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State education association replaces leader amid turmoil

The executive director for the organization that represents the state’s two largest education unions has been replaced.

It was not immediately clear if Gary Peck was fired or resigned from the leadership post at the Nevada State Education Association. According to the NSEA web site, Peck has been replaced by interim executive director Richard “Dick” Terry.

A spokesman for NSEA could not “comment on confidential personnel issues.”

Peck, who prior to joining NSEA in November 2010 was the longtime leader of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Peck’s departure from NSEA comes on the heels of the resignation of Brian Christensen as executive director of the Education Support Employees Association, the union representing more than 11,000 Clark County School District bus drivers, janitors, cooks and other support staff.

NSEA represents ESEA and the Clark County Education Association, which bargains for teachers, at the state level.

Leadership changes are the latest signs of turmoil at the two organizations.

No ESEA leaders were present at a recent, significant meeting of the Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board, though a lawyer for the union did attend.

During the March 12 meeting, the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board discussed holding a runoff election between ESEA and Teamsters Local 14 to decide who will represent district support staff at the bargaining table.

That election could prove to be the downfall of ESEA, which has represented school district support staff for more than 40 years.

A decade-long fight between the two unions came to a head earlier this year when 71 percent of workers who voted in a special election backed the Teamsters.

However, only 5,190 votes were cast, which was short of the supermajority the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled is needed for one union to oust another.

To reach a supermajority, the Teamsters needed 50 percent plus 1 of all 11,263 district support staff.

In February, the state’s three-member Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board voted to change its 13-year-old policy requiring a supermajority, meaning that the Teamsters would only need a simple majority at the next election — set for the fall — to take over.

A date for the election will be set at the next meeting and ballots will be counted in December.

ESEA filed a petition for a judicial review in Clark County District Court late last week. In court documents filed Thursday, ESEA said the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board did not have the authority to order a new election.

A hearing is set in the matter for April 21 before Judge Ken Cory.

Meanwhile, pressure by the Teamsters may be mounting on NSEA and its Clark County unions. The Teamsters recently filed a public records request for the names, job classification and work location for members of CCEA, the union representing the district’s 17,000 teachers. The move could be a prelude to an organizing effort by the Teamsters to represent teachers, as well as the support staff.

Contact Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe

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