Dear Members and Friends:
Things have never been busier here at the Coastal Florida PBA/PEA. Contract season is underway and we are happy to report many units can expect a raise when new city and county budgets take effect on October 1. To those getting a raise this year, spend it wisely and enjoy. To those that have not yet seen a raise for the year, know that your CFPBA/PEA is fighting for you as we speak. Because we have numerous ongoing negotiations, I would encourage all members to touch base with your Membership Representative to find out the exact status in your unit. Or, you can always call the office and let us assist you.
Membership is on the rise this year, as we have had many new members join our ranks and your CFPBA/PEA staff and I are working daily to represent you as best we can. To that end, I would like to welcome two new faces that have joined our association in recent months: Greg Forhan, a former law enforcement officer and prosecutor, joined our staff in May as our newest attorney. And Wanda Strickland is our new administrative assistant and comes to us after numerous years working as an administrator in a local community service agency. Please join me in welcoming these folks, both of whom have hit the ground running quickly and already had the chance to work for many of you.
In closing, sadly, I must also say goodbye to a longtime staff member: Pam Stern has accepted a position that will allow her to serve more members and on a larger scale as an attorney representing public employees throughout the southeastern United States. She is in the process of transitioning to this exciting new position as we speak and if you see or talk to Pam this summer, please wish her well as we all have. She will be greatly missed.
As always, the staff and I remain here to assist you as necessary. We look forward to seeing you at the bargaining table over the summer and fall.
Vincent L. Champion, President
Coastal Florida PBA/PEA
Like a retiring city manager fleeing into the night with a severance package most of us could only dream of, this summer is racing by at a record pace. Though unless you’re the recently-arrested President of the Florida League of Cities (see this link for the big news on that story: http://www.webpronews.com/fbi-arrests-two-florida-mayors-for-public-corruption-2013-08), this has been a productive summer. Property values are back on the rise in many cities and counties, making it harder for governments to deny public employees long overdue cost-of-living adjustments. Retirement plans are making big gains (see the article below for more) and our members continue working hard, despite the heat and heavier workloads.
With still a full five weeks remaining in the annual legislative session, this year does not appear to be one in which major changes will occur that affect CFPBA/PEA members. Two significant proposals are moving in both the House and Senate. The first is a bill that would change the way the Florida Retirement System treats employees who are hired for the first time after January 1, 2014. While the House version would place all employees hired after that date in a defined-contribution plan and prevent them from being part of a traditional, defined-benefit plan, the Senate version of this bill would do this only with those classified as Senior Management Employees or Elected Officials.
Too often it goes without saying, but the work our members do day in and day out often prevent tragedy, heartache and save lives. All in a day’s work. For Sergeant Blake Lanza of the Melbourne Police Department, his quick action was lauded recently as he extracted an unconscious motorist from a burning vehicle.
NAGE has announced its 10th Annual scholarships program. Each year, fifty scholarships in the amount of $500 each are awarded in a lottery.Applicants must be planning to attend or already be attending a two- or four-year college, trade or technical school to be eligible.