Ducey calendar shows TV interviews, meetings with legislative le - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Ducey calendar shows TV interviews, meetings with legislative leaders and VP during teacher strike

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Gov. Doug Ducey survived the most challenging week of his political career doing TV interviews and coordinating strategy from his ninth floor office at the state Capitol. The strategy ultimately paid off, but it opened him up to criticism for appearing aloof to the striking teachers and some state lawmakers.

"It was just really disappointing that we couldn’t sit down with the governor and have him take it seriously at the early onset of this, so we could’ve really worked something out early on and wouldn’t have had to have all that disruption," said Joe Thomas, who is the president of the Arizona Education Association, and one of the organizers of the teacher strike that paralyzed public schools across the state for a week in late April and early May.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Schools in Crisis]

Teachers demanded higher salaries and more money for schools, and when it did not appear that their demands were met, they voted to strike. It lasted from April 26 to May 3 and affected 1,000 public schools, and 850,000 students.

It ended when the state Legislature signed a bill that should raise salaries by 10 percent this year, and by 20 percent in the year 2020. Ducey came up with the specifics of the measure, which his office views as a compromise that puts our state's education system on the right track without imposing additional taxes.

But education leaders say the bill fell short.

Ducey's spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato, concedes that the strike was the driving force behind getting lawmakers' attention, but he credits Ducey's work in getting the bill through a Legislature that has not been friendly to education spending.

"This was, without a doubt, his number No. 1 priority," wrote Scarpinato in an email to CBS 5 Investigates.

Exactly what that means, and how the governor pushed the bill has been a bit of a mystery. Ducey rarely invites members of the press to witness the inner workings of his administration.

But CBS 5 Investigates filed a public records request for the governor's calendar and the visitor log for his office. Together, the documents paint a picture of who Ducey met with, what schedule he kept and where he did most of the work of dealing with a bonafide crisis.

The day before the strike began, Ducey's schedule appeared fairly normal. It contained a TV interview, bill briefing, luncheon with former first lady Laura Bush and some other non-education meetings in his office.

But the day the strike began, the schedule changed dramatically. While tens of thousand of teachers, students and parents marched through the streets of downtown Phoenix, headed to the Capitol, Ducey hit the airwaves. He took part in seven TV and radio interviews and met with lawmakers and with a group of what appears to be six teachers. His final meeting began at 5:55 p.m.

On the second day of the strike, the governor had four appointments. They included a bill briefing, lunch and two TV interviews. This was the day he announced that he had come to an agreement with legislative leaders on a plan to increase teacher salaries by 20 percent over two years.

There were no scheduled events on Ducey's during that weekend.

On Monday, he met with lawmakers in his office. His schedule ended with a 1 p.m. meeting with school superintendents.

On Tuesday, Ducey's calendar indicates that he met Vice President Mike Pence at the airport and spent the rest of the day with him, attending an America First rally and a private meet and greet.

Campaign finance records show Ducey's campaign took in $22,000 that day. Meantime, the strike continued.

"Traveling around with politicians when you’ve got thousands and thousands of educators that are crying out for funding for their students. I don’t I just don’t see how that makes someone responsible governor," said Thomas, from the teacher's union.

The strike ended two days later, when lawmakers passed Ducey's bill and he signed it into law.

Thomas argues that the bill Ducey ushered through the House and Senate could have been better for education if the governor took a more hands-on approach, worked with education groups and physically went to the Legislature to meet with lawmakers, twisting arms if he had to.

"If it's something that he really wants, that’s when he comes downstairs and goes across the way to the House and to the Senate," said Thomas.

Scarpinato disagrees with that assessment, saying the governor worked the phones and met with lawmakers in his office.

"All our office's efforts were focused on passing this plan during this time frame, and the governor's schedule reflects that," wrote Scarpinato. "Despite the AEA's efforts to derail the 20x2020 plan, a bipartisan coalition was able to get this across the finish line, with the help of nearly every other education group in the state," he wrote.

The education community submitted signatures last week, which if validated, would put a measure on the November ballot to dramatically increase education funding in Arizona.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award, and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. In October 2016, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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