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Connecticut teachers union announces Rilling endorsement

NORWALK – Members of the 29,000-strong AFT Connecticut – the American Federation of Teachers – made it official Friday with a press release announcing they have endorsed Harry Rilling in his campaign for mayor of Norwalk.

“Harry understands what it’s going to take to move Norwalk forward,” said Bruce Mellion, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1723. “He has a fresh, positive vision for Norwalk’s future; one that includes a strong, vibrant educational system. And he’s got the experience to work with us, as well as all school district and city employees and the new superintendent, to realize that vision,” he said.

Candidates for municipal office throughout the state completed questionnaires beginning in August on a series of policy issues important to the members of AFT’s local unions and their communities, according to the release. Members of the federation’s legislative and political action committee reviewed the responses and made recommendations for endorsements in the 2013 General Election to its executive committee.

“All staff, teachers, aides, clerical, nurses, and custodians want to have a mayor who respects the employees who have the direct and indirect contact with children and parents,” said Rilling in the release. “The employees of Norwalk Public Schools are professionals and need to be treated as such. They need to be listened to and have input in the operation and priorities of our education system.”

“A political endorsement is a decision we do not take lightly,” said Melodie Peters, a former state senator and president of AFT Connecticut. “It’s not about picking the politician who can make the best promises. It’s about choosing the men and women who have the best potential to fulfill the real promise of public education and public service.”

Comments

20 responses to “Connecticut teachers union announces Rilling endorsement”

  1. bsmith

    Mr. Mellion NFT helped push out the last Superintendent, Dr. Marks.

    Mr. Rilling said he supported Superintendent Marks.

    Is Mr. Rilling going to let the NFT and NASA leaders push out Superintendent Rivera too? That appears to be what they’d like to do.

  2. Norwalk Lifer

    Dr. Marks was a substandard appointee in my opinion, listening to her speak to the graduating class at McMahon in 2011, left me wondering exactly how this person got her credentials.

    In fact, all three, Mark, Chiaramonte and Moccia could barely string five words together.

    They were bested by McMahon’s valedictorian that year, he blew their speeches out of the water.

    Sometimes you have stop reading the “entertainment” from these people and their supposed woes and listen to the children who honor our schools.

    We have fantastic youth in this city, and it’s too bad that those who are political appointees don’t recognize it.

    That does not mean those kids are worth any less, it DOES mean those that devalue them are themselves, as I said in the beginning;

    Sub standard

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  3. M Allen

    Lifer: Who is devaluing our youth?

  4. M Allen

    Better question: what was their value before and what is the current and projected value of our youth? It’s a need to know question because we can’t determine if they have been devalued unless we have some baseline for their original value. Is the value limitless? And are all youth truly fantastic?
    .
    What a bunch of silly words strung into a sentence. The children aren’t devalued just because we can’t continue to raise teacher wages and benefits every time they ask. The people who approach the cost of education, most of which is tied to employee comp and benefits, as some kind of limitless black hole of money just don’t get the fact that it isn’t limitless. Then the same person whines that she doesn’t go to SoNo because she pays $7k a year in taxes and doesn’t feel paying for parking is right. Perhaps if we weren’t throwing 63% of all city tax dollars at our public education system, we could all park for free.

  5. bsmith

    Norwalk Lifer does not dispute the fact that Mr. Mellion NFT helped push out Superintedent Marks.

    Norwalk Lifer cannot dispute the fact that Mr. Rilling would have supported Superintendent Marks. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/09/moccia-rilling-answer-questions-from-public-at-east-norwalk-candidates-forum/

    That leaves one more statement: Is Mr. Rilling going to let the NFT and NASA leaders push out Superintendent Rivera too?
    That appears to be what they’d like to do.
    Neither NFT or NASA leadership has publicly welcomed Superintendent Rivera.

  6. Lisa Thomson

    Harry,
    Bruce Mellion’s endorsement will scare the bejeebers out of parents. While not pleased with everything Dick has done – this is far worse. This man has held our educational system hostage for decades.

  7. Norwalk Lifer

    You guys trusted a system and it got us a sub standard Dr. Marks.

    My opinion, my words,

    I heard the speeches from these three, collectively they are at the comprehension level of People Magazine

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  8. bsmith

    Norwalk Lifer are you saying that Mr. Rilling going to let the NFT and NASA leaders push out Superintendent Rivera too?

    That appears to be what they’d like to do.

    Neither NFT or NASA leadership has publicly welcomed Superintendent Rivera.

    At least they welcomed Superintendent Marks.

  9. Daisy

    How many of THOSE teachers live in Norwalk? It’s a free country, so everybody can speak – but why should anyone in Norwalk listen on this subject to what someone who doesn’t live there thinks?

  10. Lisa Thomson

    Norwalker Lifer…The most powerful person is this town is Bruce – not the mayor, not the superintendent, not even Ditrio. Marks was here 2 years and you are right, she didn’t have the stomach for the vitriol and backstabbing in NPS led by Bruce. Rivera IS stronger but Mellion has NEVER publicly welcomed him, even when teachers gave Rivera a standing ovation at convocation. The man who lives in Bridgeport! NOT Norwalk has been in NPS for 40 years and in charge for the past 20. He may as well be mayor or superintendent. The district is at a structural tipping point with 47% free and reduced lunch. When many middle class families of all colors and creeds have left, I’ve stayed, fundraised and challenged the system. After 40 years…Bruce is the system. But what do I know, I’m just a parent who puts my real name on everything I write. I trust my teachers, but not their entrenched leader.

  11. M Allen

    Let’s all realize once again that the unions, all of them, put themselves in a difficult position for the citizens. On the one hand, they are the professionals who should be consulted for their expertise. They should be respected and have input, but they also need to realize that the citizen government is the one with the final decision-making authority. On the other hand, and here is where they put themselves at odds with the citizenry, they are the employees of the city and hence the taxpayer. That is an adversarial position between the taxpayers and the union when it negotiates its compensation and benefits. Unfortunately, the two issues ae heavily intertwined and both become adversarial as the unions attempt to wield their power and influence over elected officials, thus wield their power over the citizenry. Its a very bad combination.

  12. Lifelong Teacher

    Lisa, I agree with every single thing you said in the statement above. It was well put.

    I stayed, too, and watched as many friends and neighbors left. There is so much good in NPS, and we hate to see it tarnished with vitriol and greed.

    You can sign your name, and I applaud you for doing so.mMany us would like to, but as employees, don’t dare.

  13. marjoriem

    Push out Manny Rivera? What ever made you draw that conclusion? The NFT is working closely with Rivera. The principals and administrators are working closely with Rivera. Do you people stay up late dreaming up these wacky comments? And of course Lisa Thomson is here being political. Do you not have a life, Lisa?

  14. Piberman

    Any doubts that our long hostile NFT is pulling out all the stops to turn back the clock to the good old days when Democrats controlled the BOE giving the NFT a seat at the table and the state’s 5th highest salaries have been removed with the AFT endorsement.

    Since two of the four sitting Democrat BOE members voted not to hire Dr Rivera – our best hire in decades – and the Democrat Party didn’t protest that outrage their can be no doubt that Dr Rivera would leave should the NFT and Democrats again rule the BOE. All the accomplishments of our revitalized BOE would be then reversed. What a horrendous tragedy for Norwalk ! Who knows, maybe the two Democrats voting against the hiring of Dr Rivera might then lead the BOE to further ignominy.

    Republicans are not perfect. But they have demonstrated how to bring great accomplishments to our BOE and school system despite having two hostile Democrat BOE members and the most hostile public school union in CT whose monthly Vanguard spills vitriol in all directions.

    Imagine what we could now accomplish with public school teachers who respected the citizens of Norwalk. A Mayor Rilling couldn’t possibly confer “respect” on such uncivil “civil servants”. Respect has to be earned. So far we’ve not heard from many citizens who believe the NFT with their Vanguard merit respect.

    The coming election may well give the hostile NFT a real comeuppance.
    Let’s hope so. We’ve worked to hard to create a viable BOE and attract a prominent Supt to our City just to through it away and give the hostile NFT the keys to the City Treasury. How could chief Rilling accept the support of the NFT that publishes such vitriol in its Vanguard ? That’s not the man we all know and respect.

  15. You may want to check your facts

    Good lord, Daisy is like a broken record in all these articles. What is your aversion to people living where they choose? If they work in this town, they have a say, whether you like it or not.

  16. M Allen

    Have to be honest, I could care less where they live. I don’t expect they should have to live here anymore than any other profession. Do we take issue with the doctors who live in New Canaan? Then we probably shouldn’t care where city workers live if they choose to commute from up the line. We all have the right to make that choice. The only difference between them and any other worker who commutes into Norwalk is their affiliation with the union. The union is what wields the undue influence on our elected officials and it would operate in the same way if the workers lived here or didn’t.

  17. marjoriem

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did the Union have problems with the City because of the lack of respect or did the City’s lack of respect cause the Union to have problems? Whether you like it or not, Marks was highly INCAPABLE in her position. She treated staff poorly and was the Apple puppet. Red Apples grew to love the power she gave them. Teachers grew to dislike her moods and her bad decisions. TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS HAD TO LIVE WITH HER DAY TO DAY MOOD SWINGS. To deify Marks is the biggest joke around. Sorry, Apples, to vilify the Union for trying to kick out a troublemaker on the Board and to rid the Board of the angry Apples is about trying to get a Board that works for the benefit of students. Is the Union about protecting teachers and salaries? Of course it is. That’s why Unions exist. Bruce happens to be a genius at doing it. He comes prepared and is very capable of arguing for teachers. The problem with those who present a case against him is that he is smarter than they are. Is that a reason to vilify him? I personally respect intelligence. Don’t you?
    Rilling has the right idea. Respect teachers, and they will respect you. Rivera is respecting the Union and it’s teachers. They have a mutual respect for each other. Put Apples on the Board and you will make Rivera’s job impossible. He will have to choose between the hatred of the Apples and working with respect for teachers and the Union in an amicable, productive manner. Do you really want this superintendent to face a job that is not doable?

  18. M Allen

    Help me understand. Supporting the union is in fact supporting the Superintendent because it will make his job easier if he what, doesn’t have to fight with the union? But put him in the middle of competing ideas for how things are run AND defending the city’s budget during CBA negotiations, and his job becomes more difficult and therefore result in his failure? I think the Super is a capable man and has been down this path before. I think he’s up to the task. I just hope our elected officials are.

  19. marjoriem

    Your logic makes no sense. This superintendent is already working with the Union in a calm, productive manner. It is his job to listen to both sides and to make Solomon like decisions. Working with the Union, not against them, and listening to both sides will gain the respect of Union leaders. If the superintendent decispdesa against the Union, so be it. At least it has been done with respect. The most successful superintendents know that. If the Board remains hateful and vindictive, they are the ones who will drive this superintendent out of town!

  20. Daisy

    Maybe I sound like a broken record ’cause you all do – I’m sick of reading you and you’re sick of reading me. According to my own reading of the polls, Harry ain’t gonna have a chance to dispose of Dr. Rivera

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