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Back to Petition to Recall Anthony Williams

Jerome Brocks, Chairman, Washington Teachers Union Political Action Committee
Press Release
January 20, 2004




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Point of View
From the Chairman of WTU Political Action Committee 

The problems with DCPS fall directly on the shoulders of Mayor Anthony Williams. When Barbara Bullock was president of the WTU, she endorsed Mayor Williams without the approval of the rank and file in not one but two elections. Ms. Bullock negotiated a contract for teachers with the direct support and agreement of Mayor Williams of a 19% pay raise over a three year period. 5% was due in 2001, 5% was due in 2002, and 9% was due in 2003. After the scandal and alleged theft of over 5 million dollars from the WTU by Bullock and others, the mayor turned his back away from teachers. Mayor Williams slashed 100 million dollars from the 2004 budget and he forced the Board of Education to reduce its dollars available to schools during the 2002-2003 school year by 60 million dollars. This was the first phase when the school board was forced to lay off teachers and the board tried to renege on the third part of our agreed contract which was our 9% which was due in 2003. This act caused total disarray in the school system and the cry went out in every school" No 9% October 1, no work October 2".

When this occurred, the board made several cuts including the lay off of a group of teachers in the position of "Change Facilitators". These teachers were mostly senior teachers with outstanding ratings over the years. They were some of DCPS's best. Their job was to train new teachers and provide additional support to teachers as needed. A few change facilitators decided to fight to keep their jobs in DCPS but the majority of them accepted positions in other school districts. When these teachers left the school system, the morale of their colleagues started slipping.

Then the mayor made irresponsible statements such as calling our school system a slow moving train wreck which continued to lower teacher morale After that, it is believed that the mayor was directly responsible for negative ads on the back of buses that drove around all over the city for months. And then of course, his stance on vouchers. The mass majority of teachers and administrators in DCPS do not support vouchers. In a recent "Weekend Review" in the Washington Post, it was stated that the mayor had received a 190 million dollars budget bonus from the federal government. You would think that the mayor would not hesitate to return the 100 million dollars that he reneged on in the 2004 budget, especially when the board of education announced firing over 800 DCPS personnel, 550 would have been teachers. I question the mayor's priority and judgment.

DCPS continues to be in trouble as are so many of the agencies that the mayor oversees.

This is the same Anthony Williams, who under the Barry administration, came to work one day and fired everyone within an agency. This is the same Anthony Williams who threatened to close down the Office of the Aging, who threatened to close down UDC, who threatened to close down DC General Hospital, which he did close after he became mayor.

At the Mayor's "Summit III" , he stated " Give him the reins and he would be able to operate DCPS". As a 28 year teacher and a native Washingtonian, let me give my opinion on that statement. He had the reins of the Recreation Department and the director he appointed resigned after it was disclosed that he had falsified his resume and misappropriated funds. His director of Motor Vehicles resigned. His director of 911 resigned after making racial slurs to staff His religious advisor resigned after making improper sexual advances to minors. An auditor resigned and has filed a lawsuit against him. His fire chief resigned after falsifying his resume and appropriating funds. His Chief of Staff resigned after questionable dealings with funds.

Last year, two murders at DC jail resulted in a 100 million dollar law suit and just recently four people were shot in DC jail. His petition drive for his reelection, with that scandal where even Donald Duck's signature was on it. He was forced to have a write in ballot. That fiasco was an embarrassment not only locally, but nationally, and internationally.

As a teacher, when I hear his desires to run the schools, it scares me to death. He is not in control of his own agencies so if he controlled DCPS I'm afraid the same type of management and decision making would continue. For example, he was very upset with the former superintendent when he did not open the schools the day after the hurricane. I don't know about other citizens of Washington but my electricity was off for seven days as it was in many areas. If schools had opened as he requested without the opportunity to have inventory of the schools' operating refrigeration, food spoilage, and over all lack of electricity, students would not have had a healthy breakfast or lunch and that would have been a real disaster.

I have never and I shall never agree that this mayor should have had the authority to appoint anyone to the board, the first elected body in the District of Columbia.

Because of his position supporting vouchers, wanting line item authority, and wanting to take over the day to day operation of DCPS, I believe this mayor is a closet Republican and a position is waiting for him in the Republican Party when he leaves office in D.C.!

Jerome Brooks
Chairman, WTU Political Action Committee

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