Wirepoints founder Glennon disputes teacher union's Sharkey on city's financial state
Mark Glennon, founder of the website Wirepoints, disagrees with Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, about the city facing a financial crisis.
“There is no financial crisis this time," Sharkey told WBEZ last week. "We think that the wind is at our back in these negotiations. We have a lot of morale and optimism that we can win things for our schools and for the people who work in our schools.”
Sharkey was referring to pending teacher contract negotiations amid the run-up to the election of a new Chicago mayor on Feb. 26.
"The entire national financial press routinely lists Chicago as the worst outlier of financial distress, yet Sharkey sees no crisis," Glennon recently told Chicago City Wire. "The most astonishing thing of all is that CTU will probably win big. We should be making cuts, such as eliminating the pension pick-up Chicago teachers get. But most astonishing is that he’s probably right to think the wind is at his back in contract negotiations. That’s because the public remains so ignorant (about the city's financial situation), and he’s confident (Cook County board president) Toni Preckwinkle will become mayor, giving him all he wants."
Glennon wrote a piece for Wirepoints in 2017 claiming the reported progress for Chicago's pensions and finances is misleading and fake. He now alleges that budget gimmicks in government and what he calls Sharkey's irrational thought processes stem from different areas.
"Part of it stems from thinking in silos instead of consolidating all overlapping problems of all the broke governmental units that cover Chicago," Glennon told Chicago City Wire. "Since CPS got its bailout from the state and union-backed candidates now run everything, Sharkey thinks all is fine for CTU."
Glennon hopes that Chicago teachers will not become what he calls "wards of the state" because per-pupil spending in the city already exceeds other state averages. He insists that is what Sharkey is angling for.
"With union-backed candidates now in supermajorities at the state (level of government), Preckwinkle in line for mayor and the polls on their side, CTU will ask for the moon—and get it," Glennon said. "He (Sharkey) forgets that the same taxpayers face impossible future burdens from all those other taxing authorities. Also, the average voter looks only (at) current-year tax bills and is blind to the bills just stuck in the drawer waiting to be sent out. If they just looked at pensions—at the real numbers instead of the phony official ones—they’d see that each Chicago household is on the hook for $67,000 in pensions alone."
Glennon said those figures, from Moody’s, show things are twice as bad as the official numbers indicate.
"The end-result deniers like Sharkey, (state Senate President) John Cullerton and many others in government and the press are responsible for the public’s ignorance," Glennon said. "History will not treat them well when it all crashes down."