'Nuking' CTU Vice President Ted Dallas

CTU President Marilyn Stewart may not be ‘blaming’ anyone for the union’s financial mess, but she seems to be trying to blame her vice president Ted Dallas for everything else.

It appears to many that she is initially targeting fellow officers — Vice President Ted Dallas and Treasurer Linda Porter — as scapegoats for financial malfeasance. [See the main article on Page One of this Substance]. Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Ted Dallas spoke forcefully against the Chicago Board of Education's plans to close or reorganize 19 public schools (and end the careers of hundreds of union teachers) during the February hearings on the proposals. Above, Dallas spoke against the closing of Andersen Elementary School (which was changed into a "magnet" school instead of a neighborhood school) at the February 15, 2008 hearing at the Chicago Board of Education's headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. in Chicago. CTU President Marilyn Stewart avoided the hearings, some of which were attended by hundreds of angry teachers, parents, students (and even principals). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

On May 28, President Stewart’s staff put Union Vice President Ted Dallas on “trial” by issuing a 112-page report and demanding that he be removed from office and kicked out of the union.

Stewart’s “indictment” of Dallas (proffered by Gail Koffman, a retired CTU staff member who has been working as a “consultant” at CTU since Stewart became union president in 2004) is lengthy, but in the opinion of many who have read the whole thing, amazingly thin. Vice President Ted Dallas states he is being charged with about $3,000 in disputed expenses, and for $17,725.94 in sick days he cashed out.

Cashing out sick days is a common practice at the Union, he says, but he says he is charged with doing it “without approval.” He says that because Stewart does not study Union policy and past practice, other staffers have been able to cash out sick days after discussions at meetings, and that the policy of going through the Executive Board has not been followed because Marilyn does not follow rules.

Those amounts contested for Dallas are peanuts, when compared to many of the expenditures by Stewart, Dallas noted. For example, he cited the $850,000 laid out at the May House meeting by John Feldman, American Federation of Teachers CPA, as spent by the Stewart administration in a policy which allowed the officers and staff to cash out “compensatory days” for extra work on weekends during 2006. Feldman said that this plan was to be revenue neutral, but that now the officers know it to have been a mistake.

Dallas says he is also charged with helping Presidential Aide Diana Sheffer cash out her sick days at $63,543.80 when it became evident that President Stewart was on a vendetta to fire all those who disagreed with her policies. Sheffer was fired in December 2007, with security walking her out of the Union offices.

The Dallas “trial” will be conducted by the Union Executive Board — dominated by Stewart loyalists — on June 12th at the Union offices at 4 p.m. Dallas’ supporters are encouraging Union members to attend.

The case against Treasurer Linda Porter is still in limbo. In December, 2007, President Stewart took away all of Porter’s fiduciary responsibilities as Treasurer and gave them to her new Chief of Staff, John Ostenburg. Ostenburg was formerly the editor of the union newspaper. He has never taught in Chicago’s public schools. He is the mayor of Park Forest and a former members of the House of Representatives in Springfield. Ostenburg was one of those Stewart did not fire in August 2004. The first page of the 112-page complaint against CTU vice president Ted Dallas. The complaint was brought to the union's executive board by two union members who should not have had access to all of the internal union financial data that they used against Dallas.

There is no provision in the CTU Constitution and By-laws to recall or impeach an officer It is unclear what determination regarding an elected and sitting vice president the Executive Board of the Union can make without the input of the House of Delegates, which the Constitution calls “the supreme authority.” Other unions have differing percentages for how many members must sign a petition in order to initiate a recall vote, but CTU has no recall provision. What Stewart seems to be planning is that the Executive Board will throw Dallas out of the Union, something that the Constitution and By-laws seem to make provision for. If Dallas is no longer a CTU member, they will say that he then cannot be the Vice President. Most observers wonder if this will pass legal scrutiny — or if Stewart will cost the union more millions in losing litigation. 


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