By Scott Marlow
The to and fro between the Bayonne Teachers Union and Mayor Davis is reaching a new level. But who is telling the truth? Davis claims he wants the teachers to take a “raise” without offering them a deal in writing. Union President Alan D’Angelo says this is “union busting.”
The teachers contract expired on September 1st of 2015. Davis claimed that if teachers take a raise now, it would lead them to be able to get “more money” later. But, New Jersey State law would suggest that Mayor Davis’ proposal for teachers is illegal. The Neptune Exemption is a court ruling that stated that School Boards in New Jersey do not have the authority to pay increments (raises) after a contract has expired. The full law and explanations can be read here. It would seem like the Davis Administration is once again trying to cloud the issue by offering solutions that don’t exist. Davis also deflected blame for the lack of a teachers contract on the elected school board, who are yet to take office. Board members-elect Finnerty and Munoz have already called for the teachers contract to be settled before they take office. (Seen below) Davis appointed a majority of the current school board. He has seemed to have had no problems getting hires and promotions he has asked for, so why not a contract?
What is the real crux of the problem?
One of Mayor Davis’ demands in the contract negotiation with teachers is to switch teachers health benefits plan from the state run plan to an private (Aetna) run insurance plan. This million dollar move would bring great changes to the way our teachers and board employees are insured. Bayonne Local reported previously on Mayor Davis taking trips to Florida on the dime of Madeline LoRe, an insurance broker in town. LoRe has recently received the insurance brokerage contract for the Bayonne Board of Education and another contract with the City is in the works. LoRe has made upwards of a million dollars in commissions from the Bayonne Board of Education and the City of Bayonne. It didn’t take much research to learn that LoRe’s insurance company deals through Aetna, as well. LoRe’s group honored Mayor Davis at a gala last month. The relationship between LoRe and Davis is highly unethical at best. The legality of it … maybe not so clear.
While speaking to the Jersey Journal, Davis called Bayonne Teachers “attention grabbers” for exercising their constitutionally amended rights to protest. While running for office, Davis supported the teachers and their past marches on City Hall. (Seen below) Davis has done a complete 180 on his positions when it comes to the teachers and Bayonne City business in general. Davis also mentions bringing in state auditors in the video below, something that still hasn’t happened. Either way, the trust between the Bayonne Teachers Union and the Davis Administration has been truly destroyed by lies and false pretenses. Can it be repaired? We will find out.