When the Municipal Dictator Has a Political Boss
Apparently, when a municipal dictator (i.e., a “receiver”) deals with those who previously held power locally, it’s one thing when that power derived from the voting public, but it’s another when it derives from an organization that’s politically connected at the state level:
Frank Flynn, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, which represents Central Falls, said he had appealed to Governor Chafee.
“We haven’t met with the receiver, but we have spoken to the staff of the governor and we told them it was our intention to go to court and get a temporary restraining order,” Flynn said. “The governor’s office, through the receiver, asserted his authority to intervene.”
And since the teachers’ unions have such sway in the state:
Receiver Robert G. Flanders Jr., who is overseeing the bankruptcy filing of the state’s smallest and poorest city, notified Gallo Friday afternoon that her authority to negotiate with the union was being revoked. He also revoked her plan to unilaterally impose new terms on the school district’s 330 teachers on Sept. 1.
The district’s negotiation team, which included Central Falls Board of Trustees Chairwoman Anna Cano-Morales and two parents, is also no longer included in the negotiating process.
Instead, Flanders or his designee and Deputy Education Commissioner David V. Abbott will participate in the talks. …
“I asked him if the teachers’ union negotiating team was also being replaced and he said no, they would remain,” Gallo said.
Unless Flanders moves to impose new contract terms that are more harsh than Gallo’s, the entire process will have further proven the bone-deep corruption of Rhode Island’s political system. Voters across the state ought to be concerned at the ease with which democratic processes are being swept aside for the benefit of particular parties. And public-safety retirees from Central Falls ought to be livid.