Brothers & Sisters
We are now into the third month of this year and many changes have occurred with many more to come. During the month of January we saw the promotions of 11 lieutenants and one battalion chief. The local would like to congratulate each one of them for accomplishing this achievement. In February we started the month with a new director. He started off coming into a whirl wind with a fire in Brunswick on his first day. So he was inducted early on how the fire service operates. Then we all were able to live through the big snowmogeden. Each one of us felt the pressure this weather event placed on the county and the division. The members who worked during this time period did a tremendous job. Chief Owens praised everyone in his opening comments at the “Meet & Greet” meetings. These meetings provided excellent feedback to the new chief. He is looking forward to doing them in the future. Many of you have even seen him stop into stations and spend some time talking with the shift. I know he is also making an attempt to make it to all the volunteer corporation monthly meetings. So don’t be surprised if you see him stop by the station. In March we have seen commissioners start to use the meetings to grandstand and make “shock” motions. Just so they can bring the fire tax districts talk to the forefront. So as I started this paragraph we are in for an interesting year.
On a more serious note, the membership has been involved in an increasing amount of disciplinary actions. I understand we all make mistakes on occasions. But what is even more interesting is many of you have taken on DFRS without union assistance. Some of you have been investigated only to have the investigation be used against you. I cannot reiterate enough when a supervisor – lieutenant or battalion chief brings you into a room to ask questions about an issue you have the right to ask for a union representation (DFRS SOP Section 2 Subsection 2.00.02). It is at this point you need to ask for a union representative. Unfortunately, this is not occurring and some members have made some critical mistakes creating a bigger problem for themselves. You have rights you need to know those rights. They are known as Garrity, Loudermill, & Weingarten. I have posted them in the past. Many locals have made a page on their websites as reference points. We will be adding them as well to the website. You pay dues for a reason! Make the call! Protect your rights!
In the up coming months you should start seeing changes to the website. We are looking to add the ability to buy union clothing online. We are also going to add more station pictures and work related photos. Bob McCaa is currently working to create a PR committee to assist with promoting the union in the community. He has placed a thread on the forum. Let him know if you are interested.
The local is going to start asking for your help at BOCC hearings. The first hearing will be on the evening of Tuesday April 6th at 7PM. This BOCC will be entertaining an ordinance drafted by Commissioner Thompson. This ordinance will restrict the retirement plan from investing money in companies who invest in Iran & Sudan. Restricting investments in these companies will result in a loss of income to the plan. A loss in income to the plan would require the county to make up the difference in their annual contribution. In a tight budget time why is the county even entertaining this idea? Unless they plan on making us pay for the losses out of our paychecks, I don’t think any of us are willing to do that!
Though, the intention is admirable because of the problems with the governments of these countries. Our plan does not have the assets to make a difference like New York State Teachers Plan, State of Maryland Retirement Plan, and California Retirement system. These plans have significant assets which can make a business think twice about pulling out of investing in Iran and Sudan. Our retirement plan will have minimal effect on this issue. We can join the others at a later date. But it makes no sense to be a leader in this process.
Finally, we are now at the beginning of the election season. Currently, the candidates are slim. The local will be watching as candidates start to announce. We will be looking at the commissioner race and the state house races. If you are into politics and want to be involved, give me a call. We will need to put a group together to come up with questions and prepare to interview each candidate. It is time to get serious about working towards selecting candidates we support. In addition, seeing who is willing to commit to helping raise funds, knock on doors, and hand out flyers to get our candidates elected. I have talked with the new FOP president. We both agree, a change is needed in the BOCC to respect the public safety employees. He is going to start looking to his members to prepare for the upcoming elections. Please get in contact with Chris Mutchler or myself if you would like to help out with this effort. REMEMBER WE HAVE NOT HAD ANY FRIENDS IN THE BOCC! IN ORDER TO SEE CHANGE, WE WILL NEED TO MAKE THESE FRIENDS & HELP THEM GET ELECTED!