April 2019 Meeting Minutes – PDF
President Dellwo called the April 9th, 2019 meeting to order at 0807 hours.
Present were: President Dellwo, Vice President LeDoux, North Delegate Braaten, South Delegate Miles, Secretary Harjes, Treasurer Berglund, 2100 Zynda, 2200 Cornish, 2300 Larsen, 2400 (Alternate) Olson, 2500 Fredell, 2500 (Alt) Maikkula, 2600 Beasley, 2700 Carlson, 2800 Weinrich, 2900 Hanson, 3100 (Alternate)Thostenson, 3200 Danielson, Business Manager Baker.
Not present were: 2400 Theel and 3100 Pearson.
Motion to accept the January 2019 minutes: Motion by 2900, Seconded by South:CARRIED
1000: Colonel Langer arrived
There is tremendous bipartisan legislative and public support for a handsfree law. The bill allows one touch to activate handsfree mode. There are not any exemptions for GPS, podcasts, etc. If passed, it will go into law August 1st. There will be a lot public education on this subject as well if the bill passes. I really appreciate our agency going there by policy before it is law.
(Update: This has been signed into law by Gov. Walz, effective August 1st, 2019)
Trooper Salary Bill/Wage Study – There is a requirement to conduct a study in the bill language.
VP Follow-up: There is similar language between the House and the Senate bills, but the House language includes surrounding states in the comparison so we are not in favor of this version.
The Colonel appreciates the professional lobbying that is being conducted by the Trooper’s Association. It has been a benefit to the agency. The Colonel thinks the synergy has been very helpful for numerous items. The MSPTA has a great reputation down at the Capitol.
The Colonel’s direction comes from the Governor’s office, not the legislature. Colonel is given the green light/red light from the executive branch to visit the legislature and speak. He cannot go and testify on his own. With the Trooper Salary Bill, since there is a fiscal note attached to this bill, and it is not included in the Governor’s budget, he cannot speak to it. For whatever reason, MMB didn’t attend the House hearing on the bill. The Colonel intentionally wasn’t there since MMB was supposed to be at the hearing. The Colonel doesn’t believe disregarding the orders of the Executive Branch are the right move at this time. The Colonel is not working against this bill.
2700 Follow-up: Have you received an answer from MMB why they didn’t show up to the house hearing?
CHQ: MMB doesn’t have to answer to me. I don’t know what their strategy is.
VP Follow-Up: Do think our legislation is the predominate reason to making it back to the bargaining table?
CHQ: It definitely did not hurt. I don’t believe the public perception has changed. I think it has always been positive and is still positive. I’m very glad the contract did settle. It’s not going to make a big dent when comparing us to other agencies, but it is a step in the right direction.
VP Follow-up:The big push for this legislation was to correct the long-standing problem. I don’t know how they came up with the fiscal note attached to our bill. As soon as we had a tentative agreement, MMB people were on the phone with legislative representatives trying to kill the bill saying that the Trooper Wage Disparity bill wasn’t needed since we came to an agreement on our contract. I feel that is very unethical. I don’t expect you to answer those statements, if they were to put you in a bad spot. I just hope you are doing all you can do to help our members.
CHQ: I appreciate it. I’ve carried that water. The Commissioner is going to be a very strong advocate on things like this. The Commissioner is willing to make significant changes and supports the State Patrol. The Commissioner felt CHQ is a pitiful central office in terms of physical space, and is not helpful to recruiting in the agency. The Commissioner wants more Troopers in the agency.
The Colonel agrees with the poor Hay Study results, it doesn’t paint the State Patrol in good light. Lots of time and energy went into it with minimal results. From my point of view, pay for performance idea, I like the idea of it, but our job is very different than a normal, non-law enforcement job. That idea walks us into partial policing issues, quotas, etc. and leads us down a bad road. It should be noted that the MSPTA successfully stopped MMB from added pay for performance based on yearly evaluations during the last round of negotiations.The good thing is the compensation study on the table with the recently settled bargaining agreement. Colonel is thankful that the compensation study made it into the next contract. Has no idea what the results will bring. Colonel pushed for an external study, to provide an objective end result of the compensation study unlike the Hay Study results. It is going in the right direction. MLEA will be a part of the selection process for the RFP for the vendor to conduct the study.
Colonel is doing everything he can do to make this study a reality.
South Follow-up: Colonel, so what I’m hearing is that the Commissioner’s office and the Executive Branch will silently support us on the compensation study, and stay quiet on the salary bill?
CHQ: That is an accurate assessment on how it stands as of today. I am trying to get as much support from the Commissioner. It still needs to be in the target to get there.
VP Follow-up: We’ve tried to go the appropriate route with the Governor’s office. We tried to explain the issues and follow the rules. When the Governor’s budget came out – there was nothing in there for us.
CHQ: The only thing that causes frustration with this process is your inability to testify and speak on our behalf.
2600 Follow-up: Thank you for the support and advocating for our cause. We understand you get pulled in multiple directions. I have significant concerns of the objectivity in any study if MMB is involved. MMB seems to be seriously inflating the fiscal numbers associated with this bill for sinister purposes.
CHQ: Colonel doesn’t think that death by fiscal note is the route this bill will take. MMB came up with those numbers. We don’t have the ability to do that. MMB didn’t even want to include the 41 cadets in the academy. The benefits (retirement, pension, healthcare) are also a part of that fiscal note, which go up exponentially with each person. Snowball effect for the total fiscal note because it includes all the years of the bill. Colonel doesn’t have an interest in jamming up this bill or see Troopers be paid low, he is doing all he can do.
Colonel is tired of the gas mask & physical fitness exam fiasco as much as anyone else. This is mandated by the federal government, but is poorly implemented, we should have done a better job to get out in front of it, based on our experiences from last time it was done. It is not a fitness for duty exam. We need to get a group together to solve this and make this process better. We tried to get a waiver to stop this but it was denied. We tried to do get these visits done over the phone instead of office visits, but that wasn’t possible for everyone. The reality is, it is required by federal law. At the end of the day, it is to keep employees safe.
President Follow-up: What would happen if a person said they are not going to this appointment?
CHQ: Colonel doesn’t know exactly how it would go, but it is a requirement of the job to be able to wear a gas mask. We don’t want to test this process.
We did allow retakes on the LETO rowing test during this hiring process. How the retakes came about was due to a person of seemingly high caliber missed the rowing test by 3 seconds. Testing staff told the individual they didn’t pass. That triggered a question that was fielded up the chain of command to the Colonel and quickly turned into what does Texas do? Texas does allow retakes during their PT exams. We did not lower the fitness standard and we allowed the 7 people that failed to retake the test the following week when we had other interviews scheduled. The person that originally failed the test by 3 seconds passed by 30 seconds on the retake. Consulting with Texas DPS, that is part of the reason why they allow retakes, since there could be many factors involved. We are doing the exact same thing for the traditional process as well and allowing retakes. It was one of those decisions that the Colonel knew CHQ would have to answer for. Next year we will work in a form of retakes during the hiring processes. We will not allow retakes on the final entry test into the Academy. The rowing test isn’t perfect, we will adjust things as needed, but not lower our standards.
South Follow-up: Were there people who weren’t originally scheduled for interviews, that got participate in the PT test/interviews?
CHQ: Yes, to be totally honest, I asked why we are doing LETO interviews at Camp Ripley. The LETO applicant pool is more metro based. Colonel wondered if we were missing some applicants due to the location. Colonel asked TDS to try to schedule a day in the metro to hopefully get some of those that weren’t able to make it into a testing/interview session. We will also look at Saturday interviews and evening interviews in the future. We have about 67 backgrounds in the process right now. No numbers yet for next year’s Academy.
Secretary Follow-up:What concerns me is how we are changing the rules in the middle of the process for single person. Yes, Texas does allow retakes, but that information is publicly posted on their website ahead of time, and does not change throughout the hiring process.
CHQ: We have to be creative and flexible and adhere to our standards. As long as we provided the retake opportunity with everyone that failed, there wouldn’t be any major issues down the road with the decision. I wanted to do everything we can to get every possible candidate into our process for us to look at. Every single one of those applicants is critical to our hiring process.
Mobile Field Force was very professional and wonderful during the recent NCAA event.
The perseverance during this winter has been incredible. Thank you to everyone.
Questions for the Chief
3200: No Questions
3100: Commissioner Harrington has expressed his interest in more community engagement, community policing, etc.Could we see the return of the PIO positions to all districts to help with the commissioner’s vision of engagement with communities, etc.
CHQ: If we could, I’d like to have a safety education Trooper in every district, but we have staffing issues at the moment. Our current strategic plan is winding down, but our next one, would like to include more strategic guidance in community engagement relating to traffic safety. We have 299D that gives our mission to highway and education. Colonel doesn’t want to promote safety education Troopers, then give the perception that Troopers don’t need to worry about community engagement, etc.
3100: Is there any money available to be used by specific members for specific needs for gym memberships, diet programs, workout programs, etc.?
CHQ: The Colonel is passionate about Trooper physical and mental wellness. Fitness memberships is part of collective bargaining process and would support talking about – I would like to see us get there. The difficult part of it is that it is a statewide health care insurance plan.
3100: In the interest of consolidating equipment, could we look at a smart phone to replace 3 devices?
CHQ: I agree, the bad part is the data plan costs. It’s easier to manage a $300 fixed cost piece of equipment, vs a recurring monthly charge if we were to go that route.
2900: What can be done when staying at Ripley Housing? Anything that can be done with the situation would be helpful. We want to be treated like the good customer we are.
CHQ: Sgt Cole has a great relationship with the new commanding General, and relationships are improving. DNR is being removed from their current location within the next year and will be struggling to find space to house their operations.
South Follow-up:How much do we spend up at Ripley during a year for housing at Ripley?
CHQ: I can check into that number, but we outspend even the DOT up there during the course of the year.
VP Follow-up: Will Fall IST be in the Districts?
CHQ: No, it will be at Camp Ripley.
2800: Could we look intoopen mag pouches? Sgt. Zehr had done a study on reload times, tactical reasons, etc.
CHQ: I’ll look into it. We’d have to issue both for consistency for work uniform and dress uniform.
2700: Is there any update on the new LT Test vendor?
CHQ: Not yet. We’re to a point where we can possibly administer the test annually. We’re done with the vendor that administered these tests.
South Follow-up: Regarding Ripley staff, were you aware the test was administered the first Thursday of the Academy? After working long, consecutive days up to that point, it was a poor date for that test to be administered up at Ripley. Is there a reason why Troopers can’t look at these tests after the fact? Was there a lack of transparency in the actual test? There’s a lot of bad experiences with this test, and mistakes that found their way into the last test administered.
CHQ: On the analytical reasoning part, that is the vendor’s product and the vendor must maintain the integrity of the test. Most people do very well on the job knowledge portion of the test. I think there was a discrepancy from year’s past, but I have not heard of anything specific. Our policy clearly states how the test should be weighted.
VP Follow-up: Can we look at this as an opportunity to look at this promotional process? It’s concerning when around 50% of applicants fail this test. If this was a test in the hiring process – that test would have been changed immediately. What happened to the personality profile part of the exam?
CHQ: It’s a tough one. The vendor has evidence that the analytical reasoning is a very beneficial part of the test to help identify good quality applicants. It was dumped from the process. This test helps identify applicants not only for a Lieutenant position, but potentially to go all the way up through the ranks.
2700: Regarding the jump packs, is that something that may happen depending on budget?
CHQ: It’s on the list of things to look at.
2600: Suggestion on the child seat law – To make a parent responsible for the child restraint in a vehicle – instead of the driver. A driver in the vehicle can only be cited for the child restraint violation. If there is a passenger who happens to be a parent of an infant/child in the vehicle that didn’t secure a that infant/child properly, they could not be cited. Rewrite the law to allow us to cite the parent of the infant/child, in cases where the parent is not the driver.
CHQ: I’ll add it to the list – great suggestion.
2500: It is very hard to get experienced Troopers to FTO, can we look at an increase in pay, extra comp time or farming out an FTO to a different district?
CHQ: I don’t have an answer for you, but I appreciate the concern.
2400: Could we have a bigger role in national events? To branch off that, could we look at putting Troopers at the State Fair, in our uniform?
CHQ: Our funding is different, and people outside of the state system don’t really understand that complexity. With some larger scale local events such as the Final Four, it was all driven by the city. They decided not to pay us, which changed our role at the event. This would apply to the State Fair, they currently pay the officer directly, not the agency. They would have to figure out some way to pay the agency and we would also have to come up with a good traffic safety related reason to be present.
2400: Breachpoint training was great, the nutritionist at IST was great, and with all this focus on Troopers health, could we look at modernizing our uniform, by utilizing some sort of suspension system to support our gear, to minimize impacts on our bodies?
CHQ: It’s tough #1 to meet our image standard with an external carrier. It needs to be a functional and an economical change and who still represent who we are as an agency. I do want to keep us looking towards the future. I do want to look at a fitness standard of some sort if we go down that road.
2400: It seems like themost experienced dispatchers are working in the slowest districts during shifts. Could we keep the more experienced dispatchers in the busier, higher traffic districts in the state?
CHQ: I’ll get in touch with Tim Boyer to ask how it works.
2400: Will we see rail lights for our pistols? Is it policy or budgetary why we don’t have them?
CHQ: The pistol light was number three on the list of firearm related acquisitions. Number 1 was the new 9mm pistols and number two was the Sig Sauer red dot units. We aren’t looking at them right now, but something on the list for the future, possibly for next biennium.
2300: No questions
2200: Mental health of Troopers involved in the Internal Affairs process – these lingering IA investigations taking too long – lack of information provided to the Trooper involved and the laundry list of charges against them. I argue it is not adequate and not in compliance with the Peace Officers Discipline Act. It’s not fair to say we only have two investigators for the length of time these investigations take.
CHQ: I don’t disagree, some of the timelines have been way too long on some cases. If we add an investigator, it would have to come out of State Patrol budget. I’d like to look at whether or not adding a person would actually fix the issue or not.
2100: Have you been able to read through theUniversity of Eau Claire external carrier study?
CHQ: I read the article, I have not looked at the full study yet.
2100: Letter of reprimand – statement of charges. When a Trooper looks at it they see the listing of 3-4 policy violations and they worry. Can we get the most appropriate violation on the statement instead of placing everything possible on the statement and leave the anxiety ones off?
CHQ: I’d like to see a few of these examples. President Dellwo will follow-up with the Colonel with examples.
2100: Once flight is overhead, we’re supposed to stop and discontinue immediately and resume normal patrol operations. We should be in close proximity of that suspected vehicle.
CHQ: The flight portion of that policy changed a few years back. The strategy for us to immediately discontinue the pursuit and resume normal patrol operations is so the suspect driver thinks the pursuit is finished, and resumes normal driving. We’re taking the risk that the person will get away.
2000: Why do we start the Academy in January?
CHQ: There’s no good time to start the academy. There is always something such as military preference at Camp Ripley, summer holidays, etc.
2000: Do our current supervisor promotions reflect our core values?
South: No questions
Secretary: No questions
Treasurer: No questions
Vice-President: No questions
President: No questions
Guest Speaker – The MSPTA presented former Lt Governor Fischbach with an honorary State Patrol badge. She has been instrumental in getting pay increased for cadets, the base budget increased to support that change and helped write the bill for the Trooper Wage Disparity bill. She maintains her continued support of our agency through her connections in the political arena.
Presentation from Fidelity Blue Line Mortgage.
Wishes and More – We received the inaugural Trooper’s Association Award. This will be a yearly award giving to special sponsors of Wishes and More. We were one of the first sponsors to support the organization.
National Troopers Coalition update. We discussed the state of each state during this event in breakout sessions. An interesting fact: there are no states in the NTC North Region that has a two-tiered pay system (metro areas vs great areas). There was a good presentation by California Highway Patrol on electrical autonomous vehicles.
DC Fly-In – Met with most Minnesota’s US reps except for a few that weren’t able to attend.
MPPOA Legislative Conference February- Conference went well.
MPPOA Summer Conference – June 8th-10th
Attendees: Dellwo, LeDoux, Miles, Harjes, Beasley, Theel, Carlson, Larsen, Braaten & Grothem
Motion to donate $500 to Tim Bowe Golf Tournament. Motion by North, seconded by 2000:CARRIED
Motion to donate $250 to MPPOA Fishing Tournament. Motion by 2700, seconded by 2000:CARRIED
Motion to donate $1000 to Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund. Motion by 2000, seconded by 2900:CARRIED
Treasurer Berglund presented and went through the budget report to Executive Council.
Phone solicitation income has gone down from last year
Motion to accept budget report: Motion by 2000, seconded by 2400:CARRIED
- Delegate Fredell, Delegate Cornish & Delegate Weinrich writing article
- May 1stdeadline for next magazine articles.
- Article in current magazine about what the MSPTA does for members.
- Future issues
- Commissioner will still write articles
- MN Attorney General Office is willing to write an article for our magazine
- Graduation article in fall magazine
- HCSP investment options will change July 1st and will mirror the investment options available through deferred compensation. This is a positive change since it will allow more investment options.The survivor retirement option will increase on July 1st as a result of updates to mortality tables and the drop in the projected rate of return. The increase will be phased in and it is recommended that individuals retiring use the retirement calculator on the MSRS page or contact MSRS directly to see how this change will affect them in retirement.
- Things looking good for the moment for the pension.
Equipment Committee: Meeting was canceled last minute. No updated news.
Legislative Committee: Our efforts at the Capitol speak for themselves. We have done a very good job making our case and keeping the membership updated. The current contract has been presented to the legislature by MMB and awaits legislative approval.
- We will be planning for the next set of negotiations occurring late this summer.
- First meeting will be in during August/September timeframe.
- The following members will be on the 2019-2020 Negotiation Team; President Dellwo, VP LeDoux, South Delegate Miles, North Delegate Braaten, Secretary Harjes & 2600 Delegate Beasley. 2 other members will be added at the July meeting
- No new news to report at this time on current contract status with MMB.
- Waiting for MMB to complete their process to get approval from the legislature.
- Once we know dates for backpay, we will let everyone know as will the agency.
- Please make sure we have your current home address. The agency can’t give us your new address if you move. Trooper address update form on the website now (Troopers Only – Address Update)
- Mobile app for Troopers. Communicate vital information to Troopers (in addition to e-mail). Have the ability to have a calendar, direct delegate contact information, contract, important documents, possible voting, etc. Secretary Harjes will have a vendor selected by July meeting to go with.
- If you would like to order some custom MSPTA gear, please check out the Corporate Mark link on website. We don’t have to manage inventory.
- WileyX Eye Wear offers a 40% discount to law enforcement. Will place information on website.
- Helicopter mugs available to members. $5 each. See your local delegate.
2300: Rolling vacation into deferred comp like CVI and supervisors in the future?
VP Follow-up: The state offered a one-time offer to place 40 hours of vacation into deferred compensation but we would have lost the 400.00 match. This offer came in the first round of mediation and did not include the increase to shift differential so it was rejected.
2200: Trp Travis Boetel – 2100 – Hat Carrier in Squad Car about $8. Contact Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org interested.
President: Thanked Gabe Cornish (promotion) and Scott Fredell (retirement) for their time on the Executive Council.
Motion to adjourn at 1635 hours. Motion by 3100, seconded by 2500: CARRIED
- Equipment Committee Meeting – April 23rd, 2019 – St. Cloud, MN
- 60thAcademy Graduation – May 7th, 2019 – St. Paul, MN
- MPPOA Summer Conference – June 8-10th– Alexandria, MN
- Executive Council Meeting – July 9th, 2019 – Welch, MN (Treasure Island)
- Golf Tournament – July 10th-11th, 2019 – Hastings, MN
- Retired Troopers Day – August 6th, 2019 – St. Cloud, MN (New Location)
- National Troopers Coalition Fall Conference – 23-25 Sept, 2019 – Michigan
- Executive Council Meeting – October 1st– St. Cloud, MN
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