Guam – The Regional Director of the American of Federation Teachers has announced the the validity of the 2008 Guam Guam Federation of Teachers election is under investigation. However Solomon Smith says GFT’s books have passed the inspection.
Smith says there’s a lot of fighting out there between GFT members, but we are trying to bring that to a close.
Last night Smith attended GFT’s meeting to address some of the complaints made by its members over the past several months. Smith says he was sent out here to investigate a number of issues and try to find out if there were some realities to their concerns, If there were, then he wanted to try to fix them, so there wouldn’t be any misunderstandings in the future and the union could make itself whole,
Smith’s investigation stemmed from a letter that was written by GFT member, Carol Somerflack to the AFT president back in July. Somerfleck’s main complaint was that the election for the delegates to the AFT conference in Seattle this past July, was not done according to the GFT’s constitution.
Smith says by the time they received Somerfleck’s’ letter, the convention was ready to begin and the AFT didn’t have the chance to investigate it.
The AFT had the Guam delegates go before a credentials committee to investigate whether the delegates were there legally. The AFT decided to seat them, but their votes would be sequestered.
Smith says was told by the AFT Executive Committee to go to Guam to investigate that situation.
Somerfleck says, “In regards to my issue, he did say they didn’t follow the constitution in regards to the election of the delegates, if they are going further with that I’m not sure
Another GFT Member made allegations that GFT mishandled funds.
Smith says, “When I came out here I brought an AFT Senior Accountant Julie Hoffsten, for the past 8 days she has been working with GFT in reviewing their book. She completed a very thorough investigation and found that they had a clean bill of health, no problems what so ever.”
Rector says, “First off, its something that we said all along, our books are crystal clean. She did a really thorough job. Its really rewarding that out staff and our treasurer does a great job and everything is just the way it’s suppose to be.”
While on Island, Smith expanded his investigation to include the validity of GFT’s 2008 election for their current officers and the current amendments.
Smith says, “Those are the two things I will have to talk to the AFT president and our general council about before I can make them public.”
Rector admits that the GFT election committee made an error in the March 2008 election, actually in the last two elections and they follow the constitution but there is something called the LMRDA which mandates it and our constitution says we have to follow it. But it’s something we need to fix and to make sure there’s an election committee in the future to include that law.”
Somerfleck says she is happy that Smith came to Guam and appreciates how he tried to get everyone one together. But she believes there’s still some very deep issues that need to be resolved. Time will tell how this executive council at GFT is going to turn around and show the respect to its members. To open up and allow to the members the opportunity to investigate, analyze and to come up with comments with what’s going on with our GFT.”
In regards to the upcoming election for GFT’s executive officers in Feb 2011, Smith says he may be back on island to observe the election process.