Members honored for their union service at 2022 Delegate Assembly

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MAPE President Megan Dayton says one of her favorite parts of Delegate Assembly each year is when MAPE “gives out two special awards to honor the accomplishments of our members who do so much for our union and all of us.”

The awards are named in honor of former MAPE members Betty Rogers and Neil Farnsworth.

Betty Rogers Award

Claudia Hochstein

The Betty Rogers Award celebrates a Minnesota government professional for outstanding union achievement and was awarded to Claudia Hochstein this year. Hochstein is a senior planner with the Pollution Control Agency and chairs the agency’s Meet and Confer Committee.

Dayton first met Hochstein when they both served on the Negotiations Committee two rounds ago and said, “Claudia’s always been active, involved and vocal about contract bargaining. She is quick to emphasize how important it is to show that the union is not a third party – it is all of us.”

Dayton added that Hochstein is often the first one to volunteer to record videos, attend rallies and do anything else that’s needed for bargaining.

Hochstein, in turn, says that “Being on Negotiations has helped me to build power and bring people along. It’s my passion and that’s why I negotiate.”

Neil Farnsworth Award

MAPE Vice President Angie Halseth presented the Neil Farnsworth Distinguished Service Award to a steward(s) who goes the extra mile to help other members. Halseth chairs the Employee Rights Committee and said she can personally attest that this year’s recipients Maureen Dunaway and Bryan Kotta go the extra mile day after day to help other members.

Bryan Kotta

Kotta, a member since 1993, is an IT specialist at Minnesota State’s Moorhead campus.

He is a longtime member of MAPE’s Board of Directors, and has served on myriad other committees including the Building Corp, Political Fund Oversight, the Anti-Bullying Taskforce and the Negotiations Committee.

Kotta said he got involved in steward work because he thinks he has a “fairly unbiased fairness gene” and says, “It’s always bothered him that one person should be treated differently from someone else.”

Kotta recently stepped down as Region 15 Chief Steward but he briefed and worked with his replacement before doing so. Even though he has stepped down, Kotta still insisted on taking a leadership role in the upcoming steward retreat.

The other recipient of the Neil Farnsworth Award this year is Maureen Dunaway. Dunaway had been Region 5 Chief Steward until she was elected Speaker of the Meet and Confer Chairs.

Maureen Dunaway

According to Halseth, “You could always count on Maureen to be knowledgeable about the contract and her ability to enforce it. I was always impressed with her in her role of Chief Steward because she was very thoughtful, and you could tell she cared about our union and our members.”

“I like being there for members when they need us most,” Dunaway said.

Dunaway joined MAPE when she began her career with a State a dozen years ago as a temporary unclassified employee at the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

While at DEED, she has most recently been in the middle of it all as an operations analyst throughout COVID-19. During one stretch, they processed 300,000 unemployment insurance applications in a three-week period, more than they processed in all of 2019. She fought hard so more of her colleagues could have access to telework and vacation time cancelled during the pandemic.

Like Bryan Kotta, when she stepped down as Chief Steward because of her role as Speaker of the Meet and Confer Chairs, she found her replacement and not only trained him but continues to support him. As Dunaway is quick to point out, “It’s never been just about me – I don’t get things done alone. It’s a collective effort.”