Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Phyllis responds to Ambrose

This is my response to Mr. Bennett's message. Please feel free todisseminate to the membership.
The "Us vs. Them" position that Mr. Bennett espouses is not only outdated --it is not in accord with CNMI law, modern thinking, or the allianceswe in the CNMI strive to build through consensus.
As an initial matter, No CNMI constitutional or statutory provision
prohibits an administrator from serving as BOE teacher rep, and hadMr. Bennett bothered to check the law before proclaiming it "BlackLetter," he should have recognized the error. The CNMI Constitution simply requires that one of the three nonvoting ex-officio members to theboard of education be a "member selected by an exclusive bargainingrepresentative of the teachers within the Department of Education." Given this reality, where is the "black letter" conflict?
Second, Jaimie Vergara has already eloquently outlined the strong
policy considerations warranting a rethinking of the "Us vs. Them" mentalitythat drove workers to organize nearly a century ago. Thus, I need not repeat them here.
Consistent with these realities, the ACT membership confirmed their preference for Betty Miller through a vote of confidence for at ACT recent meetings, in ACT web postings, andagain and again, in membership email correspondence.
Support for Ms Miller and recognition of her efforts continued long after she accepted the position of administrator. Not one person has called ameeting or asked the membership to hold a vote requesting Betty Miller to step down. With the exception of the 4 teachers using the press to communicate -- neither of whom bothered to attend a membership meeting to oppose Ms. Miller's service as teacher rep,
Ms.Miller continues to garner and hold the appreciation and confidence of all of us. I do not mean through this email to challenge any teacher personally, or to question anyone's motives.

It seems, however, prudent to raisethe following suggestion: perhaps the ill-feeling toward Ms. Millerstems from something other than the fact that she is not only ateacher who took on the challenge of serving as an administrator, but also that she has asked Mr. Bennett to resign, given the absence of all support from ACT members? Perhaps the ill-feeling also stems
from Mr. Bennett's refusal to step down, despite the absence ofteacher support?
Mr. Bennett's tenure as teacher rep is over. No one has asked him to continue, and his request that the governor extend his tenure for even a minute past the deadline for his departure is insulting to all of us who voted to replace him.
Mr. Bennett didn't run for a second term as teacher rep; no one voted for him to stay on, and it would serve no interest for him to continue to serve in this position for a minute longer than he has the right to do so.
If Mr. Bennett must do something, then why not kindly dedicate his efforts to furthering theACT membership's choice? Mr. Bennett is free to raise his concerns over Betty Miller's alleged conflict at a membership meeting. Will he bother do so? Or will he continue to use the press and electronic mail to avoid putting theissue to the membership? The membership has not only made itschoice; it has repeatedly confirmed it. Nevertheless, what is theharm in holding a membership meeting after the First of the Year to put the matter to rest? Let all attend who need to speak out. We are waiting.

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