Members Request $2 Dues Increase!
It’s already February, football is no more and where has the time gone? This year started off in a hurry with several pressing issues. One of those was pension reform. Most of you should have noticed that your first-quarter PORAC dues invoice contained a $2-per-member-per-month dues increase. This was a direct result of the dues increase proposed and adopted by PORAC members from the floor during the 2014 Conference of Members. This two-year, $2 dues increase has a caveat that the monies be sequestered and used to fight any issues dealing with pension reform — and we know Chuck Reed is working diligently to bring forth another pension reform initiative in 2016.
I hope that everyone will embrace this dues increase, since we know we are going to face another pension attack. While it takes affirmative action to opt out of the increase, I hope that if your association does opt out, they will consider an alternative contribution method, such as using PIC funds. While in Sacramento in January for the Executive Committee meeting, I was informed by Kim, our accountant, that we have received numerous personal checks from RAM members wanting to do their part and contribute toward the fight against pension reform. The proposed bylaw only affects active members; however, retirees realize that any attack on our pensions can easily translate into affecting retirees. I want to express my gratitude to all RAM members who have taken an active role in combating pension reform.
Speaking of pension attacks, we have divested our interests in Franklin Templeton after receiving a request from our members in Stockton. Franklin Templeton is another example of how relentless an organization can be in trying to recover funds from an unsecured business loan. It filed a lawsuit against Stockton to recover its money while the City was in bankruptcy proceedings. However, the lawsuit was geared against CalPERS and its protected status as a creditor. As a result, the bankruptcy judge made a preliminary ruling that CalPERS was not a protected creditor. This preliminary ruling has opened the gates for future litigation, along with cities and counties looking at insolvency as a means to negate their retirement agreements.
Let me shift gears from retirement to another important matter for the coming year: As your association’s 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; however, it does help. Your liaison can also be an aspiring board member who is active within your POA or DSA. 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 of witnessing new attendees at my chapter meetings who realize 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.
Last year on a few occasions, I was approached by associations seeking assistance from PORAC with issues affecting their members. My first question to them was always “Did you attend your last chapter meeting?” Inevitably, their response was “We don’t have the time,” or “Why do I need to attend PORAC meetings to seek guidance from PORAC?” The answer is that you don’t have to attend the meetings to get assistance; however, 80 to 90% of the time, there is another member present at the table who has — or knows other members who have — experienced what you are dealing with and has invaluable insight on how to assist you.
Visit www.porac.org and click “Calendar” on the left side of the Web page. The PORAC Calendar should contain your chapter meeting information. If your chapter information is not there, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will research it for you. See you at the chapter meeting!
Be safe and have fun.