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NATCA Elects New Leadership --- Top Posts End in Runoffs - (8/1/1997)

Washington, D.C. - It's still a mystery as to who will take the two top spots in the union representing the nation's air traffic controllers. Yesterday's ballot count in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association elections culminated in runoff races for the positions of president and executive vice president.

NATCA's presidential candidates, Joseph M. Bellino and Mike McNally, will continue to campaign for the post left open when current President Barry Krasner decided not to run for a third three-year term. McNally is the union's current executive vice president and Bellino is NATCA's facility representative at the Chicago TRACON.

Executive vice president candidates, Washington Center Fac Rep. James Kidd and Southern Region Vice President Randy Schwitz, will also battle for the membership's votes until ballots for the runoff election are mailed. Of the nine regional vice president races, only one resulted in a runoff.

Current Great Lakes Regional Vice President Jim Poole will attempt to retain his post while Mark Scholl, facility representative at Chicago Center, makes his best effort to take over the leadership of that region.

NATCA members had 60 days to vote for the two national leaders and for nine regional vice president posts around the country. Out of the 11 races, three resulted in runoffs. At this point, only two current members of the union's National Executive Board will return for another term. It is possible that two others will remain, after the runoff results are announced.

"It looks as if the union is headed for change," said NATCA President Barry Krasner. "I know the new administration - whoever ultimately takes office - will serve NATCA to the best of its ability. I congratulate the winners and the rest of the candidates. Each one has proven they are dedicated to this union. I thank them for their efforts."

Victors in the regional vice president races are: Rick Thompson, Alaskan; Bill Otto, Central; Joe Fruscella, Eastern; Mike Blake, New England; James Ferguson, Northwest Mountain; Rodney Turner, Southern; Mark Pallone, Southwestern; and Gus Guerra, Western Pacific.

Runoffs will be settled in accordance with NATCA's election rules. Ballots are expected to be mailed on Aug. 15 and counted on Sept. 16. Confirmed winners will take office on Sept. 1 and those chosen in the runoffs will likely be installed on Oct. 15.

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