Reilly, Ward in runoff for Chicago Teachers Union retiree vice president post

Retired Chicago Teachers Union members Mary Sharon Reilly and James Ward will face off against one another in a runoff to determine who will be the "Retiree Functional Vice President" and sit on the CTU executive board until the May 2013 union elections. Ward and Reilly came in first and second in a seven-way race for the position in the election held by mail ballot during January 2011. The ballots were counted at the CTU offices on January 24, 2011, in a count observed by three of the candidates (Barbara Baker, Mary Sharon Reilly, and this reporter, George N. Schmidt).

Retired Chicago teacher and pension fund trustee Mary Sharon Reilly (above, at the June 2009 meeting of the pension trustees) is in a runoff against fellow trustee James Ward for Chicago Teachers Union "Retiree Functional Vice President". Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Under the rules established by the CTU House of Delegates, a runoff must take place if no candidate gets 50 percent plus one of the votes cast during the election. The election was conducted by mail ballot under the auspices of the CTU Rules-Elections Committee with more than 3,200 ballots mailed to current addresses of current retiree members of the union. The final total of votes was 1,782. The candidates' votes were as follows (in alphabetical order):

Barbara Baker, 240 votes

Linda Dinn, 27 votes

Patricia Knazze, 113 votes

Monroe Morgan, 16 votes

Mary Sharon Reilly, 415 votes

George N. Schmidt, 268 votes

James Ward, 703 votes

Retired Chicago teacher and pension fund trustee James Ward (above, at the November 2010 meeting of the pension trustees) is in a runoff against fellow trustee Mary Sharon Reilly for Chicago Teachers Union "Retiree Functional Vice President". Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Members of the Rules-Elections Committee who counted the votes were: Ellen Damlich (chairperson); David Gregg; Lou Pyster; and Leandres White. The CTU Financial Secretary, Kristine Mayle, supervised the election and the vote count. Lou Pyster left prior to the end of the count. This reporter is a member of the Rules-Elections Committee and observed the count from start to finish, but did not participate in the counting.

Observers at the beginning of the counting were Barbara Baker and Mary Sharon Reilly, in addition to this reporter.

The runoff between Mary Sharon Reilly and James Ward will be scheduled for a future date following a meeting of the Rules-Elections Committee. 


January 25, 2011 at 11:06 AM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

retiree election

I'll congratulate Jim Ward here in advance for what already looks like a pending victory. Jim presented an impressive resume. The wonderful photo of him here I'll congratulate George for, and thanks, George, for getting us this information so fast and for all your hard work. I'm sorry that CTU did not endorse for this race and that George's endorsement by CORE was not publicized. At this point, an endorsement is not necessary, I believe.

January 26, 2011 at 9:50 AM

By: Albert Korach

Retiree Election

The votes have been counted and the choice has been made. There is no doubt with the vote totals in Mr. Jim Ward has the best chance to be the next Retiree Functional V.P. of the Chicago Teachers Union and sit on the CTU Executive Board.It's obvious that the individual with the most impressive background and experience won. As a current member of the CTU retiree group I'm hoping that the retiree agenda will change. For years the meetings followed the same routine as the previous years. The UPC CTU officers controlled the agenda. For me to run to the Chicago Loop for the monthly sweet roll and pay exhorbitant parking fees was rediculous. I currently reside in a small retiree community in Margate, Florida six months a year. When I meet with other retirees their interests seem to be their financial situation (pension) and most important their health care. I'm afraid that "workers of the world arise" thou important is not high on their list of priorities. When retirees get together their interests seem to be Medicare, Social security, Pensions, arthritis, cardiac conditions and family. If you wish to attract them you have to deal with thier current issues such as those that I've listed above. During my teaching years with the board I've served as a teacher, VP of the Teachers Pension Fund and CTU Executive Board Member. I also served as Retiree Editor for Substance. I thank the Lord I'm retired and in relatively good health for an 81 year old.

January 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retiree Election

I am disappointed that George is not in the run-off but I agree that of the remaining two candidates, Jim Ward is the best choice. I hope things will change too. It hasn't been worth my time to go into the loop for the monthly meetings but maybe that will change. Maybe he will be able to find a way to make us feel that it is worth paying the Union dues as well as to get the paper before everything is out of date.

January 27, 2011 at 12:13 AM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Caucus Affiliation?

I notice there are seven candidates. I know that George is with CORE, but can someone tell me the caucus affiliations of the other candidates? UPC, CORE, SEA, CSDU, PACT only makes five caucuses. Association of Retired Teachers (ART) could make six, but I know they endorsed George because I stuffed those envelopes.

Did some caucuses nominate multiple candidates?

January 27, 2011 at 1:55 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Caucus affiliations of retiree candidates

There were four members of the CORE caucus who nominated themselves or had themselves nominated at the December 14 retiree luncheon: Barbara Baker, Pat Knazze, George Schmidt, and James Ward. By that time, CORE had nominated me, but nobody called the others and told them about that fact, asking them to reconsider (I spoke with two of them). There was one UPC candidate: Mary Sharon Reilly. The other two candidates (Linda Dinn and Monroe Morgan) were unaffiliated, so far as I know. This was the first time in a major election that CORE supported a candidate, candidates or slate of candidates and then failed to consolidate behind one candidates, a fact of history now reality. As CORE members will remember, during the most recent major election before the Retiree election, the October vote for two pension trustees representing teachers, CORE supported two candidates (Jeff Blackwell and Jeanne Freed), and dozens of members of CORE campaigned for those candidates (as members of the campaign committee will attest). Also, in October 2010, I printed 36,000 palm cards on behalf of the CORE candidates, which then formed the basis of the literature for the Blackwell - Freed campaign.

Obviously, if this kind of thing had happened in the past (October 2009, May 2010, June 2010, October 2010), CORE would not be where it is now.

There needs to be one more discussion of what happened in this instance in December and January (2010 - 2011) with the retiree election at a CORE general membership meeting, and I will be interested in taking part, since it cannot be allowed to happen again. I was unable to be at the CORE meeting on January 24, for obvious reasons. That was the same time, literally, that the votes for Retiree vice president were being counted by the Rules-Elections Committee at the union.

I'm sure the retirees will now develop a program, much along the lines suggested by Al Korach, that will lead the retiree group in a major expansion of union membership and organizing to actually lobby and fight for the major issues of concern to retirees -- pension protection (and rolling back what was done to our pension last April) and health care, along with dozens of lesser issues. And I'm sure that the candidate elected in the next runoff round will lead and organize that fight, as I would have in that position, thereby rejuvenating (no pun intended) the retiree functional group of CTU and helping rebuild the union as well.

It will be fun to be a part of that.

February 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM

By: Tina Beacock

retiree election in hindsight

When I attended part of the retiree luncheon I was struck by how many UPC types I recognized. I didn't know which other candidates were CORE members and still don't- their election bios didn't mention it. We have miles to go to educate the retiree crowd about how we will NEED a "workers of the world unite" perspective to defend our pensions and benefits. See, other places, the steady drumbeat from Chicago, Springfield and Washington about "those damn expensive pensioneers."

In the meantime, I hope retirees make sure James is the new V.P.

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