SBCUSD worker relations still tense
Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/20/2011 08:38:07 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The departure of Superintendent Arturo Delgado will not have much impact on the current stalemate between the school district and its Personnel Commission, say district and union officials.

Mostly, they say, because the dispute is now winding its way through the courts and will not likely be resolved anytime soon.

“Right now we are all entangled in litigation,” said San Bernardino City Unified school board President Danny Tillman. “So I expect this will remain contentious.”

Delgado announced two weeks ago that he will be taking the position of Los Angeles County superintendent of schools on July 1.

The school board will discuss the naming of an interim superintendent at its meeting today.

Delgado is leaving in the midst of clashes between the the district and the commission over which has authority over certain personnel functions.

The local chapter of the California School Employees Association – which represents 2,022 employees in the district – has filed a lawsuit against the district, asking the court to reinstate the commission’s authority and pay all court costs related to the lawsuit.

A hearing has been scheduled for July 18 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The commission was created in 1966 to make sure the merit system is followed in hiring for non-teaching positions.

Issues of concern include the district not hiring the personnel director the commissioners selected, in this case Patrick Maher, said Charlie LaChance, labor-relations representative for CSEA 183, the local union chapter.

Recently, the commission voted to hire Maher as an outside professional to get some recruiting done.

There are also concerns about work being contracted out to employees who are not invested in the schools and worries about the 300 non-teaching vacancies, currently held up by the dispute, not being filled.

“The district has not allowed the commission to implement its customary duties for several years,” said LaChance. “And we feel this is not conducive to a safe environment for students.”

The same situation will continue if the interim superintendent is someone the union has problems with, such as Mel Albiso, associate superintendent/chief administrative officer for the district, according to Ken Holt, president of CSEA 183.

“I think it is the top administration, from Dr. Delgado to Mel Albiso, who have created the friction between the district and the commission,” Holt said. “I think we will be in a worse position with Albiso because of his threat to reduce all employees to a 10-month work year.”

Albiso was quick to respond, saying he was not interested in battling with anyone.

“People are always looking for someone to blame when there are budget issues,” he said. “We need to pull together and work toward a productive outcome no matter who is in the leadership position.

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