Rector says accusations against him untrue - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Rector says accusations against him untrue

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Several members of the Guam Federation of Teachers have filed complaints against union president Matt Rector. While Rector hasn't commented on these matters recently, he claims most of these accusations are untrue.  

"Lots of accusations have been put out. All of them don't have any merit," said the union's top man. "I mean, we're quite proud - all of our audits come back. We spend our money for our members. We are representing our members and we do the best we can. I think we've done a darn good job."

Rector says recent complaints made by members of the union are untrue. Former GFT Steward Carol Somerfleck had questioned Rector's role as a leader of the union and changes made to the constitution. Then, there was former senior field representative Robert Koss who was terminated from his position. Koss later filed a complaint for wrongful termination with the U.S. Department of Labor. Next there was James Nichols, who attempted to run for vice president of the union, but says he was forced to sign a document that said he wasn't going to run. Lastly, there was Barry Mead from the Guam Community College, who said that faculty members there wanted to form their own union.

According to Rector, all of these individuals are just trying to ruin a successful union.  "It's a shame when anybody comes out and tries to ruin the livelihood and the protection of over 3,000 members and their families. Why would anybody do that? It's beyond my comprehension," he told KUAM News.

As for elections, Rector couldn't say when the next election will be held, only confirming that changes were indeed made. He says the last election was held a year and a half ago.  "The members amended the constitution because it used to say that our big recognition and our big event happened right at the end of May. That was a disaster because at the end of May, we have seven billion things going on, graduations, end of school and all those sorts of things," he said.

"Elections are controlled by an election committee and it's all done through via the constitution and how it's supposed to be done and whatever the election committee decides, they will decide, and if I'm running, obviously I wouldn't be on the election committee," he said.

As for whether he had forced Nichols to sign that document, Rector says that wasn't the case.  "What can the union do as retribution? We're nobody's employers except for the staff here, so I don't understand any of that. I think that's a lot of [using hand to do talking motion]," he said.

Both Somerfleck and Koss have taken their issues to the U.S. Department of Labor and the American Federation of Teachers. Rector says the union remains transparent. In fact, he says since concerns have been brought up, these documents have been posted online for members to view.

"We have nothing to hide. We've never had anything to hide. We have done everything by the books since day one. It's interesting because before this group of officers took over the union, we came in with a complete mess," he said. "We had a union that didn't obey the laws, our books were a mess and so our legalities were a mess with Rev & Tax."

A group of union members have even created a Facebook page called "Teachers for Truth", which calls on transparency. Rector says this group is just out to get him, saying, "We know the truth, they know the truth. They can make all the lies they want and at the end of the day, you can't go around and tell other people lies about other people and get away with them."

In the meantime, the GFT executive council is expected to meet next Tuesday.

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