2017

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Photos by Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor                                                        MAP Executive Director Fred Timpner (left) welcomed Senator Debbie Stabenow as a guest speaker to the MAP Annual Open House Dec. 8. Pictured right of Stabenow are MAPO President Michael Sauger and Karoub Associates Partner Jim Curran.

Senator Debbie Stabenow joined MAP, MAPE and MAFF labor representatives and members Dec. 8, 2017 at the Annual Open House to show her support for public safety unions and their efforts to stop legislation which could significantly impact their ability to bargain over pensions and retiree health care and threaten benefits already promised to existing retirees.

Senator Stabenow, whose grandfather was a Detroit Police Officer until he became disabled following a high speed chase, expressed her opposition to the measures. Stabenow wanted to let MAP, MAPE and MAFF members know she opposes the attack on public safety and public employee retirement benefits.

“I cannot believe you have to worry about your pensions being paid,” Stabenow said. “It just enrages me as well as energizes me. Your senators fought really hard to stop it from happening.”

MAP, MAPE and MAFF representatives and public employees across the state called their legislators and descended on the Capitol in recent weeks, rallying forces to express their opposition to House Bills 5298-5313 and Senate Bills 686-701. MAP, MAPE and MAFF, through affiliation with Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) and Labor/Management Coalition of Michigan, joined forces to express their support for Governor Rick Snyder’s task force on Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Governments report. The task force report, released July 2017, was signed by several stakeholders including local government groups and police and fire unions.

Under a scaled back 11-bill package of legislation passed by the House and Senate last week, local governments would need to submit a state approved plan on how to cover their employees’ and retirees’ pension and health care costs; Democrats in the state Senate have introduced legislation (SB 724-725) to reverse Michigan’s five-year old controversial right-to-work laws. The measures would allow a union to charge an agency fee for nonunion members who work in a public or private union; Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation that would allow the Department of Corrections to hire a former felon to work in a state prison – if the hiring goes through an investigative process. The bill (HB 4065) is designed to create opportunities for previous offenders looking to become productive members of society; In an effort to address a growing opioid epidemic in Michigan, the House and Senate passed the last of two packages of bills; As contract negotiations with state employee unions are set to begin next year, Gov. Rick Snyder has named Cheryl Schmittdiel the new director of the Office of State Employer to replace Marie Waalkes who is leaving state government with plans to retire. Schmittdiel has worked both sides of the bargaining table. For more details on these and other end of 2017 legislative issues, see the December 2017 Karoub Report.

NoShaveNovember 0737By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

When over 80 Sterling Heights Police Officers grew beards in November and raised money for Wigs 4 Kids, the community noticed and supported their efforts.

“This is our first year being involved in it,” said Rich Heins, a Sterling Heights Police Officer and MAP Executive Board President.

Despite getting a late start in the Pigs 4 Wigs No Shave November campaign, Sterling Heights Police raised an impressive $4,629. “We decided we were going to do a fundraiser to raise morale and raise some money,” said Sterling Heights Sgt. Chad Finkbeiner. “Sgt. Dave Allen has a friend on the Milford Police Department. They suggested that fundraiser and we looked into it.”

“We jumped on board a week late,” Finkbeiner said, adding 25 Command Officers and 59 Patrol Officers joined the effort. “We had 84 officers participate with most of them contributing $50 … and a couple $100.”

“That’s amazing,” said Maggie Varney, Founder & CEO of Wigs 4 Kids Wellness Center and Salon, of the large donation for their first fundraiser. The program, based in St. Clair Shores, assists children and young adults, ages 3-18, experiencing hair loss due to cancer, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns and other disorders. Varney is a cosmetologist who has worked with adult patients through the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Better” program for 28 years. Since Wigs 4 Kids' inception 14 years ago, over 4,000 children have received program services.

“We provide wigs and all the support services for families - grief and loss counseling, field trips with other kids like them, individual, group therapy, painting and music therapy,” Varney said. The services extend to siblings and continue while the families need them. “Even after, when they lose their child, they’re picking up the pieces of their life and still putting it back together and we charge nothing for any of the services we provide for our children,” Varney said. “All the therapy, that’s what this money is raised for.”

A package of bills (SB 584 – 586) passed the Senate that would allow adults with a proper license to carry a concealed weapon through almost all “gun free zones”; The Board of State Canvassers is tentatively planning to meet Jan. 10, 2018 for consideration of the Protecting Michigan Taxpayer’s prevailing wage repeal petition; A no-fault auto insurance reform bill falls 10 votes short of passage in the House; Gov. Rick Snyder appointed his chief legal advisor Elizabeth Clement to the Michigan Supreme Court. Clement is the Governor’s fifth appointment; For the second time, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission was unable to issue an interpretation of state law to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited forms of sex discrimination. For more on these and other legislative issues, click November 2017 Karoub Report.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) says he is determined to pass legislation to allow private police forces with the authority to make arrests at colleges, hospitals, and malls under SB 594 and SB 595; A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has introduced an 11-bill alternative to no-fault auto insurance package that would reduce rates by 20 to 30 percent without cutting benefits; A House resolution has been introduced that would eliminate the State Board of Education and give the governor power to appoint the state superintendent, who would oversee the Department of Education; The Senate passed its version of Driver Responsibility Fee (DRF) elimination bills which frees drivers with an unpaid DRF of six or more years; Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s top medical director, is facing two more charges - involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office - in connection with the Flint water crisis. Click here for the October 2017 Karoub Report which highlights these and other legislative issues.