Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

PORAC’s Budget Committee and financial team — Executive Committee Directors Barry Donelan, Randy Beintema, Anthony Sanders and Gary Moore, President Brian Marvel, Vice President Brent Meyer, Finance and Administrative Manager Kim Busman and I — have been busy through this budget cycle. The committee continued to focus on areas of the budget where we felt the organization could be more efficient. We have taken our fiduciary responsibility very seriously and are not afraid to ask tough questions or make adjustments to ensure the financial health of the organization. Our decisions are focused on doing what is best with your money. Therefore, some areas were targeted for potential cuts on the basis of whether PORAC is utilizing its money wisely and efficiently. We looked at areas where the budget could be streamlined, along with increasing efficiency and reducing potential unnecessary expenditures. This requires a paradigm shift away from the concept of “That is how we have always done it.”

“How we have always done it” could eventually become a costly venture for any organization. While PORAC is fiscally strong and can continue to sustain practices along the current lines, the real question should be “Why should we continue doing it that way, and is that based on best practices?” This year, the Committee took a serious look at items that are normally outside the overall budget and made a decision to bring them in-house. In doing so, we alleviated funds from other accounts, such as our PAC and PIC. This helps PORAC become a greater political powerhouse, especially in this post-Janus era.

Budget decisions are not evaluated in a vacuum, and those who are affected by them may feel that the changes are personal attacks. However, they are not made with ill will or for retribution, but rather to ensure that we are fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility for our members’ monies. If the organization can save a few hundreds or thousands of dollars by curtailing certain practices, we need to consider those changes. Over time, minor adjustments can add up to significant amounts that can be used to strengthen the organization’s financial footing or toward other projects. Nonetheless, it is important to keep the overall impact in mind and not just make budgetary changes because they save money.

On another note, remember that if you are on your POA or DSA’s board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your members. Your members have elected you to keep their best interests in mind, especially when it comes to financial matters. If you fail in your responsibility, you are subject to legal ramifications. Please take your responsibility seriously, and make sure to review your POA or DSA’s financial statements, ask questions and ensure that there are checks and balances in place to avoid fraud and deception.

I am proud of the work being done by the Budget Committee and the rest of the PORAC financial team. Everyone is working diligently to ensure that PORAC is a force to be reckoned with, as well as protecting your money. I look forward to having the final draft of the 2019 budget for your review at Conference, along with the opportunity to provide you with additional insight on the positive work being accomplished by your PORAC financial team. I have made a commitment to being your “fiscal watchdog,” and I continue to stand by that commitment. PORAC has made great financial strides over the past several years, and we need to ensure that it continues to be financially strong through prudent fiscal management and oversight.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

Gearing Up for Conference

Last year’s audit is now completed and PORAC fared well. We had the usual challenges, which the auditors delineated to the Board of Directors. The concerns were discussed and the Board understands the reason for these challenges. In addition, I was provided with direction to resolve those issues within our sphere of influence.

The budget committee met and finalized the proposed 2019 budget. The budget was presented to the Board of Directors in August. The next phase is to have you and the rest of our members review the budget at the Conference of Members.

As part of the budget and compensation process, the Budget/Compensation Committee reviewed the proposal submitted by Finance and Administrative Manager Kim Busman. The proposal used a list of salaries for similar positions within the Sacramento area. The committee moved forward with some salary adjustments. In addition, we looked at creating new positions within the office so as to become more responsive to our members and to bring PORAC’s message to everyone on a consistent and timely basis. During the Conference of Members, we will discuss the changes occurring within the office operations. These changes will enhance our services to members and continue to make PORAC a strong voice and force within and outside our state.

Our investment tsar, Mark Sikorski, presented the market outlook to the Board of Directors. Based on how the market has performed this year, his assessment of what is going to happen was clear as mud. Keep in mind the market has done some interesting things this year. Ultimately, the feeling in the financial world is that we are looking at an adjustment and/or correction in the market. However, the geniuses believe the market could reach record highs at year’s end.

Please attend your local chapter meetings and keep yourself informed as to what is occurring within your city, county and state, especially in the “anti-police” environment we find ourselves today. It seems there are many people out there who profess to know how to do our job without ever having donned a uniform. Yet those who condemn us are also the first to expect our help when things go sideways for them. Quite a bit of information is being disseminated about AB 931 and what our members can do to help. This legislation is an all-out assault on how we protect our communities and ourselves. Please visit the PORAC website or contact your local chapter director to find out how you can help defeat this ill-intentioned legislation.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Conference of Members in Reno and providing you with the opportunity to review your 2019 PORAC budget as well as addressing any financial questions, suggestions or comments you may have about PORAC’s financial health.

Be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

It’s Budget Time

Last year’s audit is in the wrap-up stages. It appears your PORAC financial team was able to gauge our income and expenses fairly well. When you deduct our unrealized gains and losses on our investments, we ended up with a surplus.

By the time you read this article, the Budget Committee will be well on the way toward presenting the proposed 2019 budget to the Board of Directors. As in the past, our accountant has done an extensive review of the last three to five years’ income and expenses to create a better prediction for the 2019 budget. We continue to see some certainties in areas where increases will be needed.

You will have an opportunity to review PORAC’s budget at the Conference of Members in Reno, Nevada. If you have not yet registered, please make sure to do so as quickly as possible! I would hate to see you left out of the Annual Conference. You may register at PORAC.org.

Now let’s take a look at your individual association’s budget. When preparing it, you may want to use the three-to-five-year average method we employ at PORAC. However, association budget preparation calls for a bit of a paradigm shift in your thought process, from government budgeting to business budgeting.

In the first phase, you need to determine which items you want to maintain at status quo and which will require an increase or decrease. This is where the three-to-five-year average comes in handy in providing justification for the amounts you have decided to place under each category.

Second, it’s important to remember in business budgeting that a surplus in your last year’s budget shows you have done a great job in the budgeting process, as well as fulfilling your fiduciary responsibility to your members. The surplus does not mean you need to go and spend the money before the end of the budget cycle, fearing that item will not be fully funded for the following year. Remember that as association leaders, you make the decisions on what will or will not be funded for the following year.

Finally, do not set your budget in stone. You are not required to have your members formally adopt the budget, although that does not preclude them from reviewing it and making recommendations. If it’s your association’s practice to formally adopt your yearly budget, you may want to reconsider it, especially when it comes to making significant increases to a specific line item. If your members formally adopted the budget, you will have to get your entire membership to meet and adopt the change. If you are a part of a small association, this may not be a problem; however, for large associations it could be a costly process. Either way, keep your members involved and informed during the process by giving them the opportunity to review the budget along the way and provide them with guidance through the fiscal roadmap your board has decided to follow for the following year.

Not setting your budget in stone does not mean you are not automatically giving your board a blank check to do as they please with your money. However, it is imperative that your bylaws and standing rules that govern your board, president and vice president’s actions in spending your money are up to date. They should clearly delineate how much authority you are willing to give these executive officers when it comes to making financial decisions and when they need to seek input from the members.

Please don’t forget to attend your local chapter meetings and keep yourself informed as to what is occurring within your city, county and state — especially in the “war on police” environment we find ourselves in today. It is extremely unfortunate that certain groups can espouse hatred toward law enforcement and we have to be the ones to stand up and support each other. It is unfortunate how those who condemn us are also the first to expect our help when things go sideways for them. In addition, we have some politicians who can’t help but jump in front of a camera or reporter to save their hides and make uneducated or unnecessary remarks when an event occurs that is not textbook in nature or is considered inappropriate or wrong by those who have never done this job or faced making a critical decision in their lives. Hopefully, you understand that your chapter meetings are imperative; see you there.

PORAC Finance and Administrative Manager Kim Busman and I are available to assist you with your association’s budgeting needs. I look forward to seeing you at Conference in Reno and providing you with the opportunity to review your 2019 PORAC budget. In the meantime, be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

Keeping Yourself and Your Members Informed

Your Budget Committee is hard at work. While we are just approaching the halfway mark for 2018, we have already begun working on the 2019 budget. There are innumerable variables that affect our budget every year; as such, we need to begin analyzing what those variables are to predict and prepare a good working plan for next year. As always, we need to consider our members’ needs and marry them with the needs of the organization in order to be sustainable today and in the future. With the help of the Budget and Executive Committees and the entire Board of Directors, PORAC is on solid financial footing. Despite this, we must always be cautious and not take our healthy financial position for granted by delving into frivolous ventures or making unnecessary expenditures. Unfortunately, many legislative issues are looming that may have an adverse effect on our revenues and the revenues of other large statewide associations. Since we are interconnected with other statewide associations, when their finances negatively affect them, there exists the possibility that we will be negatively affected as well. Therefore, it’s important we continue to be fiscally responsible and grow our reserves to ensure that we can weather this and any legislative storm on the horizon.

Since I monitor our investments in the stock market, I get a firsthand look at the good days and the challenging ones. Even though PORAC is very well diversified and managed, we still experience our fair share of ebb and flow as the market fluctuates. However, it is the diversification (based on the investment policy established by the Board of Directors and the expert management by Mark Sikorski) that has kept us in the game during the challenging times. Mark is constantly monitoring the health of our funds to ensure that we are in the best position possible to minimize the effects of the bear market and to take full advantage of the bull market.

The key lies in the constant monitoring and management of funds, along with some “tweaks” throughout the process, to keep us on the right track. If your organization employs Mark Sikorski to manage its investments, this may be the reminder you need to call him to make sure that you are on track. If you have another investment manager, Mark is always willing to provide your association with a second opinion. If your association does not have access to a financial/investment advisor, attend your local chapter meeting and inquire; you will be amazed by the wealth of information available at your chapter meetings. If you still have trouble finding an investment planner, contact me, I know a really good one.

Speaking of having good financial footing, if you are an Amazon Prime member (who isn’t?), you have an opportunity to help PORAC’s Peace Officers Research and Education Foundation (POREF) by signing up with AmazonSmile. This is a simple, no-added-cost way of supporting a charity of your choice while shopping on Amazon. When you shop with AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to your chosen charity. To use AmazonSmile, go to www.smile.amazon.com, and under the account dropdown menu, you will see the option to select a charity. Type in Peace Officers Research and Education Foundation, and that’s it, you are now on your way to helping PORAC members’ children with scholarships for higher education. Who knows, you may even be contributing to your own child’s scholarship fund, so please sign up.

Be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

PERS Investing in Unicorns and Rainbows


The California Peace Officers’ and National Law Enforcement Memorial ceremonies are fresh on my mind as I write this article. As always, they are somber occasions filled with grief and sorrow from the family members, friends and colleagues over the passing of fellow peace officers. Consequently, the events are a source of reflection on the inherent dangers of our profession. Regardless how long we have been peace officers and how invincible we believe we are, the ceremonies are a solemn reminder of our own mortality.

As the dignitaries spoke, I reflected on those officers’ last thoughts and interactions with their family and friends. Did they have time to share how they felt about their loved ones? Did they have the opportunity to share with their spouse, children or friends what each of them meant in developing them into the person they were? Do we take the time to do that today? It is important that we express as often as possible to our loved ones how we feel because we don’t really know whether that will be the last time we get to do so. As we focus on the families of our fallen officers in this issue, please take the time to reflect and strengthen your family ties.

The day following the California memorial ceremony, it was back to work. We were in the Capitol on our Legislative Day visits. During the legislative portion of the meeting, we had the opportunity to discuss PERS and its investments. It seems the Legislature is concerned with where PERS chooses to invest its money — whether the investments are socially acceptable. This ultimately means PERS is failing to meet its fiduciary responsibility to members. Yet, these legislators are quick to point the finger at CalPERS as the root of the pension evils when dismal returns are reported. This should be a simple discussion. CalPERS’ only responsibility should be to make as much money as possible for its member agencies and not worry whether investing in coal, oil, assault weapons or anything else is socially and politically unacceptable.

It is very interesting to note that the health of the fund is not the prevailing issue here, but rather the type of fund the money is being invested in. Unfortunately for our legislators, the “Unicorns and Rainbows” funds are not earning the returns needed to make PERS sustainable. However, since our state is beyond blue and potentially turning purple, we’re more concerned about what funds the money is in versus the return on those funds. Tobacco, oil, coal, weapons manufacturers may be politically incorrect, but they are generating positive returns, which is what PERS needs to achieve sustainability.

There is a silver lining in this picture. PERS is not required to divest from these funds. Even if divestment is mandated by law, PERS can argue that such actions would negatively affect its returns. However, everyone knows boards are susceptible to political pressure, which will ultimately affect the sustainability of their investment returns. As such, diminishing returns means an increased cost to the various agencies within PERS and, potentially, to taxpayers. I realize I am speaking to one segment of PORAC’s membership, because a good portion of our members are ’37 Act Counties or on their own systems. But, keep in mind that your county or separate retirement system occasionally follows suit or aligns itself with CalPERS’ actions. It’s incumbent upon all of us to keep an eye out and become vocal when our retirement system is making poor investment strategy choices.

AB 931 “Necessary vs. Reasonable” by Assembly Member Shirley Weber also was at the forefront of our conversations and member visits. Everyone in law enforcement is on the same page about AB 931 being extremely detrimental to our doing our jobs safely and successfully. Unfortunately, Assembly Member Weber is out of touch with reality and is a spokesperson for the ACLU (which supports the bill). She does not care about putting officers in harm’s way or meeting with us to discuss and create “reasonable” legislation that satisfies her constituents’ needs while ensuring the safety of our members. Plus, the majority of her so-called test cases is from out of our state.

Please remember to keep yourself, family and friends informed. It is imperative you do your part by attending your local chapter meetings and keeping yourself abreast of the ever-changing situation in our state. Information that affects us all is constantly flowing from PORAC and other sources. Your chapter meetings are the dissemination points for the information and your opportunity to get clarification on those issues. See you at your next chapter meeting.

Be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

Social Divestment Is Socially Irresponsible

CalPERS has been in the limelight lately. Not only for its dismal returns in the past few years, but also for its investments in firearms. After the unfortunate act by a lunatic in Florida, there is a group out there stooping so low as to use shooting victims to try to shame CalPERS into divesting from firearms and other weapons. However, you can rest assured that our colleagues from the Corona Police Department have made it their mission to attend CalPERS meetings and express their dismay over divestment efforts. It seems that dismal returns are not enough for CalPERS to make decisions about what is warm and fuzzy versus what benefits its members and the agencies they represent. You, too, have the opportunity to express your dismay via the CalPERS website (www.calpers.ca.gov); simply click on “Contact” at the top of the home page and then share your concerns under the “Questions, Comments, & Complaints” option. Please take the time to send them your thoughts, as this issue also pertains to CalPERS’ efforts to divest from oil, the pipeline and other profitable investments based solely on the fact that they are socially unacceptable. This newfound effort by CalPERS to be a socially responsible investor has cost us billions. These are dollars that can be used to keep costs to cities and counties at reasonable levels.

Now that we have discussed the importance of keeping an eye on organizations that should be concerned with making money to help its members and their respective agencies, let’s talk about remembering our fallen brothers and sisters. We Must Not Forget our brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice. All of us can honor their legacy by checking the box on our state tax form to donate to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation Fund. It is imperative that we make every effort to contribute to this worthy fund, which helps the families of our fallen colleagues. Whatever amount you contribute is better than no contribution. Whether you prepare your own taxes or you have someone prepare them for you, please do not forget to check the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation Fund donation box. (See page 36 for an example.) If you are one of the early birds and have already completed your tax return, you can go online and donate at www.camemorial.org by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on the home page.

Finally, please don’t forget to attend your local chapter meetings. PORAC represents over 70,000 members, and the chapter structure was set up to be a source of information to our members. Chapter meetings provide the opportunity to visit with and gather information about what your colleagues and the Board have been doing to prevent CalPERS from playing with your money, and to meet with the trustees of the Legal Defense Fund, Insurance & Benefits Trust and Retiree Medical Trust. For more information on the dates and times of your chapter meetings and on issues affecting your profession, visit www.porac.org.

Be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

As We Move Into Tax Season, Let Us Not Forget!

Wow, it seems as if it was yesterday that we were exchanging gifts and making New Year’s resolutions. Yet we’re now gathering receipts and preparing tax returns. Some of you may have filed your returns already and are using your refund constructively or you are preparing a payment plan.

As we long for football games and anticipate March Madness or the beginning of the baseball season, the space-time continuum keeps edging us closer to April‘s tax deadline. Try and contain your jubilee for Tax Day, which happens to fall on Tuesday, April 17, giving you an extra weekend and a couple of days to gather as many receipts as possible. Based on how you structured your withholdings, this may be a momentous occasion, because you might be able to make a withdrawal from your established savings account with the state and federal government. On the other hand, you may be wondering whether your calculations were accurate, allowing you to break even, or, worst-case scenario, having to make minor contributions to our government.

No matter which side of the fence you happen to fall on this year, Let Us Not Forget our brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice. We can honor their legacy by checking the box on our state tax form to donate to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation. It is imperative we make every effort to contribute to this worthy fund, which helps the families of our fallen colleagues. Any contribution is better than no contribution. Whether you prepare your own taxes or you have someone prepare them for you, please do not forget to check the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation Fund box. (See page 39 for example.) If you have already completed your tax return, you can go online and donate at www.camemorial.org by clicking on the “Donate to CPOMF” button.

Speaking of contributions and returns, I spoke with PORAC’s investment czar, Mark Sikorski from UBS, and discussed the health of PORAC’s investments. The overall health of our monies remains solid, based on the direction of your Board of Directors, PORAC’s investment policy and Mark’s guidance. PORAC’s investments are poised to continue making positive returns as soon as the market gets back on track after an official correction during early to mid-February, Mark said. The market had been making astronomical gains for some time and it was starting to be overextended, thus leading to the correction. Nonetheless, remember Mark’s words of wisdom: “We are in this game for the long run” and “It would not be a game if the market went up every day.” As always, Mark is available to assist you and your association with your investment needs. Feel free to contact me to obtain Mark’s information.

Finally, make every effort possible to attend your local chapter meetings. I realize for some folks, local could mean a few hours of travel. However, pension reform is still in the crosshairs of many of our opponents. This is why chapter meetings are your best source of information on how to deal with this and any other issues respective to your area. PORAC represents over 70,000 members, and the chapter structure was set up to be a source of information to our members.

Be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

Start 2018 on the financial “right foot.” Early in the year is the best time to make sure your association and chapter’s financial business is in order.

If your association has a new treasurer, this is a good opportunity to make sure they are aware of your financial and reporting requirements. Tax season is fast approaching; therefore, consulting with a tax professional now is probably a good idea. Waiting until the last minute could result in penalties and fees assessed against your association. The last thing your association needs is to not meet its obligations with state and federal tax requirements.

It is just as important to review your association’s financials at your scheduled meetings as it is to make sure your agenda is in order before the meeting. While it is the treasurer’s responsibility to keep your association’s financial matters in order, it is the responsibility of the entire board to be aware of where and how your members’ dues are being spent. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to their members. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your association’s financial practices, do not hesitate to email or call me. Many associations have found themselves in awkward situations where all or most of their money is gone by failing to make it a practice to review financials and bank statements and conduct an annual audit. Your association’s treasurer or chief financial officer should encourage, if not demand, everyone to review the organization’s financials. Doing so protects the treasurer and the rest of your association’s board.

Let’s shift gears from local financial business to your chapter’s financial business. A few years ago, the Board of Directors made some changes to the standing rules as they pertain to chapter reimbursement. Standing Rule Article VIII, section 7(B), states: “Chapter reimbursement checks will not be issued until the quarterly report is received and approved by the Treasurer or his designee. If the quarterly report is not received by 60 days after the end of the quarter, no chapter reimbursement check for the prior quarter shall be issued, absent approval by the Executive Committee or Board of Directors.”

Per our standing rules, the chapter expense reporting is required to be completed by each chapter’s treasurer no later than 60 days after the end of the quarter to receive members’ dues reimbursements. Your local chapter utilizes these reimbursements to conduct chapter business and manage its financial obligations. As chapters transition to their 2018 boards, I would like to maintain the positive direction established over the last several years. We do not want to create undue stress on our accounting staff, nor does your chapter want to deal with delays in receiving your regular reimbursements. While attending your next chapter meeting, please remind your current chapter treasurer of their requirement to file the chapter’s financial information with PORAC. You don’t want to get caught with very little to no money in your chapter account, especially as chapters are gearing up for 2018 expenses.

Don’t forget to attend your chapter meetings. This year we are looking at some looming court decisions that could have some detrimental effects on our pensions. Moreover, the folks seeking police transparency are still after us, and we at PORAC are working on creating sensible legislation on this issue. Your association’s input to your chapter director is paramount, since the chapter director’s job is to take your chapter’s direction to the PORAC Board, which is essential as we work toward creating legislation regarding transparency and other topics.

If you are not sure when and where your chapter meeting is held, please refer to www.porac.org and search the calendar for your respective chapter. If your chapter meeting is not listed there, email me at treasurer@porac.org and I will research the information for you. See you at the chapter meeting!

Be safe and have fun.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

Happy New Year — at Your Chapter Meeting

By now, most of us have stowed our holiday decorations (or maybe not) and are working on overcoming the overindulgence that inevitably accompanies the season. Some have probably already broken some well-intended, yet misguided, New Year’s resolutions.

No need to be alarmed, however — there is still time to make some resolutions that you may be able to fulfill for the rest of 2018. As your association’s board gears up for the new year by preparing meeting calendars and establishing new goals and resolutions, keep in mind your PORAC chapter meetings. As the president of the Inland Chapter, I can tell you that chapter meetings are an invaluable fusion center for dissemination of information to members. This year will be especially important as we work toward dealing with negative court decisions that will have a detrimental effect on union membership throughout the nation. Chapter meetings are a vital resource for networking with your neighboring POAs and DSAs.

As association presidents and boards are filling appointments for 2018, consider creating a PORAC chapter liaison position. Your PORAC chapter liaison does not necessarily have to be a board member; however, it does help, since they can speak from a position of authority. Nonetheless, the representative can be an aspiring board member who is active within your POA or DSA — but they must be an active member of PORAC. 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. Chapter meetings are where “the rubber meets the road” regarding 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 were at some point, shared by other associations at the table. Hence, having a chapter liaison is extremely important. Ultimately, this person realizes that they do not operate in a bubble and there are other resources available to assist them with their concerns. In law enforcement, we are masters of not reinventing the wheel, and chapter meetings are a great resource to help your association with tried-and-true approaches to solving problems. It may be as simple as creating or updating your bylaws to deal with issues within your association, or as intricate as navigating the negotiations currents.

Your PORAC leadership in Sacramento is usually approached by associations seeking assistance from PORAC with issues affecting their members. One of the first questions we usually ask is “Did you attend your last chapter meeting?” Inevitably, the response is something like “We don’t have the time,” or “Why do I need to attend meetings to seek guidance from PORAC?” The answer is that you don’t have to attend chapter meetings to get assistance; however, most of the time there is another member present at your local meeting who has experienced what you are dealing with — or knows other members who have — and has invaluable insight on how to assist you at the local level.

Visit PORAC.org/calendar to find information about your next chapter meeting. If your chapter information is not listed, email me at treasurer@porac.org and I will research the information for you. See you at the chapter meeting!

Be safe and have fun in 2018.