About The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (O.P.B.A)
The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (O.P.B.A) represents police departments and law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio including ranking officers and chiefs. Membership in the O.P.B.A is limited to duly appointed, sworn police and law enforcement officers, correction officers and dispatchers of governmental or quasi-governmental police departments or police agencies or such retired officers, or dispatchers, located within the State of Ohio. This association exists to provide aid and protection to its members, for the education of its members, for the general welfare of its members and their families and for the betterment of police and people of their communities.
Daniel Leffler graduated from the University of Akron School of Law in 2003. Prior to law school, Daniel was the past president of the University Heights Fire Fighters IAFF Local 974 where he worked from 1990-2008. He successfully negotiated two collective bargaining agreements and handled the day-to-day activity of IAFF Local 974.
Since graduating from law school he has negotiated collective bargaining agreements, processed and arbitrated grievances on behalf of the OPBA and litigated in civil court. From 2003-2008, he continued to work as a Fire Fighter and had a solo practice focusing on employment and labor law from the employee/union perspective. He is familiar with all aspects of the collective bargaining process and public sector labor issues and also issues concerning FMLA and FLSA.
Daniel joined the OPBA full-time in 2008 as General Counsel representing approximately 40 bargaining units. In July 2015, he was appointed as Chief of Staff. In addition to being licensed to practice in Ohio, he is also admitted to practice in the Federal District Court and the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.
Mark Volcheck Attorney
Mark Volcheck is an OPBA attorney in the Columbus office. He has represented the OPBA and its members since 1999 in litigation, contract negotiations, mediation, fact-finding, conciliation, disciplinary matters, grievances, and arbitration.
Mark’s administrative practice includes representation before the State Employment Relations Board and State Personnel Board of Review.
In addition to being licensed to practice in Ohio, he is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court, Northern and Southern Divisions, and the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. Mark received his B.A., summa cum laude, from The Ohio State University, and his J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where he was a managing editor of the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution.
Prior to joining the OPBA, Mark worked as an associate at Climaco, Lefkowitz, Peca, Wilcox & Garofoli Co. LPA, and served as an Assistant Prosecutor at the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office.
Tricia Newcomer Office Manager
Trish is the Office Manager at the OPBA and has been a vital part of our operation since 1993. She handles the day to day operations of the office that include bookkeeping, payroll and member services. Trish enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and new dog Izzy. Please feel free to contact her with any membership requests or questions
Joseph M. Hegedus, Esq.,Attorney
Certified specialist in Labor and Employment Law with twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of litigation and administrative practice concerning labor and employment related matters, including:
Extensive experience in representation of OPBA members and other public sector unions in matters including litigation, arbitration of employment related issues, contract negotiations, civil service appeals, cases relating to the Fair Labor Standards Act, particularly concerning wage and hour issues, interest arbitration, and unfair labor practice matters.
Defense of Civil Rights Litigation including Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Sections 1981 and 1983.
Defense of other discrimination based litigation both in federal and state courts grounded in statutes such as Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Title IX and actions based on Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Extensive practice before administrative agencies in Ohio such as State Employment Relations Board, State Personnel Board of Review & Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
Yvonne Trevino Attorney
Yvonne is an attorney who maintains the Toledo office at the OPBA. She is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy and received her Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Toledo while working as an intern at the Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
She then pursued her education and graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2004. While in law school, Yvonne worked as a chief Law Clerk/ Bailiff for the Honorable Mary Grace Trimboli (Retired),of the Toledo Municipal Court. In 2005, she entered into private practice and opened her office in downtown Toledo.
In 2013, she was sworn in as an Assistant Deputy Prosecutor in Lake County, Indiana and subsequently returned to Toledo where she was appointed as the Prosecuting Attorney for the Village of Swanton, Ohio appearing in the Eastern District Court, Fulton County, Ohio. Yvonne maintains her private practice downtown Toledo focusing on representing various agencies of the OPBA and their membership.
She is a member of the Toledo Bar Association, Toledo Women’s Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. In addition to her professional affiliation, Yvonne enjoys spending her time volunteering for charitable events, working out and traveling.
Jeff Perry Business Agent
Jeff is the OPBA’s Business Agent and joined the organization in 1994. He received a degree in Marketing from John Carroll University. With an interest in labor, Jeff went on and further studied at Cleveland State University and obtained his MBA with a concentration in Management and Labor Relations. At the OPBA, Jeff works with various membership groups in the Northern Ohio area. Jeff is married and has two adult children. In his free time he enjoys watching sports, hiking, working out, music and reading.
George Gerken Attorney
George E. Gerken is an independent practitioner working for the OPBA.
George earned his Bachelor of Science degree (Interdepartmental Major in Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology) from the University of Toledo and later his J.D. from the University of Toledo (cum laude) in 1996 while serving as a sergeant on the Toledo Police Department. During George’s career as a police officer, he was a patrol officer, detective and supervisor at the police academy. George also served as president of the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association (TPPA) and as regional vice president of the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA – AFL-CIO).
George was admitted to the Ohio Bar in May, 1997 and is admitted to practice before the Ohio Supreme Court, the Federal District Courts of the Northern District of Ohio, and the Southeast district of Michigan and the United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuity) in Cincinnati. George has worked as an attorney with AFSCME and different police organizations before associating with the OPBA in 2015. Mr. Gerken services OPBA member units in all areas of labor law as well as acting as a criminal defense attorney for OPBA members who are charged with criminal offenses in the scope of duty.
In his private practice, George works in the areas of Labor Law, Estate Planning/Succession Planning; Criminal Law; Family Law and has served as Special Counsel for Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.
Community activities are important to George. He has served by appointment of Governor Taft on the Ohio Building Authority. He also served on the Supreme Court of Ohio Client’s Security Fund; the Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline; and on the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Citizens Advisory Committee.
George is a member of the Ohio Bar Association; the Toledo Bar Association; and has been a member of the Morrison R. Waite Chapter of the American Inns of Court as well as a Wealth Counsel member.
Andy Douglas Counsel to the Board
Justice Andrew (Andy) Douglas exhibits a distinguished legal career. In 1960, he embarked as a
young attorney and founding partner at the Law Firm of Winchester & Douglas where he maintained a successful practice in Toledo and Lucas County.
In 1980, he was elected to the Sixth District Court of Appeals where he served until 1984.
In 1984, Justice Douglas successfully won a seat on The Supreme Court of Ohio and was re-elected in 1990 and 1996. In 1991, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Awardfrom the University of Toledo, College of Law. Additionally, he has published over 900 JudicialOpinions in his career.
Justice Douglas retired on December 31, 2002 and partnered with the Law Firm of Crabbe, Brown & James in Columbus, Ohio where he currently resides with his wife, Sue.
Tom Austin OPBA Executive Director
Tom Austin is the OPBA Executive Director. Tom has served as a Trustee and Executive
Secretary to the OPBA Executive Board prior to being appointed in August 2014. Tom was unopposed in his current elected term for Executive Director.
Tom has a degree in Criminal Justice and is currently a Police Sergeant with the Twinsburg Police Department. During his career Tom has been a Field Training officer (FTO), Public Information Officer, member of U.S Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force and Bike Patrol Officer.
Tom has lobbied on behalf of OPBA members in Washington D.C and Columbus Ohio. Tom sits on the Executive Board of the National Association of Police Organization (NAPO)
Randall Weltman Attorney
Randy is the OPBA’s most senior attorney as he has been representing the OPBA since 1989. During that time the OPBA has grown from a small group of bargaining units in the Cleveland area to over 7,000 members across the entire State of Ohio.
Randy provides day to day advice to the OPBA, its Directors and its members and on many occasions has spoken on behalf of the OPBA at various educational, legal and political seminars. Since 2005, his peers have nominated him to appear in the Martindale Hubbell Attorney Directory with the distinction of having an “AV” rating, the highest rating given to an attorney for professional excellence and integrity.
A native Texan Randy obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.He earned a Masters degree in Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Akron.
Kat Houston Attorney
Kat Houston graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Political Science. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts a year early while balancing a clerkship at the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office and completing an internship in Washington D.C. with the American Council of Life Insurers. Upon graduation, she received the Frazier Reams Public Affairs Fellowship which was awarded to two rising seniors who intended to pursue careers in the public sector. She then pursued her law degree and graduated from Capital University Law School in 2010. While in law school, Kat worked both as an intern in the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and clerked for the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office. She maintained Dean’s List while working and serving as Secretary of the Labor & Employment Law Association.
After Law School, Kat started her own private practice, worked as a contract attorney for the Law Firm of Jones Day, and then served the City of Cleveland for four years as Assistant Director of Law. She has extensive experience defending police officers and the Cleveland Department of Public Safety in federal §1983 excessive use of force claims and has arbitrated various labor matters.
Kat lives in Avon Lake with her husband and two young children. She enjoys spending her time with her family, cooking, working out and traveling.
Susan Bungard Attorney
Susan is a seasoned legal professional with over 25 years of experience and extensive knowledge of labor and employment law, liquor law, landlord-tenant law, public law including statutory immunity, consumer protection and fair housing law, and federal litigation. Strengths include relationship building and management, consulting with policy-makers, negotiation, and policy development, implementation, and interpretation.
Prior to beginning her position with the OPBA Sue was an associate with Walter Haverfield, LLP where she worked in the Public Law Group and represented numerous norther Ohio municipalities in zoning and land use matters, preparation of legislation, and did legal research and writing. She also worked with the firm’s Liquor Control Group and represented liquor permit holder and applicants and processed municipal applications pertaining to building, zoning, food service, and other permitting issues.
Sue also worked for the City of Cleveland Department of Law for many years. Her duties were very diverse and included handling all liquor permitting matters for City Council, representing the Department of Public Safety in labor and employment matters, prosecuting building, housing, health, and fire code violations on behalf of the City in the Cleveland Housing Court, defended the City in civil rights and other litigation, and assisted in the development of policies and procedures.
Before her employment with the City, she worked for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority where she was counsel to the Human Resources and Police Departments. She prepared standard operating procedures for many CMHA departments and prosecuted 1,200 evictions per year.
Sue is a 1991 graduate of Cleveland-Marshall of Law and passed the May 1992 Ohio bar exam. She is licensed to practice before all state courts in Ohio and before United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
She did her undergraduate work at Kent State University. She graduated cum laude in 1985 with a bachelor of arts in political science.
Sue has been a mentor through the Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer-to-Lawyer Program for six years.
OPBA Executive Board
Thomas M. Austin • Executive Director | Patrick Coleman • Executive Secretary | Brian Johnston • Recording Secretary | Gary Jesser • Treasurer | David Spagnolo • Financial Secretary | Ronald G. Campbell • Sergeant-at-Arms | George Sakellakis • Director of Organization | Terry Gallagher • Trustee | Brian P. Klak • Trustee