2010 has been a pivotal year, to say the least. Many of our members are fighting for the freedom of others on the opposite side of the world. Some have returned with injuries. All have returned with memories most of us could only imagine. POAM has continued to grow in spite of the fact that the number of police officers has been victimized by the worst economy in our lifetime. Only recently, the feds reported that there are more people living in poverty now than since the 60s. This is a fact that cannot go unnoticed as we find ourselves at the bargaining table. Obviously the sources of revenue that public employees depend on for bargaining are directly impacted by property values and revenue sharing. More than ever, the talent, resources and preparation that the POAM has developed over the last two decades becomes a tool worth using during negotiations. Most employers, even those represented by veteran legal staff, find themselves at the table only a few times a year while your business agent is doing that many times on a regular basis. Preparation is the key. Knowledge is essential. Clever solutions must be, and are, out there. The “old way,” the “status quo,” is not the way it’s done anymore. Please consult your business agent for those answers. We are constantly digging, constantly researching, constantly seeking those solutions. Increasing health insurance co-pays and deductibles or forcing the member to pay a share of premium is the old, simple way to reduce costs. There are better ways to save money on health care. We are working with some very clever people to create those solutions. Consult your business agent regarding the impact of the recent “national health care” initiative (Obama-Care). This has led to some significant changes that must be considered during negotiations. Changes in PPO plans, changes in the rules governing Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and dependent coverage are only a few. We have the information available for you. The Taylor Police Department recently lost their second member of 2010. While all of us feel the heartache of a lost brother or sister officer, you cannot imagine the pain of losing someone you have worked with or socialized with personally. Our most sincere sympathy goes out to the families of those that have been lost, not only recently, but in the past. The memories never fade. The men and women in uniform are often forgotten in that equation, however. Please pray for those who worked with those we have lost. While they may shrug it off publicly, they carry a heavy heart. Serve and Protect each other!