I write to you both to express my concern over the situation with the money for county employees being denied to teachers. It is a sad situation that in our current economic times, one man and his supposed representing body can stand between well deserved, severely needed money and the employees it should go to. Party lines have been drawn by an organization that has forgotten its mission to represent the teachers and their interests. Party lines that have no place in this negotiation process or the acceptance or denial of money.

The following letter was addressed to Harford County Executive David R. Craig and Randy Cerveny, president of the Harford County Education Association. A copy was provided for publication:

My name is Peter Rost and I am a sixth year teacher in Harford County.

I write to you both to express my concern over the situation with the money for county employees being denied to teachers. It is a sad situation that in our current economic times, one man and his supposed representing body can stand between well deserved, severely needed money and the employees it should go to. Party lines have been drawn by an organization that has forgotten its mission to represent the teachers and their interests. Party lines that have no place in this negotiation process or the acceptance or denial of money.

Mr. Cerveny, your quest to point out that this is another attempt by Republicans to divide employees and circumvent negotiations is the only thing I see creating division. You seem to fail to appropriately recognize the dissension that has been repeatedly expressed to you. You send your Uniserve representative out to throw up a smoke shield and try to impress upon us the evil nature of this offer from the Republican David Craig, who you claim is doing this as a political posturing piece for his own campaign. What you fail to recognize, Mr. Cerveny, is that some of the teachers you represent are also Republicans.

We agree with the money management of the county. We also are deeply offended by your remarks and suggestions made through your representative. You claim to stand on principles, but the only principles you seem to care about are your own political ambitions, rather than the people who are calling to you for help. You have turned your back on the people that elected you and for that there is no excuse.

The two issues you are trying to connect are unrelated. We have the information in whole and can see that what you suggest about funding the steps and COLA are not feasible across all county employees and I, as a teacher, will not say my pay is more important than another county employee. We all work hard every day and should see the fruits of that in this bonus. Yet, you are keeping the teachers from that compensation. You are the only holdout. You are losing support and membership each day you deny hard working teachers this money.

You also forget that there are many teachers who are not members of the HCEA that you hurt with this choice as well. Perhaps you should consider these actions when you think of why they don't support you with membership in the first place. Mr. Craig has always been fair in his support of teachers and their negotiating bodies and for you to suggest otherwise at this point is absurd. You should be looking to use this surplus as a bargaining point in the future, not a reason to deny us money that won't be there at that point. Once this money is gone, it's gone and there will be no way for us to see the benefits, whether or not you get us a raise next year. You have failed to see that money cannot be given where there is none and making sure you have money before promising it to people is just good economic practice.

Mr. Craig, I want you to know that we support your efforts to give money back once you realized you had it after the last fiscal year. I also want you to know that I trust that you will fund our budgets in full when you are able and will fund us further next year based on the surplus of our previous year. I trust that you will support the teachers as you always have. I say I trust because that is what I am extending to you. I have been shown by the HCEA who are supposed to have my best interests in mind that I cannot trust them. Mr Craig, show me that I can continue to trust you. You have my full support in your venture for governorship as of this moment and Mr. Cerveny has done nothing but bolster that support with his comments and rhetoric that he is circulating through the school system.

I know many staunchly Democratic teachers who are now in full support of your leadership and your campaign. It is my hope that you will allow us all to trust and support you with your financial decisions and leadership choices regarding teachers in the future. Again, I suggest that what you have chosen to do with funding this extra pay is not partisan in the least and that party lines have nothing to do with whether or not we should get this money. We appreciate the attempt that you have made to recognize our hard work and I am sorry that at this point we cannot accept it, as the HCEA apparently has its own agenda and no longer listens to its members and we cannot accept it without their support.

It is my hope that a resolution to this situation that is beneficial to the teachers can be achieved, but with the attitudes which have already been expressed from the HCEA, I strongly doubt it at this point. How sad, that at a time when we all could really use the money for extra holiday items for family, friends, and students, we are denied it by one man's quest to ignore his presidential post and make a political statement.

Sincerely,

Pete Rost

Bel Air