United School Employees of Pasco gets new leader
Gulf Middle School physical education teacher Don Peace has won election as United School Employees of Pasco president, ousting Kenny Blankenship after one term in office.
Peace, a 38-year Pasco County schools veteran, served on the union executive committee before running for the top spot. He based his campaign largely on bringing more professionalism to the office, suggesting Blankenship was too confrontational with district administrators with little to show for it.
The Pasco County Elections Office, which supervised the vote, reported that Peace won 427 votes, or 53 percent of the total, to Blankenship's 375. All together, fewer USEP members voted than the previous election three years ago.
In the race for vice president-instructional, incumbent Lisa Mazza, a Wesley Chapel Elementary School third-grade teacher, held off a challenge from Phil Altshuler, Irvin Education Center learning design coach.
Neither Peace nor Blankenship could be reached for comment. The USEP and district recently completed hearings before a special magistrate over contract issues that they could not resolve.
The sides have not met in collective bargaining since December.