The School District Negotiator

The School District Negotiator
‘Hard Bargaining with a Soft Touch’

A full day workshop on school district negotiations for superintendents, business officials, and board members. This is a professional workshop and unique learning opportunity for any and all members of district negotiating teams. We cover negotiations foundation, legal knowledge, preparation, table strategies, use of and defense against tactics, and practical tips on organization.

Schedule Pending   [Online Registration PENDING]
November 2019
Full-day training – 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM (lunch at 12:00 Noon)
5 CTLE Hours
Eastern New York
Central New York
Western New York


  •     New negotiators (Superintendents and business officials) needing a clear understanding of the negotiations process
  •     Experienced negotiators (Superintendents and business officials) wanting to improve negotiations tactics
  •     Superintendents and business officials working in support of an out-of-district negotiator (lawyer or BOCES personnel)
  •     Board members who are part of the at-the-table negotiations or want understanding of the process

Why This Workshop is Important
Success at the collective bargaining table is increasingly important. Negotiations will only get tougher as the tax cap and lower CPI take hold. This information-filled workshop will review the statutory requirements of the Taylor Law, unravel the complexities of the collective bargaining process, and present negotiation strategies and secrets of successful negotiators.
The Taylor Law sets the context for collective bargaining in New York State. Anyone involved in the school district bargaining process should be well grounded in the strict requirements of the Taylor Law and its administrative arm the Public Employment Relations Board ( PERB). This workshop will explore both employer and employee right including such topics such as communications during negotiations, mandatory and non-mandatory subjects of bargaining, interference, restraints and coercion, the Triborough Doctrine, and ratification requirements.
Knowing the steps to follow in collective bargaining is essential. This workshop will unravel the complexities of proposal development, costing of proposals, counter proposals, packaging, concessions, tentative agreements, ratification, and much more. Most importantly this workshop will share the secrets and tactics necessary to an effective negotiator.

Workshop Topics

  • Personal vs. Collective Negotiations – Rational Decision Making vs. Emotional
  • Psychological Process – Distributive vs. Integrative
  • Concepts of Personal Negotiations: Influence, Persuasion, and Power
  • Intangibles: Communications, Personality, Style, Physical Space, Past Interactions, Time Pressure, Utility and Value
  • Styles and Type: Aggressive, Interrogator, Reasonable Confidant, Divide and Conquer, Act Dumb
  • Absolute Rules of Interest, Legitimacy, Gains, and Objective Criteria
  • Strategies and Techniques: Knowledge, Forbearance, Signals, Concessions, Details, Options, Order, Self Interest, Fantasies, and Controls on Victory
  • Bargaining Units: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Management Rights: Duties and Responsibilities
  • Terms and Condition and Mandatory and Non-Mandatory
  • Improper Practices
  • Preparation for Collective Negotiations
  • Parameters and Teams
  • Major Issues and Problems
  • Strategies- Games- Practices – Broaden the Pie, Nonspecific Compensation, Logrolling, Roll Backs, Bridging

James N. Mills, Ph.D., Negotiator, Superintendent of Schools (retired)
Dr. Mills is a highly regard professional negotiator and veteran school superintendent. He has the rare combination of school and district leadership experience, abundant at-the-table lead negotiator experience, and high energy public presentation skills.
During his career as a professional negotiator he has represented twenty-two New York State school districts in collective bargaining and labor relations issues and has personally negotiated over one hundred and twenty five agreements. Dr. Mills has taught graduate courses in public employment employer-employee labor relations at SUNY Fredonia and Niagara University. He is currently the Supervisor of Educational Leadership at Niagara University where he leads the accreditation process for the College of Education.
Dr. Mills is a past president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents and a former Chair of the Distinguished Service Committee. He is one of the original developers and faculty of the Superintendent Development Program and is an annual presenter for the Transition to the Superintendency Program. Jim is an exception presenter that holds interest with his refreshing frankness and candor, and by presenting practical knowledge and meaningful anecdotal experience.

The cost of the workshop is $245 for the first participant, plus $225 for the second participant, and plus $195 for the third and each subsequent participants from the same school district.

Each workshop participant will receive workshop related materials.

Hosted and administered by ELI@NYSAWA
at the New York State Association for Women in Administration
James M. Merrins, Ed.D., Executive Program Administrator

ELI@ NYSAWA Policies, Terms, and Conditions [HERE]
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James Merrins, Ed.D.

Comments, corrections, source documents, and questions welcome
42 Rosalyn Court, Fredonia, New York 14063
(716) 672-5473, FAX (716) 672-5472,