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Candidate statements for the office of TEA Board Vice President

The nomination period for this office is closed. The TEA Nominating Committee has received three statements from candidates for the office of Vice President. These statements are reproduced below.

In addition to serving as a member of the TEA Board, this position also serves as Chair of the Grievance Committee. The remainder of the current term is through September 19, 2018. The incoming Vice President would be eligible to run for a second two-year term.

Ballots will be distributed on March 8, 2017. The vote for Vice President will be held at the Noon meeting on March 15, 2017. Ballots will be counted after the meeting.

Hello. My name is Velma.

First, I would like to sincerely thank you for considering me as your VP of TEA Board. It is a great honor for me to be a part of TEA, and a goal of mine is to be part of the leadership and help our union grow.

As a member of TEA for nearly 10 years, 7 of which were served working in WTD, I was always an active participant of our TEA organization. While in WTD I was part of the bargaining committee, as part of that committee I was able to participate and learn how the President, Vice President, and our Union attorney negotiated with our county representatives for our salaries, our benefits, and our rights as workers. This process was hard work done by union volunteers for us, the members. Many of us never see what goes into this process unless we get the opportunity to volunteer. I saw first-hand that being a President or a Vice President is not an easy job; neither is that of those who are on the other committees. It's all-volunteer, but many do it because members benefits, salaries, contracts and worker rights are at stake. It is for this reason I have always had a vested interest in running for a position.

The position of Vice President is one of importance, for this person will be responsible for handling grievances, a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The process is long (the process is outlined in the contract) and the person you vote for should be someone that understands how to listen, how to see issues objectively, how to understand conflicts and work through them, and most importantly they must never lose sight of the person they are fighting for.

A little bit about myself. I am single mother of three, now adult children. During that time, I have acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Planning and Policy and am currently in my second year term Master’s Program at the UW in Sustainable Transportation.

Current leadership roles: I am currently The Vice-Chair of the Employee-Based Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) in which I represent the Department of Transportation and am serving my second year term of a three-year commitment.

Current Community Volunteer: I am currently on the fundraiser committee for Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center, KIAC, an organization in Kitsap County where I reside. This organization is committed to integrating our community into a diverse multicultural, one through advocacy and social justice, something I find important.

Through these experiences I've gained a greater understanding of leadership and how to work with a diverse group of members. With this understanding I know I will be able to handle the position of Vice President with complete respect for the job and commitment to our union members.

Thank you.

Velma Valdez Montez

Michael J. Sands — Candidate for VP, Chair of the Grievance Committee

For those who don’t know me, I work as a CM III in the Conveyance Inspection and Flow Monitoring group in WTD. For those who do know me, they can confirm that I’m honest, dedicated and a straight-shooter.

These are the qualities that I will bring to the VP position on the TEA Board. My goals are:

The TEA Board needs to represent the interests of all TEA members, regardless of individual bargaining unit affiliation. Currently, the Board consists of 4 Transit members and 2 Wastewater members. I look forward to representing your interests on the TEA Board.

Mike Sands
Email: Michael.sands@kingcounty.gov

My name is Jennifer Ash and I’m running for Vice President.

I have a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, and joined the County — and TEA — on April 1, 2013 to work as a Real Property Agent in Transit’s Design & Construction section. Prior to that, I was the Senior Real Estate Specialist for Metro Transit in St. Louis, Missouri.

I think effective union representation is important to ensure fair wages, working conditions, and quality of life for its members. Managing grievances is a big part of holding the employer accountable to its commitments to employees. I also think it’s important for members to know and understand their rights so they know when to bring issues forward. To that end, I think transparency in the grievance process — to the greatest extent possible while still protecting members’ privacy — is crucial, both to keep members informed about workplace issues, and to keep members engaged and vigilant, thus keeping our union strong.

We each deserve vigorous and responsible representation.

Jennifer Ash, Real Property Agent
Transit Design & Construction