OG school chief: Prolonged talks costing taxpayer

By Jennifer Peryam - jpertyam@limanews.com

Don Horstman

Don Horstman

OTTAWA — Recent actions and public statements made by the Ottawa-Glandorf Classroom Teachers Association are undermining the bargaining process with the school system and are costing taxpayers money, Ottawa-Glandorf Schools superintendent Don Horstman said in a press release Friday.

“The district wishes the OGCTA would follow the same approach” as the schools’ non-teaching union, Horstman said. He noted the Ottawa-Glandorf School Board has maintained a “wonderful working relationship” with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE).

“The district has consistently been able to settle its collective bargaining agreements with OAPSE and without protracted negotiations. OAPSE’s cooperation and good faith efforts have benefited the district and saved taxpayers’ money,” Horstman said.

The superintendent pointed out that on Thursday the OGCTA’s Labor Relations Consultant, Pat Johnson, made a public records request to obtain records concerning the fees the board has paid for legal representation since 2017. In accordance with Ohio law, the board provided Johnson with the requested record. According to Horstman, “The increase in legal fees in the past several months are a direct result of the practices the OGCTA has used to distract from the negotiations process and expend the district’s resources. Examples of this include the filing of frivolous public records requests, grievances, and unfair labor practice charges, all of which require the board to obtain legal counsel to adequately address.”

Horstman also pointed out that the board did not have legal counsel present when negotiations with the OGCTA began.

“The board only asked the attorneys to attend bargaining sessions after impasse was reached, and negotiations were referred to a federal mediator,” Horstman said. “Since the OGCTA employs a professional negotiator for bargaining, the board has the right and the duty to use one too, so that the district is not placed at a disadvantage,” he added.

Nicole Morman, OGTA spokesperson, would not comment specifically Friday on Horstman’s allegations, only to say the union stands by the information provided in a press release earlier in the week. The release noted that neither side is allowed to reveal to the public the specific issues discussed in executive session. The association filed an unfair labor charge against the district for negotiating in public.

Horstman called that “a dramatic change of position for the OGCTA, which the board welcomes.” He said the district also has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the State Employment Relations Board. It is directed at OGCTA President Nicole Ruhe for making comments about the board’s bargaining proposals.

“The board is glad to hear that the OGCTA will no longer engage in such bad faith bargaining practices,” Horstman said.

Don Horstman
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/10/web1_Don-Horstman_01co.jpgDon Horstman

By Jennifer Peryam


Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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