Leadership reports being what they are, this year’s MTA meeting features commentary from outgoing President Paul Toner as well as presidential candidate Tim Sullivan, currently the Vice President. I’ll briefly point out that when current officers have the floor in this manner, which is a necessity, it does afford extra opportunities for these individuals to sell and/or support their next candidacy. I find this an unfortunate side effect which can lead to “power begets power.”
Executive Director-treasurer Ann Clarke offered numerous points in her annual report. Of chief interest to me personally were the images and words devoted to the MTA strategic action plan. Clarke pointed out that mobilizing and engaging membership is important yet that the MTA had a lot of work ahead of itself in order to become “a union that is fully member-driven.” The intent, as Clarke expressed it, is “to build power at the state and local levels through…engagement of more members and leaders.” It was suggested that members will respond when they are heard, asked, and educated. While this vision may be happening on some levels, I do wonder as to its full support given some decisions I have seen the MTA top brass offer in the past few years.
The keynote address, delivered by Greg Anrig, Vice President for policy and programs, The Century Foundation, was, in a word, uninspiring. It had potential, with some interesting anecdotes from Massachusetts education history and his own work examining testing, effective student achievement, etc, but overall the comments fell flat.
By the by, as we shift into new business items, the carnival begins – a democratic process? Yes. A bit ugly at times too? Yes. Sigh.