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BTU Exec. Board Temporarily Removes Santeramo As President

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) -The Broward Teacher's Union made major changes Tuesday night which saw a shakeup in leadership, at least temporarily.

The Union's Executive Board voted Tuesday for an administrator with the American Federation of Teachers to take over day-to-day operations of the Union on an interim basis.

The move comes as serious allegations are leveled against the Union President Pat Santeramo.

The BTU has confirmed that more than 2 dozen union members were involved in apparent campaign irregularities in the last presidential campaign, related to campaign contributions. Four members of the Executive Board have pointed the finger of blame at Santeramo, demanding he resign.

The board members released a letter this week in which that demand was made, after claiming that Santeramo used union finds to reimburse campaign contributions made in the election. The letter cites the results of a recent audit and accuses Santeramo of hiding the payments from the rest of the Union with false and misleading reports.

"The Executive Board must get ahead of Pat's reprehensible actions before it's too late, while getting ahead of this situation so that we can tell our members that we took appropriate action on behalf of the BTU. Our members must have the confidence that as their elected Executive Board we will do what is best for the whole and not sacrifice the entire Union for one person, " the letter said.

The Union said contributions totaling just under $20 thousand were involved and no contributions were made to local races.

Santeramo has been president of the BTU for 10 years.

Santeramo will have a hearing in December on whether he will keep his job.

John Ristow, spokesperson for the Broward Teacher's Union, said the move by the Executive Board Tuesday shows that the Union understands the seriousness of the investigations being undertaken by the Elections Commission and the Broward State Attorney's Office.

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