he NJEA Delegate Assembly met on Nov. 8, 2018, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, N.J., at 6:00 p.m. President Marie Blistan presided.
Roll call was taken. There were 115 out of 124 delegates present. Alternates were seated as follows: O’Malley for Bowman (Burlington); Niessner for Zahn and Blake for vacancy (Camden); Dubroski for Gitto (Hunterdon); Hicks for Siegel and Carpenter for Williams (Mercer); Strzykalski for Lewandowski (Middlesex); Brache for Rodrick (Monmouth); Staples for Ruch (Ocean); Fadden for Ferrante (Passaic).
Absent was representative Lawler (Union).
Lori Lalama (Passaic) delivered the inspirational message and led the body in the flag salute.
Blistan asked if there was objection to adopting the agenda with flexibility. There was no objection.
The chair introduced three candidates for NEA Executive Committee and the NJEA Apprentices, who attended the meeting as guests.
Election of Hearing, Censure, and Expulsion Committee members
The chair explained the eligibility and procedures for electing four members to the Hearing, Censure, and Expulsion Committee, and opened the floor for nominations. Laurie Hodge (Higher Education) nominated Mecheline Farhat (Higher Education); Andrea Pastore (Hudson) nominated Edwinta Rhue (Hudson); Tamara Beatty (Burlington) nominated Patricia Bland (Burlington); Susan Morgan (Ocean) nominated Annette Ruch (Ocean). After asking three times for additional nominations, with none offered, the chair closed nominations. Based on there being four nominees for four positions, with the required representation, the chair declared the four nominees elected by acclimation.
Blistan addressed the following topics in her report:
• The passing of long-time leaders Tom Favia and Jim Gavitt, and the tragic shooting death of a Jersey City student. The body observed a moment of silence.
• The results of elections held two days prior to the meeting.
• The passage of legislation to force county college employees into the State Health Benefits Program, which is on the governor’s desk.
• The governor’s new economic policy agenda.
• New regulations transitioning away from PARCC.
• The new Pride ads that are appearing on TV and social media.
• An update on progress toward a New Business Item on charter schools, including the appointment of an NJEA Task Force on Charter Schools that is expected to report at the next meeting.
• The naming of eight Blue Ribbon Schools in New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Education.
• Awards earned by Sue Butterfield (Passaic) and Jacqui Greadington (Essex).
The chair introduced Tina Dare (Gloucester) and
Patti Kebrdle (Passaic), who reported on plans developed by the PAC Fundraising Committee they are co-chairing.
The chair called on UniServ-South Director Patrick Manahan and Plainfield EA President Eric Jones, who gave an update on NJEA’s Chapter 78 Relief/ESP Job Justice Campaign.
Vice president’s report
Spiller reported on NJEA’s efforts to fight the expansion of charter schools until appropriate legislation can be adopted to prevent charters from siphoning resources from traditional public schools. He encouraged delegates to turn out with other members to upcoming hearings on the issue conducted by the State Department of Education.
Steve Beatty presented his report, which was provided to the delegates in advance of the meeting.
The following nondelegate members were provided an opportunity to address the body:
Michael Byock (Essex) spoke about the need to address growing work demands and class sizes for members, which are driving many out of the profession.
Ron Greco (Hudson) thanked the NJEA leaders and staff who worked on the campaign to elect all four of the board of education candidates endorsed by the Jersey City EA. He also emphasized the need for NJEA to fight for Chapter 78 relief.
Executive director’s report
Ed Richardson reported on the status of two anti-union cases against NJEA in federal court, the need to enforce the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act (including the right of local associations to receive data on all bargaining unit employees from their districts), and the Executive Committee’s approval of NJEA’s new Teacher Leader Academy.
He noted the retirement of UniServ-Northwest Director Al Ramey and thanked him for his 26 years of service on the NJEA staff, and introduced Mayrose Wegmann, who will succeed Ramey. He also introduced the assistant director of for the NEA Northeast Zone, Lisa Nentl-Bloom, who was attending the meeting as a guest.
Finally, Richardson noted the upcoming retirement of Executive Assistant/Office Manager Karen Berry, and thanked her for many years of service to NJEA.
The body received reports without recommendations from the following:
• Exceptional Children
• Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty presented the Budget Committee report with a recommendation. Mike Kruczek (Warren) moved approval of the recommendation. The motion was duly seconded. The motion carried.
Chris Cannella moved New Business Item 1: That whenever NJEA holds an event where members will be in attendance, it will make available at least one gender-neutral restroom. The motion was duly seconded. Following discussion, Cannella agreed to refer the item to committee, and there was no objection.
Chris Cannella moved New Business Item 2: NJEA will condemn in the strongest terms the leaked U.S. Department of Health and Human Services memo that seeks to redefine sex in federal law as a “person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” The motion was duly seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
For the good of the order
Anthony Rosamilia (Essex) noted the election of endorsed candidate Mikie Sherrill in Congressional District 11, where she is the first woman ever and the first Democrat in 30 years to be elected there.
Carrie Odgers Lax (Passaic) thanked Kevin Kelleher and Mike Salerno, of the Research staff, for the successful rollout of the new Medicare Advantage plan for retirees.
At 8:12 p.m., Ryan Griffin (Gloucester), moved to adjourn. The motion was duly seconded. The motion carried.