After months of disputes over election results, the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association found itself without a president after the term of incumbent Debra Wilhelm expired. With a lawsuit by one challenger pending, and a runoff not scheduled until school is back in session, the Florida Education Association (FEA) stepped in and assumed control of the large local. FEA president Andy Ford will act as Palm Beach president until the runoff results are known.
In an open letter to members, Ford explained the timeline and his plans for the local.
FEA will help in these ways:
* Assuming all roles of Chief Executive Officer, including staff supervision and the assurance of all membership services including, the oversight of the final run-off election.
* Assuring that the run-off election is completed in a fair, transparent and legal manner.
* Identifying and attempting to fix those issues that fragment the CTA and detract from its operational needs and responsibilities to the membership.
* Assist in the development of the CTA 2014-2015 budget.
* Guide CTA through the process of electing pro-public education candidates for School Board, Legislature and Governor in the August primary and the November general election. We believe this election will significantly impact public education in Florida, not to mention the continued viability of the FEA and our affiliates. So it is critically important that CTA and its members be fully involved in this election cycle.
* Begin the negotiations process with District.
* Provide leadership training for the new Board of Directors and establish an ongoing leader-training program.
This is a short-term solution for an unusual circumstance. FEA will act as administrator for the shortest possible amount of time to ensure the stability of the local. It is my hope to have this process completed by the end of September 2014.
That list looks like a lot more than a series of interim caretaking functions. The next Palm Beach president may be in charge of a very different local.