The Chelmsford Federation of Teachers is a HOT MESS

Looks like things are heating up in Chelmsford once again!

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You’ll remember earlier this year we covered the drama around Jennifer Salmon and her union thug pal Eric Blanchet from the AFT who were accused of assault and demanding private student information after attacking the Chelmsford Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang at an elementary school.

You’ll remember the state and national AFT cried out for “JUSTICE” in the name of this amazing teacher — and even manipulated parents into thinking she was the heroine in the situation. I had dozens and dozens of angry union members attempting to read me the riot act for daring to question the integrity of such a fine union activist.

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(Please understand that EduMom does not care about your pissy pitchfork brigade.)

Flash forward to today: Now Jennifer’s in hot water with members of her own union accusing Madame President and her executive board of misappropriation of funds to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars in member dues.

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(I’m starting feel another I TOLD YOU SO coming on.)

I don’t need to give you a re-write, let’s hear it directly from the angry members:

This correspondence is to ask for help in investigating a situation of possible fraud from members of the Chelmsford Federation of Teachers (CFT) who work for the Chelmsford Public Schools. There are serious concerns with regard to the nearly $350,000 collected annually from the members AND how the Executive Board may be mishandling and recklessly using said funds. For the last two school years (2016-2017 and 2017-2018) the (CFT) Board Members have failed to produce evidence that is contrary to misuse of union dues in at least the following ways:

1. Unauthorized raises for members of the Executive Board.
President, Jennifer Salmon (estimated overpayment of $2500)
Executive Vice President, Marie O’Donnell (estimated overpayment of $2000)
Treasurer, Erica Arrington (estimated overpayment of $3500)

Salaries that have been submitted on the Department of Labor and Relations (DLR) Reports and IRS Form 990 are not in line with the CFT salary guidelines. Additionally, when comparing previous year salaries, the numbers do not proof out properly. All salaries should be based on the Bachelors minimum salary on the pay scale which was $44,534.22 during the 2016-2017 school year according to the CFT bylaws and matched with the proper salary scale in the designated contract

2. During the 2016-2017 school year, the IRS 990 Form indicates a number of expenditures the executive board refuses to explain to include:

Occupancy: Payment for non-existent office space. It is unclear why and who is receiving payment in the amount of $3768, as the records have been reported by CFT Treasure Erica Arrington to be housed at Chelmsford High School.

Union Credit Card Use: Unauthorized and excessive. There are credit card charges payable in the amount of $7632 on the IRS 990 Form, which have not been authorized or voted on by the union membership.

Bereavement expenses and flowers: The membership has not made us aware of nor authorized who or when we would have incurred bereavement bills totaling $4065 in one year.

Newsletter: There hasn’t been a newsletter created or ever sent to the membership. There are expenses of a newsletter to the sum of $15,423.

3. Payment to executive board members for committees that are not supported by our CFT Bylaws and committees that have not been implemented. Example: The CFT does not have an “evaluation” committee, and yet Erica Arrington receives payment as the chair of said committee. A second example includes a Professional Development Committee that is supported by the CFT bylaws to provide PD about the union to the membership. There has been no PD provided to the membership, yet Erica Arrington and Marie O’Donnell are receiving additional pay.

4. Payment for jobs that should have been embedded within the salary of other officers per our CFT bylaws. Example: The Executive Vice President is responsible for “Chairing the Communication and Public Relations Committees” as part of her salary. As you will see on the DLR report, Erica Arrington, the treasurer, is identified as the chair of said committees and is receiving an additional payment.
5. Payment to an inordinate number of people to be part of the negotiation committee. Each person received 1.5% of the Bachelor’s minimum 1st step of the pay scale. For a school district of our size, it is unfathomable that seventeen (17) people were needed and paid $668.01 each.

On 3/25/18, candidate for Union President and CFT member Robert Russo, began to question the expenditures and formally requested (in an email) to the treasurer, Erica Arrington “a copy of all financial records for the past two years”, specifically, “credit card statements and other bills or statements that support what has been reported to the DLR Form 1 and 2”. The treasurer was unwilling to meet with or supply Rob or anyone with any financial information and told him to consult with Brant Duncan, the Secretary/Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). It is Erica Arrington’s responsibility to provide monthly financial updates to the membership, and she has not and will not even after a request.

Attached you will find the CFT Bylaws, CFT Salary Guidelines, DLR reports, and IRS 990 filings. Also attached is an document which was created by a member of the union using the submitted IRS 990 Forms and the DLR reports to see comparisons for a three year time frame. As you will notice, there is a huge discrepancy between the salaries for the three aforementioned executive board members during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years, as well as expenditures that are unexplained and unreasonably high.

Interestingly, the two people (Jennifer Salmon and Erica Arrington) who have signed each of the forms attached, that include their own payment for salaries and stipends, have asked for recommendations and are interviewing elsewhere at the current time. Please help investigate this case or point us to the correct department to help the 570 due paying members of the CFT who deserve to have their money managed ethically and prudently in accordance with our bylaws.

Concerned CFT Members

I wonder if the state and national AFT organizations are going to send out another petition defending her honor?

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Oh, and did someone call for receipts? We gots them:

1 3 Year Comparison-2

2 CFT Salary Guidelines-2

3 2014 IRS 990-3

4 2015 IRS 990-2

5 2016 IRS 990-2

6 2014-15 DLR-2

7 2015-16 DLR-2

8 2016-17 DLR-2

9 CFT Constitution Bylaws-2

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Now I’m a parent advocate so my main concern is that this situation doesn’t end up impacting children and families who go to school to like, LEARN. Will the CFT once again suck students into the their soap opera? We’ll be watching.

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