AFT: Rhee's anti-leak strategy less than watertight
We learned from Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee at her Friday D.C. Council testimony that the fiscal disarray following the contract announcement was actually an attempt to avoid that worst of all possible worlds: a leak to the press. Rhee said that ideally the District would have buttoned down all financial issues and secured District CFO Natwar M.Gandhi's certification before announcing the terms of the contract, as it did on April 7. But the fear was that details would leak while it was pending in Gandhi's office, agitating union members.
"We made the decision to first make the announcement," Rhee said, adding that the union leadership was also on board with that approach.
Not willingly, said AFT president Randi Weingarten.
"It was her concern, not our concern," Weingarten said Monday. "Did we agree to a joint strategy? Yes," she said. "But there was many a conversation about this particular issue. We thought it should go to Gandhi," followed by a public roll out and then submission to union members.
Like some council members, Weingarten said she was perplexed about the lack of consultation with District financial officials as the contract was being assembled.
"I would have expected there would have been preliminary conversations with those responsible for the finances," she said. "I was surprised as anybody else about the initial back and forth."
Gandhi and school officials continue to work on a funding package for the contract.
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May 3, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
| Tags: American Federation of Teachers, DC schools, DC teachers contract, Randi Weingarten
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