The executive director of one of Minnesota’s biggest labor unions has been put on temporary leave pending an investigation into unspecified allegations.
John Westmoreland, executive director Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was suspended last week after the executive board “learned of allegations regarding staff of AFSCME Council 5,” a union statement said.
An outside entity will lead an investigation into the allegations “to ensure impartiality through all aspects of the process,” the statement said.
“AFSCME guarantees due process for all members and respects the privacy of all parties involved,” the statement said. “For this reason, we will not comment further on this matter until the investigation is complete.”
South St. Paul-based AFSCME Council 5 is the umbrella organization for local unions that represent more than 43,000 state and local government workers across Minnesota.
Westmoreland has been AFSCME Council 5’s executive director since November 2017. Westmoreland, a former corrections officer in Stillwater, also served as assistant director of Council 5.
Council 5’s executive board has named Peter Benner, former AFSCME Council 6 executive director, to serve as Council 5 interim executive director. Benner served as executive director of AFSCME Council 6 from 1982 until 2005, when it merged with two other councils to form AFSCME Council 5.