Dear BMUST Members,
Welcome back to a new year which I sincerely hope will be a happy, healthy, and productive one for all of you. A challenging summer for the district as several construction projects were undertaken has led to an uneasy start of the year for many of us. Please know that every effort will be made by the district and BMUST to assist all staff members to make the beginning of the school year run as smooth as possible. I certainly anticipate that the uneasiness many of us are feeling now will dissipate shortly and we will all be able to enjoy the benefits of these projects. Communication about this work is ongoing between the district and BMUST and I encourage anyone with questions or concerns to address them right away with your Head Building Representative and principal.
As I begin my 33rd year here in Bellmore-Merrick and my 4th as your President, I find this job to be incredibly challenging and rewarding. With well over 500 teachers and paraprofessionals, I continuously strive to keep the “big picture” in sight while relying heavily on my outstanding Board of Trustees and Representative Assembly to help me navigate my way through the highs and lows of my position. Working together, I’m confident that we can confront any difficulties we face professionally and personally, and come up with reasonable solutions to make our Bellmore-Merrick experience a fantastic one.
As far as our contract, the negotiating team has been working on some language and items that both sides agreed need to be updated and cleaned up. Our goal continues to be to have a new contract printed and distributed as soon as possible. When needed, please continue to refer to our blue contract booklet and the information emailed and distributed to the staff at the end of last year about changes to the contract.
While our union has been very fortunate recently in several court cases, including Friedrichs and Vergara, which I spoke about last year, challenges to our profession are on the horizon. Our participation in the upcoming statewide and presidential election is critical and BMUST is planning a pledge to vote campaign shortly. NYSUT members typically make up from 4-8% of the electorate here in New York. Several close races may get decided by our ability to get out the vote. However you choose to vote, just vote!
As the years go by and I find myself getting much closer to retirement, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have worked with wonderful, dedicated staff members throughout my career. I will miss Rich Anderson and Jack Rice, colleagues of mine at Grand Avenue who unfortunately passed away this summer. Rich’s passing at such a young age with a wife and three young children left behind is particularly painful. My wife Lisa and children Michele and Ben saying “YOLO” to me when deciding how to live our lives has unfortunately taken on a new meaning and importance recently. I know I’m in a good place here and I will do my best to appreciate my time in Bellmore-Merrick.
Again, welcome back! I encourage everyone to refer to our website (bmust.org) for important information about our union and upcoming events. I hope to see everyone at the opportunities we have to get together this year. If you need to communicate with me, our office extension is 1068 and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you at the Welcome Back Party on Friday, September 23 (2:30-5:30 PM) at the Grillfire Restaurant in Merrick.
Best wishes for a fantastic year!