- Special Projects
High school teacher Corey Rosenlee, who says he rightfully won last month’s election for leadership of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, filed court documents Wednesday in an effort to block union plans to hold a new election.
According to Rosenlee’s complaint and request for a temporary restraining order, the union’s Board of Directors violated union bylaws when it voted 21-8 earlier this month to toss out election results because of “voting irregularities.”
Rosenlee, along with running mates Justin Hughey and Amy Perruso, is asking for a court order recognizing the already-counted election results and installing the three teachers as president, vice president and secretary-treasurer.
In a statement Wednesday, Rosenlee said “the integrity of the HSTA is at stake and going to court is our only recourse to protect the decision of the majority of HSTA’s members.”
Rosenlee’s action was expected, current union President Wil Okabe said in a written statement.
“The HSTA will be submitting responses to the court and we fully expect a decision in our favor,” Okabe said.
Rosenlee ran against current union Vice President Joan Lewis in the April election. Perruso’s opponent for secretary-treasurer, Osa Tui Jr., campaigned along with Lewis and vice presidential candidate (and current secretary-treasurer) Colleen Pasco. A third candidate for vice president, Paul Daugherty, ran independently. All candidates are on the June 2 ballot except for Tui, who asked to be withdrawn from the race.
The documents filed Wednesday also ask for the court to compel the HSTA to share the election results with union members, and provide Rosenlee with draft minutes from the May 16 meeting where the board voted not to certify the results.
“… any vote not to certify would have been improper, as the only authority the Board had was to reject the results, which had already been certified by the Elections Committee,” the documents state.
According to the documents, union leaders have also not responded to a written request by Rosenlee to meet with him in person.
“The only response we received was that the HSTA leadership, including its executive director, Wilbur Holck, and its attorney, Colleen Hanabusa, were not available to meet with us or even talk to us over the phone,” Rosenlee said Wednesday.
Teachers are currently scheduled to vote in person at designated school sites during a three-hour period June 2, unless they request an absentee ballot.
Rosenlee’s lawyer said he expects the court to issue a decision later this week.
Read the documents filed by Rosenlee: