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Charges against Peter Meringolo, Chairman New York State Public Employee Conference Peter Meringolo damaged the reputation of the NYSPEC by selling PEC’s influence and prestige to the patrons of his private lobbying business. In that; Peter Meringolo abused his power, manipulated the Board of Directors and violated the trust of the members of NYSPEC when he aggressively acted to have NYSPEC take his client’s side in a dispute between his client and two member organizations. He failed to disclose to the Board of Directors that he had a conflict of interest in the dispute between the parties. That Meringolo perpetrated this action beyond the scope of his or NYSPEC’s authority over the conduct of its members for his own personal gain. Peter Meringolo used his position of chairman to gain favor with his client, Cheryl Felice of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees (SCAME) for his own personal gain, and in so doing damaged the reputation of NYSPEC. Furthermore, Peter Meringolo used his position of trust to tarnish the reputations of members in good standing CWA District 1 and CWA Local 1180 by sending a letter of concern about a legal decertification effort on behalf of the members of SCAME without having all the facts in the dispute. And at the SCAME convention while a featured speaker as the chairman of NYSPEC maligned the reputations of members of NYSPEC by characterizing the legal decertification effort of CWA on behalf of the members as the “rape” of that organization. Specifically; His letter objecting to CWA’s efforts was initiated in a July 29, 2009 where he wrote ‘The letter will go out according to schedule.’ That was prior to an alleged objective gathering of the facts at a meeting to be held August 5, 2005 by the Treasurer of NYSPEC Joseph Mannion. Peter Meringolo’s presence at the meeting following his stated intent to send the letter predetermined the outcome of the investigation and assured it would be nothing more than a rump session. He used the meeting as an opportunity for him and his business associate Randi Delirod to impress their client Cheryl Felice and influence the Treasurer’s report. This violation of our trust and his abuse of his authority for his own personal gain must be corrected and action must be taken to ensure such abuse does not happen again. SPECIFICATIONS To wit: In an e-mail sent on July 26, 2009 requesting authority to take action. 1. Meringolo failed to disclose his conflict of interest. 2. Meringolo failed to disclose that all parties in the dispute were members. 3. Meringolo failed to disclose that the meeting of June 17th was a legislative director’s meeting not a mandatory meeting of the Board of Directors. 4. According to the minutes of the June 17, 2009 meeting Meringolo was not authorized to take any action or send any correspondence regarding this dispute. 5. Meringolo failed to disclose that NYSPEC has no provision in its Bylaws for the Board of Directors or any officer to accept, prosecute and adjudicate any charges brought by any member against another or to raise concerns or displeasure with the actions of any member of NYSPEC. 6. Meringolo acknowledged his lack of authority as Chairman but still insisted on sending his letter of concern on behalf of his client in the name of NYSPEC. To wit: At the SCAME convention last month speaking as the chairman of NYSPEC 7. Meringolo maligned the reputation of a member of NYSPEC, when he was falsely stated that he: “threw off a CWA board member who wouldn’t admit that CWA was raping AME.” The e-mail with highlighting and comments added follows: From: firstname.lastname@example.org To:Cheliotes, Arthur; Subject:[PROBABLY SPAM] Raid on a PEC union Date: Sunday, July 26, 2009 9:31:17 PM All PEC Presidents/Legislative Directors I am sure by now all of you have received the letter from one of our PEC members, Cheryl A. Felice, President of Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, Inc. She has asked for our support in her fight against a raid of her membership by District 1 of the CWA. Those of you who attended the PEC meeting in Albany on June 17, 2009, heard Randy Delirod and Cheryl Felice speak on this issue and ask for our support. The direction I received from that meeting by the PEC members in attendance was to render our support,(FALSE – THE MINUTES ONLY CALL FOR JOE MANNION TO GATHER MORE INFORMATION) knowing full well that this attack could come against any one of us who may not be affiliated with an international organization. (IT COULD ALSO COME FROM ANOTHER UNAFFILIATED ORGANIZATION WHO IS A MEMBER OF NYSPEC) At the mandatory PEC Presidents meeting on April 28, 2009 at the UFA Headquarters, it was decided that as PEC Chairman, I had the authority to address all issues in writing as they pertain to PEC’s legislative agenda without first having to receive the ok of all PEC members. (TRUE BUT ONLY TO STOP TIER V, NOT SUPPORT HIS CLIENT’S SIDE IN A DISPUTE) While this issue is not legislative, (TRUE) it is about a sister union that is a member of our organization. My feeling is the same as all of those at the meeting on June 17th when AME solicited our help. I will be writing a letter on PEC’s letterhead giving full support to our sister union (NOT LEGISLATIVE THEREFORE NEVER AUTHORIZED AT JUNE TH 17 MEETING TO DO SO. THIS COULDN’T WAIT BECAUSE HIS CLIENT NEEDED MATERIAL OVER THE SUMMER TO STOP MEMBERS FROM SIGNING CARDS)and informing CWA's Vice President, District 1, Christopher Shelton of our displeasure (WHAT ABOUT DISPLEASURE OF SCAME MEMBERS WITH FELICE FOR TRASHING BASIC DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES THAT THE BOARD MEMBERS WERE NEVER TOLD ABOUT?)at the attempted raid on an organized union (CREATED BY A RAID ON A THEN MEMBER OF NYSPEC) of more than 25 years that has always fought for its members. (THAT’S WHAT CSEA CLAIMED IT DID BUT NYSPEC TOOK NO ACTION)We have always talked about the importance of staying united and supporting each other in our (LEGISLATIVE) issues even if they only pertain to a few of us. We all recognize that an attack on one of us today should be viewed as a serious issue because the same attack can happen to any one of us tomorrow. Since all the Presidents were not present at the June 17th meeting, I am requesting that you all respond to me, hopefully in the positive, to fully support the letter. If I do not hear from you by this Wednesday, July 29, 2009, I will assume your non response to be a yes (WHERE IS THIS TYPE OF E- MAIL POLLING ALLOWED IN THE BYLAWS WHY COULDN’T THIS WAIT FOR A MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS) in support of the letter and the letter will be sent out on July 30, 2009. (THIS COULDN’T WAIT BECAUSE CHERYL FALICE NEEDED MATERIAL OVER THE SUMMER TO STOP MEMBERS FROM SIGNING CARDS) If anyone has a problem with this letter being sent, I ask that you contact me immediately via my cell phone at 917-418-7981 or by replying to this e-mail. Many of you have already stated we should help our sister union in whatever way we can and some of you have already written letters on AME's behalf. As always, I just want to keep everyone informed of what PEC is doing. Shortly I will be updating you on proposals of what PEC should be doing via public relations, ads, articles etc. with reference to our ongoing issues, such as Tier V, pension raids, and health and welfare issues. We are putting together some proposals for your consideration and approval. Just because there has been a little calm on some heated issues, we should not be lured to sleep. As always, I am proud to represent such a prestigious group of unions and I thank you for your support. Peter D. Meringolo Chairman Assuming that NYSPEC had authority to review the conduct of its members, as an organization that pursues due process rights for all public workers in New York State we would assure that every member of NYSPEC have due process rights. Following Article XI of our Bylaws Roberts Rules of Order would serve as our guide. Under Roberts Rules of Order - Art. XIII. Sections 72. 73 and 74 the appropriate action to determine if a complaint rose to the level of charges against the accused was to wait for our annual meeting to review the matter or hold a special meeting of the Board of Directors. At that meeting it could then be determined if NYSPEC has any jurisdiction or authority over the issues raised. If it does, the Board of Directors would select an impartial committee and offer both parties an opportunity to make their case and present their evidence. Rather than assure due process rights to CWA District 1 and CWA Local 1180, Peter Meringolo moved deliberately without any regard to the Bylaws or authority from the Board of Directors to violate the due process rights of CWA District 1 and CWA Local 1180, both certified labor unions and members of the Board of Directors by entangling NYSPEC in a legal organizing drive permissible under the NYS Collective Bargaining Law. Peter Meringolo manipulated the actions of the Board of Directors to favor his client, Cheryl Felice, so he could continue to receive payments for his services from her thereby placing his own self interest above that of NYSPEC. He acted boldly to give her something to mail out to her members during those critical months showing that NYSPEC sided with her in her campaign to fight decertification. Despite the unethical efforts of Felice and her lobbyists Meringolo and Delirod They were unsuccessful. Over thirty percent of her members signed up with CWA, more than 2,000 members are hardly a few disgruntled losers. PERB will now hold hearing and arrange for an election so the members can get their union back. In sum, Peter Meringolo conspired with Cheryl Felice and Randi Delirod and abused his power, manipulated the Board of Directors with false statements and omissions that did not afford all concerned parties an opportunity to be heard and violated the trust of the members of NYSPEC in his e-mail of July 26, 2009 to the Board of Directors he stated: he was authorized to render support to SCAME yet nothing in the minutes indicated anything more than authorizing the gathering of information by Mannion. he was authorized at the meeting of June 17, 2009 to send a letter of displeasure on PEC letterhead. According to the minutes of the meeting of June 17, 2009 Peter Meringolo was not. Peter Meringolo omitted writing that his firm the Meringolo Group was paid by SCAME as a lobbyist and has received well over $50,000 from SCAME authorized by Cheryl Felice according to New York State Lobbying Commission records. Peter Meringolo omitted informing the members of NYSPEC that Randi Delirod was hired by the Meringolo Group as a lobbyist and that SCAME was the third party according to New York State Lobbying Commission records. These specific actions and omissions clearly indicate that he used his position of chairman to protect his client and patron Cheryl Felice for his own personal gain and in so doing damaged the reputation of NYSPEC as an organization whose position on any issue now appears to be for sale. Every member of NYSPEC and the public at large must now doubt any action Peter Meringolo takes on behalf of NYSPEC since its good name may be seen by some as nothing more than a subsidiary of the Meringolo Group Inc. Furthermore, he used his position of trust to attack the reputation of brother unions, CWA District 1 and CWA Local 1180 by describing their actions as unethical. Though his behavior clearly indicates he has a warped perception of what is ethical. He ignored the claims made in the e-mail sent to him on July 28, 2009 by me objecting to NYSPEC taking any action and describing the reasons for CWA District 1’s exceptional action and CWA Local 1180’s peripheral involvement. The e-mail with highlighting added objecting to this action follows: From: Cheliotes, Arthur To: email@example.com; cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; Subject: RE: [PROBABLY SPAM] Raid on a PEC union Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 8:32:00 PM July 28, 2009 Peter Meringolo, Chairman NYSPEC Dear Peter, I object to NYSPEC taking a position on the Suffolk County AME matter. At the meeting where this issue was not on the agenda only one side of the story was presented. (THE E-MAIL MEETING REMINDER THAT FOLLOWS REFERS TO THE MEETING AS THE “THIRD LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR’S MEETING” NOT A PRESIDENT’S MEETING) I have been silent until now since my Local was not directly involved even though we were wrongly accused of being the perpetrator of a raid. We are proud of the Communications Workers of America and reports I have received from our regional leadership paints a totally different picture of what is going on in Suffolk County. Based on my 30 years in CWA as President of Local 1180 I know that CWA would not take sides inside another union’s affairs. However, it was explained to me that in the case of AME members in Suffolk County, CWA was overwhelmed by pleas of assistance. Hundreds of AME members approached CWA to explain how they as union members were systematically being denied the very basic principles of union democracy. Here are some examples: •AME leadership negotiated an agreement on Lag Pay with the County and members were promised that they would have a vote to accept or reject. The leaders of AME decided to accept the agreement and deny the members their right to vote. •AME leadership negotiated concessions on retiree health benefits, •AME leadership negotiated concessions changing from a PPO to a POS Health Plan. These concessions were signed without membership involvement and without any ratification by the membership. The membership is repeatedly being denied the right to vote, and AME leadership is punishing dissidents within their ranks. CWA has examples of AME officers writing emails to the employer to try and punish members who question AME leadership. The CWA has no interest in organizing those that have a union. But in this instance, CWA felt that AME members have been lied to, have been harassed, and have had their right to union democracy diminished to such a degree, that CWA could not ignore the rank and file who came to CWA for help in rebuilding their union. I therefore respectfully request that NYSPEC not take a position on this matter. In Unity, Arthur Arthur Cheliotes, President, Local 1180 Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO 6 Harrison Street, New York, NY 10013 Phone - 212 226-6565 Facsimile 212 966-6831 email@example.com The meeting notice from Meringolo read as follows with highlights added. From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:42 AM To: Cheliotes, Arthur Subject: Tomorrow's meeting PEC Presidents and Legislative Directors: Just as a reminder, although you should all have it on your calendars already, tomorrow is our third legislative director's meeting in Albany at the University Club. Lunch is at 12 noon, followed by a very important meeting. We obviously have quite a bit of urgent material to discuss, so please do your best to be in attendance. For your information, I have attached a PDF of an ad that PEC is running in this week's Chief newspaper. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow. Sincerely, Peter D. Meringolo, Chairman Meringolo’s response to my e-mail follows with highlights and comments indicated: From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:16 PM To: Cheliotes, Arthur Subject: [PROBABLY SPAM] Response to your opposition Importance: Low Arthur, I have read your objection to PEC taking a position on the Suffolk County AME matter and your position has been dully (sic) noted. However at this time you are the only member that has objected and one opposition (yours) would not prevent this letter from going out. PEC will take a position on this matter because I was directed to do so at the June 17th meeting in Albany. (NOT TRUE) You are right the issue was not on the agenda. However at all meetings of NYSPEC the members always have the right to bring up any issues they feel are pertinent. Once it was brought up it became a topic of discussion and all that were present at the meeting openly stated they had a problem with one union raiding another. (THE MINUTES OF JUNE 17, 2009 READ THAT JOE MANNION WAS TO GATHER THE FACTS AND NO ONE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SEND A LETTER FROM NYSPEC TO ANYONE) You and Cheryl Felice, President of AME will both have the opportunity to discuss face to face your issues and position, at the meeting of August 5, 2009 that was arranged by Joseph Mannion, Treasury of PEC. (GATHER THE FACTS AFTER YOU HAVE TAKEN AN ACTION – WHAT WOULD WE DO IF THE BOSS TRIED THIS SCAM ON MEMBERS?) The letter will go out according to schedule. I will note in the body of the letter that one of our members were (sic) opposed to the letter being sent. I will indicate by name that it was you as President of your Union. In Unity, Peter D. Meringolo, Chairman The response is very telling without actually sitting down with both sides before sending out the letter objecting to CWA’s efforts and giving all parties a chance to sort out the facts and explain their positions. It was as if the defendant was first executed and then the investigation and trial followed. Meringolo’s letter objecting to CWA’s efforts was initiated on July 29, 2009 when he wrote: ‘The letter will go out according to schedule.’ That was prior to an alleged objective review of the facts at a meeting to be held August 5, 2009 by the Treasurer of NYSPEC. Peter Meringolo’s attendance at the investigative meeting following his stated intent to send the letter predetermined the outcome of the investigation and assured it would be nothing more than a rump session. What Felice and her lobbyist Delirod and Meringolo attempted to do was intimidate and harass me into saying something anything negative about CWA that they could us to fight the very successful card signing campaign CWA was engaged in. They wanted me to say that the decertification was a “rape” of a sister union. Try as they might I would not do so and this frustrated them greatly. He used the meeting as an opportunity to impress his client and influence the Treasurer’s report. At the time of the June 17, 2009 meeting Meringolo knew or should have known that Cheryl Felice was re-elected with less than a majority of the votes cast for president. On April 20, 2009 Cheryl Felice did not receive a majority of votes cast by the members. She received 1872 votes and her 4 opponents got 2358 votes. Her closest opponent got over 1,500 votes. The results are posted on the SCAME website if you wish to check. She was still declared the winner because her Bylaws are rigged to keep her in office with just a plurality. Under the CWA Constitution you must receive a majority of the votes cast to secure a top officer position or there must be a run-off election between the top 2 candidates. That on May 7, 2009 the Judicial Board of SCAME reviewed charges of election irregularities and ruled that a new election be held. Again Cheryl Felice with her rigged Bylaws had her re-elected board vote to overturn the Judicial Board’s decision. Now the matter is going to NY State Supreme Court for a trial. This outrageous undemocratic behavior is now infecting NYSPEC, if it is allowed to fester I fear for the future of NYSPEC. If we do not correct this unethical abuse of power our reputation will be hurt beyond repair. It would have been easy to just stop paying my dues and stop attending but I care too much for what NYSPEC is and the work it does. The fundamental purpose of NYSPEC has changed. NYSPEC focused on a legislative agenda and every member with the power to veto was an equal. It now appears that if you have not retained the Meringolo Group to lobby for you can’t be sure of what the chairman is doing for the members we all serve. Those are the facts as I know them I have more documents to back my claims if you wish to see them. Respectfully submitted, Arthur Cheliotes, Trustee New York State Public Employees Conference. The minutes of the September 17, 2009 meeting is attached for you to review the relevant section is on the last page.
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