Base Union Run-off Election Taps Veteran Robins Employee as President

Tom Scott, a Warner Robins resident since 1970 and a base employee since 1987, narrowly defeated Roger Harris 339 to 308 to take the top job in the 2,800-member organization, the bargaining unit for most civilian employees at Robins. Scott was the top vote getter in a four-candidate field during the Oct. 19 general election but did not have a clear majority.

The new slate of officers will be sworn in Dec. 7 for three-year terms.

Scott said Wednesday that a number of union members had congratulated him on the win, including his run-off opponent. "Roger Harris congratulated me and shook my hand. Others did as well," he said. "Everybody seemed to come together." Harris could not be reached for comment.

The Warner Robins High School graduate said he had several priorities, including resolving the status of some 80 Robins employees injured on the job. The base has offered less physically taxing work, although the union has said most workers would lose pay under the arrangement.

Another priority is working with base management. "That's important," he said, "particularly with BRAC coming up." BRAC is the federal process for identifying military installations for closure or workload impacts. The next BRAC round will come in 2005.

In other run-offs, Michael Harrell defeated Charlie Tripis 366 to 281 for executive vice president and Harold McConnell topped Grant Morgan 343 to 294 for sergeant-at-arms. Elaine Varnadoe will be the new union vice president in the base's huge maintenance directorate after a narrow 274 to 263 win over Jim Clements, while Eddie White will be vice president at large after edging Alice Crawford 45 to 44.

Varnadoe said she will try to work with everyone involved. "I will work to make management accountable as well as the employees," she said. "We need perspective and we need to look to the future."

Anthony Claiborne, who has been acting president of Local 987 since the April suspension of Donald Thompson, said he was pleased with the election outcome. "If it brings the local together - and I think it can - then I'm very pleased with it," he said. Claiborne along with Thompson did not advance to the runoff following the general election.

"It (the election results) brings together a mix of people who will be dynamic and good for the local's growth," he said. "I'm hopeful."

In the Oct. 19 general election, Gail Rogers won a clear victory for treasurer as did Mary Sanders for secretary. Elsie Quintana was elected vice president of non-appropriated funds and Bill Haas for vice president of Air Force Reserve Command. The new trustees will be Michael Smith, Sandra Foster and Xavier Maldonado.

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