Press Release

AFT Places Orange County (Fla.) Classroom Teachers Association Under a Temporary Administrator

OCCTA President Moore, Officers and Board of Directors Relieved of Duties

For Release: 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Contact:

Janet Bass
301-502-5222
jbass@aft.org

The AFT will hold a telephone news conference on this matter tomorrow.
WHEN: Thursday, July 30, 10 a.m. Eastern Time
CALL-IN: 1-877-873-8018, access code: 7600264


WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers' executive council voted today to place the Orange County (Fla.) Classroom Teachers Association in administratorship and relieve OCCTA President Diana Moore, the other union officers and board of directors of their duties. The action follows a year of dealing with officer and member complaints about the erosion of democratic rights and the increasing dysfunction of their local union, and attempting every voluntary mechanism to right the ship.

"The AFT and the Florida Education Association have exhausted every possible effort to help the union operate by its own bylaws. The current president, Diana Moore, has refused to comply, believing she is above the union's governing documents. This has led to members' rights being denied, their voices not being heard, member services being diminished, and an increasingly dysfunctional union," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "Today's action, while permitted under the AFT constitution, is rarely exercised. It's intended as a temporary measure to restore credibility and order and to return democratic rights to members."

The AFT received the first complaint a year ago from the other OCCTA officers, which led to an investigation, a December 2014 report, and follow-up steps by the AFT and the FEA, including making remedial recommendations and appointing a monitor to address issues involving the local's leadership.

An AFT investigative committee was created in June by the AFT executive council to assess concerns about continued union dysfunction, the deprivation of members' rights and the suppression of the local's democracy, and to make recommendations for addressing these issues. The investigators found:

  • Willful disregard of the bylaws' authority on separation of powers between governing bodies;
  • Interference with membership representation responsibilities and authority; and
  • Repeated systemic and intentional internal election misconduct, even when those elections have been under the supervision of the state affiliate.

It concluded that the current president, Diana Moore, has circumvented procedures outlined in local governing documents that provide checks and balances to ensure union democracy and to protect against the concentration of power in any one individual. "Unfortunately, nothing has worked after months of trying, and the local's ability to govern itself as a democratic institution has deteriorated," Weingarten said.

The AFT executive council accepted AFT investigators' recommendation for an administratorship to restore the democratic rights of members, to ensure effective representation by their local, and to stop the interference and improper activity in local internal elections by local leadership, particularly the president.

The AFT constitution authorizes administratorships to be established under exceptional circumstances to restore the democratic rights of members if a local affiliate is incapable of taking adequate corrective action on its own.

"Our union is our members, and they deserve a union that works for them, the people they serve, their communities and our country. This transition is intended to rebuild a union worthy of its members' trust," Weingarten said.

As of July 29, the officers and board of directors are relieved of their positions. Weingarten has appointed Dennis Kelly, an AFT vice president and former president of the United Educators of San Francisco, as the local's administrator. He is authorized to take charge of the affairs of the local, including possession of the books, records, funds and all other assets of the local. LaFrances Trotter, who served as the AFT monitor, will be Kelly's chief of staff. They will serve until the affiliate's problems are resolved and an election can be held to restore elected leadership to office.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.