May 3, 2023

BENTE UNION MEMBERS, please take note of the following updates: 

UNION NOMINATIONS: Please be advised that on Tuesday, May 2nd, nominations for the six Chair Officers and one Trustee were held. Here are the results:

  • Louise “Weezy” Landry nominated Dan DiClemente for president. Brother DiClemente declined the nomination.
  • Dan DiClemente nominated Ange Palmerini for president. Brother Palmerini accepted the nomination.
  • There were no other nominations for president and therefore, Ange Palmerini is declared elected as president.
  • Dan DiClemente nominated Jessica Rinebold for vice president. Sister Rinebold accepted the nomination.
  • There were no other nominations for vice president and therefore, Jessica Rinebold is declared elected as vice president.
  • Dan DiClemente nominated Barbara Zarpentine for secretary-treasurer. Sister Zarpentine accepted the nomination.
  • There were no other nominations for secretary-treasurer and therefore, Barbara Zarpentine is declared elected as secretary-treasurer. 
  • Dan DiClemente nominated Sonia Alvarado for recording secretary. Sister Alvarado accepted the nomination.
  • There were no other nominations for recording secretary and therefore, Sonia Alvarado is declared elected as recording secretary.
  • Dan DiClemente nominated Zelder Bice and Wayne Collom for the two positions of sergeant-at-arms. Sister Bice and Brother Collom accepted the nomination.
  • There were no other nominations for sergeant-at-arms and therefore, Zelder Bice and Wayne Collom are both declared elected as sergeant-at-arms.
  • Dan DiClemente nominated Pete Dibenedetto for trustee. Brother Dibenedetto accepted the nomination.
  • There were no other nominations for trustee and therefore, Pete Dibenedetto is declared elected as trustee.

SWEET SORROW: Three years ago, just before COVID was discovered, I was diagnosed in the hospital with Stage Four kidney cancer. The tumor was the size of a football and the cancer had traveled to my lungs and lymph nodes. The odds of survival were not good. I started to look around for a place that was well versed in treating kidney cancer and decided upon Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

The first step was surgery to remove the tumor (and kidney), which resulted in plenty of obstacles once they opened me up. The surgeon I had was first rate, and I credit him with saving my life.

A couple of months later, I went to the oncologist, who told me that the best method of treatment for kidney cancer is immunotherapy (not chemotherapy or radiation) which basically ramps up your own immune system to battle the cancer. I began treatments once per month through an IV and reacted well. One year later, the nodules in my lungs were practically gone and the lymph node was nothing more than a scar.

Things were going well until I started experiencing headaches, vision problems, and unsteadiness. Roswell did an MRI and found a large, inoperable tumor in my head, which was creating swelling on my brain. They put me on a high dose of steroids to reduce the swelling, which it did, but it also caused me to swell up everywhere else, which is why I am now too sexy for my clothes.

Roswell recommended a treatment involving radiation and it has reduced the tumor in my head. I have an MRI every two months to see if the tumor grows and they decide from there if I need to endure more treatments.

I have been very fortunate to have been able to work this entire time, to the point where I have answered many an e-mail from the infusion chair.

One of the biggest worries I had when I was diagnosed was that I was not retirement eligible for my New York State pension. In October of 2022, I turned fifty-five years of age and in March of 2023, I hit my thirty years of employment threshold.

After seven terms and twenty-one years as president of BENTE, it is time for me to retire and devote whatever time I have left to my wife of thirty-two plus years.

Part of what makes the decision to leave so much easier is knowing that the team of union officers in place right now is more than capable of protecting what we have built and leading the union into the future. It has never been about one person, it has always been a team effort, and I am confident that our new BENTE President, Ange Palmerini, will continue to lead the team without hesitation when it comes to defending the rights of our members.

We need more members, especially the younger generation, to get involved! I can tell you that without my union, that sense of purpose to help others and put them before yourself, I would not be the person I am today. I can also tell you that without my union I don’t think I would be alive today.  The health insurance the union bargained for and continues to fight to maintain, allowed me to receive treatments that would have bankrupted my family otherwise. If I had to choose between paying thousands of dollars for treatments or dying, I would not bankrupt my family. But I didn’t have to make that choice because there was no reason to die over a fifteen-dollar copay. The fact that I can retire now is because I have a pension and health care, and that can all be attributed to what the union fights for every day.

I will be finishing up my term as AFSCME International Vice President, which will end in the summer of 2024 and as Council 66 President, which will be in the summer of 2025. My last day with the RCSD and BENTE will be June 30, 2023. I cannot express to you how much it has meant to me to be able to represent such a great group of people for so many years and I have always considered our members to be the backbone of the District. Without you and the jobs you perform, the District could not function. Your level of importance is worth fighting for and I have been honored to be able to do so. It has truly been a privilege to represent such a great bunch of people through good times and bad. 

I love you all.


If you have an issue or comment, please do not hesitate to e-mail me directly at

In Solidarity,  

Daniel DiClemente, President


“The Support Staff that Supports Students”

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