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UNITED STATES v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS

March 11, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, -against- INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, et al., Defendants. IN RE: APPLICATION NO. VII OF THE ELECTION OFFICER


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

 EDELSTEIN, District Judge :

 This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement of an action commenced by plaintiff United States of America (the "Government") against, inter alia, defendants International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT") and the IBT's General Executive Board embodied in the voluntary consent order entered March 14, 1989 (the "Consent Decree"). The goal of the Consent Decree is to rid the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime through a two-phased implementation of the Consent Decree's various remedial provisions.

 In the first phase of the Consent Decree, these provisions provided for three court-appointed officers: the Independent Administrator to oversee the Consent Decree's provisions, the Investigations Officer to bring charges against corrupt IBT members, and the Elections Officer to supervise the electoral process that led up to and included the 1991 election for IBT office. In the second phase of the Consent Decree, the Independent Administrator was replaced by a three-member Independent Review Board, but the position of Election Officer remained unchanged.

 Currently before this Court is Application No. VII of the Election Officer for an order Permitting Installation of Officers Prior to Certification ("Application VII"). For the following reasons, this Court finds that Application VII should be granted.

 BACKGROUND

 Pursuant to the Consent Decree and this Court's order of February 7, 1995, the Election Officer conducted the 1996 IBT union officer election. On November 7, 1996, the Election officer mailed ballots to IBT members in the United States and Canada. (Declaration of Barbara Zack Quindel in Support of Election Officer Application No. VII (For Order Permitting Installation of Officers Prior to Certification), United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 ("Quindel Decl.") P 4 (Feb. 18, 1997).) Those ballots began to be counted on December 10, 1996, and the count of unchallenged ballots was completed on December 14, 1996. Id. At that time, the Election Officer announced the winning candidates in the races for Regional Vice Presidents from Canada and the Eastern Region. Id.

 The margins in several races, however, required challenged ballot resolution pursuant to the Rules for the IBT 1995-1996 International Union Delegate and Officer Election (the "Election Rules"). Id. Under Article V, Section Nine of the Election Rules, ballot challenges must be resolved if the challenges could affect the outcome of an election. Id. P 5. In order to resolve them, challenged ballots are divided into groups and resolved by those groups in succession. Id. Challenged ballots from groups which are resolved in favor of eligibility are counted until such time as the number of challenged ballots remaining is too few to affect the outcome of the election. Id.

 Pursuant to Article V, Section Nine, the Election Officer conducted the first phase of the challenged ballot resolution between December 16 and December 18, 1996. Id. P 6. Following the first supplemental count, the Election Officer announced the results for Regional Vice-Presidents in the Central and Southern Regions. Id. The Election Officer and her staff then analyzed the remaining challenged ballots to determine methods for resolution. Id. The resolution of several thousand remaining challenged ballots required employer earnings verification, or other, more probing analysis of member records. Id. P 7. The process of resolving these ballots has been time-consuming, as it has necessitated contact with approximately 1,000 employers. Id.

 Post-election protests, including requests for a recount order pursuant to Article VIII of the Supplemental Rules for the Conduct of the 1996 International Officer Mail Ballot Election ("Supplemental Election Rules"), must be filed within fifteen days of the announcement of the winning candidate. (Quindel Decl. P 10.) Post-election protests have been filed following each of the Election Officer's announcements of results. Id. Decisions are pending in certain of these cases. Id. In addition, following the conclusion of the fourth supplemental count and the announcement of the remaining winning candidates, there is a fifteen-day period within which post-election protests for those positions must be filed. Id.

 The Election Officer informs this Court that she has received a request for a recount of certain races, pursuant to Article VII, Section I of the Supplemental Election Rules. Id. P 11. The requested recounts are scheduled to take place in March 1997. Id. As a result, the completion of the post-election protest and appeals process is likely to extend into April 1997. Id. P 12.

 In January 1997, the Election Officer informed the Government and the IBT that she did not intend to certify the results of the election until the completion of the post-election protest and appeals process. Id. P 13. On January 30, 1997, IBT General President Ron Carey ("Carey") issued an IBT Constitutional interpretation that the incumbent IBT officers would remain in power until the newly-elected officers are qualified by action of the Elections Officer or Order of this Court, and the new officers are sworn in. Id. P 14.

 As a result of the timing of the events set forth above and Carey's Constitutional interpretation, the Election Officer contends that if installation of the officers who have received the highest number of votes follows the certification of the election, there will be a delay of weeks before these officers assume their positions. Id. In order to avoid such delay, the Election Officer brings the instant application before this Court seeking permission to install newly-elected officers prior to the election certification. (Memorandum in Support of Election Officer Application No. VII (For Order Permitting Installation of Officers Prior to Certification), United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 ("Quindel Memo") at 4-5 (Feb. 18, 1997).) Both the Government and the IBT have filed papers supporting the instant application. See (Letter from Karen B. Konigsberg, Assistant United States Attorney, to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, ("Govt. ...


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