Minutes from April 28th/29th, 2015 – L416 General Meeting

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April General Meeting Minutes

April 28th and 29th, 2015

Call to Order:  1904hrs

Roll Call of Officers:  All present.

Minutes from previous meeting:  Motion to dispense by Cloyd, 2nd by Harris.

Motion carried unanimously.

Officer Reports:

President: 

  • 2015 has been busy so far and appears it will continue.
  • Thank you to everyone for that helped make FDIC a success.
  • Thank you to Dave Yeoman, Cathy Shannon, Cindy and their team for making this year’s Easter Egg Hunt a success. Attendance seemed higher than ever before.
  • PAC is stable until after next week’s Primary’s. We will then meet to discuss our future plans, possible interviews and endorsements by mid-June.  We are attending many fundraisers for candidates to get them to know who we are.
  • Decatur District President Scott Johnson is managing our first Fire Ops 101 event. This is to bring in elected officials and let see what it is we do in EMS and firefighting on a daily basis.  I am very happy with his leadership on this event.  When the time comes we will need a large number of volunteers to assist.  The date is September 22nd at Ivy Tech in Lawrence.
  • I have met with Public Safety Medical about the high rate of cancer we are seeing. He is working with us, the IAFF and St. Vincent’s Hospital to see about a CT scan for all IFD firefighters.  It is hoped that the process can begin as early as mid-2015.  More to follow as this moves forward.
  • Very pleased with Pike Township’s promotion of Rob Saunders to Chief. Rob has served as a District President so he should have the mentality to serve the members first.  We will see.
  • The IAFF Legislative Conference was the 2nd week of March and we discussed with both Senators and all of the Indiana Congress representatives, (or their staffs), the following:
    • Funding for SAFER and FIRE Act (SAFER provides assistance to municipalities with money for staffing, the FIRE Act provides grants for equipment and facilities). The request was to seek an increase to original funding levels for these successful programs.
    • Protecting Public Sector Pensions: (Not much explanation needed here as to why there is support) Specifically this is in response to a plan put forward by Sen. Orin Hatch to replace Defined Benefit retirement plans with insurance annuities.  As has been shown several times to PMOC, (Pension Management and Oversight Committee), here in Indiana these annuities are simply not able to provide the comprehensive protection that our current Defined Benefit plan does.
    • Removing the excise tax on “high cost” health plans: This is the “Cadillac Tax” scheduled to go in effect as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2018.  This would be a tax on “high cost” health plans and many fire fighter insurance plans would be included.  President Shaitberger has been pressing for this change since conceived:  http://www.client.prod.iaff.org/#menuid=2&contentid=12390
    • 9/11 Responder Health and Compensation (Zadroga Act): This law was put in place to take care of the health costs of responders to 9/11 and compensate their survivors in the case of death.  It has sunsets on two important provisions of the bill that are set to expire in October of 2015 and October of 2016.  As cancer levels for 9/11 responders continue to exceed even the general firefighting population there is a need and a responsibility to continue these valuable programs.
    • Banning Toxic Flame Retardants: This effort seeks to ban several flame retardants that are cancer causing/exasperating agents not only to firefighters but also to children.  There are more affective agents that in many cases work better.  It is anticipated that this legislation will be fought by the chemical industry for obvious reasons.
    • Waiving of the 10% Early Distribution Penalty: Currently Municipal Firefighters and Police offers have a federal exemption for withdrawals from Defined Benefit, (Pension), and Deferred Compensation, (457), from the 10% early distribution penalty Federal Firefighters are not covered by the same exemption.  This effort seeks to see that corrected.

**( The full issue book is attached at the end of the minutes if you would like to read the full digest.)

  • Our At-Large Trustees will be conducting their annual audit per the IAFF and Local 416 Constitution and By-Laws. They have begun their work and a report will be made at the next General Meeting.

 

Vice President:

  • This year’s FDIC was a success although it appears the number of attendance appears to have been down a bit.

**(The Vice President gave the reports for the Pike, IEMS and Communications Districts because their Presidents were unable to attend.  Those reports have been included in their traditional place in these minutes.)

 

Treasurer: 

  • The FDIC booth did well and continued the recent history of improving over the previous year.
  • The credit card method we used this year was the “cube” that attaches to either iPhones or iPads. This was a huge success and is much cheaper than bringing the traditional credit card machine over to the convention center.  (With these there is no need for additional phone line, which costs extra, and the convenience is beneficial as well.)
  • This year was one of the best for volunteers to help staff the booth and thank you to everyone that helped.
  • Budget and Financial Report:
    • At first glance it appears spending is ahead of the budget but this is a function of how some bills come in early in the year but the budget shows everything as a yearly amount. So the first half of the year may use 80% of the budget but the last half of the year will be expected to only use the remaining 20%.
    • Additionally, some of the costs for the building expansion are paid from the General Fund but are reimbursed from the Building Fund they should come from. This is what was done last year and the two accounts will be rectified in July again this year.

**(Copies of both the Financial Report and the T-Shirt booth sales is included at the end of the minutes)

Secretary:

  • FDIC summary:
    • Event was a great success, thank you to everyone that helped make it run so smoothly.
    • A special thank you to our AFSCME Brothers and Sisters with DPW who are a tremendous help. Their efforts go above and beyond their job requirements and are a key to success of the event.  Please take a moment to thank them when you see them.
    • It appears the event total, net after expenses, was just under $8,000.
    • The Pumper Pull will be evaluated prior to next year. The number of teams has dropped off over time and for two years running we have scrambled at the last minute to get to six teams.  Any thoughts or suggestions about improving the event or alternative event ideas are greatly appreciated.  We will be approaching Fire Engineering to see if we can get space donated in their FDIC issue but their market rates make buying the space cost prohibitive, (roughly $5,300 for a ¼ page ad in one issue).
  • Building Update:
    • Construction on the St. Clair parking lot is behind our goal but still on track to be completed in mid-August.
    • The deal with the Credit Union has been executed and the Local will receive $225,000 in cash and a 49% ownership interest in the new Credit Union building and land. This will provide protection against inflation in the value of the property and protect our ability to keep this property as part of our campus in the event the Credit Union vacates the property.  In that event the Membership will have the option to exert our First Right of Refusal at 51% of the fair market value or they may opt to accept 49% of the proceeds from the sale.  This decision will be solely up to the membership, no other party has any say.
    • As result of the ownership interest the Union will not have any ownership interest in the north College property, (the Bus Lot).
    • The Design and Finance subcommittees of the Building Committee have been working diligently to come up with a recommendation to present to the full membership. This will be done at a Special Meeting that is anticipated to be held in mid to late May.  All members will receive a mailing notifying them of the meeting as well as other methods of notification.
  • Web Site update:
    • Brother Ben Tupper has been working very hard and we are close to “going live” with a fully redesigned website.
    • The goal has been to not only present a more visually pleasing website design but more importantly a more usable platform for our Members to access information.
    • It is anticipated that it will be unveiled in the next week or two.
    • Current members of the website will not have to sign up again, but they will be asked to verify their information on their first login.
  • We will have a Retirement Seminar/Presentation here at the Hall Tuesday May 12th at 1700hrs and Wednesday May 13th at 0900hrs.
    • It will be an overview of how the retirement process works and options that are available to Members. All Members are welcome to although it will have a heavy emphasis on the IFD District much of the information is applicable to all of our Members.
    • Additionally, Nationwide Retirement Solutions and Liberty Mutual Insurance will have representatives here to assist with questions about their specific programs that may be beneficial to both retiring and active employees.
  • Survive Alive is in consideration for a sizeable grant from Ortho Indy.
    • Grant could be in the area of $150,000-$200,000.
    • It would be used to update the props used in their facility and make them more realistic for the children that come through.

PFFUI Legislative Report (given by Brother Tom Hanify)

  • The Statehouse this session is not operating smoothly because of the overwhelmingly lopsided majority.
  • Firefighter issues have fared extremely well this session so far. (The session had not ended when the meeting was held but there were no 11th hour surprises and the session ended without severely detrimental changes to Firefighter concerns.)
    • There were no attacks on OUR work rights.
    • There were no attacks on OUR pension.
      • In fact our pension is one of only two that has a COLA, (Cost Of Living Allowance), the other is the Judges pension.
    • The establishment of a State Fire Academy was passed.
      • It does not currently have a funding stream but the approval of the concept was the first hurdle.
      • There is not a facility designated as of yet because of the lack of a funding source but that is the long term goal.
      • The PFFUI will come back to seek funding for a “brick and mortar” site.
    • Members of the ’77 PERF fund will no longer have a 30 day “cooling off” period before they can enter a position covered by another State pension fund. (For example a member retiring from the ’77 fund will now be able to move directly to a position covered by Civilian PERF without waiting 30 days.)
  • The legislature will be considering over the summer whether to put in place a mandatory retirement age of 70 for members covered by the ’77 fund.
    • Currently this mandatory retirement only applies to members of the ’37 fund.
    • This will be discussed at the upcoming PFFUI in South Bend to decide if such a change would be supported by the PFFUI.
  • During the summer the PFFUI will be meeting with Legislators in pre-emptive defense of our current pension system to hopefully thwart any attacks before they gain momentum.
  • Additionally the PFFUI will be looking at what can be done with the strong financial position of the ’77 fund.
    • There is a concern that as the financial stability of the fund continues to improve, (currently 92% actuarially funded with 80% being considered soundly funded), that legislators may look to siphon off funds to other endeavors.
    • This would undermine the long term security of the pension fund and will be firmly discouraged by the PFFUI.
  • If you have any questions about State level issues don’t hesitate to call the PFFUI for answers or clarifications.
  • Cancer Presumption is now included in ’77 PERF but it is not a “silver bullet”.
    • Tobacco users are excluded.
    • The burden of proof of exposure is on the firefighter so documentation of exposures is CRITICAL.
    • President Hanify or someone versed in the topic is happy to come by your firehouse or meet with you if you have any questions.
  • Brother Hanify offered a frame of reference regarding the land that the Credit Union will be building on:
    • ‘The land formerly known as the White Castle was bought for $36,000 after a bidding war and that property will be worth every bit of $5,000,000 or more once completed. That makes the asset worth $2,450,000 to the organization which is an even better return than the Indianapolis Indians stock!’

President Reeves offered a special “Thank You” to President Hanify for all his efforts at the Statehouse and around the State on our Members’ behalf.

District Reports:

  • Airport:
    • Regrettably there has been no change in the environment at the Airport and the Airport Authority Board still refuses to recognize any labor organizations.
    • Any challenge to this will be costly and the outcome uncertain and presently no decision has been made about pursuing a change in court.
  • Beech Grove:
    • The city’s Clerk-Treasurer has continued to make mistakes although some appear to be beneficial to the membership.
    • EMS pay method appears to be headed to a legal challenge as they are paid under a “7k exemption” hybrid.
    • Although no endorsements have been offered yet the District has met with Beech Grove Republicans and they have purported to be:
      • Public Safety friendly.
      • Believe they can win in Beech Grove.
    • The Department is conducting a hiring process that will be “fast tracked”.
      • Process closes June 6th.
      • The City expects to hire two from this process and they will be sent through with the IFD recruit class.
    • There was a fundraiser for the District at Firehouse Subs that raised roughly $400.
  • Lawrence:
    • Expecting to do a hiring of between 6 and 8 firefighters this year.
    • There are some concerns about cash flow for the City and they are working to discern if the concern is warranted.
    • The City of Lawrence will have several contested races this year and their PAC will make endorsement decisions after the primaries are completed.
  • Communications:
    • Currently short seven positions.
    • Efforts to increase staffing continue as well as efforts to change the hiring process with the goal of increased retention.
  • Decatur:
    • Pressing the Administration to hire to ease staffing challenges.
      • In the past four years four members have left and only one has been hired and due to the smaller workforce the impact of three firefighters is felt more than in a larger Department.
      • The District is advocating for the hiring of civilian EMS employees to allow firefighters currently on the ambulances to return to positions on fire apparatus.
    • The Local will be conducting a Fire Ops 101 on September 22nd of this year.
      • The purpose of Fire Ops 101 is to offer a training that elected officials can through to experience what firefighters and EMS personnel go through on a daily basis.
      • There will be a large need for instructors and helpers to make the event run smoothly.
      • If interested in helping please contact either Decatur District President Scott Johnson or any member of the Executive Board.
    • IEMS: (Both District Officers were unable to attend but submitted their report in writing.  This is that report)
      • Since last quarter’s meeting we are in our 2nd academy class. We had 12 employees go through the academy earlier this year and a group of 15 started just last week.  This is mainly in preparation for the additional 14 positions created by the change of 24 hour personnel to 12 hour occurring on June 21st.  After the recruits are placed we will still be about 18 shifts short.
      • Also on June 21st 4 trucks will become roving assets to better target hot spots and fill in for crews during details. Also Medic 3, who recently moved to IMPD South roll call near station 3, will become a 24 hour in-service truck, working the traditional 7a-7p shift instead of 1300-0100hrs.
      • In response to some of the concerns expressed about the change of schedule IEMS created 6 “flex float” positions. These positions will basically create their own schedule, working the days that work for them.  It is our hope that this assists providers in scheduling their lives, (child care and school mainly).
      • There is currently a committee of IEMS and IFD representatives that has met 1 or 2 times to discuss some of the issues around firehouse life of the soon to transition 24 hour shift EMS workers. It is our hope that this isn’t seen as an only an opportunity to take away certain luxuries for your EMS brethren, (like locker, house tones, banishment to only certain areas, etc.), and is seen as an opportunity for discussion on creating better working relationships in general.  It is very concerning some of the negative attitudes towards the IEMS providers and their concerns, (like the added 30 seconds a day on house alerting or the need to create one additional locker), I have heard from some.  These seem like minor issues and inconveniences for those who have it every day, but these little things can make a huge difference in the quality of life for our providers.  Our people are already stressed out enough dealing with high call volumes, low pay, and IEMS administrative issues.  I am hopeful that the firehouses that 21 of 30 ambulances reside in can become a true place to recharge and create effective public safety teams to best serve the citizens of Marion County.
      • EMS Week is the same week as the PFFUI Convention, May 17th through the 23rd. Many events are going on at hospitals, at IEMS and around the State.  Tuesday May 19th is the Scholarship Golf Outing, if interested in getting a team let District President Garett Hedeen know or look for a flyer at the hall.
    • IFD:
      • Hiring process is in the CPAT phase and 200-250 remain under consideration.
        • It is expected that 37 will be hired in 2015 and 30 in 2016.
        • It is the desire to have those hired this year graduated and on the street prior to the end of 2015.
      • Promotion process has started and sign-up closes June 12th.
      • Merit Law changes that have been discussed have been pushed back by the City-County-County Council. The changes will not be in effect for the current promotion process.
      • The Department has been granted a variance by IDHS for the officer process that allows the classes to be taken out of order. This variance will expire in February of 2016.
      • There has been a few circumstances of Line of Duty injuries at the firehouse being charged for their diagnosis/treatment/transport. Work is being done to correct this situation and if this happens you should contact Yolanda and let IFD District President Hank Harris know as well so it can be rectified.
      • The Department is consolidating the information for the various operations into a more compact document.
      • The Union has been working to get more comprehensive cancer screening for firefighters including CT scans that are generally a better diagnostic tool and an earlier indication of concerns.
        • It appears this will be done through a partnership with St. Francis Hospitals and may begin as early as July of 2015.
        • Some details are still to be worked out such as priority of exams and frequency but the goal is to have the entire Department screened.
        • There is not expected to be any cost to the firefighters.
      • Met with Nationwide Retirement regarding the performance of the mutual funds offered.
        • The Union cannot veto or force the adoption of any particular fund but is allowed to offer input and recommendations.
        • Additionally the topic of allowing members to take loans against their Deferred Compensation accounts, (457’s) was discussed and the concept is being considered.
      • 2nd interviews have been held for the Special Operations Chief position. No timeframe for a decision has been offered.
    • Speedway:
      • The PEHP accounts contained in their new contract will be implemented soon, likely July of 2015.
      • They have a new Assistant Chief, Mike Lynch, who comes from the Avon Fire Department. His appointment was affective April 29th.
      • The contract will be signed shortly.
      • Jason Delisle is the District’s endorsed candidate for Speedway Town Council.
    • Pike:
      • Things are currently much better and positive with Chief Saunders.
        • He has been open to ideas and reversed some policies coming down the pipeline that were undesirable.
      • Currently have a recruit class underway with 11 Pike Township Fire Department recruits and recruits from Lebanon as well.
  • Wayne:
    • Contract negotiations will begin in early summer. Looking at possibly going to a 2 year contract.
    • Wayne Township Constable Bill Newman passed away. His family is in our thoughts and prayers.
    • Trustee Harris has a golf outing Friday May 8th.
    • The Administration says new financial projections look much better.
      • Waiting for negotiations to see.
    • EMS Director Shane Hardwick has resigned.
      • The Interim Director is Justin Sparks.
    • EMS hiring process is underway and over 70 applicants took the test.
      • It is anticipated that five will be hired and then a larger part-time employee list will be developed.

At-Large Trustees:  No reports.

PFFUI District Vice President Bonnie Hensley:

  • Cancer Support Network did a comedy show fundraiser the Tuesday of FDIC.
    • This is the 2nd year for the event and support is growing.
  • There will be a Cancer Victims Memorial May 3rd in Pike Township.
  • PFFUI District Trustee Al Wood reported that this year’s Fishing With a Firefighter at the State Fair will held on Saturday August 15th.
    • Volunteers are always needed and if you are interested in helping please contact either him or the Union Hall.

Firefighter of the Month:  There were no nominations for this meeting.

Old Business:  No Business carried forward from the January meeting.

Financial Report:  Treasurer Hansman went through the quarterly statement of accounts. (a copy is attached at the end of these minutes)

  • Motion made to accept the report by M. Roberts, 2nd by H. Harris.
  • Motion passed unanimously.

Moment of Silence for our fallen Brothers and Sisters:  Including John Noone, Jack Dugan,

New Business:  No new business proposed.

Good and Welfare:

  • We will be doing a Local 416 night at the Indianapolis Indians again this year. A date has yet to be determined but the information will be passed along as soon as it is decided.
  • Conner Prairie is hosting a Public Safety Night for their Symphony on the Prairie series Friday June 10th.
    • The Local will be selling tickets for this event at a discount. Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children.
    • There will be a marked area for Local 416 Members and you are allowed to bring your own food and drinks into the concert.
  • The Phoenix Society will be holding their Annual Convention here in Indianapolis October 21st through the 24th.
    • The Phoenix Society is a support group for burn survivors that works to assist them with the mental, physical and financial challenges they face.
    • There will be a large need for volunteers for this event in various capacities.
    • Contact Vicki Mohr or Chris McGrone if interested in helping.
  • Friday May 1st will be the Peace Officers Remembrance Service at St. Mary’s. The service begins at 1130hrs.
  • The idea of doing a Local 416 event at an Indy 11 game is being looked at. If this develops we will make sure the membership is made aware.

Motion to adjourn: S. Olofson, Second by many.  Motion passed unanimously.

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