By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor
Retired Waterford Township Police Sgt. Chris Belling received the inaugural Richard C. Heins Outstanding Service Award in 2019 for exceptional representation of his Local MAP unit. Now he’s sharing that expertize with all Union members.
Belling was hired as a MAP Labor Relations Specialist in July 2023. The Road Patrol Sergeant retired from Waterford PD in 2020, after spending most of his law enforcement career as a MAP member and a decade serving in various roles on the Local Union Board.
“Pretty much my whole career I was a MAP member, definitely, 20 of the 21 years,” he said.
Belling started representing co-workers as a Local Union Steward for Waterford Township Police Officers Association. He was voted onto the board as Secretary and ran unopposed in subsequent elections, serving as Local Vice President and President.
“I was Vice President for four years and then I became President until I got promoted to Sergeant at the beginning of 2020, just prior to retiring,” Belling said. “And that’s when I went into a different union for Command.”
By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor
After spending nearly his entire law enforcement career as a MAP member and several years as a Local Union representative, Gregg Allen is sharing his experience as a MAP Labor Relations Specialist.
Allen was hired Oct. 3, 2022, after retiring as a Waterford Township Police Detective in July 2022. He served the department 21 years, spending the last two years as Local Union President.
“I was the Local Union Trustee for several years before becoming the Secretary for two years and then President for the last two years,” Allen said. “Initially, I wanted to get more involved with the Union so I began working as a Trustee because … there weren’t any (board) positions available. When the Secretary retired, I put in for it and got more involved with negotiations, grievances and discipline. The President later retired, but the Vice President didn’t want the position and I had more experience than him, so I ran for President.”
Allen is in his 12th year protecting his community as a Paid-on-Call (POC) Firefighter with North Oakland County Fire Authority, in Holly and Rose Township. A former POC Sergeant, he’s represented North Oakland County Firefighters Association members as an Executive Board Sergeant At Arms and Secretary for one term each. Through the Association he’s helped with many local fundraisers for area children.
Unequaled expertise, respect, achievement
MAP’s staff of labor relations professionals is acknowledged as number one in experience and proven expertise in Michigan. MAP has earned this recognition by achieving an unequaled record of success in all phases of union representation.
Experience serves as an invaluable resource within the field of labor relations, perhaps even more so within law enforcement representation. Experience reflects not only longevity - many years of performing highly specialized work - but also steady growth and adaptability to an ever-changing profession. Expertise is similarly valuable attribute. Except for documented credentials, however, it is largely a matter of esteem afforded by other prominent figures in areas of labor relations. As the following individual profiles will clearly illustrate, each MAP Labor Relations Specialist has accumulated years of experience in all aspects of representation, established superb credentials, and has gained unsurpassed respect throughout Michigan's labor relations community.
Most importantly, however, these personal biographies demonstrate the proof of achievement. For example, MAP negotiated the state's first-ever contract to pay officers more than $92,000 in annual wages (Sterling Heights). It should be noted that this amount is in base wages alone, and that the pact also included across-the-board improvements in benefits and special features. MAP contracts consistently rate near the top in wages and benefits, especially when compared with those under which like-size associations in other union's work.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FRED TIMPNER
Union Executive Directors oversee their labor staff and day-to-day operations, but Executive Director Fred Timpner leads MAP Labor Relations Specialists by example, also taking a seat at the bargaining table. The former President of Southfield Police Officers’ Association (SPOA) has over five decades of experience as a law enforcement labor leader, staying fully immersed in the ever changing labor relations field. Within a year of joining Southfield PD in 1971, he was chosen as Shift Steward for SPOA. Soon after, he was elected Vice President and then President of the 100-member group. Prepared with his considerable labor relations studies and noteworthy leadership qualities, he began his new career as a full-time union service professional just a few years into the modern era of the law enforcement movement. Timpner rapidly demonstrated his talents in labor relations, earning a reputation as an expert in contract negotiations, grievances and grievance arbitrations. He negotiated two “breakthrough” collective bargaining agreements: In Sterling Heights, he brought base wages to over $92,000 per year – a first for Michigan Officers. Years prior, he smashed the $30,000 a year barrier. He is one of a select few professionals experienced in presenting Act 312 arbitration cases. Timpner has a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree from University of Detroit. His credentials are such that the former student of the discipline has been called upon to teach college courses in the labor relations field.
DIRECTOR CHAD TRUSSLER
MAP Director Chad Trussler has been representing members as a Labor Relations Specialist since 2020. He served 15 years combined as Local Union President for Beverly Hills Public Safety Command Officers Association and a Steward and Treasurer of Beverly Hills Public Safety Officers Association. The retired Beverly Hills Public Safety Lieutenant was cross-trained, working in firefighting and EMS during his 20 years with the department. As a Patrol Officer, he worked as a Field Training Officer, School Resource Officer (2008-2012) and Detective. He was promoted to Command as a Patrol Sergeant and reassigned as a Detective Sergeant. In 2017, Trussler was promoted to Lieutenant, managing the entire Patrol Division with over 20 public safety personnel, until his retirement in 2021. His assignments included Field Training Supervisor, Background Investigator, Police Training Coordinator, Fire Officer, Grant Writer and Internal Investigator. As Local Union President and a Labor Relations Specialist, Trussler has negotiated generous collective bargaining agreements and severance agreements for members. His severance agreement negotiations have landed members over $500,000. He's negotiated significant wage increases and pension improvements in several contracts. Representing several hundred MAP/MAPE/MAFF members, Trussler is heavily involved in recruiting new members and the education of new local units. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Madonna University and graduated Eastern Michigan University’s School of Police Staff & Command. Trussler teaches at Oakland Police Academy, including Labor Relations courses. He’s also an instructor at Eastern Michigan University School of Police Staff & Command on various labor topics, including contract negotiations, discipline issues, Garrity, Weingarten, and management and union relations.
LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST GREGG ALLEN
Gregg Allen retired as a Waterford Township Police Detective in July 2022 after 21 years of service. The last two years he held the position of Local Union President. Prior to that, he was Secretary for 2 years and Union Trustee for 5 years, with experience in negotiations, grievances and discipline matters. He served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Accident Investigator, Honor Guard member and investigated suspicious fires, working with Waterford Township Fire Department to bring criminals to prosecution. He also worked for Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Auto Theft Unit for 3 years. Gregg is a Paid-on-Call (POC) Firefighter with North Oakland County Fire Authority, protecting his hometown of Holly the past 12 years. A former POC Sergeant for 3 years, he also represented North Oakland County Firefighters Association members as an Executive Board Sergeant At Arms and Secretary for one term each. Through the Association he’s helped with many local fundraisers for area children. A MAP member nearly his entire public safety career, he served as a Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Officer for 7 years prior to his career at Waterford. Gregg began representing MAP members as a Local Union Trustee in Grosse Pointe Park. He’s a graduate of Wayne County Regional Police Academy and Detroit Fire Academy with Firefighter I and II and Company Officer I and II certifications and a Hazardous Materials Operation certificate. The licensed EMT was a Walled Lake POC Firefighter from 1987 to 1995, serving as Team Leader, the equivalent of a Lieutenant, during his last 3 years with the department. Gregg has an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Oakland Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Colorado State University.
LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST CHRIS BELLING
Chris Belling served a decade on the Waterford Township Police Officers Association Board. A MAP member for 20 years, he began representing co-workers as a Local Union Steward, before he was elected to the Local Board as Secretary. He ran unopposed every election after his first, serving as Vice President and President of the board. In 2019, he was honored by MAP as the first Richard C. Heins Outstanding Service Award recipient for his exceptional representation skills. He retired as a Waterford Township Sergeant in 2020. During his 21-years with Waterford Township Police, he was a member of the Honor Guard, a firearms instructor and a Detective for 7-1/2 years. He was also a sniper with the Waterford Township Special Response Team. Belling served as a Highland Park Department of Public Safety Officer in 1999 and he was on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1992 to 1996. Dubbed Triple B “By the Book Belling” by his Waterford co-workers, he was known for following rules and procedures and holding himself, coworkers and supervisors to the same standard. He negotiated several contracts and was involved in many discipline hearings and grievances for Waterford Township’s Patrol’s Local Union. With a high standard of ethics and honesty, Belling has made it his mission to ensure fellow Union members are treated fairly and their rights are not violated when they’re being disciplined.
LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST JERALD JAMES
Jerald James has represented public sector workers for over two decades serving paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT's) for the City of Detroit Emergency Medical Services. He's been committed to public service since graduating high school in 1988, becoming a licensed Paramedic/EMT in 1989 and was hired by the City of Detroit in 1991. His union career track began in 1995 as Union Steward with International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) for 8 years. He became EMS Officers Association (EMSOA) Local President in 2003, after being promoted to Lieutenant, and several years later Captain. He was promoted to EMS Superintendent in 2010, the highest position in the organization, where he remained until 2014, when he voluntarily stepped down to his prior position of Captain while taking on the duties of President of EMSOA again. James was instrumental in affiliating the local association with MAFF. After 25 years of dedicated public service, he retired in 2016 and was subsequently hired full time by MAP/MAFF/MAPE, representing over 25 bargaining units comprised of public and private sector employees. He made history, leading the way to the largest settlement with the City of Detroit EMS, a $220,000 pay increase for newly hired Paramedics. In fact, James been instrumental in recovering over $400,000 in lost wages and benefits for members. From Employee to supervisor to high-ranking administrator, he has unique insight into contract negotiations and enforcement, grievances and grievance arbitrations, mediation, employee rights, the Michigan Public Employee Relations Act, and the National Labor Relations Act. He’s worked with or across the table from some of the largest labor unions in Southeast Michigan and served on both sides of the table bargaining during the City of Detroit Bankruptcy. James graduated from Eastern Michigan University Fire Staff and Command Academy.
LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST JOSEPH O'CONNOR
Joseph O’Connor has a wealth of union experience, both on the job and in his personal life, growing up the son of a United Auto Workers Committeeman. The retired Sterling Heights Police Sergeant served 31 years with the department, 17 of which he was a dues-paying MAP member. But his union experience really began at age 10, when O'Connor started attending UAW meetings with his father. This influence and experience provided him with a solid background using a diplomatic approach to resolve issues. As Grievance Committee Chairman for Sterling Heights Police Officers Association for 8 years, O’Connor's goal was to resolve issues at the lowest level possible. He attended several seminars and training sessions dealing with internal affairs investigations, enhancing service to members. As a member of the contract negotiation team for Sterling Heights Police Officers Association, he was instrumental in settling multi-year contracts for his Local. O'Connor is not afraid to take a hardline stance when necessary, representing MAP members in disciplinary matters.
LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST JAMES STEFFES
James Steffes was a Local Executive Board official with Sterling Heights Police Department when he became part of the team breaking statewide barriers in wage and benefit packages with the help of MAP’s Executive Director Fred Timpner. While serving as a Patrolman, he was active with the Grievance Committee for eight years, representing Officers during internal investigations and handling grievances on behalf of the Patrolman’s Association, including testifying in grievance arbitrations. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1996 and served as Afternoon Shift Road Patrol Sergeant, handling scheduling, district assignments, and overtime equalization for 24 patrol officers until his retirement in 1999. The 26-year police veteran, moved to Florida in 2003, working as a Building Inspector and later a Commercial Structural Inspector, receiving his Florida structural inspections license in 2004. He inspected several large expansions at Hillsborough Community College Ruskin Campus. However, the time spent helping fellow employees resolve their concerns with management made a lasting impression on Steffes, who returned to Michigan and joined MAP as a Labor Relations Specialist in 2008. He found his personality and disposition were a perfect fit for successfully handling difficult contract situations including negotiations, grievances and grievance arbitrations for MAP.
LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST ED WERTZ
Ed Wertz accumulated two decades of labor experience serving on the Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA) Executive Board, chairing their Finance Committee and Bylaws Committee, and serving on the Election Committee. The retired Detroit Police Officer served 32 years with the department, 28 of which with the prestigious Mounted Police Section. He personally handled over 100 grievances and was instrumental in providing goals and direction for the DPOA membership in the collective bargaining process. Wertz served as Retired Detroit Police and Firefighter Association Vice President for two years and President for three years. He was a board member of Police Benefit and Protective Association, also affiliated with Detroit Police. He volunteered as a member of Detroit Police Athletic League and remains active as a Knights of Columbus member. Wertz earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice from Henry Ford Community College. He takes his responsibilities to the membership seriously, serving as a MAP Labor Relations Specialist since October 2007.
LEGAL COUNSEL TONY SPOKOJNY
Tony Spokojny has a longstanding relationship with the Union and Executive Director Fred Timpner, providing legal services to MAP and members as needed since 1992. In early 2023, he formally joined the organization as MAP's Legal Counsel. The Bingham Farms attorney is head of the Law Offices of Anthony Spokojny with over 40 years of legal experience in Michigan courts, representing a diverse group of clients including union and non-union employees and other clients against employers, corporations, and insurance companies. He has successfully argued in the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals. Tony earned an AV rating of “outstanding” from Martindale-Hubble Lawyer Ratings, the premier peer review organization in the country. He has developed a specialty in wrongful termination, breach of contract, discrimination and other work-related disputes. He received his bachelors of arts degree from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctorate from Detroit College of Law, which has since become Michigan State University College of Law. Tony spent 34 years on the West Bloomfield Environmental Commission, serving as its Chairman and Vice Chairman for 30 years. He has appeared on several occasions before the Michigan Legislature to argue in favor of retaining the strong provisions of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act. In 1999, he was invited to bring his son’s Andover (Bloomfield Hills) High School soccer team to Cuba to compete against the Cuban Junior National Team in their Día de Fútbol. Tony organized the trip for the Andover team, which is the only organized group of high school students to visit Cuba. A youth sports commissioner in the West Bloomfield area, Tony has qualified for and completed five Boston Marathons and competed in many triathlons, including the USA Triathlon National Championships in Hilton Head, SC.