Rector's retaliation? GFT steward thinks so
by Nick Delgado
Guam - It seems the one public school teacher that has raised concern over the Guam Federation of Teachers president seat is now faced with the possibility of being kicked out of the union. The GFT is launching an investigation into that teacher after she questioned its constitution.
GFT Steward Carol Sommerfleck has been summoned to appear before the Guam Federation of Teachers' executive council next week. While she may face being cut from the union, she is considering running for the GFT president position.
The executive council is conducting an investigative hearing into Sommerfleck's conduct to determine whether she conducted herself in a manner harmful to the interests of the GFT and its members. In a notice of hearing and summons to Sommerfleck, the council has given her the opportunity to submit any written documentation that she wishes to be considered.
However, Sommerfleck says she has yet to receive any of the documents that her and several teachers from Agana Heights Elementary School requested for regarding the changes to the GFT constitution and election. "We deserve to know what's been happening in the way of the constitution and we deserve to know what's been going on in the meetings, especially when we had no information on those things. If that's a threat that's really sad because if he's talking about democracy not allowing us that democracy," she said.
Sommerfleck along with the group of teachers, have been requesting answers from president Matt Rector regarding those changes. The group went so far as going to the GFT's Mangilao office to obtain the documents. Rector however told Sommerfleck they wouldn't be available until March 2012. "[The] way things are being run, I'm really not pleased and I don't think he is the right leadership for our union."
Sommerfleck reacted to the summons by saying this is why the petition currently circulating to remove Rector as president is necessary. She is also is hoping for more support from other teachers who agree with how bad things are operating at GFT; similar to the support 3rd grade teacher Maybell Mendiola expresses, saying, "We want to bring the union back to its members make sure our union is democratic open and transparent...we want answers not to be called because we paid dues, 'cause that's what matt said when we went down there he said we are not active members."
Meanwhile, in a letter to Sommerfleck, GFT secretary Sanjay Sharma explains the great accomplishments that matt rector has done for the union, and that the process for amending the constitution and election process have been followed. Sharma also states that anybody who wants to dedicate their time to improving the union should seriously consider getting involved in the committees and running for office.
It's an offer Sommerfleck says she just might take up. "If push comes to shove if not one else will take it, but I think there are many members who could take us much further than we were before."
Rector declined interview, saying it's an internal process that the executive council will handle. The hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday at 5:30pm.