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ABCUSD’s Lynda Johnson Votes No For 1% Pay Raise For Principals and Staff of School District

ABCUSD Board Member Lynda Johnson denied employees a 1% raise and denied and a negotiated 1% payout.

 

Thursday June 8, 2017

Some employees are leaving the district for better pay.

By Brian Hews

ABCUSD Board Member Lynda Johnson, who opted out of her district funded health care plan and took cash instead of giving the money back to the district, recently voted against a miniscule 1%  raise and a 1% “off schedule payout” for confidential employees and contracted staff at ABCUSD.

The Johnson boycott included Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu, who is vastly underpaid compared to other superintendents in similar-sized school districts.

The snub also included the ABCUSD CFO, three assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, deans, counselors, psychologists, and even assistants to Dr. Sieu.

And it wasn’t the first time Johnson objected to any kind of pay increase or payout.

At the March 7, 2017 meeting discussing a 1% raise/off scheduled payout for teachers Johnson stated, “I really, really struggle with this increase and bonus.”

Johnson’s use of the word bonus was deceiving, the bonus Johnson was referring to was an “off schedule payout,” money that is technically owed to the teachers.

During the recession, the union negotiated payment in later years, the “off schedule payout.” The payout was in exchange for no pay increases and increased furlough days for the employees, yet Johnson, obviously pandering to her voting base, continued to call it a bonus.

In a rambling statement later on Johnson said, “we’ve had an increase in salaries from 2012 through 2016, but I want to make clear I support our teachers. But it makes me feel sad that the children are not getting shades on campus.”

Johnson finished “I sit on the facilities committee, I see so many needs, I am sorry I am struggling with this increase.”

Johnson contradicted herself with that statement, “I see so many needs.”

As an ABCUSD Board Member she sided with Cerritos’ Carol Chen and Bruce Barrows to defeat Measure AA, the 2014 Facilities Bond that would have directed over $200 million to improved infrastructure, including new shades.

Board Clerk Letty Mendoza blasted Johnson saying, “I am a teacher and the way you appreciate teachers is where they need it. The heart of this district is with the teachers and children. You cannot say you respect the teachers with your actions here tonight.”

Long-time Cerritos resident and former teacher Gavin Riley stated, “the reason we are discussing salaries – in March for this year – is that the teachers voted to wait for the outcome of Prop. 55. Ms. Johnson, you were right on about the facilities needing work, but where were you when the bond needed to get passed?”

Riley finished, “the raise is 1% they are paying 1.05% more to retirement, so it’s not a raise. This is not a bonus, this is an off schedule payout, it is pay for what they have not received for eight years.”

After disrupting the meeting with her objection to the increase, Johnson suddenly reversed her view and voted yes on the raise.

Johnson then continued her campaign at the May 16, 2017 meeting, objecting to what she thought was a salary increase for management, including Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu.

Johnson said, “Last year I had a problem with giving increases to management, but I want to make clear I support management.”

Once again belying her actions which helped defeat Measure AA, Johnson stated, “I care deeply about deferred maintenance and the students. But these increases can be waived by management, I waived my health insurance.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was not a true statement.

Johnson waived her cash-in-lieu health insurance payments only after an article was published by HMG-CN in September 2016.

 

BOARD MEMBER LYNDA JOHNSON TOOK $7,500 ‘CASH IN LIEU’ INSTEAD OF GIVING MONEY BACK TO ABC

 

Prior to that she reaped $7,500 in cash that she could have waived in the same way she was requesting ABCUSD management to waive their increases.

“I will oppose this agreement,” she said.

Superintendent Sieu had to correct Johnson’s erroneous statement saying, “myself, CFO Toan Ngyuen, and the three Assistant Superintendents are not included in this action item.”

Sieu went on, “what is included is the principals, assistant principals, our deans, our counselors, our psychologist, a variety of people who are confidential, it does not include any of the contracted employees.”

Johnson subsequently voted no to give the confidential employee’s a 1% raise.

The vote was 6-1.

HMG-CN was told that some of the employees Johnson voted against was a Speech Pathologist that works with underserved youths in the district; Wellness Coordinators that work with troubled kids that come from hostile environments; and school nurses and psychologists.

At this past Tuesday’s ABCUSD Board meeting, the final vote to increase the salaries of contracted employees by 1% along with a 1% off schedule payout came in front of the board.

Board member Olympia Chen said she was “embarrassed at Dr. Sieu’s pay compared to other Superintendents” and thanked Sieu, Nguyen,  and the three assistant superintendents. “I am pleased to approve this increase, but it should be more,” said Chen.

Board member Sophia Tse echoed Chen’s comments saying, “the ABCUSD must keep up with other district salaries or we are going to lose good employees.”

It was then Board member Johnson’s turn to speak.

Johnson’s first question, which was clearly stated in the Board Packet, was if the increases were retroactive to 2016.

CFO Nguyen stated, “yes, the same as all other salary increases we were considering.”

Johnson went on to request a comparison of contracts of other school districts and their contracted employees when a salary comparison was contained in her board packet.

Finally a vote was called and Johnson closed out her personal fight against raises voting no on a union negotiated 1% increase and 1% off schedule payout for contracted employees, including Dr. Sieu.

The vote was 6-1.

HMG-CN has been told the constant protesting by Johnson is having an effect, as the district continues to lose quality employees seeking higher pay.

A source told HMG-CN that two senior employees recently left the ABCUSD  for better pay, securing large salary increases for the same job duties.

“Who knows who could leave next,” said the source, “everyone is frustrated.”

 

 

 

 

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