Advice for Rahm: Lay off the Unions and the People

This wasn’t goin’ to be the post for the day but when I went online to grab the link I wanted, I ran across this headline: Emanuel: 625 city worker layoffs if union won’t accept reforms

I’ll try to keep it short and offer some advice. Per the article, our new mayor is threatening the unions with layoffs IF they don’t meet his demands. Well, it wasn’t stated that way. Part of the article reads, “He insisted that job cuts will not be necessary if organized labor will “be my partner” on $20 million in work rule changes …”

Here’s my advice:

  1. Have a nice long talk with the old mayor, not the unions. He got us into this mess. Partner up with him and solve your problems. Internally.
  2. Stop making unions out to be bad guys. A signed agreement is a signed agreement. Honor it. It was in your office when you got there. Show decency. Show respect. Give it and you’ll get it.
  3. Be honest. You want money, not partners. There’s a former mayor out there with a nice circle of wealthy partners. They’re “worth” talkin’ to.
  4. Stop humanizing this inhumane demand for moey. Going public with this threat… it’s embarassing.
  5. Learn how to manage my 26 yearly contributions to the city. Either that, or let me operate in the red as long as the city does.
  6. Afraid to bite the hands that feed you? Go talk to your business partners. Tell them to cut their salaries and profit margins for the sake of balancing a city budget. What’s wrong? They bite back?
  7. Stop bullying the working class of this city. We’ve given. You’ve taken, and you’ve mismanaged. How is that our fault?
  8. Can you be civil and reasonable? I feel like I’m witnessing a hostage negotiation.
  9. Have you given that zero-based budget thing a try?

What’s the mission behind the call for submissions?

Here’s the specialannounce email we recently received (I made some modifications to the format) followed by my comments:

June 27, 2011 
Dear Colleagues:
We are busy preparing for the annual Faculty Development Week.  This year we’ll be hosting a 2-day event, scheduled for August 8th and 9th at Malcolm X College (1900 W. VanBuren).  Attendance is mandatory for all full time faculty members. So put those dates on your calendar.

Faculty Development Week will feature several interesting and enlightening concurrent breakout sessions. This is where we need your help.
Call for Submissions:
Academic Affairs is calling for submissions for general sessions during faculty development week.  All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a session by filling out the following form: http://www.tfaforms.com/206667
Submissions will be reviewed, accepted, and scheduled by a committee of faculty and administrators in early July.
Deadline for session descriptions: 5:00 PM, Sunday, July 3rd.
Several interesting submissions have come in already, and we are excited about having a broad palette for offering professional development.  Sessions may include information on pedagogy, technology, tenure projects, lab activities, and safety, to name just a few. As always, we look forward to the start of another academic year together.  If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
Mike Davis
Associate Vice Chancellor for STEM

My comments:
It may sound like I’m splittin’ hairs, but I’ve got to say what I’ve got to say.
Who’s deciding on the topics? I ask ’cause, to be honest, I didn’t hear good things ’bout last year’s sessions and I’d like to know the rationale for pickin’ this year’s selections. No offense, but planning could have been better last year and I’d like for us to learn from our mistakes, rather than repeat’ ‘em. IMHO, looks like we might be headin’ towads the latter than the former. Bein’ honest, while I drink out of my half-full cup.
I know seminars I’ve attended in the past plan their sessions without my input, but this is different. We are being asked to help. Says so in the email. I just think the askin’ should have come sooner. This is suppose to be OUR development week (well, two days). It’s either going to be a spectacular two days at MX, or we’re going to have faculty running for the (out)doors. Again. (Peeps gave a new meaning to the word breakout. HA!)

Speakin’ of peeps, what do ya’ll think? What are you interested in learning during these first two days of FDW? What kind of sessions do you look forward to attending? What’s going to keep you inside the building rather than outside? What would you consider to be a waste of your time? What would be worth your time? What say you?
Give Mike (a former peep) some input.

Quiet as it’s kept: new provost candidate to be announced at next board meeting

Well, that’s the news as I heard it via an email exchange between FC4 and District HR.

Apparently, a provost search was conducted and completed, and a candidate for the position will be recommended to the board at their July meeting.

Given that the provost’s purview will encompass all academic/curricular activity at CCC as CCC’s putative academic leader and given that shared governance has been on the discussion table between faculty leadership and District this past academic year, it seems odd to learn about a new provost candidate and a concluded search in a random email.  Of course, it also seems sad (to me) that this happened over the summer after all the talk of transparency and trust-building, but I digress. . .

So, I ask the following questions and welcome any answers:

1) When did the search begin? How long did the process take?

2) Were faculty included in the search process?

3) Were District faculty council, local faculty councils, and appropriate union leadership included in the search or notified about the search?

4) Regarding the search itself, how many applications were read and how many candidates were interviewed?

5) If neither faculty at large nor faculty leaders were notified or included, who was included on the search team?

6)What board rules or by-laws governed the selection and search process for this relatively new position?

Again, any answers to these questions are welcome.

Partial Closure to Completion. Maybe.

Have a read of Don’s postings regarding Completion on his blog. To date there are three posts related to completion. As he has stated, “The discussion of completion has been fruitful.” Agreed Don. Let me chime in with the last of my two-cents for now and to also address some related issues.

First, it’s been a most wonderful pleasure to have this interaction with you. I had no intention of taking the discussion this far, yet the results have been a good learning experience. I’ll need some time to digest the NY Times article and the report. I’ll add it to my summer readin’ list. I rather not give an incomplete response now. I will say that I agree on this: Education matters. A good quality education. Not completion. Not retention. Not success. Not quantity of graduates. Simply, a good quality education. (“…there are valid alternative means to any end, as well as valid alternative ends in themselves.”)

Second, I read some of the comments left on your blog related to the ratings game and your tenure as our HWC president. For the record, I am not out to get you and I’m not tryin’ to be a bully. I’m simply writing away on my own virtual desk (thanks to the owner of this blog) and voicing my concerns. I am practicing what I preach in my classroom: Be objective, understand others, observe and ask questions, think critically, and respond with support for your words.

Third, you’ve not heard the last of me. I’ll continue to be critical of our college and our district. I will not stop making observations. I will take what I hear from my fellow faculty members (peeps) and question the institution that is suppose to be a model of academic integrity.

Related issues:
1. If we are a community of thinkers, why can’t we meet the educational needs of our citizens? What’s wrong with us. By us, I mean everyone from the Chancellor down to the new adjuncts. We’re like chefs teaching students how to bake a pie without knowing how to measure ingredients. Good luck completing that dessert.
2. We are seen as a melting pot of experts in so many fields when it comes to applying and receiving funding and accreditation from our many sources, yet we are seen as a boiling pot of trouble when it comes to the retention and success of our students. What gives? Can we have some consistency?

I’ll stop here. For now. I’ve got more in store. I may respond to future posts on your blog or I may just create a post from scratch based on what’s happenin’ aroud HWC and/or CCC. Depends on how complicated matters may get.

Summer Music – Vol. 2

The Summer Music editions will feature ‘old school’ tunes to invigorate, educate, and perhaps instigate thought for those who will be involved in the Summer edition of our great  and mighty Reinvention plan.

This post continues to go out to those directly involved with “reinvention”. I won’t stop believin’ that reports are comin’. I’ll be searchin’ in the night if I have to. I just hope I don’t end this summer music edition singin’ the blues.

This post also goes out to Don. Don’t you stop believin’ in your potential to be the best just ’cause some small-town blogger in a smoky filled room went on and on about your post. Don’t stop.

That  Reinvention blog? Don’t ask. Still can’t leave a comment.