And they can't be fired!

Here's an incident epitomizing the stubborn bureaucratic recalcitrance which has the most of the country in a deathlock and which fuels the Tea Party Movement. A notorious (and famously incompetent) Philadelphia principal who presided over the racist attacks on Chinese students -- and who was found not even to be properly credentialed to be a principal -- had resigned her job in seeming disgrace.

But -- it turns out she's still working for the school district! Well, you know, "working" should be in quotes, for she actually is not working. But she is being paid $124,000 a year by the taxpayers.

Former principal LaGreta Brown is gone from troubled South Philadelphia High School but remains on the School District payroll at $124,000 a year, officials confirmed.

Brown's resignation was announced by school officials on May 13 - but that apparently applied only to her principal's position, not to her employment.

She is still employed by the district, currently off from work as she uses up a combination of personal and vacation time. On June 1, she is to report to either School District headquarters or to a regional school office, where she will handle a yet-to-be determined job.

"An assignment has not been given yet," said district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

At the end of next month, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman will decide whether Brown remains employed by the district, he said.

Brown's resignation came on the same day that teachers at the school were preparing to hold a no-confidence vote and The Inquirer was pressing questions about her lack of a state principal's certification.

She had been widely criticized for her handling of the violence that erupted at the school on Dec. 3, when groups of mostly African American students attacked about 30 Asians.

The assaults sent seven Asian students to hospitals, triggered a one-week boycott by 50 students, and spurred formal inquiries by the district, the state Human Relations Commission, and the U.S. Justice Department.

On May 13, as teachers gathered to consider the no-confidence measure, Ackerman traveled to the school to meet with staff. District officials said then that Brown had previously agreed to step down at the end of the school year, but that the questions about her certification prompted her to resign immediately.

Yeah, well big deal! Even the worst government bureaucrats cannot be fired, because they belong to powerful government employee unions with ironclad contracts, and armies of lawyers at their disposal to march into court end enforce their damned "legal entitlements."

Of course, I don't live in the Philly area anymore. Not that that changes anything. The same ruling class runs things here. Actually, the Inquirer story reminded me of a report in the Mackinac Center's Michigan Capitol Confidential about the sweetheart union deals that educrats have even in this impoverished state. Naturally, the taxpayers know little or nothing about the details. Their only role is supposed to be to work in order to pay whatever the unions demand.

In the Port Huron Area School District, about 70 percent of the $106 million operating budget goes towards paying employees covered by current collective bargaining agreements for teachers and a few other employee groups. Yet few people know what is in these or other school labor contracts.

Teacher salaries in the district are determined by a single salary schedule that grants automatic pay raises based solely on an employee's years on the job plus additional pedagogy credentials. New teachers who meet minimal performance standards are granted "tenure" after four years on the job, which is almost a lifetime job guarantee regardless of effectiveness. Tenured teachers are evaluated once every three years, but neither these evaluations nor the performance of their students affect how much they are paid.

Port Huron teachers get automatic annual pay raises ranging from 3 to 10 percent as they progress through the time-on-the-job "steps" of the salary schedule. All teachers, regardless of their position on the step schedule, receive a 2 percent annual pay increase as the entire salary schedule grows by that amount. The vast majority of teachers in Port Huron receive a base salary between $57,579 and $71,972; the average amount was $66,604 in 2009.

In addition, the district pays $13,961 annually for teacher health insurance plans, regardless of whether the plan is single, two-person or family.

It goes on and on, for people who enjoy reading about things like the generous pension plans (similar to the ones that have bankrupted California).

I think it's high time that government employee unions be made illegal.

Maybe something like that should be placed on the ballot, for no legislature would ever dare pass it. That's because unlike the unelected union employees who really run things, elected legislators are timid creatures who actually can lose their jobs and therefore live in mortal fear that they will be fired.

But suppose for the sake of argument that such a thing did make it onto the ballot and passed. Wouldn't the government unions simply pressure their lackeys in the court system to declare the measure "unconstitutional"?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Another rhetorical question.

(Next I'll be asking whether we 're living in Greece...)

posted by Eric on 05.25.10 at 06:16 PM


The traditional approach for opposing a problem such as this is to raise a public uproar and then hopefully persuade school board officials to change their policies. As demonstrated by years of prior experience, this approach has a minuscule probability of success. Perhaps it's time for a new approach. There are probably thousands of unemployed people in Philadelphia with plenty of time on their hands. They could organize mass demonstrations at the school board offices and demand similar no work jobs at the same salary. Why should they be denied their place on the public dole for non work jobs? Where is a community organizer when you need one?

TomA   ·  May 25, 2010 9:57 PM

Broken link to article

pst314   ·  May 25, 2010 9:57 PM

If I recall correctly, Federal employees were allowed to unionize via an Executive Order by President John Kennedy. Could an Executive order legally rescind the privilege?

Brett   ·  May 26, 2010 7:48 AM

Brett: it was JFK who done it.
It would appear top me that an Executive Order could rescind it, ignoring practicalities, of course.

Gringo   ·  May 26, 2010 9:33 AM

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