Saturday, August 06, 2005

Union v. County Commission & BOE

The Putnam County Education Association sued the Putnam County Commission and School Board over some contract items that the Commission objected to and the State Appeals Court has agreed with the Commission and issued their opinion August 1 of this year.

The Putnam County Educational Association filed this declaratory judgment action contending that Putnam County Commission exercised a line-item veto over the Putnam County Board of Education’s budget, thereby usurping the authority of the Board of Education to administer the schools. The Association also alleged that the Board of Education, by allowing the budget to be implemented without said line-item expenditure, breached its agreement with the Association. The purpose of the action was to restore $30,000 that had been allocated to fund medical insurance premiums for retired teachers to the 2000-2001 budget, which allocation the Association and Board of Education had agreed upon pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-5-612. From the Appeals Court decision.

Those of you with interest in who controls the money will want to read the overview at the Cleveland Herald-Citizen and the actual ruling from the Court of Appeals.

I'll copy a bit of the Herald-Citizen overview here:

Among other statements in the court's written decision are these:

* "The county commission is obligated to levy such taxes as are necessary to properly fund the operation of the county schools; however, it is not required to adopt the school budget as submitted."

* "While the Commission does not have the authority to veto line-item provisions of the school budget, it has the power and jurisdiction to 'alter or revise the proposed budget' by adopting a smaller school budget than submitted."

*"Though the (Putnam) Commission rejected two proposed budgets, it never rejected one part of a proposed budget while adopting the remainder of a proposed budget. A line-item veto occurs when one or more parts of an appropriation bill or proposal is rejected, while the remainder of the appropriation bill or proposal is adopted."

* "The items negotiated (in the teacher contract), which included among other negotiated items the disputed insurance for retired teachers, required funding. The Commission did not appropriate the requisite funds and, therefore, the agreement was never binding."

* "The judgment of the trial court is affirmed in all respects, and this matter is remanded with costs of appeal assessed against Appellant, the Putnam County Education Association."

(Thanks to Ben.)

No comments: