I am finishing up my 17th year as President of our local – looking forward to handing over the reins to my successor in office and serving as a mentor to all members who would like to learn more about our local. I have worked 37.5 years for Hennepin County and am very proud to be a public employee. My employment began on 9/8/1980 as an Eligibility Technician which was retitled the Financial Worker series and then moved on to Child Support in March 1985 where I am now a Principal Child Support Officer. The local has grown from under 1000 to almost 2500 during this time and from about 20 job classes to 43 job classes. I live by this quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
1st Vice President
Before joining Hennepin County in 2015, Alex worked as a community, political and union organizer. He was most notably involved in efforts to unionize Minnesota homecare workers (successful) and work at TakeAction Minnesota to defeat the Voter Restriction Amendment in 2012 (defeated by 8 points on Election Day). Alex served in the United States Army as a Cavalry Scout and is an Iraq War veteran. He is currently a Veterans’ Service Representative working out of the South Minneapolis Human Service Center within the County and has served as a Table Team contract negotiations member (2015), Elections Officer, Dental Trustee, West Metro PEOPLE Candidate Screening committee member, AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board member and web developer. He lives in the Whittier neighborhood, Minneapolis with his two small dogs, Pinot and Atticus.
2nd Vice President
Grace Baltich has been working as a Social Worker since 1999. She first joined AFSCME in June 2003 when she began working at Wright County Human Services, where she served as President and Chief Steward of her AFSCME local there for 8 years and negotiated 3 contracts. Grace also served on AFSCME Council 65’s executive board for 6 years, including Vice-President and President for 2 years each. Grace became a Hennepin County Senior Social Worker in the Front Door in June 2014. She served as Steward for a year and acting Co-Chief Steward before being elected to Vice-President in May 2017. As VP, Grace has successfully brought forward workplace issues to Meet and Confers and serves on the Labor Management Health Care Committee. Grace serves as one of our AFSCME Local 34’s Delegate to the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (MRLF) where she is Reading Clerk on the Executive Board and co-chair of the North Suburban Advisory Council. Grace was recently appointed to the MN AFL-CIO General Board out the MRLF. Grace has also been strengthening our AFSCME union through organizing non-union classifications within Hennepin County as a Volunteer Member Organizer with our AFSCME Council 5. Grace has been active politically since the 1980’s, has previously run for State Representative and School Board, and currently serves as Chair of the DFL Senate District 36 where she lives in Champlin with her two children Eva (age 7) and Kallan (age 4) and their cat Oreo.
Senior Chief Steward
Brian Olson is a Human Services Representative, Senior and has not submitted a bio.
Junior Chief Steward
Kenneth W. Garnier is a father, musician, and activist. He started employment with Hennepin County in 2011 as a Human Services Representative and has actively sought opportunities to organize workers with Local 34. Now an HSR Senior, he was nominated and elected for a Member At Large position and now serves as Senior Chief Steward on the Local 34 Executive Board. Kenneth also holds various positions in the labor movement including, but not limited to: Young Worker Chair (AFL-CIO), Hennepin County Policy Committee Treasurer, MAT Leader, & AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board member. Always eager to engage members through 1 on 1 conversations, Kenneth has been an avid proponent of organic union organizing. Kenneth is assigned to the South Minneapolis Human Service Center and encourages our members to contact him with any questions or concerns.
Before joining the County in 2015, David worked as a foster care social worker in New York City. David also worked on organizing campaigns in 2010. Currently David is an ICWA Child Protection Social Worker working with Native American parents. Since joining the county 2015, David has been active in child protection matters with the union.
Deb Konechne is a Public Health Nurse and has not submitted a bio.
Paul Madison is a Human Services Representative, Senior and has not submitted a bio.
Sergeant At Arms
Andrea is a Child Protection Social Worker and has not submitted a bio.
Member At Large
Angel is a Human Services Representative, Senior and has not submitted a bio.
Member At Large
I have been a member of AFSCME since 1987, starting in Local 2822 as Service Center Rep then a member of Local 34 in 1997 as a Financial Worker, then Child Support officer, my current position. I have been active in Local 34 for about 8 or 9 years as a Member at Large. I am currently the chair of the Finance committee and am responsible for setting up out budget. I have been assisting with the distribution of the newsletters for the past 8 or 9 years. I have attended Day on the Hill and Council 5 Conventions for several years. I have attended several rallies and events. I have done phone banking and door knocking. Our union is important to me. Member participation is important to keep AFSCME strong and relevant.
I am also an active member of other committees. I have been on the Project Diversity Executive Board for 5 years and am involved in other Project Diversity committees. Diversity is a part of life and we need to be open minded and accepting of others to enrich our life. I have been a member of the Child Support Information Committee for at least 5 years providing information to other Hennepin County employees, community partners, and the public about child support. I am a native Minnesotan from Minneapolis. I have a Diploma from Brainerd Vo-Tech and an Associate of Liberal Arts from MCTC. I have been married for 27 years and am the mother of 2 beautiful adult daughters.
Member At Large
Brenda R. Louise joined Hennepin County in 1996, and has worked in various roles in the child welfare area since then. She currently works as a Child Protection Social Worker. She became more actively involved in the union after attending a Labor Lunch, and since then has served as a Table Team contract negotiations member (2015), and as a Member At Large (currently). She welcomes the opportunity that the union offers to get together with other like-minded workers who believe in the power to improve the work environment and the community by working together and supporting each other. She lives with her partner Kevin and can be seen after work walking around the neighborhood with her Rottweiller mix.
Member At Large
•Senior HSR South Suburban Hub
•Active member since 12/15
•First serving as Steward until my appointment to the Executive Board as Member at Large in 4/16
•Attended numerous union activist trainings, which allowed me to bring that knowledge and experience back to our local to assist in our organizing efforts with both our AFSCME strong campaign and our MAT structure.
I stand for a safe and fair work environment that promotes stability, diversity, inclusion, respect and empowerment of our members!
Member At Large
Ali is a Families Human Services Representative at the South Minneapolis location. She began at the county in the summer of 2015 and quickly realized her passion for union organizing. In her spare time she enjoys hamming it up with her American Staffordshire Terrier, Opie.
Member At Large
Dr. Sametta Hill is a Social Worker and has not submitted a bio.