Ward wins CTU retiree vice president election decisively by a two-to-one margin over Reilly
James Ward was elected Chicago Teachers Union Retiree Functional Vice President by a decisive margin in the runoff for the post against incumbent Mary Sharon Reilly. The final vote certified by the CTU Rules Elections Committee was 1,377 votes for Ward and 611 votes for Reilly. (Full disclosure: this reporter is a member of the Rules-Elections Committee and was part of the counting).
Ward was supported by the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) in the runoff; Mary Sharon Reilly was supported by the United Progressive Caucus (UPC). Ward has a strong base among retired teachers because of his long work with the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago (RTAC) and the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF). Both Ward and Reilly are currently trustees of the CTPF, representing retired teachers. The fund has three retired teacher members, all of whom are up for re-election in October 2011. The third representative of retired teachers is former Principal Walter Pilditch.
The count was organized and supervised by Ellen Damitsch, chair of the committee, and Kristine Mayle, CTU financial secretary. The CTU retiree group, which is scattered across the USA, votes by mail ballot in these elections, so the count requires that two envelopes be opened, the outer envelope, in which the ballot is mailed, and an inner envelope marked SECRET BALLOT, which is separated from the outer envelope so that the confidentiality of the votes is maintained. In addition to this reporter, Damisch, and Mayle, other members of the committee who helped with the vote counting were David Gregg, Pam Touras, and Leandres White. Several members of the committee were absent. The count was completed by 9:00 p.m.
Observers for Reilly were Gail Koffman and Marge Lebrecht, both long time members of the UPC. Observing for Ward were Ward himself and Arthur Keegan, another retired teacher. The CTU retiree group currently has 3,300 members. All the observers left early, the two UPC observers leaving when it became clear that the votes for Ward were considerably greater than those for Reilly, but before the final count was completed.