As we wrap up fiscal year 2015-16, a number of reviews and year end reports will be created. As the Treasurer of the DC Police Union, it’s my job to evaluate our financial situation and determine the health of our accounts, budgets, and coffers.
At this time last year, I announced a proposal to increase the revenue of the Union by way of a proposal for an increase in Union dues. While we made a strident effort to get support for the proposal, it did not pass the referendum of the membership in the December vote.
After the referendum failed to pass, we made a number of adjustments that allowed us to extend some of the looming issues regarding our budgets and revenue; however, the issues of a revenue gap remain on the horizon.
The FY 2016-17 budget has been approved by the Executive Committee and approved by the Executive Council. It will be presented for review and ratification by the membership in the September 30th General Membership meeting. We have made drastic cuts to the budget and consolidated some of our legal operations in order to remain in the black.
While the state of our accounts is holding steady, and our overall performance fiscally is well above par, there remain to be some major issues regarding our revenue. In 2011, an assessment was voted on and approved by the membership, giving the Union ample funding for legal matters like trial boards, arbitrations, and medical retirement challenges, along with monies to promote how valuable police officers are in this city and how to recruit, retain, and compensate them competitively.
This funding was essential given the fact that trial boards can cost roughly 12,000-15,000 dollars, arbitrations can cost upwards of $15,000, and medical retirement appeals can be equally expensive. Any member that was subject to these hearings was provided a highly effective attorney affiliated with a powerful law firm and was able to receive all the benefits of such representation and in most cases, had a successful outcome.
That special assessment expired over two and a half years ago in March 2014. While a considerable balance remains from this assessment, those funds are projected to be depleted and the DC Police Union will be back to operating on just revenue from our regular membership dues. This means that we will have to cut back on the amounts we spend on legal fees. For example, the number of cases we elect to send to arbitration will have to be attenuated considerably, diminishing our capacity to put pressure on the department to act within the contract and within the laws. Further, many of you know members who have been improperly put up for medical retirements. Legal resources for those cases may also have to be reduced.
Another important factor to consider is the current political and social climate we face in our industry. You don’t have to look far to see situations where hardworking police officers are being unjustly persecuted and attacked with everything from policy changes, to politically motivated criminal charges, to outright violence. It is paramount that members have multiple layers of protection in the event they face any of these threats.
Some of the other budget items and services that could suffer are the following:
• Legal support and consulting for contract negotiations
• Public relations matters and community outreach to rally citizen’s support
• Member services through technology like websites and online voting
• Training and resources for representatives and Union leaders
• Other support services and member programs
I have compiled data for our members to review, comment upon, and engage in an open, informed discussion.
In the attached charts, you can see where the DC Police Union dues charged stands against 21 other police unions in the country, including comparable major departments like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Boston, Seattle and several others. You can see on the first chart labeled (CURRENT) that the DC Police Union ranks second to last in amount of dues collected. You can also see that most agencies charge 1% or 2% of a top officer’s salary, while DC Police Union takes 1% of a starting officer’s salary. This puts our Union $39.35 below the average dues amount collected by large metropolitan unions.
On the second chart, labeled (PROPOSED), you can see that going from 1% of a starting officer’s salary to 2% of a starting officer’s salary puts our Union at a position much more consistent with the industry average while doubling our revenue. At 2%, members would be paying $42.58 cents per pay period, just $1.20 above average.
While a doubling of the dues from 1% to 2% might sound like a lot, I believe and extra $21 per pay period is a reasonable amount to contribute to fund and strengthen your Union. It is important to note that your union dues can be deducted from your taxable income.
After a thorough, in depth analysis and lengthy internal review by the Executive Council, we are proposing an increase from 1% to 2% of a starting officer’s salary. This would make each member’s bi-weekly contribution (after the 3% raise in October) $42.58.
The Executive Council looks forward to all input from our members. Please discuss your thoughts, ideas, and criticisms with each other and with us. We will all be accepting and reviewing any emails from those that have questions or suggestions. Please put “DUES INCREASE” in the subject line so we can appropriately review and respond to them in a timely fashion.
We will also be hosting some informational sessions to try to inform discuss this matter with as many members as we can. The next sessions will be on September 29th from 0500-0800 and 1200-1500 at the mobile kitchen located behind the US Park Police Air Ops Hanger at 1901 Anacostia Dr SE, Washington, DC 20020 (Near 11th Street Bridge). Click here to see the exact language of the by-law change affecting the dues.
Posted September 19 2016 at 11:18 PM by Gregg Pemberton | Permanent Link