While I was driving down Straight Street, where the Paterson Education Association building is located, I noticed an unflattering likeness of Paterson Public Schools district business administrator Mr. Richard Matthews. The disturbing picture that was posted in numerous places in the PEA building were reminiscent of threat notifications from the 1960s. Mr. Matthews is a Paterson native and a product of Paterson Public Schools. Day in and day out, I’ve seen Mr. Matthews give 110% effort to his job.
Apparently, this attack on Matthews in response to the recent change in employee health benefits agreement that Mr. McEntee, the PEA president, signed on behalf of his PEA membership. There has reportedly been some concerns raised by members in his union about some of the terms of the agreement, that he signed. Now, in what seems to be an initial face-saving measure, Mr. McEntee is attempting to deflect criticism from his membership by attacking Mr. Matthews, who negotiates on behalf of the district.
Mr. McEntee seems to have forgotten that he is the leader of his union, not Mr. Matthews. McEntee had ample time to research all of the relevant issues regarding the impact of the agreement’s terms on his membership, a responsibility seemingly part of his required due diligence.
If he and his members are now unhappy, perhaps it is his picture that should adorn the building along with the school board members who voted for the final measure, most of whom ironically his PEA endorsed for re-election.
When I vote for negotiated measures, I have to take responsibility for their outcome. It’s called “leadership.” What adorns Mr. McEntee’s building is nothing more than the cheapest scapegoating and the ugliest kind.
Mr. McEntee, I urge you to remove the pictures of Mr. Matthews from the PEA building.
School board member