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POLC Meets With WMPF

Posted by: POLC Staff Posted date: February 28, 2017


On February 15, 2017, the Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) met with several members of the West Michigan Policy Forum in Grand Rapids.

MAPO was represented by Rob Figurski, Director of the Police Officers Labor Council; Michael Sauger, President of MAPO and Warren Police Officers Association; Andy Bingel, President of Grand Rapids Police Officers Association; Jim Curran, Lobbyist from Karoub Associates; and Kym Reed, Legislative Consultant for MAPO.

MAPO members met at the request of WMPF who were seeking input into how to deal with what they perceive to be a large and growing underfunded pension and retiree health care issue.

Myself and the other MAPO members pointed out that our organization represents more than 14,000 public safety officers across the State of Michigan.  We wanted them to understand that a blanket approach to the issue solved nothing.  I pointed out the many methods that have been taken by groups across the state that were achieved through negotiations with individual groups.  These include mirroring the active, HRSA, revenue sharing, and that some units do not possess retiree health care.  At one point in the discussion one of the WMPF members asked, “Do we really have a problem,” as we continually pointed out the sacrifices that have been made by police officers, corrections officers and dispatchers throughout our state.

Our group presented the members of the WMPF our approach to the OPEB issues.  We advocated that the state funding cuts, investment performances and the behaviors that include excessive investment fees, and possible conflicts of interest are also a large part of the problem.

We further emphasized a stress test:  Is a unit of government’s unfunded liability increasing or decreasing year over year?  A decreasing liability indicates that corrective measures have been taken.  A growing liability means corrective action is necessary.  It must be remembered employees have the least amount of culpability in regard to unfunded liabilities, yet have borne the greatest cost of addressing the problem.  The majority of employee groups are now making contributions toward retiree health care.  The POLC and MAPO will continue to fight for the benefits that our members, past and present, have earned and sacrificed for throughout their careers.

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