Gayl Shepard Re-elected MEA Head, Claims She’ll Be “Collaborative”

Looks like the Montclair Education Association re-elected its president Gayl Shepard last night. According to the press release, support for her was overwhelming – does anyone know if she was even opposed at all?

The membership of the Montclair Education Association (MEA) re-elected its president, Gayl Shepard, to a second three-year term by an overwhelming majority. Shepard’s second term begins July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2017.

“I am proud to represent the Montclair Education Association for another term,” commented Shepard.  “I will lead this union of dedicated educators as we work collaboratively with the Montclair School District and Montclair Community to provide the best education for every public school student.”

Right there she says that she pledges to “work collaboratively with the Montclair School District.” Of course, that hasn’t really been the approach she’s taken over the last year. Take, for instance, the harassing PERC complaint she filed against former school board member Tanya Coke. That was – obviously – highly “collaborative” leadership, truly focused on “provid[ing] the best education for every public school student.”

So while we’re clearly very skeptical, we do really hope that she’ll change her ways.

As a side note, we thought it was interesting (if obvious) that the top achievement cited was the new contract:

Successful negotiation of the 2013-2015 contract between the MEA and the Montclair School District; the contract included no loss of MEA positions and the reinstatement of health benefits for most paraprofessionals;

The contract included a big raise for the MEA, along with other concessions, and they’re being paid for by taxpayers who pay their taxes this year, in the form of a 4% tax increase. In response to our post about the rumor that she hadn’t paid her taxes (which turned out to be true), some critics said it wasn’t relevant. But the reality is that in her position of power, she’s asked responsible taxpayers for a lot (for the record – it amounts to a raise and a budget that we ourselves were plenty willing to pay). The question of whether her tax issues amount to hypocrisy strikes us as a pretty fair one, given that the extraction of a better deal from taxpayers is her top achievement.

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