WHAT DO I BRING TO THE JOB?
In addition to being a parent and long-time Newton resident, I have decades of leadership experience. Whether from heading up the $4 billion Boston Harbor Clean-up as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Authority or Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as CEO for almost a decade, I will bring helpful perspectives to the School Committee.
I also have extensive governance expertise as a member of the board of a variety of non-profit and corporate organizations. That experience will help me work with colleagues on the School Committee to improve its functioning as a governing body, enhancing communication between the committee and its constituents, bringing greater transparency and accountability to the school administration and the committee, and creating a better environment for learning in our schools.
Finally, I have a lot of experience with collective bargaining, a key aspect of the School Committee’s job.
While running the MWRA, I signed the largest Project Labor Agreement in Massachusetts history, resulting in labor harmony with 18 local and international unions for the 10+ year duration of the Boston Harbor Cleanup Project. My successors and I defended lawsuits against this agreement to the US Supreme Court.
Later, while Administrative Dean at Harvard Medical School, I was on the labor-management negotiating committee for Harvard University, leading to better working conditions and close collaboration with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. When I left Harvard, the union thanked me “for your good heart, inventiveness, and solidarity.”
But I can also be tough on union matters when the situation calls for it. While at BIDMC, I strongly opposed an effort by the SEIU to engage in an undemocratic approach to organizing members of our staff. They proceeded to attack the hospital, its board, and me with a five-year, multi-million dollar corporate campaign. We eventually prevailed, maintaining the principle that the workers should have the right to a free and fair election.
Here, a respectful relationship with the Newton Teachers Association is key to providing the best education for our children and the best working environment for the teachers. Differences will inevitably emerge during collective bargaining because the NTA represents the teachers, while the School Committee represents the children, families, and the broader community. Listening carefully and looking for ways to bridge those gaps will be the way I will proceed.
In this School Committee election, I will not seek or accept any endorsement from any public employee union with which I will be negotiating. Accepting such endorsements is a clear conflict of interest, and I will call on any opponents in this race to join me in that pledge.
Above: Viewing “Daddy’s eggs” on Deer Island. The multi-year Boston Harbor Cleanup Project, completed on-time and under budget, was a highly collaborative endeavor with 18 different trade unions and 43 cities and towns.