Virgil Swings and the ball disappears over the park…

… and I’ve been looking for the ball outside the stadium in the parking lot.

Virgil Swing is an old editor for the Duluth News Tribune. Retired now he offers practical editorials for the Little DNT called the Budgeteer which is published each saturday. He offered up a lot of information about the school board elections last Weekend but, Alas, they are nowhere to be found on the DNT’s website.

I’ll mention just one of his cautions, and it was one that Liam strongly objected to, that employees, union members and/or organizers, were not necessarily the most suitable candidates for a job on the School Board.

First, let me state for the record that any voter has a right to run for any political office in a jurisdiction which they have lived in for the requisite period of residency.

Second, let me state firmly that in my experience very few of us like to make our friends mad and most of us know our friends have egos that are easily bruised – like when they are not given the salary raises they feel they deserve.

The School Board and the City Council are the negotiators for the voter’s in contract talks with their unions. When they serve two masters, union and citizens, they will be strongly tempted to side first with friends. If their friends and colleagues are in the union they will be hard pressed to deny their friends better pay and benefits. And….. they sure as hell will want to avoid a strike and also make every parent, who has to find someone to take care of their children, mad.

I fault the public employees for crossing this line more than the teacher’s union. I’d say that the DFT simply deferred to AFSCME when it came to supporting the Red Plan. Certainly the organizers of AFSCME have shown very little restraint or shame when it comes to being self serving. Take the time a decade back when they endorsed a City Council candidate and then hired her to represent and bargain for AFSCME right after she got elected.

I take a back seat to no one when it comes to detesting the public employee’s worst enemy in the Upper Midwest, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Iv’e lambasted him many times in the blog. But the voters aren’t stupid. Public employees exert their influence in potent ways and even after all the furor over Walker’s recall election he was reelected by Wisonsin voters to inflict more pain on public employees. His old friends the Fire fighters and police may be his next target.

At the moment one AFSCME labor rep is running for the School Board Justin Perpich and AFSCME has endorsed two other School Board candidates one of them Joe Matthes.

In Joe’s campaign webpage I found this hearty endorsement of Justin for his support of the Red Plan and all the temporary jobs the Building trades got from it:

Craig Olson, President of the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council said, “The Council, representing 17 construction trades, has been involved in the districts Long Range Facilities Plan since the beginning of the community effort to improve the education facilities. The projects have employed hundreds of our members from the community over the past several years”.

In addition the spouse of another AFSCME rep is running in the First District. If all of them are elected AFSCME which has a sizable labor pool in the Duluth Schools will have one vote shy of a majority when it comes to authorizing the Duluth School’s labor contracts. This is quite a power grab from a remorseless political powerhouse.

As it happens I do support one of these candidates strongly. That will be explained in a later post.