Jul 6, 2016

WTU Peterson Slate: Not a 1 Woman Dictatorship

Candi Peterson & GeLynn Thompson
Candidates for WTU Prez & GVP 2016
By Candi Peterson, WTU Gen. Vice President

Statements or expressions of opinions herein ‘do not’ represent the views or official positions of DCPS, AFT, Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) or its members. Views are my own.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the WTU Contract Negotiations team.

I’ve watched WTU President Liz Davis’ dictatorial style alienate the Chancellor and poison contract negotiations; deceive and keep the Executive Board in the dark about major financial obligations like the union head quarter’s real estate taxes; and systematically stymie WTU boards and committees with her election obstruction and staff treachery, which is why I want to take a moment to showcase the Peterson/Thompson Slate officers including Dr. Brajendra Sharma, WTU Treasurer candidate and Dee Ward, WTU Secretary candidate.

First, I must address what has transpired during the last week of the campaign. President Davis worried that I will likely torpedo her chances of winning the WTU presidency has dedicated several campaign issues about me, which attack me with lies, distortions and half-truths. Shame on her.

This is the oldest trick in the book to try to sow the seeds of mistrust and doubt by selling, "campaign lies".  One thing is for sure Davis didn’t write her recent campaign newsletter(s). These definitely aren’t her original words. It is clearly ghost authored by someone other than her.

Davis has been less than honest with the rank and file not only about the multiple teachers’ contract proposals but also about her own efforts to stymie the 2015 elections committee elections and 2016 officer elections. On several occasions, Davis’ obstruction has caused the Executive Board to compel her to hold elections and direct her to comply with providing a membership list and guarantee of payment to the independent Ballot company so that elections could be finally scheduled, albeit delayed.

Not to mention, Davis is now making excuses for why the union headquarters is on the July 2016 tax sale auction list and why we still don’t have a contract after her 3-year term as the Chief Contract Negotiator. Someone else is always to blame for Davis' failures.

Davis lacks credibility and when she speaks, it is hard to discern where truth begins and fiction ends. Can you really trust Davis to tell the truth about me, the chancellor, the union or anything for that matter?  

Leadership is built on trust, credibility and integrity. Don’t be fooled by President Davis. You simply can’t trust anything she says. Everything that she reports must be fact-checked.

In order to restore “RESPONSIBLE” governance and financial controls I took over six months to thoroughly vet the following officers and I feel fortunate to have Dr. Brajendra Sharma as Treasurer and Deirdia “Dee” Ward as Recording Secretary, and I would like you to hear in their own words, their vision for joining GeLynn Thompson and me in helping return the WTU to ACCOUNTABLE, COLLABORATIVE; TRANSPARENT new leadership.
Dr. Brajendra Sharma
Youth Services Center

“In democratic societies people get the government they deserve. They VOTE for their future governments.

This year provides an opportunity for DCPS teachers to vote for the Union they deserve and desire. So VOTE! And vote for the right team.

I am a candidate for the post of 'Treasurer” in the current Union elections on the Peterson Slate. I have given substantial thought before accepting this offer of 'treasurer'. And I want to affirm that this team will work 'in unison' to get the best CONTRACT possible; and do everything possible to ensure expansion of teacher benefits. 

I feel that I am uniquely qualified and experienced to take over this job and perform it with excellence. My terminal PhD degree is in economics, and one of the three master's degrees I have is in accounting, with specialization in Taxation, so I can assure you that the Executive Board will get regular financial reports and important matters such as paying real estate taxes and avoiding penalties and interest will be a priority under my watch.

I also possess over twenty years of practical experience in the profession as an accountant and treasurer of a variety of non-profit and faith-based organizations. Furthermore, I have the distinct privilege of collecting, accounting and managing all collections at my church since 1992. 

Those who know me well will confirm that my experience is genuine, modus operandi is professional and actions come with full honesty and integrity. So I will also make it a priority to order a forensic audit of the last administration in my first 100 days as Treasurer. 

I am a firstborn of a union leader in his own right. My father was an elected Staff Welfare Officer (Union Officer) in the Northern Railways for over a quarter century until his retirement. Pro-activism is in my blood. 

As your Treasurer, I promise to work tirelessly by keeping your best fiduciary interests in mind and assure to be the proverbial ‘Guardian Cobra’ for the optimum utilization and safeguard of our funds.

I am asking the wonderful DCPS teachers to accept this challenge, take action and VOTE; honor the best team on the Peterson Slate with your valuable vote to care for and guarantee your best interests.” 

Dee Ward
Wilson High School

“As a DCPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher for more than 25 years, I am looking forward to working with Candi Peterson and the WTU. The ability to give an account of what just happened or bear witness to what transpired at a meeting or an event must be done by some one with credibility, professional integrity and transparency – all values that the Peterson/Thompson Slate stand for.

As teacher of business, record keeping and recording is what I do. My reputation for stating the facts accurately, precisely and professionally in both a verbal or written format precedes me.  

In the past under the Davis administration, the Recording Secretary was not given the resources to properly provide audio back-up tapes but I have been reassured that instead of spending valuable union resources on food and trinkets that the position of Recording Secretary will be properly resourced so that a professional and timely set of Executive Board minutes can be kept.
I have also been reassured that the President Candi Peterson will demand the type of collaborative cooperation among Executive Board and Committee members to assure that random changes and revisions to the official actions of the board are not made by unauthorized staff as has been the practice in the past.
There are many things being said about Candi Peterson and you may not care for her straightforward personality, but you must respect her. Candi is a straight shooter who believes in transparency

Respect the fact that she is by the book and follows the contract to the letter of the law. Respect the fact that she follows parliamentary procedures.

Respect the fact that she is transparent about the operations of union business. Respect the fact that she wants the body of teachers to know what is being offered as a contract and make the decision to vote it up or down.

Respect the fact that she has remained professional in her campaigning and has not used her WTU position to campaign through your work email nor hinder the WTU Executive Board or Election Committee in their effort to run a more timely WTU election.

Respect the fact that she has a slate of new faces that is culturally diverse with young innovative teachers. Whatever your issue may be, transparency is the best quality for leadership; put some RESPECT on Candi Peterson.

Vote for Accountability, Collaboration &; Transparency. Vote the Peterson slate.”

WTU Presidential Candidate

 In closing, will you join us in demanding fundamental change in our union? The Peterson slate has a slate of activists who will stand up for what we know to be right. We always promise to tell you the truth, no matter how painful. That's why we are proud to be running. Vote for a long-needed new direction in our union. Vote Peterson slate. We are #1 on the ballot. 

Ballots are due July 8th. If you don't think your ballots will reach the post office in time, please deliver them to the U.S. Post office on Georgia Avenue NW near Piney Branch Road.

© Candi Peterson, 2016

Jun 30, 2016

WTU Headquarters On The Auction Block: Union Prez Liz Davis Doesn't Pay Property Tax!

June 30th is the last official day of WTU Prez Davis' constitutional term. Malcolm Barnes explores this unfortunate scandal in the article below. What remains ahead is anybody's guess especially with Davis obstructing WTU elections from moving forward. Ballots are due by July 8. If you didn't receive one- please email JWRIGHT@WTULOCAL6.NET  It's imperative that you vote. Peterson slate is #1 on the ballot...Candi Peterson

By Malcolm Lewis Barnes

The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters building owes over $24,000 in unpaid back real estate taxes and is on the Monday, July 18th Tax Sale schedule, which could result in the forced sale of the building at worst, and the union being hit with thousands of dollars of legal fees to fight off a tax lien sale.

A current Real Property Tax Property summary of Square 1019S, Lot 0040 reveals that the WTU has a total of $46,648.35 in unpaid taxes over the period from 2013 to the first half of tax year 2016. During President Liz Davis tenure and Treasurer Diane Terrell, the WTU racked up over $10,000 in penalties and interest in every year but 2014, and as recently as the first half 2016 bill for $19,199.93 the union incurred $1,919.93 or ten percent in penalties and an additional $863.90 in interest charges.
The $24,365.55 that caused the WTU to be placed on the Tax Sale list was the result of 2013 through 2015 delinquent taxes that the union failed to pay during the first two-and-a-half years of President Davis’ three year term. Ironically President Davis is the incumbent candidate for reelection under the “Responsible Leadership Team: Integrity, Experience & Experience” and this level of financial malfeasance and neglect is likely to result in an immediate investigation of why the union did not require the real estate taxes to be escrowed after a series of multi-million dollar loans were acquired from M&T Bank and Amalgamated Bank of Chicago.

In the opinion of former WTU General Counsel Johnnie Landon, who served under George Parker until 2010 and was later dismissed by former WTU President Nathan Saunders, "The former Presidents' of WTU should have never executed loan documents without it first undergoing a legal sufficiency review. Whoever was advising them at the time of the building acquisition as a bare minimum should have set up an escrow account."

As the former general counsel under WTU President George Parker, attorney Landon has history with the WTU’s plans to purchase a property and was assigned to investigate the acquisition of an inexpensive building on South Capitol Street. But the acquisition was never considered because, “Nathan Saunders came in barnstorming and ended up buying the Pennsylvania Avenue building after he defeated Parker. But AFT deserves some responsibility. They should have looked at the equity side of the acquisition and realized it was a bad deal”, said Landon.

Efforts to contact WTU President Liz Davis and Treasurer Diane Terrell went unanswered. But the WTU General Vice President and presidential 2016 candidate for WTU Presidency that is slated to start in July of 2016, was available and did respond to this shocking news.

"Unfortunately due to President Davis' lack of transparency, the WTU Executive Board was not made aware that the union headquarters was on the tax lien sale list. Davis has not demonstrated responsible union leadership and has become a spendthrift focusing on lavish events at the Kellogg Center, buying gift cards and trinkets instead of ensuring that the bills are paid. This is a travesty that union members have been mislead about the status of WTU’s finances. Our members deserve greater transparency and more accountable leadership."

Several other WTU Executive Board members were equally upset at the news of the union’s financial distress including Anitra Parker, a teacher at Hardy Middle School. “I am saddened and appalled about the discovery of this information. As an executive board member, it is clear that there never was and never will be accountability, collaboration, or transparency under the leadership of Liz Davis. If this is the responsible leadership that she is referring to, I don't want any parts of it. If she can't pay WTU bills, how can anyone have faith in her negotiating a contract with DCPS!” said Ms. Parker.

WTU President Liz Davis recently issued a ‘Report on WTU Finances’ that claims the union is “experiencing significant financial growth and progress”. But a closer look at how Davis arrived at that conclusion reveals a deceptive use of statistics and faulty assumptions about how the union poured millions of dollars into their historic Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters and is now trying to claim enormous cost overruns and renovation expenses as an asset.

In December of 2011 under the leadership of former President Nathan Saunders the Washington Teachers’ Union paid $2.5 million for three small townhouses in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. The union planned to complete renovations on the 100 year old property started by the former non-profit association owners in 2002 and be ready to occupy the building by the spring of 2013.

Those plans quickly went south when the expected one year renovation more than tripled in costs as major foundation and cost overruns by out-going President Saunders got out of hand as he tried to hold onto power in the face of a 2013 re-election campaign.

In 2013, newly elected President Davis was forced to beg the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT), WTU’s parent organization for a financial bailout as the original $3 million construction loan was converted to a permanent mortgage note, and an additional $500,000 loan from the mortgage holder was needed in mid-2014 to clean up the contractor liens and professional fees and an additional $1.5 million loan from Amalgamated Bank of Chicago to occupy the building later that year.

If Davis has put the union into such fine financial condition, why is there an outstanding tax bill of $46,648.35 and why has the union been consistently hit with annual penalties and interest of over $10,000 for unpaid real estate taxes every year under her financial stewardship?

So the WTU against the advice of their former Executive Board paid $2.5 million for a 100 year old Money Pit, poured an additional $2.5 million in renovation loans for a building that is currently assessed by the District’s Office of Tax &; Revenue at $2,327,190 and then uses voodoo economics to tell its members that it’s really worth $2 million more on paper.

Time and the Tax Sale will ultimately tell the story of the Davis administration’s disastrous tale of financial mismanagement and neglect!

© 2016 Malcolm Lewis Barnes

Jun 19, 2016

WTU Ballots Are In The Mail- Vote Peterson Slate: We're #1 on The Ballot!

Candi Peterson & GeLynn Thompson
WTU President & VP 2016 candidates
By Candi Peterson, WTU Gen. Vice President

If you haven't received a ballot, please contact Jasmine Wright, WTU Membership Coordinator @ jwright@WTULOCAL6.net to request another ballot. Please copy wtuelectionscommittee@gmail.com

Statements or expressions of opinions herein 'do not' represent the views or official positions of DCPS, AFT, Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) or its members. Views are my own.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the WTU Contract Negotiations team.

Vote Peterson slate
Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) President Liz Davis reached an all-time low of setting the truth aside when in a recent campaign June 18th email she blamed me and WTU Elections Chair Cheryl Gillette for the delays in union elections. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh what a tangled web Davis weaves in her efforts to deceive the rank and file. 

So it’s no surprise that Davis wants to point the finger of blame at me and the WTU Elections chair in order to cover up her own failures and complicity in holding elections.

This is the oldest trick in the book to try to sow the seeds of mistrust and division by accusing others for her failures especially given that I am running on an opposition slate as a WTU presidential candidate and represent a threat to her candidacy. 

At every turn, Davis, a presidential candidate, has inserted herself in the elections process by micro-managing and regulating everything. Davis has over reached her enumerated powers as spelled out in the constitution by withholding the union membership list and payment to the ballot company.  As a candidate for office, Davis appears oblivious to the fact that as the incumbent president, she is no more entitled to special treatment by the elections committee than any other presidential candidate.

The WTU Constitution and By-Laws created an independent elections committee to oversee WTU elections including officer elections with the intent of limiting interference by officers who would likely be candidates such as Davis.

The interference and obstruction by Davis made simple tasks such as scheduling weekly meetings in the unions’ board room a herculean task. Repeated requests for information either have gone unanswered by Davis, or her responses were delayed and thus stymied the ability of the elections committee to perform it's constitutional function.  The normal protocol is for the independent elections committee to work directly with the union membership director without interference in order to hold timely elections by the May 2016 deadline. 

In an effort to facilitate officer elections, without any further delays, members of the WTU Executive Board unanimously passed five motions on June 4th to force Davis and her Chief of Staff's cooperation in supplying the union membership list.  Additionally, Davis and the chief of staff were directed by the Board to assure payment, and issue a letter of apology to TrueBallot, the independent company contracted by the elections committee to conduct officer elections. 

Only after these Executive Board motions did Davis and her chief of staff finally submit the union membership list to TrueBallot on June 6th.  Davis and her Chief of Staff refused to provide an apology letter and guarantee of payment as directed by the Executive board; however, at the urging of the elections committee chair TrueBallot finally agreed to move forward with the election. 

Earlier this year, the Executive Board voted to compel President Davis to hold the elections of the elections committee.  These elections were delayed for nine months due to the intentional obstruction by President Davis.  Colleagues, it’s not rocket science that if there is not a duly elected elections committee, there can be no election of officers. 

Members should thank the elections committee members for their perseverance and hard work instead of scapegoating and blaming them for a delayed election of officers.

Fortunately complaints to American Federation of Teachers' (AFT),  WTU’s parent organization, resulted in an assignment of an intermediary to assist with the process of completing officer elections. AFT’s involvement has given a measure of assurance to TrueBallot that they will be paid for their contracted services.

Had it not been for WTU Elections Chair Cheryl Gillette, who has remained steadfast despite all the road blocks by Davis- WTU would not have advanced this far. Elections have finally been scheduled.

Ballots were mailed to members’ homes on Monday, June 20th. You should expect to receive your ballots by no later than the end of this week. The ballot count will occur on July 8th and the location will be announced.

Responsible leaders don’t blame others when they are at fault. They accept responsibility for their own actions and/or inaction. In addition to her pattern of pointing the finger of blame at others, Davis is in deep denial.
FACT -After failing to negotiate a teachers contract after three years- Davis continues to blame Chancellor Henderson even though there were multiple contract offers that Davis failed to disclose to the rank and file.

FACT - As the WTU President and Chief Negotiator, it was Davis’ primary duty to get teachers a contract within her three year term (2013-2016). She sabotaged relationships with the Chancellor and her team, called her a liar , and then tried to rally teachers to demand the Chancellor return to the negotiating table when Ms. Henderson made it clear in April that she would not resume contract negotiations until after officers elections.

Davis blames everybody except herself for the delays in the upcoming officers elections, as well, as the election committee elections and contract negotiations. This is not responsible leadership. If you are tired of her blame game and inaction and no contract- then you must vote for a return to Accountability, Collaboration and Transparency.

The Candi Peterson slate is the only logical option for Ethical and Responsible union leadership. It’s the only viable alternative to the failed track record of the desperate Davis'  denial and blame game that poisons instead of inspires cooperative relationships. 

I vow to make getting teachers a contract my first priority.

Vote Peterson slate- we are #1 on the ballot.

© Candi Peterson, 2016