Staff changes, Tom Bilodeau honored
Diane Fladmo has moved to MEA-MFT's Helena office to take over for Tom Bilodeau as research director and member benefits and retirement coordinator. Fladmo previously worked as a field consultant in the Missoula office.
Dave Severson, former MEA-MFT vice president, has replaced Fladmo as field consultant for local affiliates in the Northwest 3 region. MEA-MFT members will vote on Severson’s successor as vice president at the annual MEA-MFT Representative Assembly, April 1-2 in Helena.
Tom Bilodeau honored
Tom Bilodeau, who is retiring after 26 years as MEA-MFT research director, was honored during MEA-MFT Committee Weekend in Helena in December. Participants gave him two standing ovations in recognition of his outstanding work.
MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver pointed to Bilodeau’s expertise and influence on Montana legislation. He praised Bilodeau’s excellent work on retirement issues, including writing the constitutional amendment that protects Montana public employees’ retirement benefits. Montana voters passed the amendment, which MEA-MFT initiated and championed, in a 1994 constitutional referendum.
Feaver added that Bilodeau’s influence has been instrumental in school funding issues, insurance issues, and collective bargaining law.
Bilodeau responded by joking that he became an attorney so he could avoid dealing with math and numbers. But when he became research director for then-MEA in 1984, he discovered that numbers are “just another way to tell our stories, the stories that affect our lives, the lives of working people.”
He added, “I feel very privileged to have served you, to have worked for working people.”
Steve Henry, MEA-MFT field consultant in the Billings office, noted that Bilodeau’s annual retirement workshops have “helped a lot of members across the state plan for successful retirements. Now he’s sailing off to his own retirement, well deserved.”
Best of luck, Tom! We’ll miss you.