HSTA board deserves praise for ordering new elections

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HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER

Island Voices

HSTA board deserves praise for ordering new elections


By Sharon Mahoe

Sharon Mahoe


Recently, the board of directors of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) announced that it would be re-doing its state elections due to “irregularities in the voting process.”

I want to publicly applaud the HSTA board for the diligent, responsible and thorough manner in which it must have considered, deliberated and decided how to best address the association’s recent state elections.

As past president of the HSTA, and having myself served on its board, I have found board members to be extremely cautious, responsible and fair. They believe in the democratic process. They’re committed to doing what’s right and fair. I still can recall how other community leaders would tell me that HSTA was “too democratic.” On the contrary, I felt that this was a strength of the association. So rather than being vilified, the board members should be supported and thanked by the teachers they represent.

After all, these board members are teaching colleagues who, like other teachers, have a litany of teaching duties and responsibilities that they perform well beyond their work day. Yet they serve voluntarily to help advance teachers’ interests. These board members are duly elected by teacher members to represent their constituents.

That the board members gave serious consideration to whether the recent election results should be certified, and whether a new election should be held, is evidenced, I think, by the fact that:

» Their meeting ran until late at night, well past the original adjournment time of 5 p.m.

» Some board members chose to forego their personal commitments like attending graduations, etc., in order to ensure that discussion and voting could continue.

Reinforcing my belief that the board acted responsibly, it is important to note that the board’s legal counsel was at the meeting to provide the information and advice needed to fulfill its duties and responsibilities.

As for a few teachers’ call for the uncertified election results to be publicized and that the election infractions be explained, the board took the proper action because acquiescing to such requests can influence the results of the new election for all candidates.

And if conducting a fair and proper election is the purpose of the new election, then the board and its elections committee must stand firm and ensure that nothing is said or done to unduly influence votes in the new election.

In the past few days I’ve been deeply saddened by the mean-spirited comments made by a few teachers against their HSTA board of directors, their HSTA officers and HSTA. I find such comments demeaning and destructive of teachers in general and of their professional organization.

I do think that teacher members of HSTA should question their leaders and their organization when their leaders’ actions don’t align with teachers’ needs. But there is a time and place for doing so, and airing dirty laundry in public is not helpful. Resorting to name-calling and tearing one’s organization apart in public does little to advance the image and interest of teachers or its organization. Times of discord call for teachers to pull together and work out their differences so that they can present a unified front against their true adversaries.

It is now critically important that all teachers take this opportunity to exercise their right to vote — a right that their board of directors so strenuously protected in calling for a new election.


ELECTIONS FOR STATE OFFICES AND NEA OFFICES

Here’s how you can vote:


Read Elections Timeline » (pdf)

Read Procedures for Voting » (pdf)

Read Voting Site Listing » (pdf)
Updated 05/28/15

Read Voting Sites by School » (pdf)
Updated 05/23/15
Updated 05/28/15

Read Letter from the Executive Director to Members HERE>>>