Minutes from October 21st/22nd, 2014 – L416 General Meeting

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  • Meeting called to order 1902 hrs.
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Roll Call of Officers; All present.
  • Minutes from previous meeting: Motion to dispense by M. Roberts, 2nd by Hanify. Motion carried.

Officer Reports:

President:

  • We have had some members get out of the Union and have said that it is over increased insurance costs and that they believe all the Union provides are baseball games and beer drinking. The Local works hard to be involved in a wide variety of activities, many of which involve no alcohol, but more importantly the Local works to protect our member’s safety and financial security. We are always eager to hear from the membership any ideas anyone may have on how we can do a better or more efficient job of representing the group so please never hesitate to stop by, call or email your ideas. One of Local 416’s strongest assets is that we have better than 2,100 people who can offer their individual insights and ideas so that we never miss an opportunity to improve the lives of our Brothers and Sisters.
  • The Pension is again under attack and so far those attacks have been defeated. Brother Hanify will speak in greater detail about the most recent challenge to our benefit.
  • IFD insurance lawsuit was settled and the City has agreed to continue offering both a HMO and two High Deductible plans for at least the length of the current contract, (two years). While we have prevailed this time the City has made it clear that in the next contract they will be pressing to move all City employees to High Deductible plans. After discussions with the FOP our two organizations will be organizing a Health Insurance Committee early in 2015 to explore what options may be available and so that we will be prepared when that time comes.
  • IFD will have access to a citywide comprehensive counseling service totally separate from EAP. This originated with Public Safety Director Riggs and his goal was to address City employee concerns about the confidentiality of the EAP system. The Local is trying to establish access for all Marion County Public Safety employees in the program and we will let everyone know when that is setup.
  • The RHIF Committee, which has equal representation from the Union and the City, met to discuss the 2015 benefit. The Committee voted to set the premium reimbursement at 49%, (previously 50%) for 2015. Additionally the City has agreed to contribute to retiree’s HSA accounts; $250 for a single and $500 for a family. Please contact the Hall or Pension Secretary Dave Harman with any questions.
  • At our last General Meeting we reported, at a member’s request, regarding bringing in Fire Prevention employees that this was actually not possible without several large steps being accomplished first. The steps are not put in place by us but rather by the Department of Labor and would require several monitored votes of the affected group. At present this is not something that we can do until those votes had taken place. We have spoken with Fire Prevention’s AFSCME representatives and they are working to address their representation and other concerns.
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    [su_quote]Question: If the Local was interested in bringing them in the floor would have to vote to approve it, correct? Answer: This is correct, the floor would have to endorse adding a workplace to our representation.[/su_quote]
  • September 11th events went well this year and we would like to extend a special thank you to Brothers Rick Longerich and Howard Stahl for their work with the September 11th ceremony at the Hall and the Mass at St. Mary’s respectively.
  • The Local has been attending many fundraisers and political functions. We can do this because of the support of our members for PAC. Better than 50% of IFD is involved in the Local’s PAC and thank you all for your support.
  • As has been reported previously the Airport Authority has stripped all labor Unions of their representation authority including IAFF Local 416. We sought a legal opinion on this move because we believed that the airport firefighters were operating as municipal employees and they have a right to representation by State statute. The legal opinion has come back and it is at best unclear. The opinion was a very resounding “maybe”. At present no decision has been made on where to proceed from here. We have contacted the Operating Engineers who are interested in having their representative rights reestablished as well to see if they would be interested, and able, to assist with the expense of this type of legal action. If several Unions can pool resources this may become economically feasible.
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    [su_quote]Question: How active is PAC and is there a standing Committee? Answer: The IFD PAC has not made any endorsements for the current election cycle since there are no City elections. The previous Committee has not met but will be reconvened in 2015 as the 2016 election cycle gets working. If you are interested please let the President know. It was also pointed out the each District has their own individual PAC and those PAC’s do not cross over into races that do not affect their membership except to support the District with jurisdiction’s endorsements.[/su_quote]
  • President Reeves and Treasurer Hansman were sent to Boston by the IAFF to attend a Mediterranean Diet seminar at Harvard. The International asked us to attend because of our role with the Ten Cities and the Wellness Fitness Initiative. They are looking at how they can make recommendations for organizations that are interested in integrating diet advice into their fitness programs. The Department will be seeking a grant to offer the program to L416 for trials.
  • At the State Fair this year Local 416 again staffed the DNR fishing pond for Fishing With a Firefighter. Although the number of volunteers was down slightly this year thank you to the many that came out and supported this event. A special thank you to PFFUI Trustee Al Wood for being the point person and organizing the effort.
  • As reported in July the Airport no longer recognizes any labor organizations. Our Brothers and Sisters at the Airport still pay their dues but the Local cannot be in any discipline or organizational meetings. It is very unfortunate that the Airport has gone this route and we have sought, and received, a legal opinion about this change. The attorney’s opinion is that there is likely grounds to challenge the Airport’s decision but it is far from a clear cut violation of the law. The Local is looking at what the options here may be and will keep everyone informed as to what course of action should be taken.
  • Dr. Bob Smith and the Peer Support group continue their work and are available to work with anyone who may want their services. The Department and Chief Malone have been very supportive of the program and have now designated use of a Department vehicle for Dr. Smith to travel to and from meetings he may have with members.

Vice President:

  • The Open Enrollment for IFD insurance got off to a rocky start but the issues that have been brought up were addressed quickly with the Controller’s office and it appears that the second day went much better. Thank you to everyone that brought up their concerns. Ebony Rice at payroll is verifying that member’s enrollment is completed in light of some sign ups that were lost due to computer issues. The goal of utilizing Innotech to sign up members was to avoid some of the issues that occurred in 2014 sign ups. Although members do not HAVE to utilize the enrollment counselors it strongly recommended so that if matters come up it will be on the City to get it corrected.
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    [su_quote]Question: This doesn’t appear to be any way to verify if the sign-up was done by the individual or the counselor since we are using our individual sign-in online. Answer: Although they were not utilizing a sign in on day one the counselors are now logging the members they assist on a sign in sheet.[/su_quote]

Secretary:

  • September 11th Events went well and thank you to everyone that helped. Events that day were the Project 9/11 Memorial, the 9/11 Mass at St. Mary’s and a 9/11 Ceremony at the Union Hall. Again thank you to Brother Howard Stahl for his organization of the Mass, to Brother Rick Longerich for organizing the ceremony at the Hall and to our Brothers and Sisters of IFD Recruit Class 79 for their help setting up and tearing down.
  • At this year’s Reading of the Names we added four new names; Brothers Tim McCormick and Cody Medley that passed after a vehicle crash while at work, Brother Don Hochstetler who passed from occupational cancer and Edward Ankenbauer of the Underwriters Salvage Corp that passed in 1919 from injuries sustained in a collision with an IFD hose wagon. (That same accident also claimed the life of IFD Captain Clinton Lowes) Brothers and Sisters of Recruit Class 79 also assisted with this event and their help was greatly appreciated.
  • The building project proposing moving the Firefighters Credit Union to our property, expand the Hall to the east and build parking on the St. Clair lot has been approved by the Indianapolis Historical Preservation Commission. It appeared that we may not be able to get this project approved but due to changes in the proposal the Commission has approved all the aspects of the project. There will be more discussion about this project under New Business.
  • Saturday October 18th Indy Honor Flight, (a charity that flies WWII veterans to Washington DC to see their WWII monument), flew 70 veterans out with 58 IFD Guardians, (chaperones/assistants). This was a moving event and the reactions of the Veterans, their Guardians and the public is truly a priceless memory. Among the 70 Veterans were IFD retirees; Floyd Schanz, Richard VanHook, Don Bolinger, James Gavaghan, Harold Plummer and James Keller. It is anticipated that there will be another flight heavily staffed by firefighters in the spring/summer of 2015 and we will make sure everyone knows as the details become available.

Treasurer:

  • Dues for all Districts are being finalized and will represent increases passed on from IAFF and PFFUI per-capita increases of $0.57 and $0.06 respectively. The following are the rates that have already been calculated:
    • IFD $24.45/pay Active ($26.48/month Retired)
    • Decatur $21.04/pay
    • Wayne $23.59/pay

District Reports:

Beech Grove:

  • Working to finalize contract but appears it will have a 1.8%-2% raise.
  • Firefighters will be off the ambulances on 1/1/15 and those ambulances, (they have two), will be staffed by contracted employees of St. Francis.
  • Contract calls for full staffing of apparatus, (four firefighters per apparatus).
  • 2015 insurance saw a 10% increase and the mayor has stated he is intent on covering the full increase so as not to negate the salary increase they have agreed to.
  • A service contract with the City of Indianapolis is still be investigated but no firm agreement has been made.
  • Thank you to District Trustee Scott Johnson for his service to the District. Scott has decided not to seek reelection. Thank you for your work on behalf of the Beech Grove Firefighters.

Decatur:

  • New contract calls for a 2% salary increase.
  • Working on establishing ride out pay and would like to see it done on an hourly basis versus flat rate.
  • The Trustee, (Steve Rink), has a Democratic challenger but is almost assured to win re-election.
  • Department continuing current staffing model that has firefighters staffing the ambulance

Communications:

  • Working diligently to resolve Labor/Management issues and things are getting better.
  • Have three new released communicators and expect one more to be released soon. (“released” referencing being able to work on their own)
  • They have hopes of more hiring to fill the remaining three vacancies.
  • These released communicators are helping reduce the mandatory overtime communicators have been working and will hopefully increase retention.
  • Communicators have been given and are implementing training in helping screen Ebola runs to help with early identification of potential exposures.

IFD:

  • Recruit Class 79 graduated Thursday October 16th and they are now on the street as probationary firefighters. There were 40 members of the class, 38 from IFD and one each from Speedway and Beech Grove.
  • IFD will be conducting another hiring in 2015 and although nothing has been finalized it anticipated that somewhere around 30 will be hired from that process. The details are as follow:
    • HOW TO APPLY
      • Where: IFD Headquarters, 2nd Floor, 555 N. New Jersey St.
      • When: December 1st to December 12th, weekdays
      • Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
      • Questions: call 317-327-6041
      • Applications will also be taken on Saturday, December 6th and 13th from9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
      • APPLICANTS MUST APPLY IN PERSON AND BRING A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE
  • There were some challenges and difficulties in the insurance sign ups on Monday but the City has been informed as they came in and subsequent days seem to be going much smoother. The reason that everyone has been meeting with a benefits counselor is to prevent problems that arose last year. With the meeting if there are discrepancies they will fall on the benefits company/City and will not leave our members as the fall person.
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    [su_quote]Question: With online registration being done under our personal ID’s there is no way they will know who signed up. Answer: Ebony at payroll is running a list verifying everyone who has signed up and the counselors are now signing people in so that this can be tracked.[/su_quote]
  • 2015 Vacation calling will begin Monday November 10th. Officer Development will also be that same week and members will be allowed to excuse themselves to take the call.

Pike:

  • 2nd negotiated contract has been voted and ratified by the membership in a close vote. This contract calls for a 2% salary increase and removed troublesome language proposed in the first version.
  • Alonzo Anderson is running for Township Trustee against incumbent Lula Patton. He has a broad base of support among the members but the District has not given a formal endorsement to either candidate.
  • The Department has closed down the Pike Township Dive Team for 6 months to evaluate the future of the program. The intention is to have the IFD and Fishers FD teams cover the response for those runs.

IEMS:

  • They are forming an Ebola response team and training has been completed for the designated teams.
  • Establishing several committees to assist with running the District. One of these will be tasked with attendance to Health and Hospital Board meetings and another will be designated as a Bereavement/Benevolent Committee.
  • The administration in conjunction with the Union are looking at the deployment of ambulances and will be making recommendations intended to decrease Out of Service times.

Lawrence:

  • It is anticipated that the new contract will see the implementation of Kelly Days for the Department and possibly a salary increase as well. There was some concern from the Lawrence Police officers regarding the increased hourly rate inherent to Kelly Days, as they have a parity clause, but that appears to be settled now.
    (The City has subsequently approved the Kelly Days for 2015)

Speedway:

  • Currently negotiating a contract for 2015.
  • City says that they have no money but are expecting an increase in funds with the new Public Safety LOIT implementation.

Wayne:

  • Five new recruits have finished the academy are now on the street.
  • Contract has been negotiated but has not had a ratification vote yet. Calls for:
    • 2% salary increase.
    • Change to .5% of a 1st Class Firefighters salary for the longevity schedule. (this was a sizeable increase)
    • An increase in the Department’s maximum deferred comp match.
    • This will take the pension base from $63,900 to $67,500.
  • The insurance premium for 2015 will go up 9.5% and the Township has agreed to cover the full increase. There are no plan design changes for 2015.
  • Working on an Ebola response plan. Calls for quarantine of possible exposures and assignment of a family liaison from the Department in the event a member is quarantined.
  • Trustee race is close between incumbent Andy Harris and challenger Renee Pack.

At-Large Trustees:

Al Wood:

  • At the PFFUI planning meeting spoke with Fire Union representatives from around Indiana and although certainly members would like to see large raises the better part of the state are seeing no increases and decreases in their benefits.
  • It appears that the anticipated pension challenge for 2015 has been slowed and may even be avoided due to the information presented to the Summer Study hearings at the Statehouse.

Bill Alfke:

  • Arsenal Tech Fire Science Program going well and Chief Malone and IFD have been extremely supportive. IFD has assigned a full time liaison/instructor to the program, Sister Rena Wheeler. She has already had great success in securing donations and assistance from a wide range of vendors including Scott Airpacks and The Uniform House which is a great benefit because the program is always strapped for funds.

Jon Helrigel:

  • Pike Township is having a raffle of the helmet pictured below to benefit their benevolent fund, Just Cause, that helps Pike Firefighters and their families in difficult times. Tickets are available at the Hall and online. This is a tremendous charity that has helped many of our Brothers and Sisters, please consider supporting them as they continue their efforts. The link to their website is: www.pikefirejustcause.org

PFFUI (Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana)

Tom Hanify, Ladder 7 A-shift:

  • The PFFUI has joined with other states in the National Public Pension Coalition in an effort to address attacks on state pensions.
  • Attacks are far ranging on state and local levels and cross political lines:
    • The city of Phoenix Arizona is considering legislation to PROHIBIT the city from making contributions to ANY pension fund. If adopted any member not currently receiving a pension would be out of the pension system. For example, if a person had 19 years and 11 months on the date this was put in place they would receive only THEIR contribution back in compensation, (6% for us in Indiana), and then there entire retirement would be their own responsibility.
    • The Commonwealth of Kentucky restructured their pension plan and the deciding vote was cast by the Democratic Speaker of the House.
    • In Indiana during the most recent pension attack while speaking with State Senator Ed Charbonneau he stated that he was not interested in changing the public safety pension but the SB55 that he supported did exactly that, changing the pension for new hires from defined benefit to defined contribution, (457 type plan). (This attack appears to have been thwarted, although this will be the new norm of attacks coming annually and in some cases even more than once per year.)
    • The following is a link to the video of the September PMOC hearing. (Pension Management Oversight Committee) At this hearing Raeanne Davis, who is the widow of Brother Scott Davis of the Muncie Fire Department that passed in the line of duty in a roof collapse at a church fire June 15th 2011, gives moving testimony about what the pension means to her and her children. The link is: http://iga.in.gov/information/archives/committee_i_pension_management_oversight_interim_study_committee_on/
      (Although the full hearing is enlightening Hanify’s portion begins at 14;00 minutes and Raeanne Davis’ portion begins at 37:00 minutes)
  • The PERF 77 fund is not like funds in other states that are underfunded and in fiscal jeopardy of collapse. Our fund is fiscally sound and actuarially sound at 92% funded. (80% funded is considered the goal of this type of financial instrument) This is in large part due to the plan design that does not allow spiking, (Averaging the 3 or 5 years of employment for example that allows a member to work a bunch of overtime and receive their pension based off that income), pays an equal benefit based on each Department’s 1st Class Firefighter salary, (Prevents bogus promotions being made to bump a members pension benefit), and pays a modest amount that will not give a member an extravagant retirement but will allow members to retire with dignity. Our pension has over $4.5 billion in assets and that is a large part of the motivation by financial interests to change the plan and move that money into play for them to invest and collect fees from.
  • In Indiana the attacks have been sly and even smart, they work hardest at getting other groups, not public safety, out of the state pension system using incrementalism. The PFFUI works to defeat these attacks because while it may not be our pension in jeopardy it will be our pension eventually if we do nothing.
  • The PFFUI has driven:
    • Cancer Presumption legislation that covers firefighters from many diseases our profession causes us to be at higher risk for. Thank you to Brother Larry Speck for his efforts in bringing this important issue forward and championing it. There have regrettably already been two Brothers’ families that have benefited, one from Wayne Township and one from Huntington. The Cancer Support Network provides great information
    • The implementation and continuation of the DROP plan.
    • COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance) for pensioners. Only two pensions have this benefit, the judges and police and fire. That is not because the legislature is blindly supportive but because of the efforts of lobbying

Firefighter of the Month:

[su_quote cite=”Jimmy Hodges”]In the planning stages of 2014’s Fill-the-Boot for the Muscular Dystrophy Association my wife reminded me that I had already agreed to attend a concert with her…the weekend of the event…on the other side of the country. It quickly became apparent to me that if I was going to continue to have a happy home life, I was not going to be around the weekend of Fill-the-Boot. I contacted Jason Bundy and without hesitation he agreed to collect the money all three nights and make sure it was delivered every night to the bank. Jason dealt with and overcame some minor issues on the MDA’s side of things but after collecting the money from all the Battalion Chief’s quarters he ensured the totals were recorded and all the money was secure in the bank every night. I’m proud to report that the Indianapolis District of the IAFF Local 416 raised over $25,000 for the MDA this year, the 60th anniversary of the IAFF’s Fill-the-Boot program. This could not have been done without the hard work of Jason Bundy. I would like to nominate Jason for Firefighter of the Month. [/su_quote]

Old Business

Constitution and By-Laws Change:

  • The following change was proposed at the July General meeting and in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws was read at all of the District meetings in August and September, without discussion, and now is brought forward for discussion and consideration. The full text, with omissions shown by strikethrough and additions highlighted in green, is:
    • Article IV Officers
      SECTION 7: The candidates for all officers shall be nominated at the general meeting in October with elections in December. Each member in good standing shall be given at least fifteen (15) days advance notice in writing, by newsletter or by electronic mail of the date, time and place at which nominations shall be made, and at least fifteen (15) days advance notice, in writing, sent by mail, by newsletter or by electronic mail to each the last known address of the member, of the date, time and place at which elections shall be held. Any member in good standing may nominate eligible members for office. The Australian Ballot System (secret ballot) shall be used in all elections of this Local. Voting for all offices shall take place at the designated locations established by the Election Committee. In the event there are uncontested nominations for any of the offices of the Local, the Chair shall declare a winner (by acclamation) after the nominations for that office are is closed. There shall be no voting by proxy in any election of officers, delegates, trustees or alternates. The candidate receiving a plurality (an excess of votes over those for any other candidate) shall be declared elected. The Local shall adopt the IAFF’s mechanism for resolving ties in an election by the drawing of lots in the presence of both candidates.

      SECTION 13: Any member who is an officer, upon accepting the nomination for the office of General President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, District President or Trustee shall at that time automatically resign vacate their office at the end of the election cycle. Such member’s unexpired term shall then be open for provisional nominations at the General Meeting for a member to fill out the remainder of that term should they accept.

      Schedule B addition: Provisional voting: any member planning to vote whose name does not appear on the union’s roster. The member must sign the roster with name printed along with District and Voting site and mark provisional.

      Ballots are marked for the appropriate candidates. After marking the ballot, he/she will put the ballot in an envelope. Then they will put the first envelope in another envelope, seal and sign and print their name and add their district and voting site.

      Schedule B addition: Any nominated member upon accepting his/her nomination may purchase advertising space up to . page in Local 416’s publication The Helmet.

    • Motion to accept by M. Roberts, 2nd by C. Poteet. No discussion offered and approved unanimously.

    • The Constitution and By-Laws have been updated to incorporate this change.

Financial Report for period ending 30 SEP 2014

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New Business:

  • The Election, in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws, will be run by Vice President Ted Waldroup. He will be establishing a committee and is accepting names of people interested in serving. The District Presidents have been asked to seek volunteers from their membership as well.
  • The project to expand the Union Hall and move the Firefighters Credit Union to our location has been approved by the Indianapolis Historical Preservation Commission clearing the way for us to move forward with the project. Our next step will be a Special Meeting of the membership, which will be held on November 10th and 11th. The meetings will follow the same schedule as our General Meetings with the 10th starting at 1900hrs and the 11th at 0900hrs. The discussion will be limited to the building project. Additionally, at that meeting we will begin compiling members interested in serving on the Building Committee that will help direct the project as it progresses. The membership will always have the final say of course and this group will be responsible for assembling the information and the minutia inherent to building projects.

Good and Welfare:

  • The viewing for Larry Speck will be Thursday, (October 23rd) and the wake will be at the FOP. (Regrettably, there was an unavoidable scheduling conflict with the Union Hall that day)

Motion to adjourn: M. Roberts, 2nd by many. Motion passed unanimously.
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