With the continued attacks on all public employees and the direct assault on police officers’ pensions, health care, wages, and current retirees, the question is frequently being asked, “What is POAM doing?” Some members are saying we don’t see POAM actively working, and attacking the elected officials who are destroying our careers. Well, the answer is, POAM is working daily to stop and correct the assault on law enforcement. This is an ugly period in our history, and the task is not easy.
POAM is meeting daily in Lansing with elected officials to educate and repair the damage. POAM has its own full-time Lansing lobbying firm, Michigan Legislative Consultants, spearheaded by our representative, Tim Ward. They are in the game and representing our concerns aggressively.
The State House of Representatives at a minimum will be in power until December 31, 2014, and the Michigan Senate and Governor until December 31, 2014. POAM has to work with those who the electorate has sent us. We are making progress on stopping many of the bills that are a direct assault on all of us. Although admittedly the progress is slow, it is occurring. POAM is expecting to have some technical amendments introduced by both the House and Senate to correct some of the damages. POAM is being assured that police officers were not the target of most of this legislation and the unintended consequences are of concern to the elected officials. These corrections are a must.
Additionally, POAM’s legal staff, on a daily basis, is reviewing proposed legislation. They have drafted many language changes and are supplying that information to our lobbyist and “friendly” legislators. Our legal staff is also constantly reviewing new legislation to determine if there is recourse in the courts. We do not want to file a lawsuit just to file a lawsuit. It must have legal standing, and POAM is waiting for the proper time and proper set of facts. We are already geared up to file suit if there is any attempt to invalidate an existing, unexpired contract. In addition, we are exploring legal options to utilize compulsory arbitration to block or minimize the impact of several pieces of legislation.
Make no mistake, POAM is extremely disappointed in many of our elected officials, and to be quite frank we feel betrayed. However this is who the voters have sent us, and this is who we have to work with. If these amendments and change of course do not occur, you will be informed, and there will be an election in 2012 and changes will be made.
POAM will be making endorsement decisions in the future. POAM’s endorsement is the most sought after police endorsement in the State. These endorsements will not be made in haste. Elected officials must be aware of who they are supporting, and the damage that is being done to the careers of police officers.
IN THE MEANTIME, I CANNOT STRESS TO YOU HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO CONTINUE TO CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. YOU must keep the pressure on. YOU must tell them how this legislation is destroying your careers. They have to hear from YOU as individuals. Many of our members are doing a great job and making these contacts, but I am sad to report it is a small minority. GET YOUR FELLOW OFFICERS OFF THEIR BEHINDS AND MAKE CONTACTS!
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