Well, it looks like BTU President Pat Santeramo is in a world of hurt right now.
No raises for teachers, lopsided teacher salary schedules, bloated salaries and benefits for Executive leadership, unit reserves gone, his world is in a state of collapse.
He’s effectively been relieved of his post as President of the union and the unit has been placed under the leadership of the AFT.
The Executive Board says the provisional administrator will be in place by Friday.
I don’t know if Santeramo is guilty of what the investigation and the Executive Board are alleging, and I’m not going to speculate.
But I’ve been criticizing both Santeramo and the union for years for as much his style as well as his accomplishment.
Or lack of it.
What I’ve seen instead is sheer demagoguery in leadership style.
Making demands that the School Board could never meet.
The most ludicrous of which was the demand that the Board turn over all funds for employee health insurance so the union could manage it. (Smell a rat, anyone?)
Driving around trucks advertising “report cards” for the Superintendent.
Parading intentionally underpaid teachers in front of the media to demand more money from the “tightwad” School Board. Money Santeramo would give to the senior teachers.
Holding the Board hostage over Race to the Top funding.
And, of course, refusing to negotiate with the district in good faith.
Take, take, take and give back nothing of significance.
Totally bad faith, even to the point of including derogatory comments about the district negotiator in releases to the members and the public.
Negotiations are designed to be trade offs, not one sided. (But then, that’s something the Board needs to remember, too.)
Santeramo has continued to ignore the plight of younger teachers keeping them at essentially slave wages when raises were being given, while teachers at 18+ years were getting raises of 2, 6, and 9 thousand dollars.
It’s an alarm I’ve been raising for almost six years, beginning with my leading the Board into forcing a $2,000 across the board raise for teachers during my final year on the Board.
Well, now others, including the Sun Sentinel’s Michael Mayo are taking note.
The decline in membership is showing and it’s not all about layoffs as he suggests in his letter to members.
Santeramo’s constant demands for Jim Notter’s resignation were more likely based in his own self absorbed style rather than based in realism.
With his own salary peaking at $189,000 while members weren’t getting raises and providing union employee perks such as heavy retirement contributions, is it any wonder that Santeramo has lost touch with the needs of his membership?
Well, now the shoe’s on the other foot and the union’s Executive Board is now asking for his resignation.
He might as well step down now, because mark my words; Santeramo will not survive the next membership vote.
The future of the union itself is in doubt considering the mess that Santeramo has administered, and in the past I’ve recommended that members vote to decertify BTU in favor of a new bargaining unit that actually represents the interests of its membership and the public in general.
But maybe, just maybe the Executive leadership has seen the light and can turn things around.
Time will tell.