Hunt elected president in letter carriers union re-vote
7/22/2016, 1:25 a.m.
Thelma J. Hunt is officially the first woman to lead one of the oldest union organizations in Richmond — the Old Dominion Branch 496 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
Ms. Hunt won the branch’s presidency on July 7, once again defeating rival Michael C. Milner. She captured 60 percent of the vote to retain the leadership of the branch that dates to 1893.
“I am glad this is settled so our branch can move forward,” Ms. Hunt said later in a brief telephone interview.
Ms. Hunt initially was elected president Dec. 16, narrowly defeating Mr. Milner by 11 votes. However, in May, the U.S. Department of Labor threw out the results and ordered a new election for the union’s officers after upholding Mr. Milner’s claims of irregularities in the conduct of the first election.
In the second election, Ms. Hunt won by 63 votes when the ballots were tallied under the supervision of the federal agency. She received 191 votes to 128 for Mr. Milner, a shop steward for the local.
Both were seeking to succeed Ronald E. Hinton Sr., who had served 22 years as branch president before stepping down when Ms. Hunt and other officers were installed in January.
Separately, Felix Narkon upset Ronnie Whitfield in the race to succeed Ms. Hunt as vice president of the branch. She had held that post for 19 years before running for president.
In the December election, Mr. Whitfield narrowly beat Mr. Narkon, formerly the union’s recording secretary. But the results were different this time, with Mr. Narkon defeating Mr. Whitfield 183-127.
More members participated in the second round of voting, although it was still less than half of the 658 members the U.S. Labor Department deemed eligible to cast ballots. A total of 323 ballots were cast compared with 194 cast in the Dec. 16 election, branch officials said.