March 19, 2009

Garrison School Board hires consultant to negotiate salaries

Garrison School Board hires consultant to negotiate salaries
The McLean County Independent might be able to cut back how much black ink it buys after a decision by the Garrison school board Tuesday evening.
The board voted to hire a consultant to negotiate professional staff salaries for the upcoming year at a rate of $195 an hour plus mileage, a step that could shorten the process with less public debate.
During the past several years, salary and benefits issues have dominated the reports of school board meetings. For example, in 2007 when the board was moving toward a simplified pay schedule, stories about salaries or benefits led the coverage 7 of 9 times. For several months of the year there were two or three meetings of several hours each month to try to reach consensus.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Gary Thune, the attorney for the North Dakota School Board Association, to negotiate a salary contract with the Garrison Education Association, the negotiating body for professional staff. The topics are so hot that the board held a 50-minute private executive session Tuesday after the board meeting and is planning another one for 8 p.m. Thursday (today).

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