|Members of TALB file suit alleging
CTA takeover violates state code
from the Press Telegram Long Beach, California
By Kevin Butler, Staff Writer
"Teachers Association of Long Beach trustee
Barbara Kerr Friday denounced a lawsuit filed by
members of the teachers union over a takeover by
the union's parent organization."
[Note: Kerr is good at denouncing. I'll bet her
eyes were spitting fire when she did this.]
"Twenty-two members of the Long Beach teachers
union are asking a state court to invalidate the
takeover of the local chapter by its state parent union
"The California Teachers Association took over the
Teachers Association of Long Beach, then embroiled
in an internal leadership struggle, with the aim of
restoring "the democratic process" and investigating
allegations of financial mismanagement, CTA officials
said at the time..."
"TALB is a chapter of CTA, and CTA has the right to
impose a trusteeship," she said.
[Note: So why didn't Kerr take over Chula Vista
Educators in 2001-2002? She was informed of
criminal actions taken by local union leaders.
Instead, she and CTA's head counsel committed
felonies to cover up the original misdemeanors.]
"The 22 TALB union members on Feb. 25 filed a
lawsuit in California Superior Court alleging that the
takeover violated California corporations code...
"The union members in the lawsuit also argue that
they were denied a fair hearing before the CTA
Board of Directors on Oct. 18 placed TALB in
"trusteeship" under the leadership of former CTA
[Note: Of course they were denied a fair
hearing. The board of directors, including
Barbara Kerr when she was President, simply
does what head legal counsel Beverly Tucker
and executive director Carolyn Doggett tells it
"The lawsuit also asks the court to require to move
forward an internal election to recall one TALB board
member. Kerr halted the recall process when she
took over the union.
"Two of the plaintiffs - Carrie Jones-Brown and Treva
Kelly - were vying to replace TALB board member
Patria Daliva, who was the target of the recall effort."
[Note: Ah, yes. Protecting people who are in
power is a guiding principle for Beverly Tucker
and Barbara Kerr (also known as "Barbarly
"Also at issue in the lawsuit is the upcoming April 8
school board election in which TALB has endorsed
two candidates - Paul Crost and Rosa Diaz - who
each are challenging an incumbent.
"The members in the lawsuit claim that Kerr has
refused to implement the union's "political action
program" supporting the two candidates..."
[Note: My guess is that these candidates were
too independent; Kerr and Tucker and Doggett
suspected them of having divided loyalties. In
other words, they might put the good of
students ahead of the power of the union.]
|Former CTA President Barbara Kerr
takes over Long Beach affiliate TALB
By Carla M. Collado
After reports earlier this
month stated that he had
been placed on administrative
leave, Scott McVarish
resigned last Thursday from
his position as executive
director of the Teachers
Association of Long Beach.
McVarish's resignation comes
eight months after several
members of TALB's board of
trustees voted to fire him,
accusing him of mishandling
union funds and making
authoritative decisions without
consulting the rest of the
board. (Several days after
the vote in June 2007, the
Council voted to reinstate
Last week, McVarish provided
a copy of a letter that Kerr
and TALB Deputy Trustee
Michael Embree sent him on
McVarish that the financial
audit conducted by the firm
Hemming Morse "did not
make a finding of intentional
misconduct or criminal acts
on your part."
"There has been no greater
honor than working for the
teachers of Long Beach,"
McVarish said in a release. "I
have gotten to know
hundreds of teachers as
friends and colleagues, not
just members of a union. Now
that my name is cleared and
my critics have been proven
wrong, I can move on."
McVarish added that he left
TALB, after three and a half
years at the union, to pursue
other interests and to spend
more time with his 2-year-old
"He did a lot of good things
for the Teachers Association
of Long Beach," Kerr said of
McVarish, "and we value
those things and we wish him
McVarish also pointed out in
the release that he is the third
TALB staff person to leave
the union since the CTA
Published on: 2/21/2008
The past ties were discussed in a letter sent this
week to hundreds of teachers by union board
members who want to see Executive Director
Scott McVarish fired. The letter cites allegations
that while working at a prior position in the South
Bay, McVarish impeded a Centinela Valley
Union High School District investigation into
potential teacher misconduct in 2003.
That letter alleges that McVarish impeded
the district's probe of allegations that
faculty chaperones on a Model UN field trip
in 2003 consumed alcohol in the presence
of students and while on duty.
McVarish was executive director of the South Bay
United Teachers, a coalition of four South Bay
teachers unions, including the Centinela Valley
The TALB board members also state that
McVarish had denied "any knowledge about
Ellis' past episodes of drinking when Ellis
was arrested for driving under the
influence" in February in Orange County.
In their letter, board members said they were
"dismayed" to learn about the allegation in
Centinela Valley in light of McVarish's support
for Ellis' candidacy in the 2006 school board
McVarish and TALB President Michael Day
"are now spending thousands of TALB
dollars in mailers and hall rentals in an
attempt to rehabilitate McVarish's image and
provide him with a showplace," the board
"TALB's funds were precariously depleted
by McVarish" in the campaigns for Ellis and
Gerrie Schipske, the union's general
counsel who successfully ran for Long
Beach City Council in 2006.
"While TALB money and time are being spent by
McVarish on his image, the substantive TALB
work remains undone," the letters states.
In an interview, board member Dale McVey said
that the Centinela Valley district's letter
"exemplifies our deep concerns about McVarish
(being) present at TALB and more or less
"TALB cannot afford Mr. McVarish,
financially and ethically," said McVey, who
signed the message to teachers.
McVarish on Thursday hung up the phone a few
seconds after answering a call from the
Press-Telegram seeking comment.
Shadur wrote that McVarish had "purposely
disrupted" district interviews with student
witnesses who were on the field trip "by
convincing students not to cooperate with the
Shadur asked that the recipients ensure that
McVarish behave more appropriately.
Ellis at the time was bargaining unit
president of the Centinela Valley Secondary
Teachers Association, one of four unions
that McVarish served as executive director.
In response, McVarish became "surly and
argumentative," she wrote. Because he "refused
to bend," the district "had no choice but to
suspend the interview," the letter states...
|TALB cannot afford BARBARA KERR, financially or ethically.
|4362 Atlantic Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90807
Phone: (562) 424-9352
Association of Long
Beach represents 5,000
members in the city's
South Bay United
A listening post monitoring education and teachers' unions.
"We've Called the Police"
...Teachers picket and take their noisy protest inside the building. Office doors are locked
against them. The police are called. Just another labor action? Though the tactics are familiar,
the target was unusual. This protest was at the headquarters of the Teachers Association of
Long Beach in California.
Watch the highly entertaining QuickTime video on the web site of the Long Beach Press
Posted by Mike Antonucci on Thursday, June 07, 2007 at 07:53
|Just curious..How much is Barbara Kerr being
Problems found with TALB books
By Kevin Butler, Staff writer
LONG BEACH - A financial audit of the Teachers Association of
Long Beach found "egregious" deficiencies, including
unauthorized political campaign spending, check-signing and
changes to employee compensation at the teachers union,
according to an executive summary obtained by the
The California Teachers Association, which took over its Long
Beach chapter last October amid allegations of financial
mismanagement, hired auditing firm Hemming Morse, Inc., to look
at the books and conduct employee interviews regarding fiscal
years ending in 2006 and 2007.
The audit's March 10 executive summary stated that "due to the
lack of control and oversight of the TALB liabilities, the budgeting
process was not effective, cash flow was not well managed and
certain accounts payable became excessively delinquent."
Barbara Kerr, whom the CTA placed in charge of TALB as trustee,
said that there have been significant changes in financial
procedures at the union to correct the problems.
"We've done everything that was recommended and more to make
sure that the procedures are above reproach," she added.
Certain TALB board of directors members, prior to the CTA
takeover, cited allegations of financial mismanagement as
justification for their voting June 5 to fire controversial TALB
Executive Director Scott McVarish. McVarish, who was reinstated
shortly after his firing and resigned his TALB position last month,
has denied any wrongdoing.
He could not be reached for comment.
In a signed note to McVarish, Kerr and deputy trustee Michael
Embree wrote that the audit "did not make a finding of intentional
misconduct or criminal acts on your part."
The executive summary, which did not mention any names, was
particularly critical of the union's handling of cash deposits, stating
that there was a lack of supporting documentation and oversight.
Bank reconciliations were not consistently performed and "did not
always reconcile to the general ledger," the summary stated.
Kerr said that the audit did not find that money was missing from
Checks were signed by "an unauthorized TALB executive," and
members of management sometimes approved and signed their
own checks, the summary said.
"It also is suspected that certain checks were forged by a former
clerical staff person," the summary stated.
The union's compensation practices also were scrutinized by
Hemming Morse, which noted that there were unauthorized
changes made to employee compensation. Personnel files often
lacked proper documentation relating to salary changes, auditors
In addition, executive compensation "was not in accordance with
employee agreements which, on the occasions when there was
more than one agreement, were subject to competing
interpretations," the summary read.
Exceptions were made to allow payroll advances and payment of
excess vacation in violation of union policy and without first
seeking TALB board approval, according to the document.
The expense approval process also came under fire in the
executive summary, which stated that in many cases no formal
expense report was used. Many expenses did not go through a
proper approval process, and many reimbursed expenses lacked
supporting documentation, according to the document. There was
"little control over the use and access to the TALB credit cards,"
the summary stated.
The summary also discussed the financial management of the
union's campaign expenditures in the 2006 elections. TALB spent
money on three endorsed school board candidates, two of whom -
David Barton and Michael Shane Ellis - won seats on the Long
Beach Board of Education.
The campaign expenses exceeded the budgeted amounts without
approval by the TALB board or the Representative Council,
another union governing body, the firm found.
There "was poor record management of the campaign funds and
expenditures made," the summary said.
In order to fund the school board campaign expenses, the union
took out three loans from banks, according to the document. The
loans were repaid in part with funds from a special assessment on
teachers' paychecks earmarked to fund campaign expenses for
the upcoming April 8 school board elections, the audit stated.
Those loans will be "paid off very soon," Kerr said.
|CTA still leading teachers union
Statewide union's board of directors votes
for continued TALB oversight as dispute
over finances continues.
By Kevin Butler
LONG BEACH - The California Teachers Association, which
nearly a month ago took over the conflict-ridden Long Beach
teachers' union, has decided to continue its supervision of
the chapter but pledged to restore local control as soon as
The board of directors of the statewide organization late
Wednesday voted to continue the "trusteeship" of the
Teachers Association of Long Beach, which since June has
seen a heated, public split in its leadership.
The statewide union on Oct. 18 took control of TALB and
placed former CTA President Barbara Kerr in charge as
The CTA board on Wednesday did not attach a specific
timeline to the trusteeship but pledged to restore local control
as soon as possible, Kerr told the Press-Telegram on
The CTA board determined that the trusteeship was needed
to protect the integrity of TALB, ensure fiscal solvency and
guarantee "democratic processes for all its members," Kerr
McVarish and TALB president Michael Day, a McVarish
supporter, before the CTA takeover exchanged public
criticisms with the group of board members who supported
Part of those exchanges focused on the state of TALB
finances. A group of TALB board members in September
sent a message to members stating that the union was
insolvent, an allegation Day denied.
The board members' criticism centered partly on a nearly
$394,000 sum that TALB owes the Long Beach Unified
School District to reimburse salary and benefits expenses for
teachers who were granted release time to work for TALB.
Under a long-standing arrangement, teachers who are
released by the district to work directly for TALB have their
salaries and benefits paid by the district so that they don't
lose any years-of-service credits in the state's teacher
TALB is responsible for reimbursing the district for those
salary and benefit expenses.
TALB board members before the CTA takeover expressed
concern about whether the union could pay the sum given
the union's fiscal condition.
Day in an Aug. 28 letter to union representatives wrote that
TALB ended the last fiscal year with an approximately
District officials have said that due to an oversight, the district
failed to send TALB a bill for the 2005-06 release-time
expenses during that school year.
During an interview with the Press-Telegram in early October,
McVarish said the bill would be paid by Oct. 15.
A month after that date, the bill remains unpaid, according to
Kerr said that she and the union's finance committee are
examining TALB finances and that she is in discussions with
LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser regarding the bill.
"All TALB bills will be paid," she said.
The union is undergoing a "forensic audit" as part of an
investigation into the allegations of financial mismanagement.
Separate from that audit, the union's finance committee, with
the help of a CTA staff member, is reviewing the union
budget, she said.
Recently, five CTA board members held a series of hearings
in Long Beach to listen to teachers' concerns about the state
of the union.
Kerr said that at the hearings - which were closed to the
media - many teachers said they desire a strong union and
want the district to treat them with respect...
Michael D. Four
Lawyer said McVarish firing legal
Union attorney said leader's June firing
was for `just cause.'
By Kevin Butler, Staff writer
LONG BEACH - A lawyer affiliated with the California
Teachers Association in June advised that the firing
that month of Long Beach teachers union leader Scott
McVarish was done legally and for "just cause,"
according to a declaration by the then-president of the
Teachers Association of Long Beach in a lawsuit.
Tony Diaz was union president on June 5 when the
TALB board of directors voted to fire executive director
Scott McVarish, causing a rift in the union that
eventually led the CTA - the state union - to take over
its Long Beach chapter in an effort to restore order.
The legality of McVarish's firing - and his subsequent
reinstatement - has been a central issue in the
controversy, which has pitted McVarish and current
union president Michael Day against nine board
members seeking the executive director's ouster.
When the board met behind closed doors June
11, "a lawyer assigned to TALB by the California
Teachers Association told the TALB board of
directors that our termination of Scott McVarish's
employment was legal and for just cause,"
according to Diaz's sworn declaration filed in
October in Los Angeles Superior Court.
"TALB received no legal opinion to the contrary,"
added Diaz, whose term as president ended when Day
took over the post July 1...
Diaz and the CTA-affiliated attorney, Michael D.
Four, declined to comment.
According to Day's testimony in a Nov. 29
deposition, CTA had contracted with Four's firm -
Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann and Sommers...
Barbara Kerr, whom the CTA has placed in charge of
the 4,800-member union, said she was "not ready to
talk about" the series of events leading to McVarish's
firing or the legality of his termination...
Day, who at the time was TALB president-elect, wrote
in a June 17 e-mail to union members that McVarish's
firing was illegal.
Day and other McVarish supporters have claimed that
the firing - upheld by another board vote at the June
11 meeting - violated McVarish's employment contract,
which provides for progressive discipline and
termination only for "just cause."
Day attended the June 11 board meeting at which that
the legal advice of the CTA's attorney was shared,
Libel lawsuit filed
Diaz's declaration came in a lawsuit brought by
TALB board member Dale McVey against Day in
August. The suit alleges that Day libeled and
slandered McVey in e-mails and other
communications criticizing his tenure as a board
Although Diaz is not a party to the lawsuit, he entered
a declaration in support of McVey's effort to strike a
legal motion by Day's attorney...
The executive sessions, which also are occasionally
attended by professional union staff and specified
guests, are generally not open to all rank-and-file
Day in his Nov. 29 deposition said that at the June 5
meeting some board members criticized McVarish's
decision the previous month to allow TALB general
counsel Gerrie Schipske to cash out five days of
Some board members felt that McVarish should have
sought board approval before authorizing such
payments. They believed that by granting the vacation
payout, McVarish was inappropriately setting union
policy without first consulting the board...
Day in his deposition also acknowledges that
some board members were upset about a
statement McVarish allegedly made at an April
board meeting that he didn't trust board
TALB and CVE
In Chula Vista Educators (CVE) a
board member also accused the
affiliate president of besmirching
But Joyce Abrams quickly fell into
line behind Jim Groth (who is now
on CTA's Board of Directors) and
Barbara Kerr, and helped them
both cover up crimes against a
fellow teacher whose reputation
was seriously besmirched.
(Teacher Robin Donlan convinced
two teachers that they should call
up the district office and claim that
teacher Maura Larkins might kill
them.) This sort of besmirching
didn't bother Joyce Abrams one
bit, because she refused to think
about it, and rubber-stamped
anything that presidents Gina
Boyd, Jim Groth and CTA lawyers
wanted to do. Yes, there is
hypocrisy among union leaders.
June 21, 2007
Teachers Vote TALB’s Chief Back To Office
By Carla M. Collado
In response to a controversial June 5 vote by the
board of the Teachers Association of Long Beach to
fire executive director Scott McVarish, the union’s
Representative Council held a special meeting on
Friday and voted to reinstate him.
“It’s a great day for TALB,” McVarish said on Monday, his first
day back in his office since the firing.
About 75 members of the Representative Council — which
consists of more than 200 teachers — and 25 other TALB
members came out to the meeting to show support for the
ousted director. The vote was 68-1 in favor of reinstating
McVarish, according to TALB President-elect Michael Day.
Day led the meeting in the absence of TALB President Tony
Diaz, who was away on vacation.
Since the TALB board of directors met on June 5 and
decided to fire McVarish, union members have protested the
decision, claiming it was done in violation of McVarish’s
contract and his right to due process. McVarish at the time
told the Press-Telegram he had not been notified of his
Day sent an e-mail to fellow union members that said the vote
was carried out illegally by a few board members. He added
that there was no prior notice, no evidence presented and no
just cause or due process.
Diaz has declined to comment on the board’s vote, since it
had to do with personnel matters. He could not be reached
for comment on this story.
Despite published reports quoting Diaz as saying Friday’s
meeting was illegitimate, the issue seemed to be cleared up
by Monday morning. McVarish said Diaz welcomed him back
to work, handing him the keys to his office — McVarish had
been locked out of his office after the June 5 vote — and
reaffirming his position as executive director.
McVarish said it was gratifying to get more than 200 e-mails
from teachers supporting him, and to see close to 300
different people come out to protest his firing.
“I didn’t know they would come out like that,” McVarish said.
“It makes me want to redouble my efforts to help out these
Since the firing, published reports have suggested that one
of the main reasons leading to his termination was because
of his tendency to carry out TALB actions without notifying or
consulting the rest of the board.
McVarish has said he never was approached by fellow board
members regarding any problems.
“I enjoyed the ride,” McVarish said. “I love how it was done,
by grassroots organizing by members and reps who
overturned a bad decision by the powers-that-be.”
He added that it’s common in unions for the outgoing board
members to “mess with” the incoming president. (A new TALB
board takes over July 1.) Both he and Day have named TALB
second vice president Marc Hyatt — who recently lost to Day
in the presidential election — as the person responsible for
bringing forward the vote to fire McVarish.
But rather than dividing the union, McVarish said Hyatt’s
move has had the reverse effect, unifying and strengthening
“This is the best thing that could’ve happened,” he said.
Day said the fact that 75 Representative Council members
came out on a Friday afternoon for the special meeting
speaks volumes. He hesitated to make predictions about
what the future of the TALB board will bring.
“I hope that whatever decision individual board members
make, it’s with our members in mind É (for) good salaries and
benefits and a better contract.”
Hyatt could not be reached for comments on this story.
|"McVey said that
he recalls that the
Four, said the
firing was legal
and for "just
"I have no idea why
present at that
state something to
McVey said of
"Kerr said that those in
attendance may have
of the discussion on
"...Kerr, who did not
attend the June 11
meeting, said that she
based her statements in
the letter concerning
Four on conversations
with CTA officials..."