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Sorrow announces retirement

CLEVELAND, June 2 — BLET National President Paul T. Sorrow submitted a letter to National Secretary-Treasurer William C. Walpert today, advising that he is resigning the Presidency effective July 1, 2010, in order to retire. President Sorrow’s letter also stated the following:

    "I have always known that my time would come, and trusted that I would have the wisdom to recognize this before anyone else. The pace of the past couple of months has taken a significant toll on me physically. Considering the even greater demands of the coming months that will be placed upon the National President by virtue of my in-depth involvement in the regional meetings and the upcoming Quadrennial Convention, I have concluded, with the advice of my physician, that now is the appropriate time for me to depart.

    "My tenure has been the most fulfilling and rewarding period of my Brotherhood career. Having taken office during one of the darkest and most tumultuous periods in our history, I am proud of the way our officers at every level of the Organization joined hands to work together and focus on the tasks ahead.

    "I also consider myself fortunate that the Advisory Board quickly united behind me and acted swiftly to bring about several important internal reforms, from increasing the transparency and accountability of our Designated Legal Counsel program, to approving the use of outside auditors on a quarterly basis to review and examine all National Division expenses, to overhauling the process for reimbursing officers for legitimate expenses incurred at their home stations. I firmly believe our internal governance has been significantly strengthened by these actions.

    "Over my entire career I have always left everything on the field, and I have certainly done so as National President. That being said I could not in good conscience continue in office, only to risk not being able to give it my all in the fall, when so many important decisions about our future must be made. Although I have not accomplished all of my goals, the key internal reforms enacted during my Presidency have put the BLET back on the right track. I have every confidence that Alternate President, Brother Dennis Pierce, has the intelligence, the energy, the strength and the ability to build on our recent achievements and lead our Brotherhood to a brighter future, and I turn the throttle over to him with no reservations.

    "I appreciate the friendship and support that you and so many wonderful Brothers and Sisters have shown me over the decades, and will always stand by to help the Brotherhood that has always helped me."


President Sorrow, who will be 64 in August, began his professional railroad career with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1965. He has maintained continuous membership in Division 498 (Abbeville, S.C.) since joining the Brotherhood on March 1, 1972. He has served the Brotherhood as Local Chairman, Vice General Chairman and General Chairman (Seaboard Coast Line and CSX General Committees of Adjustment), Vice President, First Vice President and National President.

“Of the 45 years Paul Sorrow spent working in the railroad industry, 38 have been in dedicated service to the Brotherhood,” First Vice President Dennis Pierce said. “He has always put the Brotherhood first throughout his life and he has earned the right to enjoy time with his family and loved ones. The Brotherhood is a better place today because of Paul Sorrow and I ask all BLET members to join me in thanking him for his contributions to our Brotherhood.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
bentley@ble-t.org

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