ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The suspended president of the Alaska State Employees Association will be reinstated under orders from union international headquarters.
Charges against Ernest Thomas, accused of mismanaging ASEA-AFSCME Local 52, are still pending within the union system, however.
In January, Thomas was suspended by the executive board of Local 52 for ''conduct imminently dangerous to the welfare of the local.''
Thomas and the executive board have been feuding for most of his nearly two years as president. The union -- one of the state's largest -- represents about 7,500 state employees in 14 state departments, in positions ranging from clerks to psychiatric nurses to wildlife biologists.
The union president has power to authorize expenditures and chairs an 11-member policymaking board, made up of union members.
Board members said Thomas failed to authorize payments on time, costing the union more than $1,000 in late fees.
Among other charges, the union said Thomas:
-- Helped someone who was suing the union for $700,000, a lawsuit that was later dismissed for lack of evidence, according to the union.
-- Sent an e-mail to 185 people inaccurately alleging problems with the union's health trust, costing the trust $11,129 to respond.
Thomas said the suspension is part of an effort to railroad him out of office by some board members and the business manager because he has been critical of some of their actions.
The union's state president, secretary and treasurer are elected. Business manager Chuck O'Connell runs daily business and supervises the union's 23 employees.
Thomas said it's not the first time the international panel has been called in. He protested board interference in his election to president in 2000, resulting in a second election, which he also won, he said.
After a few months of productive work, things went downhill, he said. Thomas also said that the board had filed charges against him in the past but that they were dismissed or he was cleared.
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