Garrison re-elected as regional CSEA leader

Three-term CSEA Region 4 president Kathy Garrison was overwhelmingly re-elected to a fourth term in

Three-term CSEA Region 4 president Kathy Garrison was overwhelmingly re-elected to a fourth term in regional election results tallied today, according to the two candidates.

Garrison defeated challenger Liz Clark by a vote of 2,236 to 1,040, or 68 percent to 32 percent, the candidates said this evening.

“I’m thrilled with the support that I’ve received over the past 12 years,” Garrison said, “and I look forward to fighting on behalf of members to maintain their rights and to preserve the services provided to the public.”

Garrison won re-election in the first regional election to take place since the Steven Raucci arson trial two years ago, a trial in which the prosecutor asserted that CSEA regional and central officials missed crucial warning signs of Raucci’s reign of vandalism and bombings.

Clark cited that trial as the most prominent example of what she alleged was a regional leadership that hadn’t given members the representation they need. Garrison, though, argued that changes were made. She also said she believed members have moved on and are focusing on issues like job security and salary.

Ballots were mailed out last month to as many as 40,000 Region 4 Civil Service Employees Association members. They were due back by today.

Only the regional presidency was contested. Candidates for the offices of executive vice president, 1st through 3rd vice presidents, secretary and treasurer ran unopposed.

Region 4 includes CSEA members in the greater Capital Region. At stake was a position that, according to testimony in the 2010 Raucci case, has a salary of as much as $102,000.

Garrison, 46, of Wilton, won her fourth four-year term. She is now the longest-serving president for the region, she said. Garrison took the job 12 years ago, having been a principal account clerk for the Department of State.

Garrison said she wanted to run for a fourth term because the region has had success in saving jobs and working out contracts to improve wages and protect benefits.

She said the biggest issues will continue to be the effects of the economy.

“There are budgetary issues at every level of government and we’re going to work to find innovative ways to preserve jobs and services,” Garrison said.

Clark, 38, of Clifton Park, is a training coordinator for the state Dormitory Authority and has been president of Local 698 for 2 1⁄2 years. She said she was running for the spot because of the issues raised in the Raucci trial. She said testimony of CSEA members from the trial shows that members repeatedly reached out to the region officials and they “turned a blind eye to it.”

Clark said she was disappointed with the voter turnout, but she said she was proud of her efforts and grateful for the support she received.

“For me, this is just the start,” she said. “I’ll be back in four years.”

She also said she expects to run a full slate of candidates in the next election.

Raucci was convicted of 18 of 22 counts in his March 2010 trial, including first-degree arson, though he was acquitted of terrorism charges. The prosecution charged that Raucci was responsible for numerous criminal acts, including placing bombs on homes or cars, in a series of incidents intended to intimidate people he perceived as enemies or enemies of his friends. He was arrested in February 2009.

Raucci served as the Schenectady City School District’s facilities manager and also led the union unit representing the workers he supervised. It was a dual position that prosecutors alleged made him valuable to the school administration for his ability to keep labor peace. Raucci also protected himself from the union by befriending the then-local president in Schenectady County, Joanne DeSarbo.

Garrison was also called by Raucci‘s defense as a witness in his criminal trial. During that testimony, she underwent a blistering cross-examination by Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney in which Carney suggested there were warning signs to Raucci’s bullying.

Categories: Schenectady County

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