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.
“I was a Sergeant for three years, but because I was Paid-on-Call when they hired full-time staff and couldn’t devote the amount of time needed to fulfill the responsibilities, the position was offered to a full-time member,” he said.
The issues he sees as the most pressing to Union members are retirement benefits and health care.
“A lot of our departments are going to Health Savings Accounts and that’s drastically affecting Employees and their families and forcing them to work longer,” he said. “That takes many Employees into their 60s, which shortens their lifespan by causing them more health issues (as they continue to work).”
Lately, with the stock market on an overall decline, having DC plans instead of fixed income DB plans can negatively impact retirement incomes, Allen said. “Healthcare and Defined Benefit plans are going to be issues of major contention,” he said. “With pensions, a lot of departments are going away from Defined Benefit (DB) into Defined Contribution (DC) with Employees making investments.”
Working for four different public safety departments and being involved in employment matters at the local level has given Allen a unique perspective into the concerns of Fire Fighters, EMTs and Police Officers.
“I think I learned a lot at the local level,” he said. “I want to continue learning and helping other members by increasing my ability to support them.”
Allen began his public safety career in January 1995 as a Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Officer seven years prior to starting at Waterford. “I was a Local Union Trustee there. Grosse Pointe Park was a MAP unit too,” Allen said. “I’ve known (MAP Executive Director) Fred (Timpner) for over 20 years, when he came in to get us signed on with the Union in Grosse Pointe Park.”
In Waterford, he served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, an Accident Investigator and an Honor Guard member. He also investigated suspicious fires, working with Waterford Township Fire Department, and was a member of Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Auto Theft Unit for three years.
“I went to school and had training for arson fires,” he said. “Whenever there was a suspicious fire, I was called out and jointly investigated the fires with the fire department. We did interviews and investigations and I followed them all the way through to prosecution.”
A graduate of Wayne County Regional Police Academy and Detroit Fire Academy, Allen obtained Firefighter I and II and Company Officer I and II certifications and a Hazardous Materials Operation certificate.
“I received my EMT license in 1990. Prior to Grosse Pointe Park, I was a Paid-on-Call Firefighter at Walled Lake Fire Department from 1987 to 1995,” he said. “When I was with Walled Lake the last three years, I was a Team Leader which is equivalent to the rank of Lieutenant.”
Allen earned an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Oakland Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Colorado State University.