Ohio

Meet the Bosses: Ohio Education Association

Organizations Ohio Education Association

Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Patricia Frost-Brooks was paid $267,916 in dues taken from Ohio teachers during fiscal year 2012, according to the union’s latest staff and officer data submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than a hundred OEA employees and officers were paid six figures during the same period, as the union gave $77,500 to progressive groups who demonize “the rich” in the name of bigger government.

Frost-Brooks, the Ohio Democratic Party’s “Democrat of the Year,” was one of seven OEA employees and officers paid more than $175,000 from September 1, 2011 to August 31, 2012.

  • Patricia Frost-Brooks, President: $267,916
  • Larry Wicks, Executive Director: $222,167
  • William Leibensperger, Vice President: $193,766
  • James Timlin, Secretary-Treasurer: $189,640
  • Bonnie Joseph, Labor Relations Consultant: $181,319
  • James Martin, Assistant Executive Director: $178,009
  • Thomas Jowhar, Labor Relations Consultant: $175,816

OEA bosses routinely portray Ohio teachers as underpaid and under assault. A quick review of the dollar amounts these individuals take from Ohio teachers reveals a stark contrast from their political posturing.

For instance, a page on the OEA website titled “The Truth About So-Called ‘Right to Work’” warns,”if you look just beneath the surface of the ‘right to work’ cause, you will see a campaign that is built on distortions and predicated on lies and whose unstated purpose would undermine workers’ safety, economic security and well-being. The true goal of right to work is to put more money into the pockets of corporate shareholders.”

OEA currently faces a class-action suit from more than a dozen educators forced to pay hundreds of dollars each year in “fair share” fees due to Ohio’s lack of a workplace freedom law. The teachers claim OEA and several of its locals have failed to adequately account for spending and justify the amount of mandatory dues taken from their paychecks.

For rhetoric even more outrageous than what OEA publishes on its own website, the union turns to front group We Are Ohio, a campaign committee funded primarily by OEA dues. OEA leans on the lie that We Are Ohio is a “citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition” when promoting We Are Ohio-branded talking points via the union’s magazine and social media accounts.

In addition to We Are Ohio, OEA bankrolls several other progressive organizations devoted to the higher taxes and bigger government necessary to maintain the salaries listed here. In the past fiscal year alone, OEA gave $25,000 to Innovation Ohio, $22,500 to ProgressOhio, $20,000 to Policy Matters Ohio, and $10,000 to One Ohio Now.

Continuing down the list of total disbursements reported to the Department of Labor, 18 OEA employees were paid between $150,000 and $175,000 in fiscal 2012.

  • Kevin Flanagan, Assistant Executive Director – Member Services: $170,881
  • Venita Shoulders, Labor Relations Consultant: $168,976
  • Rachelle Johnson, Assistant Executive Director – Member Services: $166,814
  • Donald Dalton, Labor Relations Consultant: $166,119
  • Susan Babcock, Assistant Executive Director: $164,768
  • William Pearsol, Labor Relations Consultant: $160,463
  • Diane Tieman, Labor Relations Consultant: $157,496
  • Patricia Collins Murdock, Regional Director: $156,091
  • V. Randall Flora, Director Of Education Policy: $155,573
  • George Bozovich, Labor Relations Consultant: $154,794
  • Linda Fiely, General Counsel: $154,592
  • Cristina Munoz-Nedrow, Regional Director: $153,562
  • Jeffrey Kestner, Regional Director: $152,728
  • Parry Norris, Regional Director: $152,636
  • Mary Suchy, Director Of Membership: $152,511
  • Rodney Bird, Labor Relations Consultant: $152,074
  • Talmadge Hutchins, Labor Relations Consultant: $151,968
  • Robert Matkowski, Labor Relations Consultant: $150,023

A total of 119 OEA employees and officers were paid more than $100,000 during the most recent fiscal year. Another 17 OEA employees were paid between $75,000 and $100,000 in member dues.

Above and beyond the millions OEA spends each year on six-figure salaries for over 100 employees – and the tens of thousands OEA shovels to progressive lobbying groups – OEA devotes a huge portion of member dues to politics. Media Trackers has cataloged the ways OEA trains, endorses, and promotes liberal candidates for state offices, boosts liberal candidates for national offices, and viciously smears any opponent of big government.

In 2011, OEA took $54 from each member to fund We Are Ohio, which was created in part because OEA has given itself a bad name. In 2010 alone, OEA was picketed by members of its own staff and settled a class-action suit against retirees whose health insurance benefits the union slashed.

This year, OEA increased member dues by $22 in order to dump nearly $2.5 million into Voters First Ohio, the labor movement’s failed takeover of Ohio’s political map-making process.