CSEA takes over Local 885 after flawed election
Another vote expected later this month
SCHENECTADY CSEA has placed Local 885 under administratorship this month and will vote on new officers after an apparent mistake was made by its election committee.
Officials with Region 4 claim the takeover of Local 885 is temporary and only until new officers can be elected later this month.
The administratorship went into effect on July 3, after an undisclosed issue arose during the election of officers for the local, which represents 734 county employees.
“We have standards that have to be followed every now and again there are circumstances that come up where things have to be rerun,” said Stephen Madarasz, a regional spokesman for the union.
Madarasz refused to discuss what issues arose during the election and played down the importance of the regional union taking control of the Local 885, which was formed after the embattled Local 847 was dissolved in 2010 amid the Steve Raucci scandal.
He described the recent issue with Local 885 as “a nuts and bolts” matter that is not of public interest and shouldn’t impact the operation of the union.
“The local is in administratorship as a result of an internal administrative issue that is being resolved and that will likely be corrected by a rerun of the election,” he said.
The local consists of workers in the Schenectady County Office Building, Highway Department, and Department of Social Services.
Also represented are employees with the Schenectady Job Training Agency, the public library system, and Schenectady County Community College.
Local president Patrick Burns said the administratorship would also be required because the local is lacking a treasurer. He said both the election issues and the absence of a treasurer will be corrected in short order.
“I agree and support this totally, as I wish to have no questions remaining in anyone’s mind about the election process,” he said in an email. “Until the election is complete, the offices remain vacant.”
Neither Burns or Madarasz gave a specific time frame for elections.
Raucci, who was convicted of first-degree arson in 2010 and is now serving up to life in prison, placed homemade bombs on homes and cars in a series of incidents intended to intimidate people he perceived as enemies.
The former facilities manger of the Schenectady school district also led the union unit representing the workers he supervised.
Raucci insulated himself from potential union ire by befriending the then-Local 847 president Joanne DeSarbo.
A federal lawsuit filed against CSEA by four local officers after his arrest in 2009 also claimed he curried favor with regional union President Kathy Garrison by helping her with her re-election bid in 2008 — an accusation she has consistently denied.
Harold and Deborah Gray — respectively Local 847’s first vice president and secretary — were joined in the lawsuit by Treasurer Cindy Chevalier and Darcy DeGeorgia, the unit president for the community college.
Among other claims, They alleged the union retaliated against them for questioning the actions of certain members and then used administratorship as a tool to silence them.
The lawsuit was discontinued “with prejudice” in June 2012 after an agreement between all involved parties. Madarasz declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The local also comes under administratorship at a time when it is negotiating a new contract with Schenectady County. The old contract expired in December 2012 and recent negotiations have reached an impasse.
Madarasz said the ongoing contract negotiations will not be impacted by the administratorship.