WASHINGTON (CBSMiami.com) – Members of the Broward Teachers Union met their new administrator Tuesday.
John Tarka, a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, was appointed administrator of the BTU Monday after an investigation was launched into the local chapter’s finances under its former president Pat Santeramo.
Tarka, who will head the Broward chapter for 6 months, was officially introduced Tuesday at the Broward Teachers Union building in Tamarac.
Tarka told CBS4’s Joan Murray there’s a big job to do in only six months.
“We know there’s a great deal of work that needs to be done,” said Tarka. “The Executive Board has raised questions that we are going to provide and get answers for those questions and address those issues. At the same time we also have to make sure that the hard work that is done by the Broward Teachers Union every day with our children, with our young adults, continues uninterrupted. They have to be able to focus very much on the challenges they face and the work they’re doing with children.”
The Broward Teachers Union asked the American Federation of Teachers to take over after the AFT became aware of financial irregularities of improper BTU political contributions to candidates for political committees.
Broward Teachers Union president Pat Santeramo was temporarily removed from his position last week amidst the financial probe at the BTU. Santeramo has refused to answer questions about the situation. A meeting of the executive board has been scheduled for Dec. 7 to decide whether to expel Santeramo from the BTU.
Tarka meanwhile, said AFT, which is the national affiliate of the Broward Teachers Union, “is assuming responsibility to look into and get answers to the questions and concerns that have been raised by the leaders of the BTU.
He knows it won’t be easy.
“We have a lot of work to do. We’re counting on our members to provide us with support and guidance as we go through that important work,” said Tarka.
Tarka is a former president of the Pittsburgh Teachers Federation and has been involved in education for the last 43 years.