BUBBA BROWNING’S BAFFLING BLITZKRIEG AGAINST BLANKENSHIP
Browning Escalates His Anti-Union Offensive
Kurt Browning, the superintendent of Pasco County Schools, recently stepped-up his obviously obsessive, interminable campaign against the United School Employees of Pasco and their president, Kenny Blankenship.
Since taking office in 2012, our unbeloved Bubba, bereft of any modicum of modesty, has overseen a district-level campaign to prevent USEP from exercising its rightful role in district policymaking. By his own admission, the results are not a pleasant picture to behold.
His latest stunt was to overtly ignore decades of precedent, as well as agreements he has signed himself, not to mention federal and state labor legislation, that requires he negotiate working conditions and compensation for Bargaining Unit employees (employees eligible for union membership) with the organization that represents them.
Bubba is quite a creature. For four years, he has dealt a stacked deck to his union counterparts, all while claiming, very publicly, to be “eager” to treat his bargaining unit employees with dignity.
As he enters his second term as Most Powerful and Omnipotent Grand Poohbah of the Pasco Fiasco, his legacy is beginning to take shape, albeit in a somewhat adolescent form. One’s legacy is the sum of one’s actions. The sum of Browning’s actions prompted him to award himself a …”C. average”… When it comes to himself, Bubba is clearly a positive thinker.
According to my favorite hometown imitation newsman, Jeff “the Sellout” Solochek, Browning’s key goals are “improving student scores, district operations and culture.” Therein lies the unmistakable and continuous contradiction between what Bubba says he wants to achieve on the one hand, and the actual results of his bumbling command, on the other. Throughout his ever-constant crusade to rid his employees of union representation while simultaneously indulging a fantasy that he can somehow achieve his own stated goals with a teacher cadre in a constant state of confusion and demoralization, the payoff has been anything but positive. In fact, by all accounts, the latest proceeds have been rather negative. Browning has quite intrepidly managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Unfortunately, he remains undaunted, and has no plans whatsoever to change his approach to the employee morale disaster he has engineered and overseen.
An Out of Touch Superintendent
What Browning & Co. can’t seem to grasp is that teachers who feel valued are the very key to two of the three key goals he claims to embrace. He and his crew simply cannot hope to improve “student scores” by ignoring the interests of their teachers. Browning still thinks he can. Likewise, it is impossible to improve the culture of any organization while incessantly imposing unnecessary oversight and scrutiny on essential employees. Bubba believes that he can add a few more dollars to teachers’ salaries and all the onerous initiatives and harebrained policy ideas he’s concocted will simply fade from memory. He thinks that doing one half-decent thing will somehow render the rest of his embarrassingly amateurish leadership irrelevant. Perhaps Browning doesn’t see himself as a leader, but instead as a ruler. The difference between the two is clear: A leader listens to his followers; a ruler needs no input from his subjects.
So, as I noted in my last post, Bubba recently “felt a sense of urgency” in his long-running efforts to ignore the collective voice of his own teachers. While he could have seized an opportunity to embark on a new path by undertaking an honest effort to cooperate with USEP in order to establish a true partnership with his employees, Browning opted instead to give us all more of the same old crap. He has gone from myopic to blind.
USEP’s Hands Are TIED by the STATE
Kenny Blankenship, USEP’s president, could not allow Browning’s latest act of duplicity to go unanswered. It is very important to note that Blankenship and his members operate under a labor relations model that places them at a decided disadvantage right out of the starting gate.
With a state legislature all but bent on destroying its own public school system, a governor who places the interests of the chamber of commerce head and shoulders above any other matters, and a supreme court that operates like a rubber stamp for the extreme right in virtually all issues educational, the last thing Pasco’s school employees need is a superintendent who is all but deaf to their concerns. Unfortunately for us, that is exactly the position we are in.
Blankenship had no choice but to send Browning a letter. Solochek “covered” that story in typical, biased-for-Bubba fashion. Essentially, Blankenship asked Bubba to stop circumventing long-established protocol by going around the union with contract proposals. None of what Blankenship said was in any manner unreasonable. It’s the reaction from the district to Blankenship’s letter that merits attention here. It definitely fits the standard Browning has so carefully constructed for himself and his arrogant corps of con artists.
The response, so eloquently articulated to Solochek by the district’s minion-in-chief and communications director, Linda Cobbe, was, “The superintendent has an obligation to communicate with his employees,” and, determined to avoid any pretense of professionalism, she added, “He’s not going to stop because Kenny Blankenship sent him a letter.”
My goodness. Now, Cobbe has never really been very good with her mouth. At least not as good as Solochek is. (More on that further down.) The mere fact that she holds the position of communications director is fascinating all by itself. While it’s tempting to recall other instances when she spoke in a similarly surly manner, to observe that she’s rather adept at blithering blather will have to do for now.
What’s important here is how the district responded. The absolutely low-grade, disgustingly malicious attempt to marginalize a key member of what should be an inclusive policymaking partnership should make everyone sick.
Browning Is No Professional
Browning didn’t even reply to Blankenship’s letter with a letter, which is what any reasonable person would expect from someone who says he’s a leader. Instead, he replied through the press, and used ol’ Jeff “under Bubba’s desk” Solochek as his district surrogate! If Solochek had one single crumb of credibility in his own self-perception, he would have noted in his article that Browning had yet to answer Blankenship’s letter. Instead, and as usual, slobberin’ Soloboy was only too happy to do more crawling around under Bubba’s desk. What a total disgrace. Browning is not a leader. He’s a wannabe dictator. Americans have an inherent aversion to that sort of predisposition for sure.
An Absolutely Ridiculous Situation
Just how stupid does this sham of an operation need to get before the people of Pasco County stand up and tell Bubba to go? He’s a pretender. He’s a liar. His method and manner of response was in direct defiance of time-honored protocol. He chose to respond to a very reasonable letter by defying the very spirit of that letter with his “response.” Bubba sees the entire county electorate as a bunch of ignorant fools. That is the TRUTH.
We have so many posts in store for Browning that his legacy will be worse than Scarf & Barf’s. We have info from the Third Floor, ESE violations the district over, and countless other organizational screw-ups that will expose him for the incompetent, valueless scoundrel that he is. We’re just getting started. We will start by posting letters from the very teachers that Browning claims to care about. We will deliver.
Back to ol’ Solochek…
As for Bubba’s media man-servant, we have some dessert for him as well. Does he REALLY publish the story-worthy emails that Bubba gets, or does he pick and choose in order to help the hometown hack? We know the answer to that question, and soon our readers will as well.
Browning ought to just go ahead and put Solochek on the district’s payroll. I’ve yet to witness a self-described journalist function as the de facto mouthpiece for a public official as well as he does for Browning. His timeline of Bubba’s tenure so far, titled “Highlights of the Browning Era,” leaves off several very important details. Don’t worry; we’ve collected every last one of them. How’s life under Bubba’s desk, Solochek? Comfy?
A Special Note to the Pasco County School Board
Dear Blind (or Complicit) Board,
Wake up please. Your Crown Clown is destroying our district. If you do not wake up, the voters will (We’re waking them every single day), and you folks will be replaced.
PW Withering, Educator