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Message from the Executive Director

The National Association of Police Associations, NAPO, hosted the 21st Annual TOP COPS Awards at the Marriott Marquis in Washington DC on Monday, May 12, 2014. Each year NAPO solicits nominations from law enforcement agencies throughout the United States from member and non-member organizations and departments. The nominations are then reduced to one nominee per state. NAPO then sends each of these cases to a selection committee with supportive information for review. Each committee member then ranks their top ten cases and returns them to NAPO. The top 10 are then awarded the TOP COPS Award from NAPO. In each of the remaining states, officer(s) receive an Honorable Mention award. At the awards ceremony the TOP COP winner was named from the top ten cases and was awarded to the officer from Florida.

This year from Ohio Officers Steven Davis and Nick Kline from the Solon Police Department were one of the top 10 award winners. Officers Davis and Kline’s case started as a routine traffic stop to check a possible DUI on March 17, 2013. This stop turned into a short pursuit which ended with the suspect unable to negotiate a left turn causing the vehicle he was driving to jump a curb flattening his tire. The suspect immediately exited his vehicle firing rounds point blank from in front of the hood of Officer Davis’s vehicle into his windshield. One round struck Officer Davis in his badge and was stopped by his vest with another grazing his left arm. Officer Kline’s patrol unit diverted the suspect’s attention and drew 3 rounds from the suspect as he drove from behind and to the left of Officer Davis’s vehicle. This distraction gave Officer Davis the time and opportunity he needed to draw his service weapon while still seat belted behind the wheel, and he returned fire through his the windshield. The suspect was fatally injured with the return fire.

From TOP COPS “The quick thinking, courage and perseverance under fire of Patrolmen Davis and Kline are what make them TOP COPS. They protected each other while surviving a deadly assault upon them”

Though every officer that received these awards is humbled and downplays their actions, the OPBA congratulates Officers Davis and Kline on their award as well as the other award recipients. The OPBA would also like to recognize all of those in Law Enforcement that go above and beyond each and every day to provide needed services to the public on a daily basis throughout the United States.

Other award winners were from Alabama, Arizona, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Texas.




Last Updated (Saturday, 07 June 2014 13:40)

 

Message from the Executive Director

I have been attending meetings of the Ohio Retirement Study Council, ORSC. This committee oversees all 5 public pension systems in Ohio. Late last year the actuary did an analysis of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, OP & F. It was discovered that the fund was not in compliance with the State mandated 30 year funding requirement. It was at 47 years. This meant by law the OP & F Fund had to submit a plan to the ORSC within 90 day that would get the fund to the required 30 year funding requirement. This plan had to be submitted to the ORSC by January 18, 2014.

The Executive Board of the OP & F Fund submitted to the OSRC the following recommendations to achieve the 30 year funding:

  • Increase the active employee contribution to 12.25% on July 1, 2014. This is a year ahead of schedule.  It was to go to 11.5% on 7-1-14 then 12.25% on 7-1-15.
  • Increase new hire contribution rate to 13% after 7-1-15.
  • Lower the percentage of money going into the healthcare stabilization account to .5% from 2.85%. This would mean there would be enough money to subsidize for 10 years. This action will take effect on 7-1-14 and improves the funding period from 47 years to 38 years.
  • Lower the COLA to 2.25% with Board authority to alter COLA in the future. The lower COLA would apply to all recipients except those that retired prior to July 25, 1986.
  • Have a blended employer contribution rate for police and fire personnel of 21.61% from the current 19.5% for police and 24% for fire

The next meeting of the ORSC will be in February to discuss the proposed changes. All of the above recommendations would need to go through the legislature except for the lowering of the percentage going into the health care stabilization fund.  It is unknown if or even when any action would be taken by the legislative body on these recommendations. The OP & F Fund had an extremely good year of returns on investments in 2013. That along with the poor returns of 2008 coming off the actuary calculations should also help the fund in the future.  The good returns along with the recently enacted changes from SB 340, pension reform, should assist the fund in achieving its 30 year target. The OPBA will continue to monitor the changes moving forward.



It is that time of year to remind our membership that the OPBA policy is not to release any information to any company or vendor. If a company has information that they wish to send our membership they must use our mail house and incur all the costs of such mailings. There is one free benefit, a $4000 Accidental Death and dismemberment policy, that is currently provided by American Income Life, AIL. Members in good standing do not need to do anything to receive this benefit. If you choose to return the enclosed card from AIL they will contact you to list your beneficiary and to also present other insurance or investment products. This information is in the cover letter. They have assisted at least 6 families over the last 5+ years of being associated with the OPBA. They have similar relationships with other police and labor unions in Ohio.



This year, as in the first 2 years of my term, we will be moving our General Membership Meeting to Columbus in March and again to Toledo in October.  The purpose of moving the meetings is to allow the membership from different areas of the state the ability to attend without a 2 to 4 hour drive to North Royalton.

Also during the first 2 years of my term the OPBA wanted to give membership in other areas of the state the opportunity to attend a family day closer to their homes. In 2012 we had an event with the Columbus Clippers. In 2013 we had an event with the Dayton Dragons. This year the second event will be in Toledo at the Toledo Mudhens Stadium on Saturday June 21,2014 along with our Indians day on Friday, June 14, 2014. There is limited quantity of tickets for each event and are on a first come first serve basis. There will be the opportunity to purchase additional tickets. There will be additional information as to how to obtain tickets when they become available.


Last Updated (Saturday, 07 June 2014 13:41)

 

Message from the Executive Director

My second full year as the Executive Director is coming to a close on December 31, 2013. There have been quite a few internal operational changes including but not limited to review of a majority of the organizational business relationships that we use on a day to day basis. I will be reviewing the effects of those changes after December 31st to determine if any additional changes should be made in order to make the organization even more stable moving into the future.  In 2014 we will continue to move the General Membership meetings to other areas of the state to allow members the opportunity to attend. We will also be looking into moving our 2nd family day into the northwest part of the state.

During my first 2 years the OPBA has been involved with pension reform, a legal challenge to our collective bargaining rights from the City of Munroe Falls (article from the last issue), numerous representational elections, right to work legislation and a citizens petition from the Citizens4Norton that could have had disastrous consequences to our membership in Norton and throughout the State of Ohio. These are just some of the issues that the OPBA has been involved in the last 2 years.

Unfortunately the City of Norton issue has now been put back on the ballot in December 2013. This issue if it passes the 2nd time around would limit the amount the residents pay for sewer and water bills, alter sewer assessments and tie-in fees. The monies needed to pay for this issue if passed would need to come from the general fund and could have a devastating effect on city services and our members who provide services to the residents.

There is currently another citizen driven initiative ongoing for a right to work amendment which would place this issue on the ballot if enough signatures are obtained. Even though legislation that was introduced earlier in the year in the General Assembly has stalled this petition drive is ongoing. Recently Representative Maag has talked about his legislation that was previously introduced. The OPBA will continue to monitor this issue as we move into 2014.

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The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund is under the scrutiny of the Ohio Retirement Study Council, ORSC, for not being within the 30 year funding mandate. The changes that SB 340 passage implemented have only been in place since July 1, 2013. OP & F will have to submit a plan by January of 2014 to bring the system into compliance with the 30 year mandate.  The next ORSC meeting was to be held on November 14, 2013. We will hopefully have more information after that meeting concerning any potential changes.

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It is that time of the year to consider any worthy officers for consideration of the 21st Annual TOP COPS Awards sponsored by the National Association of Police Organizations, NAPO our national representative in Washington DC. The TOP COPS will take place on Monday May 12, 2014 in Washington DC. The nomination form and instructions are in this issue as well as NAPO’s web site www.napo.org

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Lastly, I along with the Executive Board and staff hope that you and your families have a safe, healthy and Happy Holidays throughout the New Year.

Last Updated (Sunday, 15 December 2013 14:50)

 

Message from the Executive Director

The OPBA has successfully defended the rights afforded to every public sector employee in the State to continue to engage in the collective bargaining process. The case involved the City of Munroe Falls which had originally contested the ability of 1 sergeant being able to be a bargaining unit. Once in court, however, the City argued that the entire collective bargaining law was unconstitutional.  Our staff attorneys worked for 3 years on this case. Attorney Joe Hegedus and Counsel to the Board, Andy Douglas, collaborated on the Appellate and Supreme Court appeal processes. It was a great effort by our entire staff of attorneys and our Counsel to the Board to protect not only our member’s rights from Munroe Falls but the rights of every member of a labor organization employed in the public sector. Please take the time to read Attorney Hegedus’ article on the case in this issue.


The voters of Norton were asked on August 6, 2013 to vote on an initiative to change their charter that was brought to the ballot by the Citizens4Norton. This amendment, if passed, would have eliminated any current sewer assessment, eliminated any future assessments or tie in fees along with limiting sewer and water bills to $35. In addition to the limited $35 charge any future increases would be limited to 2% per year only with a majority vote of Council. The OPBA joined with the City of Norton to oppose this ballot initiative which would have had disastrous consequences to the City of Norton. This initiative would have meant that the cost to pay for these changes would have to come from the General Fund of the City of Norton. That in turn would mean that significant cuts would have to be made in other services, especially to our membership.

Justice Douglas, Executive Secretary Tom Austin, and OPBA Attorney Max Rieker along with our Directors from Norton PD met with the Mayor and the City Administrator on Friday, July 19th. The City of Norton was presented with our official letter of opposition and a donation was made to fight to ballot initiative.  The combined efforts of the OPBA, our members and the City of Norton proved successful with the amendment being defeated 1,812 to 1,695 a difference of 117 votes. Voter turnout for this special election was 43%.


There were two Right to Work bills that were introduced in the House, one for the private sector and one for the public sector. Senator Faber had commented after the bills’ introduction that the Senate would not take up the bills if they were to make it through the House after the members the Senate were polled. Chairman Schuring of the House Manufacturing Workplace Development Committee stated after the first hearing that the members of the panel unanimously agreed to not continue deliberations on the proposals. Chairman Schuring stated in an interview that in the 20 years in the legislature that he never had one union shop, owner of company of a union shop or Executive from a company of union shop had come and asked for this type legislation. Even though these bills have been tabled for the time being the OPBA will continue to monitor the ever changing political climate.


This fall being an odd year is an election year for departmental directors. The applicable provisions from our By-laws for the election process that each department should follow are:

ARTICLE VII

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section 2 (a). Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected at large by the membership of their respective departments for terms of two years.

(b). Elections for Director shall be by secret ballot.

(c). Nominations for the office of Director shall take place at a member department not later than October 31, of odd numbered years. Elections for Director shall take place in member departments not later than November 21 and results certified to the Executive Director not later than November 25th of said odd-numbered years.

(d). In the election of Directors of member departments where more than one is to be elected, the candidates equal in number to the places to be filled, who receive the highest number of votes at such election shall be declared elected.

In the event there is an equal number of votes cast for two or more candidates with the highest number of votes, a run-off election shall be held within fifteen days. Each duly elected Director shall appoint and certify in writing the name of his alternate within five days after his election.

Section 4. Each duly elected Director shall appoint an alternate Director. If the duly elected Director is unable to attend a properly convened Board of Directors meeting, the alternate Director may attend in his stead and said alternate shall possess the power to vote.


On July 11, 2013, Justice Douglas and I attended the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) meeting. There were several items of interest that were on the agenda. One item on the agenda concerned Long Term Care Insurance. Each of the retirement systems were required to offer (not pay) for group long term care insurance to its members. As of the meeting there were no responses to any of the systems’ requests for proposals moving forward by any insurance carrier. The systems asked for relief from the legal requirement to offer a plan since no insurance carrier will provide quotes. There was supposed to be an update on the OP & F Rule 742-3-05, “Disability benefits procedure”.  However, the presentation was delayed to a later meeting. The ORSC also presented information of the effects of the State Budget on the pension systems. The information provided by the ORSC on the effects of the budgets on OP &f and OPERS are on our website.


School will just be starting by the arrival of this issue and I wanted to inform you of a change in a criminal statute. On July 11, 2013 Governor Kasich signed SB 64 which changed the elements of Child Enticement 2905.05 that now states in subsection (C) No person, for any unlawful purpose other than, or in addition to, that proscribed by division (A) of this section, shall engage in any activity described in division (A) of this section. A full text of the law should be reviewed and it can be found on the Ohio legislative website www.legislature.state.oh.us . Once there you can look it up under Senate bill 64.


The OPBA Family Days for 2013 were well attended by our members from 100 of our departments. The Cleveland Indians Family day was attended by members from 75 departments. Attendees were treated with a win by the Indians and a fireworks display after the game. The Dayton Dragons Family Day was attended by members from 25 departments. Attendees were also treated with a win. We hope that everyone who had an opportunity to attend enjoyed themselves.


The OPBA has been posting the Ohio Attorney General’s monthly Law Enforcement Bulletins on our website. They contain general information from his office but more importantly summaries of court decisions and where to locate the entire opinions.


NAPO sent a letter to the editor of the Rolling Stone Magazine for their portrayal of the Boston bombing suspect and also contacted advertisers in that edition. The August 1, 2013 Washington Report from NAPO discusses the response to date from that letter and the status of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program.

Last Updated (Saturday, 07 June 2014 13:40)

 

Message from the Executive Director

The OPBA has been active in Columbus along with the recruitment of new departments. I and/or our Special Council Justice Andy Douglas have been attending Ohio Retirement Study Council, ORSC, meetings. The first meetings that were attended the legislative members of ORSC questioned the financial stability of the OP &F Fund. The new Executive Director, John Gallagher, of the OP & F fund and its actuary spoke stating the fund had the best returns, 14.9%, in 2012, of a majority of the funds. They also stated that the changes from pension reform have yet to be fully implemented so their concerns were basically premature. In the most recent meeting attended, the ORSC made proposals on the authority that had been granted by the recently enacted pension reform bills for the OP & F, SERS, STRS and HPRS funds. The OPBA will continue to monitor activity with the ORSC, pension systems and legislature.


I recently testified at a Joint Senate hearing concerning School Safety of the Public Safety and Education Committees chaired by Senator LaRose and Senator Lehner respectfully. This committee was formed prior to any legislation being proposed because the committee chairs felt it was necessary to get input from the respective stakeholders prior to any legislation being introduced.  The joint committee was going to review the 4 days worth of testimony to determine the best course of action moving forward with any possible legislation. Two issues that the committee members were to look more closely at were ratio of school psychologists to students as well as school resource officers.


The OPBA has recently been involved in elections in Garfield Hts. and Shaker Hts. Police Departments. In Garfield Hts. the OPBA filed petitions for election to have the patrol officer’s switch from the local FOP lodge to the OPBA. I would like to welcome the Garfield Hts. Patrol Officers who voted 21 to 13 in favor of the OPBA. The petitions for election at Shaker Hts. PD were for the OPBA to become the exclusive representative for the patrol unit and supervisors unit over their current representative the local FOP lodge. I would also like to welcome the Shaker Hts. patrol unit which the OPBA won 26-17 and the Shaker Hts. supervisors unit which was won by 8-5 margin. The OPBA is now in the transition phase with both departments. I realize that the OPBA must now show through action to the aforementioned departments that the choice made was the correct one taking their memberships forward. I believe that the OPBA will prove to not only our supporters but every member that the change was correct. The OPBA has recently been contacted by 2 Sheriff Departments and another police department.

When I began my first term in January of 2012, I had stated that I truly believed that the OPBA provides unparalled representation and service to its membership. I believe it is because of that representation that we won the aforementioned elections. I personally became involved in those representational services the evening of March 17, 2013 with an officer involved shooting in Solon. I made contact with a staff attorney minutes after being notified of the incident, and upon arrival at the local hospital the involved officers were put in contact with the an attorney within the hour.  It is this type of service that OPBA provides that sets us apart.


The OPBA has continued to move membership meetings around the State of Ohio. On March 7, 2013 our membership meeting was held in Columbus. John Gallagher, Executive Director, and Scott Huff of OP&F, Fund as well as Mr. Gordon Gatien, Government Relations officer from OPERS, attended our meeting. These representatives made presentations and answered questions from the members in attendance.
This is the second year that we have had a second family day in another area of the State. The OPBA wanted to provide our membership that is spread throughout the State the ability to participate in a family day without having to drive a prohibitive distance. This year our second event will be at the Dayton Dragons at Fifth Third Field, Dayton, Ohio.


Last Updated (Friday, 14 June 2013 09:20)

 
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