Tim Mapes was given his walking papers minutes after Sherri Garret busted him for sexual harassment. House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff is eligible to collect a pension of more than $135,000 per year.
The amount of Mapes’ pension is the result of about 40 unelected years in state government, and he’ll be eligible for annual pension increases of 3 percent.
Mapes is 63.
Yesterday Garret said that Mapes engaged in sexual harassment over years and fostered “a culture of sexism, harassment and bullying that creates an extremely difficult working environment.”
Mapes is legally entitled to his pension. I have no problem with that.
The irony is that his boss, Michael Madigan, just worked to pass a budget that included a major hit on the pensions of career teachers who are retiring.
I’m not talking about the pension buyout. That is baloney. No teacher who has a brain in their head would take that deal unless they had a few weeks left to live or owed a bookie a bunch of Franklins and needed quick cash.
But the legislature also passed as part of their pension action a 3% cap on teachers who will retire after their current contract expires.
This means that no teacher can receive a cost of living increase of more than 3% without their district paying a huge penalty.
What’s so bad about a 3% cost of living raise?
There are some who argue that any raise for teachers is a bad idea.
But because teaching is a career that depends on us staying in the classroom, younger teachers are placed on a salary schedule that rewards them for doing that. There is no such thing as a promotion for teachers unless it is to become an administrator.
Oh, man! Here is where I get weedy.
Teachers receive an increase for each year of service (a step increase) plus a cost of living increase that is collectively bargained. Senior teachers only receive the cost of living increase. No step increase.
If a teacher takes on extra duty work in their final four years and it is applied to their pension calculation or takes a college class that adds to their income, it is not difficult to earn more than the new cap allows.
I can see a scenario where in the face of inflation and a consumer price index that rises above 3%, no board will bargain a raise that exceeds 3%. No matter what. No matter to who.
It will be a constraint on collective bargaining, advantaging the board, hurting all teachers. But especially veteran teachers.
For a career teacher this is an F You for committing to a lifetime of service to educating young people.
It also undermines a fundamental principle of collective bargaining, which is a process that involves the union representatives of the employees and management.
Not the legislature.
Bargaining with the legislature is what led to strikes in the red states where there is no local collective bargaining.
If the point was to save the state money, it fails on that point as well. Forbes estimates the cap will save the state only $22 million.
Targeting veteran teachers like this is really despicable.
I am reminded of a teacher I knew back when I was union president. Our collective bargaining agreement required a performance review and a rating every two years.
This lady had taught for 34 years, had always received excellent performance reviews and was in her very last year of teaching.
If evaluation is for the purpose of improvement, it is hard to see how being evaluated months before you retire has much purpose.
The evaluator was her principal who was new at the job and was clearly trying to impress the higher ups. There was pressure from the central office about too many teachers getting good reviews. So he ranked her as satisfactory rather than excellent.
Her final year.
She was devastated. A knife in the back after a career of service.
That’s what a cap on our final salary is.
A knife in the back after a career of service.