ORANGE : School Employees Elect New President

The local chapter of the California School Employees Assn., which represents more than 1,000 of the Orange Unified School District's classified workers, elected a new president by a two-vote margin last week.

Becky Mayers defeated current president Barbara Noble for the job of representing the district's library aides, maintenance workers, bus drivers and secretaries. The vote Wednesday was 163 to 161.

The district's classified employees earlier this month settled a long-simmering contract dispute with the district by agreeing to take a 2.59% pay cut.

Mayers said she plans to be an aggressive leader and protect the membership from further pay cuts.

"It is not in my plans for classified employees to supplement the district's shortcomings," she said.

Mayers has already announced plans to file a grievance with the state Public Employees Relations Board alleging unfair election practices by the district. The union said district employees filmed and took photographs of several classified workers who voted in last week's election.

Moreover, Mayers said, district employees told several of those campaigning in front of a polling place, including her, that they could not stand on district property.

Jack Elsner, the district's human resources director, said the district photographed and filmed workers in the event that it takes disciplinary action against workers who, he said, misused district leave policies or took longer breaks than they were entitled to in order to vote.

Elsner added that the district actions were taken as a result of complaints by other classified employees.

"I am not trying to interfere in the election process," Elsner said. "They are putting the district in the middle of the election process."

Mayers served previously for 14 years as president of the union, until she was defeated in the 1991 election.

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