Just as the memories of palm trees and sun have begun to fade from last year’s Conference of Members in Indian Wells, registration has opened for PORAC’s 2015 issues Symposium! The topics for this year will focus on pensions and post-retirement benefits, still a hot topic of conversation across both our bargaining and board tables, respectively. I am really excited to tell you that the Public Retirement Journal’s Amy Brown will moderate a full day of information, which is sure to be relevant to bargaining teams, association leaders and members alike. This valuable two-day training will be held at the Fess Parker DoubleTree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara on April 14 and 15. The pre-registered cost for members is $125 each (until April 3), with on-site registration, as available, for $225. PORAC has also secured a limited number of rooms at an excellent rate of $151 per night, but these will only be available until March 16. Don’t wait to get yourself registered to join us for what is always an enlightening and fun couple of days of networking and learning. For more information, take a look at page 12 or visit www.porac.org.
We’ve also seen all of PORAC’s monthly training courses begin to steadily fill up for 2015. This is great! Over the last couple of months, more than 100 members have joined us for the Association Leadership and Internal Affairs courses. At the end of this month, the first of three Basic Collective Bargaining courses for 2015 will begin. All offer the best and most up-to-date training from expert instructors and will fill up quickly. Don’t wait to register — so that you can go into your local bargaining with the best ability to secure a fair contract!
As I announced last month, we are holding a special election in Region I to fill the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) trustee position for the remainder of this year. Ballots went out last month and are due back to the PORAC office in Sacramento by 5 p.m. on March 12 (postmarks are not accepted). A winner will be declared after the votes are counted on March 13.
There is also another election going on, so if you are a CalPERS retiree, listen up. Mr. Henry Jones is seeking re-election to the retired member position on the CalPERS Board of Administration and needs your vote! Mr. Jones, who was endorsed by the PORAC Board of Directors last month, has been a strong and consistent voice for the sustainment of your benefits as a retiree, and has also been an approachable resource for us at PORAC. Our active members stepped up last year, helping to re-elect Priya Mathur back to the CalPERS Board. I am hoping that our CalPERS retired associate members can do the same thing. Don’t forget to vote!
Do you check the box? I do, and have for years now. A tax season ritual for me is giving a small fraction of my annual return to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation (CPOMF). It seems like the very least that I can do to demonstrate my support for the families and loved ones of those whose lives were lost in the line of duty. I know we’d all be relieved if we never had to enroll another name upon the bronze plates that honor the sacrifice of those in our profession who have fallen, but the bare reality is that it is a very dangerous job to keep our communities safe. As a police officer in California, I feel that it is my obligation to donate.
With nearly 100,000 peace officers in California, you would think that it would be easy to get every one of them to check the box, right? A modest $2 donation by each one of us could perpetually fund CPOMF and everything that it does for the families of our state’s heroes, not only immediately in the wake of tragedy but also in making good on our promise to “never forget.” Unfortunately, the foundation just doesn’t see this kind of commitment from all of us. There are several organizations, like PORAC, that make sizable, yearly contributions to CPOMF, along with a steady stream of various-sized associations that also donate. Some make a flat donation; others contribute through larger affiliations. For the most part, these keep the foundation afloat and able to put on the very honorable ceremony that we have come to appreciate and take great solace in each year. But what do you do personally, as a member of the law enforcement profession? Many have established payroll deductions with their agencies. Some “pass the hat” or host events, donating the proceeds of their efforts directly to the foundation.
To all of the aforementioned who contribute, thank you! Everything you’ve done has helped, and your continued support is appreciated. But to those of you who don’t contribute, why not? Anything you can spare will help! And by checking the box, you’ll essentially be passing along money that you’ve already “given” throughout the year to the state on to the foundation, without ever missing it. Certainly I’m not suggesting that you turn over your entire tax return each year, but could you spare $100? $40? $20? Or just $2? Regardless of the amount, it means something and will make a difference. For more details, check out page 31 of this issue or visit www.camemorial.org.
Take care and stay safe!