BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
THE ADMINISTRATORS AND SUPERVISORS
THE MILWAUKEE BOARD OF SCHOOL
(Vern Mamon grievance, No. 97/225)
Mr. John Weigelt, ASC Executive Director,
with Ms. Barbara Buhai, then-ASC Assistant
Executive Director on the brief, appearing on behalf of ASC.
Mr. Donald L. Schriefer, Assistant City Attorney, appearing on
behalf of the Employer.
At the joint request of the above parties, the Wisconsin
Employment Relations Commission designated the
undersigned Marshall L. Gratz as arbitrator to hear and decide a dispute concerning the
which the parties submitted to arbitration under their 1995-97 contract (Agreement).
The Arbitrator heard the grievance at the Milwaukee Public
Schools (MPS) Administration Building in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 15, 1998. The proceedings were transcribed. Post-hearing
briefs were exchanged
on October 2, 1998 and reply briefs were exchanged on October 16, 1998. The Arbitrator
ruled on the Employer's
motion to strike certain portions of ASC's reply brief on December 2, 1998, marking the
close of the hearing.
To maximize the ability of the parties we serve to utilize the
Internet and computer software to research
decisions and arbitration awards issued by the Commission and its staff, footnote text is
found in the body of this
At the hearing the parties authorized the arbitrator to decide
the following issues:
1. Was the Grievant paid in accordance with the contract?
2. If not, what is the remedy?
PORTIONS OF THE
(The specific provision at issue in this case is Appendix A, Sec. A.7., which is set
followed by various other provisions relating to arguments advanced by one or both of the
APPENDIX A - SALARIES
A. SALARY SCHEDULES
. . .
7. When an individual is assigned to fill an
assignment for a higher rank individual, that person
shall receive eleven dollars and three cents ($11.03) per day beginning with the second day
assignment in addition to his/her base salary while performing such duties, if a job in which
placed has at least that amount of salary differential from the one he/she is presently involved
any such assignment extends beyond a semester in length at a school or a period of six (6)
at a work site, those in such assignments shall be compensated in the same manner in which
would have been paid if he/she were appointed to the job. This differential does not apply to
certificated employees who lack the appropriate credentials, or classified employees who lack
necessary qualifications for promotion.
. . .
A. WORK YEAR . . . Assistant principals
in the middle schools (one hundred ninety-seven 
days), senior high schools (two hundred  days, and elementary schools (one hundred
 days shall be placed on the same work year as the principals.
. . .
D. SCHOOL CLASSIFICATION AND
1. The school classification formula is
enumerated in Appendix B.
. . .
REDUCTION IN FORCE
1. Seniority for layoff shall mean
the number of years served with the board from date of
2. Seniority for reduction in rank
shall mean the number of years earned in the specific
3. Reduction in rank shall mean
the removal from an administrative or supervisory position
into a non-bargaining unit position or the movement from a higher level position within the
. . .
C. REDUCTION IN RANK AND
LAYOFF PROCEDURE FOR PRINCIPALS AND
In the event that it becomes necessary to
reduce the number of principals or assistant principals,
such reduction in rank or layoff shall be based on seniority. . . . If such a reduction or layoff
in the ranks of the principals or assistant principals, a person may assume a lower ranked
he/she is qualified for the job by licensing and experience and has more system-wide
D. REDUCTION IN RANK AND
LAYOFF PROCEDURE FOR CERTIFICATED, NON-FIELD ADMINISTRATORS AND
In the event that it becomes necessary to
reduce the number of certificated and non-field
administrators and supervisors, such reduction in rank or layoff shall be based on seniority.
. . .
The reduction in rank and/or layoff will
come from within specific classifications of individuals.
An individual in a higher ranked position
with more system-wide seniority than a person in a
lower ranked position may assume the lower ranked position if he/she is qualified by
training and experience.
. . .
APPENDIX A SALARIES
. . .
C. MOVEMENTS WITHIN SCHEDULE
1. When an employee is promoted or
reclassified from one (1) pay grade to a higher pay grade
and the employee is in compliance with Part IV, Section I, of the agreement, he/she will be
. . .
3. Principals currently assigned to schools
in which there is a change in classification pursuant
to Appendix B shall have their salaries adjusted in accordance with the change in
classification of the
school. . . . If the current salary of the principal is above the maximum rate of the new
level, the principal's salary will remain frozen or "red circled" until such time as the rate
within range due to general salary adjustments affecting the minimum and maximum of the
until such time as the principal transfers to a school of a classification equal to or above
4. Individuals in other positions which are
reclassified to a lower grade or who are involuntarily
transferred to lower level positions in Schedule III shall similarly have their salaries "red
the individual rate again falls within the grade as described in paragraph 3 above. Demotion,
transfer, or reduction in rank to a position in a lower grade shall cause the employee's salary
change as specified in 2 above.
. . .
SALARY SCHEDULE III
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1996 TO JUNE 30,
GRADE WORK YEAR
18 12 MONTH
. . .
15# 12 MONTH
. . .
12# 12 MONTH
11# 12 MONTH
10# 12 MONTH
. . .
0 12 MONTH
. . .
#Effective July 1, 1996, the number of
workdays for all principals and assistant principals shall
be increased by two (2) days.
SCHOOL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM --
For purposes of compensation of principals,
schools are classified into three (3) basic categories:
1. High school
2. Middle schools, K-8, city wide (middle
and elementary) and total exceptional education
3. Attendance area elementary schools
Accordingly, the principalships shall be
classified according to these divisions as well as the
student enrollment and placed on the appropriate grade within the salary structure as follows:
Category of school
[H.S.] [Middle School etc.] [Att. Area
14 575 or more
students 651 or more students
13 Less than 575
students 326-650 students
less than 326 students
. . .
The Board is the governing body with respect to a K-12 public
school district consisting of the Milwaukee
Public Schools (MPS). For many years, ASC has been recognized by MPS as bargaining
agent concerning wages,
hours and conditions of employment for a bargaining unit composed of certain MPS
administrators and supervisors,
resulting in a series of contracts including the Agreement. The Grievant, Vern Mamon, is an
employee of the MPS
who since November 1991 had served as a Middle School Assistant Principal at Malcolm X
On August 27, 1997, Dr. Myra Vachon, Acting Executive
Director of Human Resources for MPS, confirmed
to Grievant in writing that he was being temporarily reassigned to the position of Assistant
Principal of Custer High
School, effective August 25, 1997. That letter further stated that Grievant would receive an
additional $11.03 per
day, representing the underfill differential for the position. Pursuant to MPS' interpretation
Appendix A, Sec. A.7, Grievant was paid the underfill differential throughout the first
semester of his assignment.
When his assignment extended beyond a semester, his compensation was raised to the
School Grade on Agreement Salary Schedule III, in the manner in which Grievant would
have been paid if he were
appointed to the Assistant Principal-High School job.
On October 7, 1997, the Union filed a grievance on Grievant's
behalf, seeking to have him compensated at
the higher Assistant Principal-High School rate for the entire period of his temporary
assignment. MPS denied the
grievance on the basis that a high school assistant principal is a "higher rank individual" than
a middle school
assistant principal, such that Grievant was only entitled to the underfill differential until the
according to Appendix A, Sec. A.7.
The grievance was ultimately submitted for arbitration as noted
above. At the hearing, ASC presented the
testimony of recently-retired ASC Executive Director Chuck Gobel. MPS presented the
testimony of Edward
Burnette, its Manager of Compensation and Records.
The evidence establishes that, since 1983, every job title
within the ASC bargaining unit has been evaluated
on the basis of 12 factors that assess job-specific qualities such as qualifications,
responsibilities, working conditions
and time demands. As a result of the evaluation, each job title winds up with a total number
of points. The job
titles are then sequenced in the order of total points, and placed within the Grades 0-18
contained in Agreement
Appendix A Salary Schedule III, above. The higher the evaluation total points, the higher
the Grade within which
the job title is placed on the salary schedule. The "Assistant Principal-Middle School" job
title is evaluated at 453
points and placed within Grade 11. The "Assistant Principal-High School" job title is
evaluated at 479 points and
placed within Grade 12. By comparison, the Assistant Principal-Elementary School job title
is evaluated lower than
both of those and placed within Grade 10; whereas the Principal-Senior High School is
evaluated higher and placed
at Grade 15.
The 1982 Arthur Young final report on the basis of which the
job evaluation system was adopted by the Board
in 1983 contains the following as part of its description of the system,
Using these relative weights and points
[i.e., the 12 factor Job Evaluation System], the system
was tested to see if the relative rankings were
reasonable. . . . After all the jobs had been evaluated,
the overall values and sequencing of the jobs were reviewed with the Division heads. These
individuals were asked to comment on the overall reasonableness of the ranking obtained. . .
According to Gobel, the language of
Appendix A, Sec. A.7. at issue in this case has been a part of the parties'
contract since at least 1983, but with the underfill differential dollar amount changing over
time. Gobel testified
that his understanding has always been that the Agreement's references to rank referred to a
hierarchy of authority
in which all assistant principals are of the same rank and all principals are of a higher rank.
that there is not a list setting forth the hierarchy of ranks as he interprets the term either in
the Agreement or
According to Burnette, the District's on-going job evaluation
and compensation system lists all of the job
titles in the ASC bargaining unit in order of their relative total points. Burnette testified that
his understanding has
been that the Agreement's references to rank refer to that hierarchy of job titles and the
corresponding Grades 0-18
set forth in Salary Schedule III in Appendix A of the Agreement. On that hierarchy, an
School is a higher paid and higher rank individual than an Assistant Principal-Middle
Additional background information is set forth in the
summaries of the parties' positions and in the
POSITION OF THE ASC
Grievant's temporary assignment to Custer High School was at
the same level as his ranking: that of assistant
principal. One's rank at MPS is a position of authority based on title. It is not defined by
geographic location or
pay grade level and it is different than a job classification. Read as a whole, the Agreement
"rank," "pay grade" and "classification."
Agreement Part IV, Sec. D.1. and Appendix B establish
classifications of principals by type of school and
student enrollment, and then place the various classifications within the rank of principal at
various grades on the
salary schedule. The grades in Appendix A, Salary Schedule III reflect both the job location
and work year of
individuals within a certain classification. Part IV, Sec. A. defines and equates the work
year for Assistant
Principals and Principals at various levels depending the type of school involved. Read
together, those provisions
clearly demonstrate that there may be several different pay grades within a classification and
within a rank.
Appendix A, Sec. C provides that Principals assigned to
schools where there is a change in classification
pursuant to Appendix B have their salaries adjusted in accordance with the change in
classification of the school.
As above, the "classification" depends on type of school, but there is no mention of the term
"rank." That clearly
demonstrates that there is no hierarchical ranking among Principals and Assistant Principals
according to school
at MPS, just the two unitary ranks of Principal and Assistant Principal.
In the layoff language, Part VI, Sec. C specifically refers to
"the ranks of principals or assistant principals",
i.e., to "the rank of principal" and "the rank of assistant principal," not to "within the ranks"
of each group.
Dictionary definitions similarly distinguish "rank" and "classification." "Rank" is
Black's Law Dictionary as a position in society or grade of official standing, a
title of distinction
conferred upon an officer in order to fix his relative position in reference to other officers.
contrast, it defines "classification" as an arrangement into groups or categories on the basis
The Arthur Young study has nothing to do with rank. At best
it confirms ASC's contention that distinctions
among Assistant Principals at the various levels are by classification or category and not by
rank. The study rated
pay grades, not positions. It explains why an Assistant Principal moving from a middle
school to a high school was
entitled to more money. It does not justify, however, declaring that a High School Assistant
Principal is ranked
higher than a similarly-situated Middle School Assistant Principal.
The Board has failed to prove the necessary elements of a past
practice, as well.
It is undisputed that when an Assistant Principal moves to a
Principal position, he or she assumes a position
of a higher rank. That being true it would be incongruous to also suggest that an Assistant
in another Assistant Principal position at a different school results in reassignment to a
position of a higher rank.
The contract provisions for pay grade classifications relied on by MPS pertain to a difference
in pay among similar
positions, while a change in rank reflects a promotion with its attendant benefits.
For those reasons, the grievance should be sustained.
POSITION OF MPS
The job evaluation system initiated by the Arthur Young study
in the early 1980's analyzed and ranked each
position in the ASC bargaining unit into one of the Salary Schedule Grades 0-18 based on 12
factors assessing job-specific qualities. The Arthur Young report specifically states that the
purpose of its job evaluation system was to
establish a "ranking" for each position relative to every other. It follows that each
position's placement within
the Grades 0-18 in the classification system developed by Arthur
Young is equated with that position's rank relative
to other positions. The reference to "rank" in Agreement Appendix A, Sec. A.7 obviously
correlates with and
corresponds to a position's rank from Grade 0-18 in this job classification system.
Grievant was temporarily assigned to an Assistant
Principal-High School position ranked at Grade 12 from
an Assistant Principal-Middle School position ranked at Grade 11. Because Grievant was
to a position of a higher rank, MPS properly compensated him in accordance with Appendix
A, Sec. A.7.
There is no merit to ASC's contention that "rank" in Sec. A.7. refers to positions
that are above
or below one another in a reporting hierarchy as in the military. MPS is a school system,
military. The dictionary definition of "rank" is not confined to the narrow sense advocated
it also includes "a row, line or series . . . an orderly arrangement . . . an
official grade or position .
. . a relative position, usually in a scale classifying persons or things; grade; degree."
Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language. The Grade 0-18
system provides a ready reference for the rank of every ASC position relative to every other
basis of each job's profile under the 12-factor analytical system, as opposed to the hierarchy
relied on by ASC which Gobel admitted is not documented in the Agreement or elsewhere.
Sec. A.7. can normally only apply to temporary assignments into positions that are at a
in the Grade 0-18 job classification scheme. There is no rational explanation and no contract
language or other documentation explaining why only some subset of temporary transfers to
paying positions rather than all such transfers were intended to be covered by Sec. A.7.
transfer is more than a mere Assistant-Principal-to-Assistant Principal transfer. The formal
these positions differ, as do as their grade or rank as determined by the job evaluation
is not a single classification called Assistant Principal.
Viewing the Agreement as a whole provides no support for
ASC's proposed interpretation of "rank" in Sec.
A.7., either. The Part VI, Sec. C reference to "ranks of the principals or assistant
principals" notably used the
disjunctive "or" between the two plurals, showing by grammatical logic and common sense
that the plural term
"ranks" refers to ranks of Principals and ranks of Assistant Principals. Furthermore, the
of the terms "rank," "classification" and "grade" are conceptually almost indistinguishable.
The three terms are
so closely connected in meaning that the equation of one with another is entirely logical and
only to be expected
in a context such as periodic contract bargaining where provisions tend to be negotiated over
a period of many
years, frequently by separate bargaining teams.
For those reasons, the grievance should be
This case turns on whether MPS' assignment of the Grievant,
who was a Middle School Assistant Principal,
to fill an assignment as a High School Assistant Principal constituted an assignment "for a
higher rank individual"
within the meaning of Agreement Appendix A, Sec. A.7.
None of the parties' arguments based on dictionary definitions
and on the use of the term "rank" elsewhere
in the agreement provide a persuasive basis on which to resolve this dispute. As variously
defined in the dictionary,
rank can mean relative standing in a reporting or power hierarchy as ASC argues, or it can
mean relative standing
in a hierarchy ordered by job responsibilities or compensation so as to be synonymous
with job classification
or pay grade as MPS argues. As used most pertinently in Agreement Part VI.B., rank
could refer to "the rank of
Principal" and "the rank of Assistant Principal" as ASC argues, or it could refer to the
"ranks of principals and
ranks of Assistant Principals" as MPS argues. The Arbitrator is reluctant to offer opinions
on the basis of the
limited evidentiary record developed in this case, about the meaning and application of such
Agreement provisions as those governing the layoff procedure for Principals and Assistant
The Arbitrator finds it preferable to interpret Agreement
Appendix A, Sec. A.7. in terms of its evident purpose
and the well-established arbitral standard of contract interpretation that, where possible,
contract language should
be construed in such a way as to lead to reasonable results rather than results that do not
The evident purpose of Appendix A, Sec. A.7. is to provide
and define additional compensation payable to
ASC unit employes when they are assigned to fill an assignment which the parties agree is
sufficiently different to
justify that additional compensation.
Under ASC's proposed interpretation of Appendix A, Sec. A.7., in this case
have been compensated immediately at the higher pay grade of a High School Assistant
because he was assigned to fill an assignment at the same rank as his own rather than that of
rank individual. However, had Grievant been assigned instead to fill an assignment as a
which ASC acknowledges is a higher rank individual than Grievant -- his compensation
been limited for the first semester to the $11.03 per day differential specified in Appendix A,
and he would not have been paid at the higher grade of a High School Principal until the
extended beyond a semester in length. Thus, under ASC's interpretation, Grievant
would be paid
more for working in an assignment to the same rank than he would be paid for working in an
assignment for a higher rank individual. That result does not make sense. It follows
that the parties
probably did not intend Appendix A, Sec. A.7 to be interpreted in a way that would produce
In contrast, under MPS' proposed interpretation of Appendix
A, Sec. A.7., the Grievant would initially be
paid the $11.03 per day differential whether he was assigned to fill an assignment for a High
Principal or for a High School Principal, because MPS interprets both of those as
assignments for a higher rank
individual. When the assignment extended beyond a semester in length, MPS would then
increase Grievant's pay
to the higher pay grade of High School Assistant Principal or High School Principal in the
Thus, the results of applying MPS' proposed interpretation of Appendix A Sec. A.7.
would not involve the
incongruous and unreasonable results that would follow from the ASC's interpretation of that
For that reason, the Arbitrator finds MPS' proposed
interpretation of Appendix A Sec. A.7. to be more in
keeping with what must have been the parties' mutual intent. Accordingly, the Arbitrator
concludes that MPS
properly limited the increase in Grievant's compensation to the dollars per day differential
specified in Appendix
A, Sec. A.7. until Grievant's assignment as a high school assistant principal extended beyond
DECISION AND AWARD
For the foregoing reasons and based on the record 1/ as a whole, it is the decision
and award of
the Arbitrator on the ISSUES noted above that
1. Yes. The Grievant was paid in accordance with the contract.
2. Accordingly, the grievance is denied and
no consideration of a remedy is necessary or
Dated at Shorewood, Wisconsin this 24th day of
Marshall L. Gratz, Arbitrator
1/ A dispute arose between the parties
concerning the scope of the record when ASC submitted certain evidence
for the first time in its reply brief. The Arbitrator granted MPS' motion to strike and
advised the parties that the
Arbitrator would "not consider evidence submitted for the first time during the briefing
process to be a part of the
record on which this case will be decided."
Footnote continued on next page
The evidence in question
consisted of excerpts from various of the parties' pre-1983 contracts showing that
Appendix A, Sec. A.7. had been a part of those agreements. ASC offered that evidence in
response to the assertion
in MPS' brief that ASC witness Gobel had testified at tr. 16 that 1983 was the first time that
provision became a part
of the contract.
testimony on that point was only to the effect that Appendix A, Sec. A.7. had been in the
contract "at least since 1983. . . . I believe it may have been put in the contract in '83 but
I'm not certain of that.
But I know it's been there at least since 1983." The Arbitrator does not find that testimony
or the record as a whole
sufficient to support MPS' contention that Appendix A, Sec. A.7. was first put into the
contract in 1983.
refusal to consider the evidence included in the ASC reply brief has had no effect on the
outcome of this case.