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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco union president Lynne Webb won't seek another term



The United School Employees of Pascowill have its first new president in 15 years this spring: Lynne Webb, the USEP’s president since 1999, has decided not to seek reelection.

"I feel like it is time for this union to have new leadership," said Webb, 57, who started teaching at Moore-Mickens Middle School in 1982. "The time is right."

She does not plan to immediately retire, though. "I am going to serve, not in a year-round capacity, as a liaison with the new president and the staff," she said.

Webb also plans to retain her post as president of the West Central Florida Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

“I will always be involved in the labor movement, one way or another,” she said. “Union work has been like my religion.”

The USEP is collecting nominations for the post through Dec. 19, with the vote to begin at the end of February. No candidates have formally stepped forward, although the election is expected to be draw several hopefuls.

School Board chairwoman Alison Crumbley praised Webb for her years of service to the union.

“She worked with the School Board and superintendent during financially challenging times, keeping employees’ interests at the forefront,” Crumbley said. “I wish her the best in her next endeavors.”

Former superintendent Heather Fiorentino, who once served as a union representative with Webb, said Webb always stood up for the people she represented.

“She fought hard for what they believed in,” Fiorentino said, noting that they often opposed each other on key issues.

She noted that many of the differences were not of their own making, but rather foisted upon them by lawmakers -- “Sometimes we were fighting with what we were being dealt, and not fighting each other,” said Fiorentino.

Whoever comes next will have a hard act to follow, Florida Education Association president Andy Ford said, noting that the challenges remain daunting.

"The local union president job is very difficult. It take a special kind of person," Ford said. “There’s nobody any better than Lynne. ... Members in Pasco have been fortunate to have her.”

[Last modified: Friday, December 6, 2013 1:01pm]


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