By Charles Sercombe
A labor dispute in the Hamtramck Public Schools has the potential to tarnish the political future of School Board President Titus Walters.
The Hamtramck Public Schools teacher union has filed a labor complaint with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission alleging that Walters cursed at union president Bo Karpinsky in a closed meeting and threatened to have him fired.
In the complaint, Karpinsky said that on Nov. 19, after classes were over, Titus told him to meet immediately at the Kosciusko Middle School teachers’ lounge. Karpinsky said Superintendent Tom Niczay was also at the meeting.
The reason for the meeting was not disclosed and no one connected with the complaint would comment on the matter because a hearing is pending. However, the reason for the meeting appears to be about Karpinsky’s role in protecting a teacher faced with a disciplinary action.
Once in the lounge, Karpinsky says Walters locked the door and began screaming at him and using profanity. It is also alleged that Walters threatened to have Karpinsky’s job in three to four months and that he would have students “say this and that about you and you’ll be a gone mother——.”
Karpinsky has been with the district for 29 years and has been president of the teachers’ union for a number of years. He has frequently clashed with past superintendents and board members.
Karpinsky, Walters and Niczay declined to comment on the case.
The attorney for Karpinsky, Mark Cousens, also declined to comment on details of the matter. When asked what he expects Superintendent Niczay to say in what appears to be a “he said-he said” incident, Cousens replied: “I believe him (Niczay) to be an honest man.”
A hearing on the complaint is scheduled for March 17.