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Letter to the Editor: Zucker on Decorum

As the head of the negotiations committee, Mark Zucker takes some heat; here he responds to personal attacks by the public.

Dear Editor,

I have spent the better part of six years working tirelessly to ensure that our school district is responsibly managed.  I have actively participated on multiple committees including the CSA Search Committee to identify a new superintendent and have dealt with the preparation all of the budgets for the past six years via my ongoing service on the Finance Committee.  That said, however, of all the things that I have volunteered to do, the most important from my point of view has been my participation on the .  Ensuring that the teachers are compensated fairly and treated respectfully is critical to ensuring that the district runs smoothly and that our children are nurtured appropriately. Somehow this simple concept seems to have been forgotten.  Never did I believe that I would have to spend so much time defending the teachers to an increasing hostile public.  Not a day goes by in which some negative remark is not made about the teachers and their salaries.  While the role of a Board member is to represent the public, the Board member must always remain fair, objective, and sensitive to both sides of all issues.

A barrage of inappropriate personal character attacks was launched earlier this week at the public meeting and online by a small but highly vocal group of township residents.  These attacks were wrong and their anger was misdirected.  The fact remains (and they know it) that I have always maintained complete and total objectivity.  All decisions I make are carefully considered and the pros and cons fully weighed.  Nevertheless, some members of the public (or more accurately, some members of the public in attendance at this week's School Board meeting) seemingly believe that a desire to not abandon the collective bargaining talks at this critical time represents a conflict of interest.  Frankly, I disagree with that assessment. These individuals either do not understand the importance personal relationships and trust plays in the collective bargaining process or simply chose to ignore it.  Likewise, these individuals fail to acknowledge that the reason that the negotiations process has occurred over a prolonged period of time is because their elected representatives have been doing exactly what they were elected to do - represent them! 

Admittedly, in a cooler moment, some of the individuals who made the accusations subsequently reconsidered their comments as set forth in private communications.  Unfortunately, the news tends to focus on the event and not the reassessment.  This is tragic because these public mischaracterizations are not only malicious but have long-lasting implications.  Anyone who watches these meetings would have to wonder why any sane individual would want to serve as a Board member.  I ask myself that question on a daily basis, especially when I find myself being wrongly accused of inappropriate decision-making.  It is no wonder that school board elections are often uncontested.

Mark Jay Zucker, MD, JD

Millerman February 19, 2012 at 01:09 AM
With every angry keystroke, Ms. Most, the more you prove my point. I'm sure that this post will not stay up long, because you will flag it!
Carolyn Most February 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Exactly what is your point Millberman? And FYI - the article you reference is about the Administrators contract. No details of the teachers contract have been released to the public ...so again to Abby;s point ... are you just a Board member or perhaps a friend or family member with whom a Board member has inappropriately shared information?
Millerman February 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
My point, Ms. Most, is that there are opinions that differ than yours in this town. No amount of "YOUR BULLYING" will keep other opinions stifled. Here you go again, "Beating a Dead Horse" ,your own words, but you are once again ignoring the facts. Read the newspaper: http://www.northjersey.com/news/136080803_Millburn_BOE_settles_with_administrators__teachers__contract_no_closer.html?page=all Zucker is quoted: "The latest round of talks in October and November, according to Zucker, the MEA representatives proved unwilling to accept an offer similar to the one agreed to by MASA" Most of the community believes the Board is doing a good job, and deserves more respect than the constant negative diatribes that you post!
LDSF February 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Experience teacher matters and I am glad that my sons have their teachers who can guide learning through classroom interactions, monitor progress to provide feedback, attend to effective attribute influences student outcomes.  The community respects the board to perform a great job in contract negotiation. More studies may need to explore on the interdependent factors of the Pilot program, waiver of No Child Left Behind Law, Inclusion Classroom of regular and special needs, Anti-bullying Law, and it's positive changes of effectiveness of the classroom teaching. MEA responses to these changes in regards to the State reform on education?
LDSF February 20, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Moreover, the consistency of classroom curriculums and students school social events contribute to character education and opportunity in learning social responsibility.

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