By DEBORAH A. MILES
August 1st will go down in PEF’s history as a day for new beginnings, as PEF President Wayne Spence began his second term in office.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, was at PEF headquarters that day to administer the oath of office to the returning PEF president. Sheila Ambrose of the PEF Pride Committee introduced the national labor leader.
Weingarten complimented Spence, saying he was devoted to getting things done and making things better.
“Wayne fought the governor when it was necessary and worked with the governor when it was appropriate,” Weingarten said. “There was respect. That doesn’t happen unless people hear each other. And respect must be paid to all our members throughout the state. What I see in this new leadership team is humility, and respect for our members and the work they do. Together, we can do what is impossible. Our strength comes from unity and solidarity. We must create a space for our many voices, and work with and engage with those voices. That is what creates trust, unity and power.”
Spence told the standing-room-only audience that his first term was challenging, but in spite of the challenges PEF was able to get things accomplished for the members.
“What has carried me is faith, the guidance from Randi Weingarten and support from my wife and family. I also want to credit PEF’s only three-term president, Roger Benson. He advised me and shared words of wisdom of having a vision and mission. You don’t really know where you are going unless you define your vision and then work on a mission to achieve your goals. I have a good team now. We can look into ourselves, recognize our faults and strengths, and work together toward perfection.”
Kay Alison Wilkie, a long-time union activist and an economic development program administrator at the state Department of Economic Development, was sworn in by Spence as PEF secretary-treasurer.
“In addition to seeing Wayne in action during the last three years and his commitment to members and commitment to what is right, I am very passionate about supporting what unionism stands for. I will safeguard the members’ dues so we have the resources we need in our fight in this post-Janus world. I am also devoted to doing what is right for our members. The standard we set is a sacred trust, and I will honor that,” Wilkie said.
Adreina Adams, a parole officer, was sworn to a second term as a PEF vice-president. Two new vice-presidents, Randi DiAntonio, a licensed master social worker, and Sharon V. DeSilva, a senior attorney, were sworn-in by Spence.
Three trustees also took the oath of office. Maddie Shannon-Roberts, a second-term trustee is a disability analyst. New to the trustee position is Christopher Buman, a real property analyst, and Jeanette Santos, a medical assistant specialist.
Darlene Williams, an occupational therapy assistant, greeted the new leaders by saying, “The success we all want will depend on your ability to all work together. Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a process and working together is success. Talent wins games, but teamwork will win the championship.”
Stephanie McLean-Beathley, interim PEF Region 1 coordinator, was the Master of Ceremonies. The event was attended by state Sen. James Tedisco, Assemblyman Phil Steck, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon and Daniel F. Martuscello III, acting executive deputy commissioner at the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Nine newly-elected regional coordinators were sworn in August 4 and the remaining three at the Executive Board meeting August 23, along with the new board members.