Central Region Officers
Executive Vice President John Brown was appointed in September 2017 by then Region President Colleen Wheaton to fill out the remainder of the term for the vacancy created upon the retirement of former First Vice President Bob Timpano.
John has been a CSEA member since 1989 when he started working for the Holland Patent Central School District. He is currently employed as the High School Head Custodian. He has served as HPCS Non-Instructional Unit President since 2004 and as VP for one term prior to that. He is currently in his second term as Oneida County Educational Local 869 President. Prior to taking over as president, he had served in several positions in the Local. He currently represents both his Local and Unit as union representative on the BOCES health insurance consortium. He has also served in several capacities in local government, currently serving as a commissioner for the newly-formed Trenton Joint Fire District.
First Vice President Tom Hingher was appointed in October 2018 by then Region President Colleen Wheaton to fill out the remainder of the term for the vacancy created upon the resignation of former Executive Vice President Tammy Witteman.
Tom started at SUNY Cortland in 1998 as a temporary snow shoveler and worked his way up the ranks from cleaner, mail man, grounds worker, and plant utilities engineer, to his current position as plant utilities engineer two, where he is responsible for supervising the campus’ HVAC crew.
Tom has served as Local 605’s president for five years and vice president four years prior. He’s been active with the union’s Next Wave program, including being on the Region committee since its inception. He’s attended many other Local picnics and meetings representing Next Wave. He’s also an active grievance and interrogation representative and steward. Tom also serves as a vice president for the AFL/CIO Central Labor Council for the past two years, has volunteered as a CSEA Occupational Safety and Health peer trainer for over ten years, and served on our Region Health and Safety, Education/Program and Veterans Committees for many years. Up until his appointment to our Region Executive Board, he served as chair of our Region Budget Committee and was selected to serve on CSEA’s Board of Directors in April 2018. Tom will also graduate CSEA’s seventh Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program in November 2018.
As a veteran of the Air Force, Tom currently is a member of Cortland’s VFW and American Legion and was instrumental in arranging a neighborhood watch program.
He is also responsible for organizing the biggest team building tailgate parties at the region conferences where you will often see him slaving away at the grill!
Second Vice President Betty Jo Johnson was appointed in March 2019 by Central Region President Kenny Greenleaf to fill out the remainder of a vacant term.
As a member of the Madison County workforce, throughout the years Betty Jo has served as a Local President, Unit President, Vice-President of Local and Unit, Unit Secretary, Grievance Representative and Steward. She has also Chaired the Region 5 P.E.O.P.L.E. Committee and been a member of the Constitution & By-laws Committee, and the Region 5 PAC for several years. She has worked on numerous successful union-friendly political campaigns.
Betty Jo currently serves as President of Madison County Local 827 and the Madison County White Collar Unit. As such, she has helped to negotiate numerous contracts, grievance resolutions and settlement agreements. Betty Jo also Chairs the Statewide P.E.O.P.L.E. committee and received the 2017 P.E.O.P.L.E. Recruiter of the Year award. Betty Jo is also a past recipient of the Irene Carr Leadership Award. As a Region 5 Vice-President, she was recently assigned as liaison to the Constitution & By-laws, the Community Outreach, and the Region 5 P.E.O.P.L.E. Committees. Betty Jo looks forward to working with our Central Region team to ensure we stay Union Strong!
Third Vice President Tim Backus was recently appointed by Region President Ken Greenleaf to fill a vacancy on our Executive Board.
Tim works as a head custodian for Oneonta City Schools. He has served as a union officer for more than 20 years.
For the past six years, he has served as Otsego County Local president and has served as Oneonta City Schools Unit president for twelve years. He also serves on our statewide Budget and Schools Committees, and on the CSEA Board of Directors, as well as the Central Region Political Action Committee.
He describes himself as an avid outdoorsman and runs his own taxidermy business..
Secretary Chantalise DeMarco is serving her third term as a Region Officer, having been elected in 2008.
She works as a Casework Assistant for the Tompkins County Mental Health Department, and serves as Local 855 First Vice-President. She has worked for Tompkins County since 1994.
She has also served as a Negotiating Team member for the County White Collar Unit since 1998, and has been a member of the Region 5 Human Rights Committee.
Since 2006, she has been a member of the Tompkins County Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Legislative Advisory Committee.
Treasurer Nicole Meeks is serving her first term as Treasurer of CSEA Region 5, having been appointed in September 2017. Prior to accepting this position, Nicole served two years as the Region 5 Budget Chair.
Nicole has been employed by the City of Syracuse since 1999 and is currently an Accountant II for the City of Syracuse at the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority. In addition to her duties as the Region 5 Treasurer, Nicole is serving as Unit President for the City of Syracuse. Previous roles have been Vice President for two years and Treasurer for six years for the City of Syracuse Unit.
Nicole also served four years as the Treasurer of CSEA Local 834, Onondaga County, from 2013-2017 where she oversaw twenty-two units. As Treasurer, she assisted these units when necessary to ensure that their financial commitments were met when reporting to the Local.
In addition, Nicole is a certified Union Steward and Grievance Representative. Over the years, she has served in many capacities, including as a member of the City of Syracuse Unit’s Negotiating Committee and as a Chairperson of the City of Syracuse Deferred Compensation Board.
In 2015, Nicole was selected to participate in the CSEA Leadership Education and Development Program. She completed the program in March 2017 and is a proud graduate of the sixth CSEA LEAD class. Nicole has also attended numerous conventions, conferences, training sessions and community events in order to assist our members and to help make our community stronger.