It’s already February and football is no more, at least until August — where has the time gone? This year started off in a hurry with several pressing issues, one of which is pension reform. Most of you should have noticed that your first-quarter PORAC dues invoice contained a $2-per-member-per-month increase. This was the dues increase proposed and adopted by PORAC members from the floor during the 2014 Conference of Members. This two-year increase has a caveat that the monies be sequestered and used to fight any issues dealing with pension reform.
I hope that everyone will continue to embrace this dues increase, since we know we are going to face another pension attack in 2018. While it takes affirmative action to opt out of the increase, I would hope that if your association were to do so, it would consider an alternative contribution method, such as using your PIC funds. The proposed bylaw only affects active members; however, retirees realize that any attack on our pensions can easily translate into affecting them, and we have received individual contributions from RAM members as well. I want to express my gratitude to all the RAM members who have taken an active role in combating pension reform. While we have a reprieve for two years, it is evident that Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio want to ensure that their reform affects everyone: active and retired members. Bear in mind that this delay is a calculated move by Reed and DeMaio, since they are waiting to see how the Supreme Court rules on agency shops, which will most likely limit the funds available from our anti-pension-reform partners to fight their initiatives — not to mention that 2018 is a non-presidential election year, which normally means that the voter turnout is greatly reduced and predominantly conservative.
On another note, the market has not had a happy new year so far. The S&P is down about 7.93%, the worst first week and consecutive two weeks of the market’s history. However, remember Mark Sikorski’s words: “It would not be a game if the market always went up.” The UBS geniuses are predicting that the market will recover the 8% and end the year in high single digits, with plenty of volatility along the way. Obviously, the current turbulence is being fueled by falling crude oil prices and China. So hold on for the ride, because it will be fun. Hopefully, you don’t plan to retire anytime soon and waited until now to begin making safer investments. If you are retiring soon, hopefully you made the necessary adjustments when the market was experiencing less volatility.
Another important matter for the coming year: As your association’s new board gears up for 2015 by preparing meeting calendars and establishing new goals and resolutions, keep in mind your PORAC chapter meetings. Chapter meetings are a vital resource in networking with your neighboring POAs or DSAs. As association presidents and boards are filling appointments for 2015, please consider creating a PORAC chapter liaison position.
Your PORAC chapter liaison does not necessarily have to be a board member, but it does help. Your liaison can be an aspiring board member who is active within your association. Remember, your appointee is going to represent your POA or DSA at the chapter level, so you want someone who has the authority to share pertinent information about your association. This is where the “rubber meets the road” as it comes to networking and information sharing. I have had the pleasure to witness new attendees at my chapter meetings realizing that their perils are currently or at some point were shared by other associations at the table. This is why having a chapter liaison is extremely important. In law enforcement, we are masters of not reinventing the wheel, and chapter meetings are that resource to help your association. It may be as simple as creating or updating your bylaws, or dealing with a current issue or concerns within your association, or as intricate as navigating the negotiations or concession currents.
Visit www.porac.org/calendar to see the PORAC Calendar of Events, which should list your chapter meeting. If your chapter’s meeting information is not there, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will research it for you. See you at the chapter meeting!
Be safe and have fun.