Honesty and Integrity – Chet Miller

By Chet Miller

I value honesty. I value integrity. It is with these two values in mind that I’d like to clear up some blatant lies and half-truths that my opponents for CCEA leadership positions have been spreading about me.

CLAIM:  Chet Miller was let go in 2014 from CCEA.
FACT CHECK: FALSE

Throughout my tenure at CCEA as a UniServ Director, I had nothing but satisfactory evaluations from CCEA.  Following the hiring of the current Executive Director, it quickly became apparent that we had very different opinions and beliefs about how CCEA should improve the working lives of educators and the teachers that we serve. It was due to vastly different philosophies that I chose to resign from my position at CCEA. I was never ‘let go’, which is just a euphemism for being fired. Many people knew that I was unhappy with the direction CCEA was taking under John Vellardita’s leadership and that I was planning on resigning.

 

CLAIM: Chet Miller is a disgruntled former CCEA employee with a vengeful axe to grind.
FACT CHECK: FALSE

I am not a “disgruntled former CCEA employee”, I am a disgruntled educator who recognizes what a union is supposed to do for the profession and understands that CCEA is not doing it.  I am a dedicated union member who fights hard to ensure educators are treated fairly, compensated appropriately, and have the best working conditions possible. That is why I am running for CCEA Vice President.

CLAIM: Chet Miller and Sarah Sunnasy “brazenly ignored a unanimous motion from the CCEA Executive Board to abstain from attending the NSEA-controlled TIP Coordinating Committee meeting”.
FACT CHECK: FALSE

Sarah and I did attend the CCEA/ESEA Together In Politics Coordinating Committee meeting.  We did so because that was our responsibility as elected TIP members.  At the time of the meeting we were still Members In Good Standing with NSEA and NEA. The TIP committee is the political arm of CCEA and has its own bylaws, separate and apart from the CCEA bylaws. It was our responsibility to the people that elected us to do the job that we were elected to do.  Additionally, since TIP is separate and apart from CCEA Executive Board, the Executive Board cannot dictate anything to an elected TIP member regarding their service to that committee.

 

CLAIM: Chet Miller and Sarah Sunnasy “…voted to early endorse only Democrats without any policy conditions attached”.
FACT CHECK: FALSE

At the TIP Coordinating Council Meeting, Sarah and I voted to continue the endorsements of the Democratic Candidates that NSEA AND CCEA had previously endorsed in past elections. It was only after a lengthy debate and deliberation on each candidate’s merits determined by such things as voting record on the issues impacting educators and labor groups across the state that we voted to continue endorsements. Every candidate who was considered  had 98-100% voting record on education goals, including returning “Evergreen” to salary advancements. There were also additional stipulations attached to the endorsements.

 

CLAIM: Chet Miller opposes Local Control
FACT CHECK: FALSE

 

CCEA’s definition of “local control” is really “we want the money with no accountability”. CCEA is a local, and as a local gets to determine the direction and goals of the organization.  I am a big proponent of CCEA members determining the direction of CCEA, rather than a group of 14 directing the membership through biased surveys and unquestioning loyalty.  That is what local control truly means, not what the narrative being presented by current leadership. It doesn’t get more local than members controlling the direction of their own organization.

 

CLAIM: Chet Miller believes that 70% of our dues should leave Clark County.
FACT CHECK: FALSE

 

CCEA has been pushing a false narrative of where our dues go, why they go there, and what they are spent on. Our opponents, the majority of them current incumbents, say that CCEA should keep more of their dues here in Clark County.  The only problem with that thinking is that the dues aren’t CCEA’s to keep.  The portion of dues that members pay to NSEA and NEA are set by the elected delegates at each yearly meeting.  That amount is paid by the member to the local who then forwards it to the state and national. The amount that I pay to NSEA is exactly the same as an educator up in Douglas or Elko county.  The amount I pay to NEA is exactly the same as a member in Colorado or Tennessee. The only way that CCEA can “keep more of its dues” is to either disaffiliate from the state and national, or get a motion passed to reduce dues at the respective yearly meetings.

As an affiliate of NEA, the means of receiving funds from the state and national is through issuance of grants.  I may not like it, but that is the manner in which NEA does business and I will work within the parameters of the organization to which we belong. Following the rules and doing things the right, legal, way, stops us from getting mired in costly lawsuits.

 

CLAIM: Chet Miller opposes a Dedicated Funding Stream
FACT CHECK: FALSE

I do not oppose a dedicated funding stream. However, the dedicated funding bill that was brought forth in the 2017 legislative session was not broad enough since it only sought requiring Clark County to set aside money for educators and didn’t seek the same for all of the other counties. Had the bill supported other collective bargaining units in Nevada, I would have supported it. But it didn’t.

There are also deeper issues at play, other than the bill being inherently flawed, when it comes to why several Assembly Dems, specifically Maggie Carlton, did not put forth the Dedicated funding bill, and it delves into the way CCEA chose to allocate their time and resources lobbying during the legislative session and the bill being fundamentally changed from its inception to its presentation. If anyone is interested in a deeper conversation about this issue, I would be happy to talk with you.

CLAIM:  Chet Miller has spent most of his time in Clark County outside of the classroom.
FACT CHECK: Partly True but Misleading

I was an educator for 10 years in the NYC public school system, from 1993 to 2003. I was hired by CCSD in 2003 and worked in the classroom until December 2005. It was at that time that I was offered the job of UniServ Director with CCEA because of my passion for seeking justice for educators and fighting for the betterment of their working lives. I’ve been back in the classroom as an educator here in CCSD for the last 2.5 years. I have spent half of my time in Clark County out of the classroom fighting for educators. I have spent most of my career in the classroom.

THE TRUTH

In a nutshell, I believe in solidarity between unions, be it other professional educator unions, public employee unions, or labor unions.  I am of the belief that when we stand united together, we can accomplish amazing things for the working people around the state and nation. Others may disagree with me and say who cares about the other school districts around the state, but I won’t ever think that way.  I am a firm believer in solidarity between unions, be it other professional educator unions, public employee unions, or labor unions.  When we stand united together, we can accomplish amazing things for the working people around the state and nation. We are stronger together.