Given his outspoken, adamant campaign talk that “It must end, now,” coupled with his actions at the board meeting on Jan. 27, it certainly appears to be the case.
However, since no vote has yet been taken, I think it is a little early to call it “flip-flopping.” Borrowing a term from my grandfather, I prefer to think, that as of now, the worst, and at the same time the best, he is guilty of is “crawfishing.” His motion to table the vote indefinitely was assuredly backing down from his campaign rhetoric.
Reading his response to reporter Kathryn Malone in her MDJ article, “School vice chair tables vacation perk vote indefinitely at meeting,” I suddenly got the feeling that I had heard it before. Then it dawned on me that there was a strong similarity between Scott’s rambling, disconnected responses and those of former President Clinton when trying to explain his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
As one who backed Sweeney and worked for his election, (as a voter, not as a columnist), I am not ready to accept that he may have taken a lethal swig of Glover Street Kool-Aid. For now, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was the victim of a temporary lapse of judgment, and will recover and call for an end to the travesty known as vacation accrual.
As to the issue itself, there are a lot of things the policy is, and a lot of things that it is not. It is not a benefit. It is a perk.
The policy is unwarranted, uncontrollable, unaudited and unfair. Only a handful of private-sector organizations have such a policy. Most have “Use it or lose it” policies, encouraging their workers to take time off to recharge themselves, renew their relationships at home and reacquaint themselves with their friends and relatives. There is no reason we should have such a policy; ergo, it is unwarranted.
It is my understanding that, upon termination of employment, the employee receives payment for these accrued days, up to a limit. There are some inherent problems here, one of which is that these days are paid at a rate other than what his pay was when he accrued the time. This amounts to giving the employee an unauthorized increase in pay.
Teachers, the front line troops, responsible for the education of our children, do not enjoy this perk. In this sense, it is grossly unfair.
Who audits Superintendent Fred Sanderson’s vacation days? I think it is safe to say, “Nobody.” What about a principal, or an area assistant? Same answer. They are salaried and do not punch a clock. The perk is uncontrolled and unaudited.
Keep this in mind in relation to this perk. The CCSD has a liberal policy of “short term” leave days, paid days off, (18 a year for full time employees) which can be used for sick days or personal days. Of course, there are “restrictions.” You can’t use more than 10 in a row. BUT, you could use 10 and accrue 10 vacation days, for which you would be paid upon leaving CCSD.
Is it any wonder that so many vacation days are accrued? Face it folks, the policy begs to be abused.
Given all these documentable facts and opportunities for abuse that they point out, I fail to see how Sweeney can consider not voting to quash this golden goose, unless he now says he did not know what he was talking about during the campaign.
I don’t think he was intimidated by board member Lynnda Eagle and Sanderson and their veiled threats of a mass exodus of administrators if the perk is discontinued. Give me a break! Where would they find a job in today’s market? Besides, we could probably lose 10 to 15 percent of them and never miss them.
Scott said during the campaign, this perk “must end now.” He also said his father “walked the walk” and taught him to do the same thing. Would your father think you are “walking the walk,” when you back down on a promise?
Scott, do what you said you would do. I paraphrase a popular Southern comedian when I say, “Git ‘er done!”
Pete Borden is a mason in east Cobb.