The Washington Teachers Union thought its days of scandal, or at least accusations of it, were long behind. But the process of choosing a new local president seems to have produced an echo effect. Last month the union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, held an election to determine a successor to its former president, Barbara Bullock, now doing a nine-year stretch in federal prison. Bullock and her cronies embezzled or otherwise stole roughly $5 million during 1995-2002 before an outside audit turned up massive financial irregularities. This led to an FBI raid and an AFT takeover of the local. Three candidates entered the race: George Parker, Rachel Hicks and Elizabeth Davis. Parker and Hicks finished a close first and second; Davis is crying foul.
On January 3, Davis announced plans to appeal the results to the U.S. Department of Labor, claiming there were widespread voting irregularities. She said many teachers had told her that they never received ballots and that at least one ballot box had been left unsupervised. Terence Cooper, a WTU spokesman, countered that the election was clean. “The ballots were distributed, collected and counted by (an) outside firm, with representatives of each candidate as witnesses,” he said. “There was no motivation for any wrongdoing.” In the meantime, the local plans to hold a runoff between Parker and Hicks because new bylaws stipulate that a president must receive at least 50 percent of the vote. (Washington Times, 1/4).