Shame on the teachers union

You can explain and complain, discuss and cuss the brutally enlightening Las Vegas Review-Journal stories about the high pay of union leaders at the Clark County Education Association, but you can't escape the ultimate conclusion: The local teachers union has breached faith with its members, students, parents and the state.

If what's been going on at that union isn't illegal, it's damn well immoral. And, I'm betting the public still doesn't know the half of it.

As the word spreads about the union bosses' excessive salaries, the union's credibility will be shot. This truth will remain: While teachers toiled, the union bosses lived high on the hog and hid their true salaries from plain sight.

Get a load of today's story, which will catch you enough to get your blood boiling:

"'We have no justification for the fact that former Executive Director (John) Jasonek was able to triple dip, earning additional and excessive salaries," Ruben Murillo, president of the Clark County Education Association, wrote on the union's website Monday.

"Phone calls to Murillo on Monday and Tuesday were not returned.

"Murillo's statement that Jasonek's $632,546 in compensation was 'excessive' is something new. He and current union Executive Director John Vellardita claimed the opposite when interviewed in early February. At the time, they defended Jasonek's compensation of $632,546 for running the union and two related organizations in 2009, the last year for which a required Internal Revenue Service report is available.

"They asserted that Jasonek's union compensation of $632,546 in 2009 was reasonable because he earned only $208,683 as union executive director. They argued that the additional $423,863 Jasonek earned as executive director of the union's Community Foundation and Center for Teaching Excellence was unrelated and not a problem because the organizations are separate, though union staff ran the foundation until Jasonek resigned in 2010.

"Jasonek, who didn't return calls for comment Tuesday, also has said his three salaries shouldn't be lumped together.

"Murillo has abandoned his earlier defense of Jasonek, however, writing Monday that 'CCEA in no way condones excessive and multiple salaries for any staff or leaders.'"

This deal can only lead to further inquiry. If the union would allow this travesty to go on, then what other peas are shuffled around and hidden from the public?

For example, the union gets $2.4 million in taxpayer dollars to run a continuing education program for teachers. How was that money used, exactly? We need a full accounting of that down to the last penny. Yet, Murillo goes Fifth-Amendment quiet when asked about it.

How about union expenses? Do these guys who make half a million plus a year travel around like the rest of us? Or do they travel first class, stay in suites and eat steak instead of burgers on the union dime? If I were a teacher, I'd want to know.

And speaking of Jasonek's $632,646 salary when he retired in 2010, how about coming clean on exactly what Jasonek's "retirement" actually is. That might be an enlightening number, no?

This deal stinks so much, I'm not sure the union can ever repair it's credibility. Does anybody -- teacher or taxpayer alike -- feel like giving these guys money in the future to hold in trust after this?