked for OCDE since 1980 and have been involved in the association since 1981. I have been active in many committees over the years including: negotiations, elections, calendar, and health benefits. I currently hold a seat on the CTA state council, the decision-making body for the organization. I was the association treasurer for 12 years (before term-limits), have been a member of the representative council and am currently the Vice President. I would be honored to serve you as president for the next two years.
I have repeatedly demonstrated my willingness to stand up to Administration when in the best interest of our teachers.
In 2009 when dozens of our teachers were unnecessarily RIF'ed and my opponent was not willing to stand up to Administration and file Williams complaints for the classes that had no permanent contracted teacher, I contacted the appropriate agency and filed Williams complaints forcing OCDE to bring back most of our teachers with permanent contracts'. (Williams requires among other things a permanent contracted teacher for each class.)
Last year when our bargaining team negotiated to have many of our teachers contracts reduced to 195 days and my opponent said that it was "195 days or no job" and that "OCDE always does whatever they want to," I stood up to Administration and prepared ten grievances. Administration backed down and reinstated our RIF'ed teachers to full contracts.
As your association president, I will utilize our available resources starting with inviting every lawyer member of our bargaining unit (we have 3 lawyers who are OCDE teachers that I know of) to be on our bargaining team so that we don't continue to agree to something without understanding what we agreed to. For example, when my opponent was on the bargaining team and agreed to the class size increase that "would not apply to teachers meeting the ADA goals," I pointed out that the written contract did NOT say what my opponent told us it said. I was one of the few who refused to vote for the class size increase. Of course, after the contract was ratified we were told that I was right and the class sizes were increased for all teachers.
Standing up to administration does not always have to be confrontational. For example, a teacher had his class hours changed by his administrator to a schedule that the teacher felt was not in the best interest of the students. Although not technically a contract violation, I represented the teacher in grievance proceedings and upper management thanked the teacher and changed the hours back to what was in the best interest of the students.
I have successfully represented teachers when they have had a problem with Administration, such as the case where OCDE hired an outside investigator regarding a teacher accused of misconduct. The teacher was completely vindicated and is still teaching at the same site.
At OCSEA's June 14, 2010 meeting, (my opponent was acting President because the President was unavailable). Quoting from OCSEA's minutes, "John Wells moved that OCSEA publish a memo to all employees stating the position that OCSEA opposes movement of teachers unless the movement is in the best interest of the students, the program, and the teachers. That OCSEA is not aware of any law that requires movement of teachers when not in the best interest of the students, the program, and the teachers, nor does OCSEA condone this movement. That OCSEA is not aware of any legal advantage to OCDE in moving RIF'ed teachers if they are offered temporary contracts for the summer, and that OCSEA suggests placing all teachers, including RIF'ed teachers, in the positions that are in the best interest of the students, the program, and the teachers. That it is in OCDE's best interest financially to keep teachers in current positions as much as practical. Dave seconded, motion carried."
When my opponent, as acting President of OCSEA, did not publish the email, several emails were sent to her asking her to send an All ACCESS email, she responded to me by email as follows,
"I don't remember that it was stated that an email go out, I remember that the motion was for a letter to go out but Loren should have that in the minutes. I agree that the motion of the rep council should be addressed but I don't see how this letter will change the practice of the department and I'm asking what behavioral change do you expect from the dept as a result of this letter?"
The "behavioral change" that I was looking for was to stop the unnecessary movement of RIF'ed teachers for the summer, and the following year, when the message was finally delivered to Administration, the "behavioral change" happened and RIF'ed teachers were not all moved just for the sake of movement.
I also objected to the contract which my opponent told us did not commit us to reducing work days for some of our teachers, (she told us that the contract only agreed to having a committee to look into reducing days). Again after the contract was ratified, Administration pointed out that the actual written contract did agree to reducing days.
My opponent has been in a leadership position for the last four years as Vice President and has consistently refused to stand up for our teachers and has let OCDE "do whatever they want." Standing up for what is right "will change the practice of the department." I have consistently stood up to Administration, and I have repeatedly been successful in getting Administration to do the right thing. I will not let "OCDE do whatever they want" when contrary to our interests.
My policy as OCSEA president will be one of transparency, accountability, and making maximum information available to you. I do not agree with the philosophy of providing as little information as possible to the membership. For example, while I have been on the Calendar Committee, I have sent out the DRAFT calendars before they were finalized to give you an opportunity to have input before a final decision is made, instead of just informing you after the fact.
The choice is yours; do you want a president who is willing to stand up for your interests? Please vote accordingly.
Candidates for Vice-President:
If elected OCSEA Vice President, I will execute my responsibilities in accordance with the bylaws and as directed by the Executive Board and Rep Council.
I am running for association Vice-President because I believe that I can further strengthen our union, maintain our health benefits that I have worked so hard to enhance and preserve over the years, and get us a much needed and deserved salary increase. I could not have accomplished so much in the past years without the support and encouragement from so many of you, and I thank you so much for helping me in building a much stronger OCSEA in the past! As a member of the negotiating team I have been a part of much of the progress we have enjoyed over the years, and I will push to make even more improvements. I have attended many training sessions and conferences, worked on numerous committees, and served as your President and Secretary for four years in each office. I have perfect attendance at all meetings for many years, including this year, and thus proven dependable as a representative and officer capable of assuming any duties needed by the Association or President. Please join with me in making the next two years the very best yet!
Candidates for Secretary:
Christianne (Chris) Off
My name is Christianne (Chris) Off, ACCESS Speech and Language Pathologist employed by the County for 12 years. Once my children started college, I became more engaged with our teacher's union OCSEA and would like to give back by volunteering for the Board as secretary. The secretary's job is critical in reflecting the voice of the monthly meeting discussion to keep the membership informed. Since communication is key to any organization, I will do my best to follow my predecessor and assist the president in written communications as needed. I have a background in volunteerism at my local junior and high school music Booster program for seven years in a variety of positions and understand how vital it is to keep a volunteer program running smoothly. A program is only as good as the effort put forth by the members. I truly want to help the OCSEA be the best it can be. Thank you for this opportunity to serve on the Board.
Candidates for Treasurer: