President’s Newsletter June, 2014
As most of you probably are aware, over the last several months the Federation has taken steps to improve communication with members. If you haven’t “liked” our Facebook page or followed us on Twitter, I encourage you to do so. As part of these ongoing efforts, I will be sending a periodic newsletter to keep you up to date on matters of importance to the Federation and its members.
First, I want to first congratulate our new Board members on their election and installation into office and thank the outgoing Board members for their service. Second, we have an open seat on the Board as a result of the resignation of Wally Krueger. The Federation Bylaws provide that “the Board may, by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Board, appoint a successor who shall serve until the next regular election.” The Bylaws do not provide for a special election. Since the filling of a vacancy is discretionary and since we have not been deadlocked on decisions which require an odd number of directors to cast a “tie-breaking” vote, I have recommended to the Board and they have concurred that we leave the position vacant until the next regularly scheduled elections in the Spring of 2015. My recommendation is based on my belief that Board members fulfill an important role for which the support of the membership is vital and, therefore, Board members should be elected rather than appointed.
Since its inception in the 1970’s, the purpose of the Federation Time bank is to allow the Federation to conduct union business without loss of pay to the members performing that service. During my entire term as President, Federation Time has been granted to members only when they are performing service for the Federation, or serving in a capacity as a representative of the Federation at other places/events. We have always had a transparent system in that the records of Federation Time used are available for review by any member during our regular business hours. To further improve the process by which future Federation Time requests are considered and granted, I have recommended to the Board, and they have concurred, to adopt a policy by which requests must be submitted in writing to the Secretary who will then bring them as a standing agenda item for consideration by the Board at its regular meetings. Federation Time is an important mechanism to encourage all members to be involved in their union.
I have heard concerns about a proposal being circulated by a couple of well-known anti-police activists for an ordinance or charter amendment that would require officers to purchase liability insurance. First, such a measure would violate state statutes which legally obligate public employers to defend and indemnify their employees who are sued while acting in the course and scope of their duties. Second, such a requirement would constitute a “term and condition of employment” which, under Minnesota labor laws must be the subject of collective bargaining and cannot be unilaterally imposed by a public employer. Finally, we already have language in our Labor Agreement which provides that the City shall purchase such insurance if it sees fit. Therefore, there is no chance that the City Council or City voters could enact something that would force Minneapolis police officers to purchase liability insurance. Of all the things in our job we have to worry about, you can cross this one off your list with certainty.
Please contact me if you have questions about any of these topics or if you have ideas for topics you would like to see addressed in future newsletters.
Be safe and thank you for the great work you do every day.
Lt. John Delmonico