A lot has been going on in our world lately and I’m not just talking about COVID-19 and protests and the like. Several issues have come to the forefront that I have been working on. Luckily, I’ve seen success with them! Some time ago the city notified me that as of October 1, 2020 your union dues would not be deducted from your pay. I immediately filed a grievance on this issue, citing that we have over 50 years of past practice and a CBA that governs this issue! The City Attorney’s office attempted several times to get me to help them by asking me to get renewed forms for deductions and to allow them to change the language of the sign-up form immediately. I notified them that if they didn’t have proper documentation to deduct dues, then that is their error and responsibility to correct and I could not change the language on the form because that is an appendix to our CBA and could not be changed without opening the contract, which I was not willing to do. In the end they backed down and advised us that we would discuss this during contract negotiations (which is what I suggested at the beginning). That was a win for us in the moment.
Additionally, I have been able to open up the payroll slots that we have had for decades for our use. I have already signed the affiliation agreement with Spectrum Advisory Group and am currently working on an affiliation with AFLAC to provide you with options in the form of supplementary insurance. This has not been done since our association was formed way back in the day, except to allow you dental and vision insurance through CLEAT. Since then, all of these companies have been denied access. As promised during my campaign (although interrupted by COVID and protests alike) I have finally been able to battle this out with the city. Originally, they told us to do an RFQ (request for quote) in accordance with their procurement policy. I responded with a firm “no” and told them that I can fill those slots with whomever we wanted, and don’t need their permission! After advising them that I intended to file a grievance over that issue, they found that I was right and have allowed us to begin the process of finding the best coverages for you that we have vetted, and we keep the city out of it. Another win for us. I continue to work with the city on a Lean 6 Sigma project but find that process very lengthy and not responsive enough for our needs in regard to your final pay out when you retire. So many people are finding out that they owe Worker’s Compensation money due to over payments. Some of these payments they are requesting back amount in the thousands of dollars! I continue to work for a solution with the city on this issue, but I implore you all to stay on top of your own healthcare issues involving Worker’s Comp. It will matter greatly when you retire or separate from service with the city. Don’t sit at home awaiting appointments! That is time that you might be getting paid for but might eventually have to pay back! Stay on top of things please.
Finally, I’d like to address an issue involving discipline. I sit in on the discipline review boards when they are scheduled. A trend that has caused some frustration is the use (and lack of use) of the MVR systems in the cars (particularly the microphones). Please, please, please make sure that you are using both video and audio in accordance with EPPD policy! These discipline issues are hard to make decisions on when your camera and microphone were not being used the way they are intended. This causes an additional bit of scrutiny on you for the lack of, or improper use of your equipment. I have seen a few cases sustained on this alone because of the frustration it has begun to cause when, if the camera and mic had been on, likely nothing would have been sustained. Please check your equipment. If it doesn’t work, notify a supervisor. If the supervisor tells you to use the car anyway, document that as your first note on your log sheet and name the supervisor! Not to get them in trouble of course, because they are a concern for me as well, but to keep you safe in the event equipment is limited. At least you did the right thing and won’t be held accountable for it.
Stay safe everyone,