Management Move Another Blow To Morale

posted December 7, 2018

DoDEA Director Tom Brady's unilateral decision to "suspend" the Transfer Program for the current year is an insult to his employees and will further erode morale within our school system.

As has become all too typical in recent years, management's decision was made without regard to the impact on employees. For the DoDEA Director to claim that this decision is based in any way upon input from employees is disingenuous at best.

Mr. Brady claims he is suspending the Transfer Program because he has heard from many employees who feel it is not equitable. But he does not mention that these complaints have arisen primarily in the past several years, since his agency has slashed funding for the program, thereby severely limiting the number of transfer opportunities available.

Nor does he mention the way his agency has allowed principals to increasingly "game" the program by not submitting vacancies in a timely manner and submitting unrealistic category combinations for vacancies they have submitted.

You're right, Mr. Brady: the Transfer Program is broken and is not fair. But the reason for this is because YOU have allowed it to become so. For you to now claim you are suspending the program out of concern for its efficacy or so that you can "fix" it is not fooling anyone. You are suspending the program because you do not want to fund it, thereby further cheating your employees of what was once one of the most coveted aspects of DoDEA employment.

It should not surprise any employees to hear that DoDEA did not consult with the Union nor did we receive more than 10 minutes advance notice of this decision before it was announced to the field. If the Director were truly concerned with creating a viable program, supported by his employees, he would have the courage to work with the Union to develop a program that meets the desires and needs of the employees we represent. Instead, he wishes to dictate a program, using his "outside consultants" as a screen to justify whatever decisions he wants to impose.

DoDEA as a school system is broken. It is rotting from within due to the low morale Mr. Brady has engendered and the complete disregard he has for the people who do the real work of DoDEA: the school level faculty and staff.

If you want to fix the Transfer Program or any other aspect of DoDEA schools, Mr. Brady, you should begin by listening to your employees and their representatives. Until you do so and realize that your way is not working, nothing will improve!

Under the existing Negotiated Agreement between FEA and DoDEA, we cannot compel the agency to hold a transfer program. We will, of course, always advocate for any future version of the program to be TRULY fair and equitable (as defined by the employees, not by management).

Mr. Brady thinks he can ignore and berate his employees into swallowing whatever crumbs he decides to throw their way. He is wrong! You can keep your phony "thanks", Mr. Brady. Your words of praise have been made meaningless by your hurtful actions.

Below is the text of the message Tom Brady sent to his employees earlier today, announcing his decision to "suspend" the Transfer Program:

DoDEA Educators,

The Teacher Transfer Program has been in place for a number of years, growing from a program that was originally intended as a recruitment incentive and to provide educators serving in remote areas the opportunity to move within DoDEA after serving a period of time in those areas.

Over the past four years, I have heard from a number of educators who say the program, in its current form with various teaching categories and priorities for how transfers are determined, is not always equitable. In addition, the environments in which our schools operate, as well as the number of schools in our system, have changed while the transfer program process has not. For the past few years, there have been as many as 1,000 transfer applications each year for a limited number of available vacancies.

I hired an independent consulting firm in August to examine the Teacher Transfer Program and gather information, recommendations and feedback. Since then, I have heard from hundreds of teachers who say the program is important to them -- and that it needs to be fair and equitable.

Based on these factors, and after a great deal of consideration, I have decided to suspend the Teacher Transfer Program for school year 19/20. Once the program analysis is complete, we can move forward in the future with a process that is fair and equitable to educators, sustains an environment supporting student achievement, and feasible considering potential budget constraints.

Thanks for what you do every day for our military-connected students and their families.

Thomas M. Brady