UPCOMING ELECTION- CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Just a reminder- we have an election for the three At-large Executive Board positions on May 14th. Each candidate is permitted to provide a candidate statement to post here on our blog, and explain why they are seeking your vote. Below are the candidate statements of Tim Leeming, Arleen Floren, Kevin Ochalla, Joe Gump, Mary Butterton, and Scott Kozicki:

Tim Leeming
Candidate For At-Large Board Member
Statement 2013
The upcoming months present significant challenges. Our Contract has expired. The County, State and City are broke. Health care costs are rising. The State-house is deciding what changes will be made to our pensions. The Courts will decide if what exactly is meant by the Constitutional ‘guarantee’ that our retirement compensation will not be diminished. In such times of uncertainty, an experienced Board, and supportive Union membership is crucial.
In addition to our personal stake, let me take this opportunity to again remind everyone, that the mission of the Office of the Public Defender is the only County function which is mandated by the Constitution. (The County may chose have a hospital system, a forest preserve, a water reclamation system, but these government functions are undertaken only as a voluntary service to our citizens.) Protecting the rights of the accused is a function that the Constitution requires be done properly.
Because the defense of arrested-persons must be done right – as mandated by the Federal and State Constitution, our Local 3315 has a unique ability to insist on adequate staffing – with a sufficient number of trained attorneys, investigators, and support services.
Our Union is important. Don’t take it for granted. We are witness to the popular tendency to disparage Union activity, and have heard those who overstate the abuses and excesses of organized labor. (These criticisms are usually based on anecdotal examples of buffoonery, and excesses) But such imperfections are compared to how the Office of the Public Defender could be staffed, managed and operated, if there were not an institutional barriers to unfettered meddling by local politicians. The stronger our Union, the better our Office is managed, the more satisfying our work, and the more completely the County will fulfill its Constitutional duty.
I have worked as an Assistant Public Defender, in the Office for 25 years; assigned, or volunteering at nearly every location, under six (6) different appointed Public Defenders. I have seen that because of the Union framework, the work-life experience of an attorney is not subject to arbitrary or capricious manipulations.
It is gratifying to welcome new members to the Board – we will have a President, Vice President and Secretary, who have never served in these rolls before. I have full confidence in their abilities – based in part, on their experience, the fact that they have been certified and trained as Stewards, and because they have volunteered to service Union interests in the past.
I too have legal and Union experience. I have been on the Board for six years – four years of which I kept the books as Treasurer. I have been involved in negotiating the past two contracts. I completed certified training and volunteered for many years as a Steward. I have represented many Public Defenders who have been disciplined or who have lodged grievances against management.
The quality of our Office, and the quality of our work-lives are in the balance. I encourage all of our members to read the newspapers, pay attention to politics. Speak up, support experienced leadership, and take suggested and necessary job-action at the right time.

Arleen Floren:

I don’t want to bore you with the details that I have been a very involved union steward for ten plus years and that i have worked hard to represent your interests. Now I am running for executive at large and would appreciate your support. Feel free to tell your friends to vote for me, also. And if you do vote for me, I will give you a puppy … DISCLAIMER … after the appropriate background check, home visit, approved application, and adoption fee. Thank you.

Kevin Ochalla:

I have had the privilege of advocating for my fellow AFSCME members as a steward for the last 6 years and as one of the Executive board for the last 2 years. During that time I have assisted several members in filing and arguing grievances, both promotional and disciplinary, with much success. As a member of the board for the last 2 years I have participated in ongoing contract negotiations with the county and assisted in resolving issues with management.  I have been active at both the Council 31 and International conventions to make sure that Local 3315’s concerns are addressed. Including participating in a particularly contentious international election for President and Vice President as a poll watcher.

One of the most important issues that Council 31 and Local 3315 faces today is the issue of pension reform. Council 31 and the state employees have been in an ongoing battle with the legislature and the governor for some time on this issue. It is an issue that we as county employees will have to address.  By attending as many of the broader union functions that I can, the state and international conventions, I have started to develop relationships with individuals outside of Local 3315. I am asking for your vote to continue to do that. We will need to be in solidarity to get a positive outcome on this issue.

As those of you who have come to me with questions and concerns know, my door is always open and I will be honest and candid in attempting to answer any member’s questions. With your help I will continue in that role for the next 2 years.

Joseph Gump:

There are two primary qualities I would like to emphasize in urging you to vote for me for Executive-at-Large of Local 3315 in the Union election scheduled for May 14, 2013.  First and foremost, I am a devoted Assistant Public Defender who has been in this office for almost 24 years.  I am currently a Grade III felony trial assistant in District 3 – Rolling Meadows.  The other thing I consider fundamental is that during the entire time I have been an Assistant Public Defender, I have been active in the union.  I am currently an Executive-at-Large and PEOPLE Chair of Local 3315’s Executive Board.

With regard to these important characteristics, I would like you to consider that I became a Union Site Steward in the Appeals Division (now “LRD”) when I was first hired back in 1989.  Although I worked in Appeals for 11 years before transferring to the felony trial division at 26th Street in March, 2001, I held numerous positions in the local.  Specifically, I have been President, Vice-President, Executive-at-Large, and Chief Steward of our local.  In these varying capacities, I have represented our members in virtually every form of grievance and disciplinary matter, not to mention at numerous Labor-Management meetings.  I have been a member of the bargaining committees that negotiated every one of our Collective Bargaining Agreements except for the first one in 1987.  I am a member of the bargaining committee that is currently negotiating our next contract.  As PEOPLE Chair, I am proud of my efforts to enroll over half of our members in PEOPLE which funds much of our political agenda.  I, personally, have taken 2, 6-week leaves of absences to work full-time on important local elections, and was a labor delegate to the Democratic Convention in 2012.  I have attended numerous political conferences in Springfield and Peoria, as well as participated in countless endorsement meetings on behalf of our local.  I have attended many AFSCME national conventions as a delegate representing our union.

After leaving Appeals, I was assigned to 26th Street for about 1-1/2 years before transferring to Rolling Meadows in September, 2002, to be closer to my home.  As a Grade III attorney in Rolling Meadows, I offer a different perspective than the majority of the Executive Board which is currently assigned to 26th Street.  I believe that diversity is very important and should be fostered by our local.  I also believe that I offer a degree of stability in our local’s leadership which recently lost Bob Galhotra (President) and Amy Thompson (Secretary) after many years of exemplary service.  I believe that my long years of service to this office and to our local render me eminently qualified to serve as an Executive-at-Large and PEOPLE Chair in the future.  It is for that reason that I am requesting your support on May 14th.  Thank-you.

Mary Butterton:

Hello all! My name is Mary Butterton and I am excited to be running for an Executive at Large position for the executive board of Local 3315. I have been involved informally with the Local since starting with the office in February 2010. I have frequently acted as an advisor and “go-between” for newer PDs and the union leadership, regarding issues ranging from management to seniority to the ever-returning threat of layoffs. I think it is very important for the Local leadership to include a representative of those who are newer to the office; not only do these attorneys represent the future of the office, they are the ones who face the real threat of layoffs in the face of budget cuts. I have extensive experience in political activism- I was a Field Organizer for the Obama for America campaign and organized hundreds of volunteers for a successful election in North Carolina in 2008. This type of organizational experience can only help our Local in the upcoming issues we anticipate in the next few years, including contract negotiations and the fight over pension reform.

As an Executive at Large, I bring both experience and enthusiasm to the table. I pledge to represent all members in voicing their concerns, and encourage anyone to contact me with any questions at mary.butterton@cookcountyil.gov.

Thank you for your vote!

 

Scott Kozicki:

My name is Scott Kozicki.

I have been a committed Cook County Assistant Public Defender for 13 years and am currently assigned to the Forensic Science Division. 

I have been nominated for an Executive at Large position.

I ask you for your vote. 

An even stronger, pro-active Union is most critical in this current political climate to protect our jobs, salaries, and future pension guarantees.  I believe that clear communication between the Board and its members is essential to ensure that all our members and job sites are fairly represented.

If elected, I would build upon the contributions of our prior Board members and bring forth a fresh, energetic perspective as we are about to approach contract negotiations.    

Thank you for your consideration. 

It would be an honor to serve on the Board as an Executive at Large.

 

Good luck to all candidates!

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