Where’s Nurse Ratchet when you need her? Well, a lot of nurses working for the city wouldn’t mind examining the brain cells of Superintendent of Schools John Ramos.
School nurses that come under the umbrella of the Board of Education went payless this summer because Ramos suffers from an I-think-I-don’t-remember moment regarding a deal the nurses union cut that waived salary increases for four years as well as provided other givebacks in exchange for having summers off — just like teachers — with pay checks spread out over 52 weeks.
The nurses stepped up at the city’s time of need. Ramos earns just about a quarter of a million a year as school chief, more than four times the pay of the base nurse salary. Nurses couldn’t pay rent, car loans, mortgages because Ramos said I didn’t cut that deal, it was the mayor. Well, BOE people did agree to the deal and now Ramos is trying to back off, even though the money is in the budget. Maybe he has other ideas for that money?
Mayor Bill Finch and Chief of Staff Adam Wood want the nurses paid in full. Wood was part of meetings with city labor negotiators and BOE personnel that worked out the arrangement placing school nurses under the BOE with payment obligations by the BOE. The City Council budgeted the money to cover the labor deal.
The mayor and Ramos were scheduled to meet on this subject Thursday afternoon. If I’m the mayor (aren’t you relieved I’m not) I’d try to reason with Ramos. Failing that I’d say, “Okay, John, here’s the deal: whether you like it or not you’re stuck with me as mayor for at least two more years. Live up to this agreement with the nurses. If you don’t, I’ll make sure come budget time you get nothing. Nothing. And then I’ll be happy to explain to anyone willing to listen that good hard working people suffered because of your inaction.”
And if that fails I’d call in Nurse Ratchet. All of them.
(Check out my daily blog at www.onlyinbridgeport.com)