We FOP Lodge 7 members can agree on one thing: Mike Shields sucks.
He makes over $200,000 per year. For some perspective, in 2010 we contributed $1.6 million in dues to the FOP and what did we get for our dues money?
Utter incompetence, malfeasance, skullduggery and a president with the leadership skills of a toddler.
Rope A DopeLet's all get up to speed on Shields's Greatest Misses:
1. The "Letter of Intent" - Shields forgot to submit a formal letter of intent to either cancel the previous contract and start from scratch, or notify the city that the last contract would just be amended during the next round of negotiations. He missed the deadline to terminate the last contract. What this effectively means is that our Retro check will be delayed; most likely for at least one year. If the city really wants to get down and dirty, they could rationalize cancelling the Retro payment by simply saying a) "we are broke and cannot pay it." b) the union failed in its fiduciary duty to properly advise the negotiating parties and thereby inherently abrogated the previous contract. If they get a sympathetic arbitrator, that could happen. Is it likely? No. But for Shields to expose us to this is indefensible. Even though Shields proffered a public apology to the rank and file, it still looks as if it could be a $20 million dollar mistake. Each one of you could lose up to $2,000 in retroactive pay.
The city attorney has already informally discussed the issue with FOP reps and said,"The Chief City Negotiator is laughing. The FOP has no idea how Rahm is salivating about taking down the biggest union in the city. Rahm's going to punish the FOP like you've never seen."
What the city will do (most like) is this - No retro for the first year. They will frontload the next contract with a 4% raise the first year, then 1% - 1% - 1% for the next. That way they'll save millions on not paying the first year's payment to the membership.
2. Shields also missed a deadline to file an unfair labor practice over the above mentioned issue.
3. The Sun Times reported that Shields is on the company payroll for one of Rahm Emmanuel's biggest campaign contributors. Conflict of interest, anyone?
4. The infamous letter by former FOP employee Carolyn Bentivenga going around. The letter alleges that Shields uses union dues money for vacations, clothes, expensive restaurant meals and other malfeasance. She also claims:
When I started working for Mike Shields I instantly noticed his lack of organization, lack of attention to detail, he had no attention span, no dedication to work, no ability to make decisions, let alone follow up with any action. He was unfocused, immature and appeared to be self-absorbed.
Working for Mike Shields could be compared to working for a child.
Bentivenga's letter simply confirms what many of us have heard via the rumor mill for years about what's going on inside the FOP.
5.In the last meeting Shields removed Bill Dougherty; unceremoniously dumping him back to a beat car. The reason? Because Dougherty and a majority of the board decided to bring Shields up on lodge charges.
The charges brought are:
1) Inattention to duty,
2) Failure to perform and execute the duties of the office of president and
3) Lying to the FOP Membership
Both Dougherty and Aguilar stood up at the last meeting and called Shields a "liar". Keep in mind that Bill Dougherty handles the medical cases for hundreds of members. Some of these members are waiting for resolution to their cases because they're in "no pay" status, want to return to duty, or are waiting for movement on their cases before the medical board. With Bill not in his FOP role anymore, no one is addressing those medical cases.
When Shields was charged, the charter states that a committee must be appointed by the president to investigate the charged member. Shields was asked to recuse himself because he is the one charged. Shields refused and appointed his buddies to the committee and, of course, Shields was found "not guilty." When Dougherty was dumped 90% of members voted to reinstate him for the good of the lodge but Shields refused to comply with the reinstatement, so now Shields is being charged again for "failure to perform the duties of the president."
Hope For ChangeWell now we have an officer from district 003 who has taken the bull by the horns and wants to do something about it. From the district fax machine came these little gems:
I salute Officer Quarles for doing this but this is not the right tactic at this time. It is like pissing in the wind. It won't do any good because since the president is elected, it takes an election to oust him. Shields won't resign because he's too stubborn and narcissistic. He can't be forced to resign - but he can be impeached. But with 4 months left to go til the election, and with us in contract negotiations, this would be a terrible time to get an impeachment hearing going.
A high ranking FOP State Rep was also at the last FOP meeting and he was overheard saying [regarding the Shields fiascos], "this is the most disorganized train wreck I've ever seen. It's frankly embarrassing."
2014 is CriticalApathy is our biggest enemy. In the last election only 33% of active members voted. A greater percentage of the 8,000 retirees voted and they put a large number of retirees in office. This isn't good because the retirees have different priorities than the active guys and gals. We must get as many active members to mail in their ballot! It doesn't matter what team you vote for - just vote! Next year I have seen who's going to be running and I am going to support our CityWide Team with all my might because I think they can get the job done.
We have very serious issues to confront next year, not the least is ObamaCare. I have already heard that the city is going to cancel the medical portion of our contract and throw every city employee into a healthcare exchange. They already tried to do that with retiress and we are next.
The city only cares about saving money, not about the health and safety of its first responders. Moving us to ObamaCare would probably save the city about $1 billion in costs. The time is NOW to start getting Shields, and his rump swabs, out of our beloved FOP Lodge 7. Spread the word, and get informed. Ask questions of the guys and gals that come to your district. Get involved; attend FOP meetings. Your future depends on it.