by Kenneth E. Grabowski

On February 24, 2010 the POAM Executive Board held a legislative reception in downtown Lansing at Troppo restaurant.  Turnout of legislators was impressive.  All legislators and representatives of their staffs took time to listen with POAM representatives and communicate issues of mutual concern.  High on the list of conversation was the possible reform of PA 312 and instituting similar coverage for correction officers.  POAM is supporting the current 312 reform package as sponsored by Senator Richardville.  Additionally POAM has provided numerous ideas of improvement that would save both time and money for employers and unions.

With the economic crisis facing this state, some employers are taking advantage of the situation to blame all problems on public employees, while ignoring their own responsibility to mange their communities.  Some use this as an opportunity to decrease police officers’ ability to negotiate contracts.  Keep your eyes and ears open to defend the misinformation being promoted.  The legislators in attendance were not buying into the misinformation.

Additionally, another topic addressed was the unprepared and ill-thought out proposal coming from senate Republicans to mandate a 5% pay cut and 20% co-pay on health insurance. These mandates would be required without any justification or concerns on the effect to local units of government.  These Senate proposals are now making any contract negotiations more difficult, both parties are unsure how to address changes in wages and health care as a result of the state sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.  It is important for YOU to contact your State Senator and express your concerns.  The irony of this is even if passed, its saves the state “0” money and in fact would cost the state revenue.

These are difficult times, and everyone has to make difficult decisions, but some things are just stupid.

And speaking of BAD IDEAS, the Governor’s proposal to take funding from secondary road monies and fund additional State Troopers was thoroughly discussed.  In fact, many legislators believe it is now time to address the duplication of services provided by the State Police.  The idea of getting the State Police out of general law enforcement and begin to provide more specialty services is taking hold.  Some legislators believe the State Police road monies should go to local communities to provide law enforcement services at a better cost.

On March 31, 2010, I attended the House Judiciary Committee on HB5287, Banning Ticket Quotas. This bill introduced by Representative Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland) with a joint bill in Senate introduced by Senator Glen Anderson (D-Westland) would stop the use of predetermined specified number of tickets and could not require a number of tickets be used for a road officer’s performance evaluation. POAM and DSAM were the only law enforcement associations to support said bill. I would like to thank Westland POA President Norm Brooks for his help.

The bill was passed by the committee under supervision of Chairman Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing) and sent to the full House for a vote. The goal is to stop some communities from using road officers as tax collectors.

Please check our website for information and updates on this and other matters. Refer to the next page for members and their staff in attendance.