Friday, July 23, 2010

Berthiaume Takes on Weast, Post

In an incredible op-ed in the Washington Post, Board of Education Member Laura Berthiaume publicly calls out both MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast and the newspaper itself. Here's an excerpt:

In the balance of power between the board of education and the bureaucracy, the superintendent and his staff hold all the cards. They outwit, outlast and outplay. In my experience, the board actually has little to no impact on union contract negotiations: The superintendent and his staff negotiate the contracts. Even if there ever were actual board opposition, it would be met with a fierce, resolute wall of angry staff.

Given that Dr. Weast is the one who negotiated and recommended the contracts, budget and benefits over the past 10 years that are now the subject of so much complaint, is it not hypocritical to excoriate the MCEA for unrealistic salaries and benefits yet praise Dr. Weast and demand that his contract be renewed? Both The Post and the voters should consider this issue carefully this fall.
Various elected officials have shared these sentiments with your author privately, but none have dared to vent them in public. Until now. Whether she is right or wrong, Laura Berthiaume stands out for her guts, her willingness to rock the boat and her - perhaps reckless - honesty.