In 2011 there was no CTA/NEA Retired chapter in Stanislaus County. Bob McDonough who had been actively involved in CTA leadership and union activities during his 38-year career and now newly retired, began to explore the possibility of starting a local retired chapter. With the encouragement and support of other retired union activists like Don Rowe and Debbie Savage, he began working with state CTA/NEA President Ed Foglia and Vice-President Sharilynn Russo to organize a local chapter. CTA District F Board of Director Elana Davidson soon joined the effort and offered her help. In August 2011 Bob, Don, and Elana met with Vice-President Russo in the Ceres CTA office where she gave us the startup documents needed and explained the steps to follow to organize a local chapter. Also attending that meeting were retired teachers from San Joaquin County lead by Josie Malik who were also taking steps to form a chapter in their county.
During the next several months, Bob attended Retired meetings at State Council, gathering advice and assistance from state leadership, collecting documents and writing draft by-laws. Vice-President Sharilynn Russo offered invaluable assistance during this process. In March of 2012, Bob and Don reached out to other retired former union leaders and invited them to a meeting in April to discuss moving forward with the formation of a Stanislaus chapter. Among those attending that meeting were Debbie Savage, Lynn Padlo, Marsha Memmott, Donna Crist, Judy Hardie, and CTA Board member Elana Davidson. It was decided to hold an organizational/election of officers meeting in May and to contact as many retired educators in Stanislaus county as possible to invite them to attend. Terri Pinkney, the Ceres office secretary, worked on getting as many retiree lists as possible and these people were personally called and invited to attend the May meeting. In the meantime CTA/NEA Retired Treasurer Frank Tarantino was very involved in helping us with IRS forms and other state documents necessary to set up our treasury.
Alen Ritchie, the new state President of CTA/NEA Retired was now actively involved in helping set up our chapter-giving advice, answering questions, and working to get our newly written by-laws accepted by CTA. We also received tremendous cooperation from our local staff and Service Center Council, including $500 from their budget to cover our expenses. Service Center Chair Linda Kraus enabled Richard Beatty to create a retired link on the Service Center website to assist us in getting out information about our organization.
On May 17, 2012 an organizational meeting was held at the CTA office in Ceres. Present at this meeting were the “Founding Fathers”- Bob McDonough, Don Rowe, Debbie Savage, Cherie Lamoreaux, Lynn Padlo, Carol Eneboe, Marg Whinery, Region 2 Director Ed Foglia, and District F CTA Board member Elana Davidson. The following officers were elected: Bob McDonough, President; Don Rowe, Vice-President; Debbie Savage, Treasurer; and Marsha Memmott, Secretary. It was decided to that our four quarterly business meetings would be held on Thursdays after the Tuesday Service Center council meetings. Plans were also made to hold a membership drive reception in August for newly retired teachers to invite them to join our organization. It was to be called a “You Don’t Have To Go Back” party and it came to be an annual membership-recruiting event. Our chapter was off and running.
In the following months we were joined by Lew Boyle, Charley James, and Charlie Young who brought their union experiences and leadership abilities to our leadership group. We were also joined by teachers from throughout the county. As the chapter developed, our meetings focused on keeping our members updated on CTA/NEA activities, with an emphasis on our STRS pensions and healthcare and Medicare. Some of us actively participated in lobbying days in Sacramento that related to issues that were important to retirees. We also started to have social activities/opportunities for members who chose to participate. When Eric Julien joined us, he created this website devoted only to our Stanislaus CTA/NEA Retired chapter. Due to the suggestions and contributions of all our members we have developed into a very strong retired local as a member of the state CTA/NEA Retired organization. We look forward to continued growth as educators from throughout Stanislaus county retiree and we hope they consider joining us. All are welcome.