Robins union election under scrutiny

wcrenshaw@macon.comDecember 24, 2013 

Robert Tidwell

WARNER ROBINS -- An election for union officers at Robins Air Force Base might be run again after a protest was filed.

A letter dated Nov. 26 from Everett Kelley, national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees 5th District, ordered a rerun of the election. The order, however, has been appealed, said Robert Tidwell, who was elected president of AFGE Local 987.

“We are going through due process,” Tidwell said Tuesday. “No definite decision has been made. We should know something in about 30 days.”

A copy of the letter was emailed to The Telegraph on Friday. Kelley could not be reached for comment.

The letter listed 39 alleged violations, most of which were dismissed. Many related to various alleged violations of the election manual, but in response to those Kelley called the manual “a guide” and said in the letter that the allegations did not constitute a violation.

However, one of the protests alleged that seven completed ballots were found in the trash, which Kelley stated was confirmed.

Kelley said in summary that the independent company that conducted the election could not explain that. He said the company, True Ballot, has a trusted record to the extent that it conducts the national AFGE elections.

“While there are seven such ballots in the record, there is no way to determine how prevalent this is or how or if there are enough of these ballots to render a determination as to the effect on the outcome of the election,” Kelley wrote. “As National Vice President I have to overturn this election and order it to be rerun.”

Tidwell said he could not comment on the allegations.

On Nov. 5, Tidwell and a slate of opposition candidates swept union elections against a field of mostly incumbents, including nine-year president Tom Scott. Scott could not be reached for comment. Tidwell defeated Scott 441-310, with other opposition candidates winning by similar margins.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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