By Shane Parmely, SDEA Board member
After last week’s Rep. Council, there was a one agenda item SDEA Board meeting regarding the election challenges filed by Gloria Barrios-Andrade and Nancy Dosick. The three-person Election Committee consisting of Bobbe Abbts, Karen Ellesworth and Candy Shauer found that in two cases, Standing Rule 9.3 had been violated: By both the robo-call placed by SDEA President Freeman and the email sent out by Board member Scott Mullin in which Mullin, Freeman, and SDEA Treasurer Manuel Gomez all signed the email using their official SDEA titles.
SR E.9 states: A candidate cannot accept direct contributions from a unit’s treasury or indirect contributions in the form of use of a unit’s assets, facilities, staff, equipment, mailings, good will or credit.
The Committee was clear that while candidates can list their SDEA experience on their own fliers, officers and board members cannot use their titles to campaign on behalf of someone else. The reason this rule exists is to help prevent incumbent and sitting officers from using their positions of authority to maintain power.
Oddly, the fact that SDEA ran an election for a CTA seat that had yet to be declared vacant by CTA did not merit invalidating the election results in the eyes of the Elections Committee, even though the CTA rules specifically say that “any elections conducted prior to a seat being declared vacant will be considered invalid.” Equally odd was the finding that candidate Marc Capitelli’s home mailers violated no campaign rules — because the teachers at Sessions would still really like to know how he got their home addresses to use for campaigning! Nonetheless, the Committee recommended overturning both elections based on the violations of Standing Rule 9.3.
During the Board discussion, it was fascinating to listen to the Freeman camp explain their reasons for ignoring the Committee’s recommendations to invalidate both elections, especially because during the last election challenge these same people talked about how the findings of the Committee should be respected and followed — when those recommendations were to overturn Breakfast Club-endorsed candidates’ victories. (Remember, the previous SDEA Board voted to overturn Dosick’s original victory because another union member whom Dosick had never met sent a campaign email that Dosick was not aware of using District email.) This was particularly ironic because just a half-hour before the Board meeting, Freeman had just publically thanked the Elections Committee at the end of Rep. Council for all the hard work and extra hours they had spent volunteering after school over the past week as they worked on this challenge. And just as quickly as he celebrated them, he decided to ignore their conclusions.
Nonetheless, after some procedural fireworks, the SDEA Board voted to uphold the Election Committee’s recommendations by a 7-4-1 (with Melody Welch abstaining). The Board discussed folding the new re-run election into the spring election, since the timelines will already overlap, meaning that this re-run will be cost-neutral to the union.
What does this mean? Hopefully, it means that Nancy Dosick and Gloria Barrios-Andrade and all of the spring candidates will get a shot at an election with a cleaner campaign. Hopefully it means that we’ll see fewer abuses of power in our spring election by Freeman, Gomez, Mullin and the incumbent leadership. In just a few months we’ll elect a new union president and an almost entirely new Board, and these will be the people who lead us through the upcoming bargaining campaign and beyond. We deserve clean elections!