Andy Pallotta and Reformy John Flanagan

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that we have touched on John Flanagan quite a bit.  Flanagan, a New York State Senator who represents portions of the Comsewogue School District, is also the chairman of the New York State Senate’s Education Committee.  You may remember that in November we rallied outside Senator Flanagan’s office while he cowardly hid inside.  You’ll recall that an editorial in The Smithtown News referring to New York’s education reform agenda said…

Call it the King/Flanagan agenda, and it stinks.”  They added, “Ever since NYSUT refused to endorse him for re-election in 2010, Mr. Flanagan has been out to get public school teachers and he is hell-bent on taking the public school system down with them.  He has jumped to the center of the charter school bandwagon, which drains money from public schools, he has fostered implementation of an inherently unfair and flawed APPR system, he has ushered in the misguided and premature implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and he has allowed the implementation of the abusive testing of students.

By now you know the story of Flanagan calling Comsewogue District Office to complain that one of their teachers, Beth Dimino, did not speak to him in a deferential tone.  You know that Flanagan has known ties to ALEC and that his top campaign contributor was Michelle Rhee’s organization Student’s First.  Suffice it to say John Flanagan is certainly an enemy of public education.

So imagine my surprise last night when the tweet below scrolled across my Twitter feed…

Ah yes, Revive NYSUT’s Andy Pallotta, cozying up to the reformy John Flanagan.  Pontificating about how “we” will support all children.  You may remember that Flanagan wasn’t endorsed by NYSUT in his bid for re-election in 2012.  However that did not stop Andy Pallotta from sending him $3,000 of VOTE COPE funds anyway.  That seems to be Pallotta’s way of doing things.  Don’t worry about who NYSUT has voted to endorse or what is best for the rank and file, make sure you fill the coffers of your reformy pals.  We already know he has contributed $10,000 to “Cuomo 2014”.  It makes you wonder how much money he will give Cuomo, even if NYSUT votes not to endorse Cuomo in his re-election bid.

Despite the fact that NYSUT elections are rigged because of the Unity Caucus stranglehold on the UFT leadership, we must find a way to oust Andy Pallotta from his office of Executive Vice-President.  Rank and file members around the state should be contacting their NYSUT delegates and telling them “Vote NO to the Revive NYSUT slate!”

Pallotta's feelings of Flanagan.

Pallotta’s feelings of Flanagan.

The PJSTA's thoughts on Flanagan.

The PJSTA’s thoughts on Flanagan.

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6 Responses to Andy Pallotta and Reformy John Flanagan

  1. Dave says:

    It’s very interesting that an internal caucus issue is on the top of everyone’s mind but to clarify; from my understanding, a table was purchased for Cuomo’s birthday dinner when current President Dick Ianuzzi requested that he wanted to attend the dinner, which he did attend. It is also my understanding that in the history of working with our legislatures, whether we endorse or not,we continue working with legislatures to ensure our goals get accomplished. We have a responsibility not to burn bridges in order to ensure all of our members are properly represented.
    You are right,UFT is the largest local in NYSUT which is why no UFT President has ever become President of NYSUT. Instead of using this blog to bash Palotta who clearly has been doing his job, maybe you should concentrate more on the facts of why so many NYSUT members are unhappy with the leadership of Ianuzzi. Instead of handling this internal issue privately, he has publicized it which in turn can weaken NYSUT. We need leadership who can move NYSUT forward ensuring that all members are properly represented.

    • thepjsta says:

      Thanks for the comment Dave. You make some good points, but there are some things that should be cleared up… First off the “internal caucus” issue you mentioned plays a significant role in this election and in the direction that both NYSUT and the AFT go from here. While I understand that UFT leadership wouldn’t want it’s structure and undemocratic nature brought to light, it is an essential part of this election. Ultimately whoever the UFT backs become overwhelming favorites to win, as the opposition then faces nearly insurmountable odds. Therefore it gives them enormous influence at the state level. This is why they have always been viewed as they tail that wags the NYSUT dog. However the UFT goes, so goes NYSUT. Given NYSUT makes up an enormous part of the AFT, they ultimately drive that national union as well. Were the UFT giving their entire membership a voice this wouldn’t really be a problem. However any opinions in the UFT that are not shared by it’s leadership are crushed. Ultimately you get state and national union’s driven by a small fraction of the membership. A fraction that isn’t impacted by things like the tax cap.

      You are correct in pointing out that Iannuzzi requested to attend the dinner and ultimately did attend. The PJSTA has never claimed he didn’t. What the Revive slate always seems to avoid is that Pallotta, without anyone else’s knowledge, then added seven additional seats (and an additional $7,000 to Cuomo). Several of those seats were for members of what was to become his slate to challenge the incumbents with. Listen I would have preferred NYSUT not have bought even one seat, let alone ten, but I can at least listen to the argument of why Dick and Andy were there. What will never be acceptable to me is why other members of what was to become the Revive slate needed to be there. They were nothing more than local presidents. If they were there why not other local presidents? Why not the PJSTA’s Beth Dimino? I am sure she would want to wish the Governor a happy birthday, or something along those lines.

      Finally, I thoroughly reject your notion that our union’s leadership desperately needs changes, yet Andy Pallotta is doing his job and doesn’t need to be changed. It can’t be both ways. Andy has been a part of the current leadership for nearly five years. Five years in which we have been crushed legislatively. If anything he has been the leadership’s achilles heel. You can’t have it both ways. Either the leadership has failed and needs to be changed or they shouldn’t. There is no separating them. What has Lee Cutler done, for example, that is worse than Tier 5, Tier 6, the tax cap, and supporting Cuomo? Kathleen Donahue? Maria Neira, who the Revive slate offered to let keep her job if they joined her? The entire thing stinks of Andy Pallotta having a personal grudge and dragging the entire membership into this mess when we can least afford it.

      Thanks again for the comment. I always enjoy a civil discourse on this stuff.

  2. Dave says:

    It’s very interesting that an internal caucus issue is on the top of everyone’s mind but to clarify; from my understanding, a table was purchased for Cuomo’s birthday dinner when current President Dick Ianuzzi requested that he wanted to attend the dinner, which he did attend. It is also my understanding that in the history of working with our legislatures, whether we endorse or not,we continue working with legislatures to ensure our goals get accomplished. We have a responsibility not to burn bridges in order to ensure all of our members are properly represented.
    You are right,UFT is the largest local in NYSUT which is why no UFT President has ever become President of NYSUT. Instead of using this blog to bash Palotta who clearly has been doing his job, maybe you should concentrate more on the facts of why so many NYSUT members are unhappy with the leadership of Ianuzzi. Instead of handling this internal issue privately, he has publicized it which in turn can weaken NYSUT. We need leadership who can move NYSUT forward ensuring that all members are properly represented.

    • thepjsta says:

      Thanks for the comment Dave. You make some good points, but there are some things that should be cleared up… First off the “internal caucus” issue you mentioned plays a significant role in this election and in the direction that both NYSUT and the AFT go from here. While I understand that UFT leadership wouldn’t want it’s structure and undemocratic nature brought to light, it is an essential part of this election. Ultimately whoever the UFT backs become overwhelming favorites to win, as the opposition then faces nearly insurmountable odds. Therefore it gives them enormous influence at the state level. This is why they have always been viewed as they tail that wags the NYSUT dog. However the UFT goes, so goes NYSUT. Given NYSUT makes up an enormous part of the AFT, they ultimately drive that national union as well. Were the UFT giving their entire membership a voice this wouldn’t really be a problem. However any opinions in the UFT that are not shared by it’s leadership are crushed. Ultimately you get state and national union’s driven by a small fraction of the membership. A fraction that isn’t impacted by things like the tax cap.

      You are correct in pointing out that Iannuzzi requested to attend the dinner and ultimately did attend. The PJSTA has never claimed he didn’t. What the Revive slate always seems to avoid is that Pallotta, without anyone else’s knowledge, then added seven additional seats (and an additional $7,000 to Cuomo). Several of those seats were for members of what was to become his slate to challenge the incumbents with. Listen I would have preferred NYSUT not have bought even one seat, let alone ten, but I can at least listen to the argument of why Dick and Andy were there. What will never be acceptable to me is why other members of what was to become the Revive slate needed to be there. They were nothing more than local presidents. If they were there why not other local presidents? Why not the PJSTA’s Beth Dimino? I am sure she would want to wish the Governor a happy birthday, or something along those lines.

      Finally, I thoroughly reject your notion that our union’s leadership desperately needs changes, yet Andy Pallotta is doing his job and doesn’t need to be changed. It can’t be both ways. Andy has been a part of the current leadership for nearly five years. Five years in which we have been crushed legislatively. If anything he has been the leadership’s achilles heel. You can’t have it both ways. Either the leadership has failed and needs to be changed or they shouldn’t. There is no separating them. What has Lee Cutler done, for example, that is worse than Tier 5, Tier 6, the tax cap, and supporting Cuomo? Kathleen Donahue? Maria Neira, who the Revive slate offered to let keep her job if they joined her? The entire thing stinks of Andy Pallotta having a personal grudge and dragging the entire membership into this mess when we can least afford it.

      Thanks again for the comment. I always enjoy a civil discourse on this stuff.

  3. Pingback: Missing: NYSUT Leadership | The official website of the PJSTA

  4. Pingback: If You Can’t Trust Your Union… | The official website of the PJSTA

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