“Friendly Incumbent” or “Friendly Fire?”

Elections for more than a dozen open seats on the Jefferson County Teachers’ Association (JCTA) Board, (including the four key leadership positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer), are up for grabs. With the election less than two weeks away, candidate campaigning, and sadly, nasty disinformation campaigns originating from entrenched white leaders intent on staying in power, have begun. This isn’t the first time in our nation’s history union leaders have attempted to usurp the wills and voices of their rank-and-file members using mob-like mentalities and bullying tactics. In fact, the Landrum Griffin Act of 1959 came about as the labor movement was under intense Congressional scrutiny for corruption, racketeering, and other misconduct. The new law:
established a code of conduct guaranteeing certain rights to union members within their union, and imposed reporting requirements on unions, union officers, employers, and consultants.
This is also not the first time in recent history in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) powerful third-party organizations have been accused of tampering with elections and outcomes. Following numerous anomalies chronicled in this series of articles regarding numerous controversial PTA elections, in July of 2019, Adelmann spoke at a JCPS Board of Education meeting about the need for greater oversight of external organizations. The unsettling events witnessed by Adelmann and others also prompted her to submit an open records request for copies of state-required financial documents for each of the PTAs in the district. This action, surprisingly, landed her in court, but was ultimately appealed and awarded in Adelmann’s favor, upholding transparency for public stakeholders. Watch the video below:
Unfortunately, being on the receiving end of mud-slinging from bourgeois elites and their enablers is nothing new for Adelmann. Since its founding in July of 2015, Dear JCPS has been demanding accountability and transparency from district leaders. Although some perceived the “drama” as unpleasant, deterring them from wanting to get involved, pushback from those loyal to corrupt administrators is reminiscent of those protecting status quo under Dr. Hargens. Yet, if you ask teachers today, most would say they approve of how that turned out. A rally on the steps of Van Hoose, spearheaded by Adelmann, called for Hargens’ resignation, which came shortly thereafter, a full two years before her contract was set to expire. Similarly, the removal of David Jones, Jr. from the JCPS School Board of Education in 2016, can also be credited to actions of grassroots groups. Jones’ opponent was endorsed by Dear JCPS, and not the teachers’ union, as most believe. They remained silent in that race.

Election Tampering?

The recent botched election for Better Schools Kentucky, the union’s political action committee, which directs endorsements, funds and volunteers to candidates using members’ dues money, wasn’t the first questionable election that the union President appears to have undue influence over. Another, more tangible example of how JCTA President may have manipulated elections behind the scenes in August of 2018. On the filing deadline for the JCPS School Board race, Dear JCPS President and Co-founder, Gay Adelmann, received a series of text messages and phone calls from an allied stakeholder. He was thinking about throwing his hat into the ring and wanted to know if she thought Linda Duncan should be replaced. Adelmann responded with an unequivocal yes, and an intense series of phone calls and text messages ensued, given that the deadline was less than 4 hours away. After advising the potential candidate what he needed in order to file, Adelmann proceeded to notify McKim that someone had stepped up to take Duncan’s place, assuming he would share her excitement. Apparently he was secretly working against the interests of the democratic way. She remained in contact with the potential candidate the remainder of the afternoon, helping him think through the logistics about how to obtain the necessary signatures, and deliver the required forms (and possibly meeting a constituent at the clerk’s office for a last minute signature), before the early afternoon deadline. Adelmann recounts this incident in more detail during a recent 4-hour “tell-all” Facebook livestream. Among other things, she sheds more light onto how the 20-year President of arguably the state’s most powerful union, abused his power by acting on this information to convince an amazing social and racial justice advocate, union leader, parent and taxpayer to stay in his lane. Perhaps Adelmann’s  own “head’s up” text message was her own undoing. But this isn’t the first time this union leader has received negative press for interfering with elections. After the leader convinced the concerned stakeholder to pull out at the 11th hour, our candidate stopped communicating with Adelmann, and instead posted this vague post on Facebook about averting a close call. The reasoning for the change of heart, according to our source at a later date, was that he was manipulated by the JCTA President into believing Duncan was a “friendly incumbent” and told that union folks need to stay in their own lanes. (Our friend was a leader in a union that represents members in the communication industry.)

Friendly to whom???

Friendly to JCTA and JCPS executives and electeds? Because many of the grassroots groups, including Dear JCPS, LSURJ, and The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and Black Lives Matter Louisville had witnessed and expressed disdain for culturally inappropriate comments Duncan was notorious form. Many of these same  grassroots groups, as well as the League of Women Voters Louisville, had filed to be intervenors in the hearing, because we welcomed our “day in court.” Many believe what the JCTA President and his insiders meant by “friendly” was that Duncan favored a “compromising” stance on the state takeover that was currently being negotiated by a hostile state education commissioner and board. They clearly preferred a board member who they could rely on to cast the deciding vote that would prevent the state takeover negotiations from ever going to a hearing. We believe this JCTA President interfered with the democratic election process, because he and others had a vested interest in continuing to bury the seeds of truth. #ItsOurTimeJCTA #JusticeForBreonna #JusticeForDaquan #BlackJCPSStudentsMatter #BlackJCPSTeachersMatter