Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 5, 2008

Transparency in contract negotiations

Filed under: contract negotiations,Unions — Editor @ 11:46 am

Kudos to Governor Carcieri for introducing a very simple and logical first step in the effort to increase transparency in union contract negotiations.   He has proposed that contracts not be ratified UNTIL the pubic has had an opportunity to see them.   You may recall we attempted to do that at Chariho but the majority of the Committee refused.

Today’s Providence Journal reports that this news is not making the unions very happy.

I just think it’s another form, to be honest with you, of causing some undue harassment, whether direct or indirect, by allowing this process,” Henry Boeniger, a lobbyist for the National Education Association, testified before the House Finance Committee. “We elect officials to negotiate contracts. It’s sort of like letting other people negotiate contracts.”

I wonder who the NEA meant by “we” – perhaps it was a Freudian Slip and they are admitting how much influence they have on many politicians.  But if they just meant “the public” – then they seem to be saying that the public is happy with the contract negotiations (resulting double digit raises, gold-plated near-free insurance and more perks and days off than you can shake a stick at), and the public does not want or need to know how their tax dollars are spent.   I don’t think I can agree with the NEA on that point.

By the way, did you know that all negotiations were done in public at one point.  In the 1960’s the unions started the push for closed meetings and have held them ever since.  There is no law requiring closed sessions. 



  1. I wonder how much whining Carri Barr will do now? She isn’t happy when contract negotiations become public after they are signed, sealed, and delivered. I can only imagine how angry she will be should contracts ever be viewed by the public BEFORE they are approved?

    With Rhode Island government dominated by politicians with their heads up the teachers’ unions butt, I don’t hold out much hope that transparent contracts will become a state mandated requirement, but we do have the chance in our little sliver of Rhode Island to insist our local government open up the process for government scrutiny.

    Is anyone other than public employees and their family members happy with contracts in Rhode Island? Why do you think the unions are so virulently against transparency in government? Does anyone really believe Ms. Barr gives a rat’s ass about the children or the taxpayers?

    Get real…all the hiding done by the Chariho School Committee is an effort to maintain the status quo. They know that if they are ever forced to conduct public business in front of the public then loud mouths like me will not let them get away with giving away our children’s futures to unions. The School Committee and the teachers hide from us because keeping the public in the dark is to their benefit and to our detriment.

    When you hear Mr. Ricci or anyone on the School Committee use words like “micro-manage”…realize that they are simply trying to hide from the public. People who are doing nothing wrong have no reason to hide from the public.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 5, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  2. Hi!
    I will try to find out the bill numbers concerning the showing of contracts before they are ratified. Search on legislation can be done at ,.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 9:45 am | Reply

  3. Hi!
    Try http://www.rilin.state.ri.usgenmenu

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  4. Hi!
    Just try , and manuever around the General Assembly web site. If I get bill numbers I will get back to you. I assume Bill Felkner may know the bill numbers in the RI House and RI Senate regarding the contract matter.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  5. Hi!
    Please note these web sites:
    1.Rhode Island Association of School Committees
    2.Rhode Island General Assembly, mentioned above
    4.AFT Rhode Island Organization:

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 10:23 am | Reply

  6. Hi!
    Please note these web sites:
    1.Rhode Island Association of School Committees
    2.Rhode Island General Assembly, mentioned above
    4.AFT Rhode Island Organization:

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  7. Thank you William Felkner and your attempt to open the windows and doors in the School District and allow the odor out and fresh air in. Openess, decency, integrity, accountablity. I’m sure I will find issues or fault with you somewhere or sometime, but glad you represent me.

    Its been to long coming. The odor being the closed door, back room and shut up and pay mentality. To many share your views, but have felt aggravated, disillussioned, etc, etc by their representation or lack of it. They often ask why the back bone is missing. Is there an answer? The School members may chime in with an answer.

    When the petitions are circulated by the parents ‘who believe’ in ‘the district’ and its offerings along with the test scores etc are willing or better yet wanting/embracing to ‘pay tuition’ for their childrens experience at $13,000 plus per child by july 1st each year than we’re onto something. Bumper stickers on cars and a banner in front of the building don’t do it but may get some to drink the ‘kool aid’ but not all.

    Felkner’s professional work site to allow a viewing of who he is and what he’s really about and not painted by the ‘pro education’ better yet (pro union) are laughable are available

    A site to provide facts and not inneudo or anti education speak. If you google Ocean State Policy Research Institute it may get you there.

    Check out the websites regarding ocean state clean government, state of the state.

    Tired of being ‘schooled’/taxed out of RI check them out.

    Be well and ask for accountability, no matter of what side of the issue your on.

    Bill Felkner your a gift to the District. No matter the Town.
    Also appreciate Deb Carney of Charlestown and Sylvia Thompson of Hopkinton to educate the electorate and your contributions to your towns.

    Next time let them strike, all of them.

    Comment by James Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  8. Bill Felkner is highly thought of in state circles. You will find that if you visit Ocean State Policy Research Institute on the web. And click onto the shows he’s been involved in on the right side of the site.

    A breathe of fresh air to the odorous Chariho School District.

    Comment by James Hirst — March 8, 2008 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  9. While I may agree with Mr. Felkner and some others about the goings on at Chariho, it’s the methods that I don’t like. Seems to me there are better ways to approach this than to be antagonistic, most of the time, with some of the members of the School Committee and the School District Administration. Mr. Felkner would probably get more cooperation with what he would like to achieve by being a bit more diplomatic in his methods. I love the old adages so here goes another another one, “You got more with honey than you do with vinegar.”

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 9, 2008 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  10. Scott,
    Haven’t you ever heard of copy and paste. It really does help to get the link correct.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 9, 2008 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  11. I agree with CharihoParent’s assessment.

    Comment by david — March 9, 2008 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

  12. Yes, we’ve seen how wonderfully “cooperation” has worked through the years. Cooperation is the reason Chariho is a joke.

    Cooperation seems to be a one-way street. Instead of Mr. Felkner cooperating with irresponsible budgets, gold-plated contracts, and closed meetings, maybe the rest should cooperate with Mr. Felkner and give us responsible budgets, reasonable contracts and transparent government?

    By the way Mr. Hirst, I don’t know what you’ve done to upset CharihoParent, but based on her constant taunting of you it seems very personal. Maybe you dated once upon a time?

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 9, 2008 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  13. I would agree that it may not help to be confrontational, but the beginning with the addition of new members on the board, was polite until any disagreement with the Chariho bond and the budget process (and line items) became known.

    Then the wagons circled, persons could not have alternative positions; the public was allowed to speak – but (most of, not all) board members looked away or promptly began busy work with their agendas and papers in front of them – few even pretended to listen; the chair was consistently rude and any discussion became “I’ve been here longer, you don’t understand the process, Roberts Rules of Order or the answers we have chosen”.

    Transparentcy is a relatively new topic to be pushed forward and the board (as a whole)is certainly taking the most conservative positions relating to the status quo – even when the law is read before a vote. Announcing the question, vote totals and the persons pro or con or abstain is the job of the chair – in all instances, not just executive session minutes. The public cannot see on camera who voted and how they voted – it is the job of the chair to inform us all.

    The reason the school board is on camera is because many citizens cannot attend meetings — most are parents/grandparents/etc of kids in the district – going to practices, rehearsals, performances, sporting events here and away, PTO meetings, church meetings, municipal meetints, committee meetings, AND feeding, cleaning, assisting with homework/projects not to mention happiness/unhappiness, family well-being too.

    Cooperation works only when everyone is listened to with respect and decorum. The public should be brought into the process more than they are at present. If they attend, they should be encouraged to speak. It breaks up a redundant argument, adds new thoughts or new directions for the board to persue, and becomes a conversation with citizens not a debate. Of course, the board needs to comment and discuss first – Mr. Day does announce who will speak in which order — I would simply like the public to be included after the first go-round not the third.

    Comment by BarbaraC — March 10, 2008 @ 10:23 am | Reply

  14. Hi!
    I will agree it is important to get the link correct with CharihoParent. I defintely could not have dated CharihoParent ever.
    Do a search for these legislative topics on the site above H-7603 that deals with fiscal impact statements for all local labor contracts and H-1706 requires municipal approval of school teacher contracts entered into by school committee.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 10, 2008 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  15. Hi!
    I just saw Wikipedia’d description of the Chariho School District ,. which I am NOT the author. It is my understanding anyone, if they sign in, or can anyway without signing in, can contribute information or make changes on information on this free encyclopedia?
    Out of fairness to Stephanie Brown she was NOT convicted or charged as far as I know, in the matter her husband and others were sentenced. I believe her name was not the only one on the incorporation papers of the business in question?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — March 10, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  16. The Wikipedia article is here:

    I see that Scott still doesn’t know how to copy and paste.

    Comment by CharihoParent — March 11, 2008 @ 7:00 am | Reply

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