President Dellwo called the April 7th, 2020 meeting to order at 0830 hours.
Present were: President Dellwo, Vice President LeDoux (Remote), North Braaten (Remote), South Miles, Secretary Harjes & Treasurer Berglund.
1000: Colonel Langer and Lt Col. Schrofer called in to conference.
Contract and mediation. Colonel was frustrated & disappointed the mediation date was cancelled for April 8thas well. It has been communicated to the commissioner’s office. Is also frustrated by the cancellation of our committee hearings that were scheduled shortly after the COVID crisis started and when the legislature shut down.
24 cadets left in the academy as of 4/7. Will be sworn in on Saturday 4/11. We haven’t cut any necessary programs from the curriculum appreciates the flexibility of the training staff in making it work. Some training was shifted to later this year when it is appropriate and available such as Datamaster training. Graduation will be livestreamed privately for families. We will have a real graduation ceremony for this class when appropriate. 22 cadets graduated from the academy.
FTO will be a little bit different. Different traffic patterns and volume from normal levels. We’ll continue to do the best they can.
Secretary Follow-up: Other state arounds us have delayed the evaluation period of their FTO programs. Are we looking at doing the same with our FTO program?
CHQ: There is so many decisions being made revolving around COVID related issues. I’ve been committed to making the best decision as possible. If we have to make adjustments down the road, we will make those as needed.
2021 Academy is still a big question mark. The hope is to still get the supplemental budget and the support is still there. We are still continuing with process to hold a 2021 academy.
Promotional process is coming up on May 26th for the Lieutenant test. Colonel wants Troopers to have an opportunity for this process and it will help create additional opportunities across the organization. ISS will be restructured with the addition of the DRE program and the SRT program. Colonel is sensitive to the loss of road Troopers to fill these positions and views them as critical positions.
There is new MNPass contract language giving us the ability to hold those MNPass spots from being filled to fill more critical spots in the agency.
South Follow-up: Are those MNPass positions fully funded by DOT?
CHQ: Absolutely. There are now additional administrative fees built into the new contract. Even the academy positions are fully funded by them. I’d like to see the impact to traffic from MNPass Traffic Enforcement. MNDot tells me there is no way to study it
South Follow-up: It does impact the traffic with MNPass Enforcement.
We’ve got some great people working for us to procure the needed PPE including additional masks, hand sanitizer, etc. We’ve got 15,000 expired N95 masks at the warehouse that we never discarded years ago, but updated guidelines state that expirations are not necessary during this time and the masks will function just fine if used. Procuring the supply of washable mask, will be distributed in the near future. This is something that we have never faced before. I will commit to doing my best and making the best decision with the best information available. I will also commit to being reasonable in this situation, and this will include supervisors as well. Our mission doesn’t stop. I am well aware of other agencies directing their officers to not stop cars, etc. It’s easier for others to give up those aspects of their agencies when it is not part of their mission and written in statute under 299D. The fatality numbers have been rising.
There is a draft curriculum out there and we’re back to a 16-week academy for 2021. I asked to add in a class segment about Brady-Giglio and what it means for our careers.
I’m super proud how the State Patrol is responding right now. We are doing exceptionally well. It doesn’t mean it is easy or everyone is happy. It is not the first crisis we have dealt with. We are going to be ok as an agency.
Questions for the Chief
North: When a Trooper is issued a new squad, how are those distributed? Is it appropriate to make that decision based off a Trooper’s yearly evaluation or activity levels and give that Trooper a used squad car?
CHQ: That decision has always been held with the district fleet lieutenant. Maybe we can have a sidebar discussion about this.
North: Can a Trooper get COVID Leave if no childcare is available for the Trooper’s children?
CHQ: The short answer is no. Troopers are not being granted COVID-19 leave for lack of childcare and the reason goes back to being an essential worker. We have worked closely with individuals to provide shift changes or schedule changes to make the situation work for the Trooper and their childcare situations.
South: I think there is some confusion with expectations. A district solicited the hypothetical that if the media made a request about activity, this information could be brought to the legislature to show how we don’t need to be essential. That’s a far stretch. It comes back to expectations.
CHQ: Those are hard things for me to send out in an e-mail. It’s not an opportunity to do nothing. We have an opportunity to show people what we’re made of during this time. It doesn’t mean we are going to do wide-scale saturations; I don’t think that would be appropriate. Distracted Driving, DWI and etc campaigns have been suspended so we don’t appear tone deaf during this time.
South Follow-Up: We’ve told people to be smart, be visible, you’re expected to do your job, don’t gather together, no saturations (even though it has occurred), stop your egregious speeders and taking calls for service. I think there is confusion in the membership and at the district levels. The whole oath thing is for doing our job, this is new, we don’t want to take this home to our families.
CHQ: I think a lot of Troopers are looking for permission to stop fewer cars during their shift. We need to be reasonable. Do I think traffic stops are down? Yep, I sure do, I haven’t even looked. We’re paying attention to the feel of what’s going on. Those are dangerous messages to put out in writing. Maybe I could start having the Lieutenants check in with Troopers to see how they are doing, concerns, issues, and etc.
President: I think good supervisors would be talking to and knowing their Troopers to find out issues that Troopers are dealing with and it also shows that a supervisor cares about their people. When you talk with the Captains, do they see a big problem coming with evaluations at the end of the year? Do you foresee big problems coming with evaluations?
CHQ: Only for Troopers or Supervisors that don’t understand my reasonableness demand. Problems will not occur for the huge group of people that understand our job is different and being reasonable during the reality of this crisis. Not a single Trooper should be stewing in their car about getting a needs improvement on their evaluation next year. There will plenty of conversations between now and evaluation time about this issue. We don’t know how this will end or if there ever will be an end to this crisis. Every other challenge we have faced is finite.
Vice President: Everyone acknowledges there is no play book for this situation. We’ve been pretty clear that being an essential employee has its pros and cons. I think there is a fair amount of anxiety out there in our agency.
CHQ: Our membership is healthy fortunately. There have been very few COVID leave requests. We deal with different virus/disease threats every day on the job that aren’t front and center like COVID like TB, HIV,etc.
North: On the lines of reasonableness, can you give direction to the Captains about not doing saturations during this time?
CHQ: We have a Captain’s conference call today, and we’ll talk about it today on the call. It is difficult for me to say do this, but don’t do that.
South: Will numbers related PIP (performance improvement plans) be put on hold during this crisis?
CHQ: That’s part of the conversation with Captain’s today. We’re not going to redo all the PIP plans or make wide scale changes and there isn’t very many Troopers on the PIP plans. It must be tied with reasonableness.
South: Will we be looking at a soft training uniform (Polo/BDU Pants) agency wide in the future? It may not be COVID-19 right now, but something in the future, etc. Proper washing protocol our current uniform can be difficult, but a soft training uniform would be easier to launder in situations such as this.
CHQ: I think there will be a ton of best practices that will come out of this.
Secretary: No Questions
Treasurer: What is the status of the pipeline?
CHQ: The planning continues, and the pace has slowed significantly. The permitting process is still happening even by telework. It is coming at some point, I just don’t know when it will be.
Vice-President: MMB sent out the Compensation Study on the state register on March 9th. Were you aware of it?
CHQ: I was told third hand it was posted. No updates on it since that point.
Vice-President: The deadline was March 30th. I was curious if anyone bid on it or what the status of the process was.
CHQ Follow-up: MMB said the posting closed on March 30th and there were vendors who bid on the work. That’s all I know.
Vice President: Are you getting any feedback on the operating bill or the pension supplement legislation?
CHQ: I talked with the transportation chairs and other members on those committees in the House and Senate and there is support for the bill. I took the opportunity to let them know that we’re still out there working and that it is a dangerous job every day. I was asked about the Trooper Compensation bill and said that is a different but also very important issue to correct as well. I wanted them to hear it from me that we’re still doing our jobs.
President: No Questions
Summer MSPTA Meeting/Golf Tournament – It sounds like the golf tournament is still on at this point, but to start thinking about the what ifs.
Retired Troopers Day – We will wait a little longer to make decisions on this event.
Fall NTC Conference is still up the air.
- MPPOA Summer Conference cancelled. Possibly will be rescheduled to fall.
- $250 donation to the Fishing Contest will be retained for next year’s event.
- MPPOA Critical Incident Training cancelled as well. Will update us on being rescheduled.
- MSRS/MSPTA Retirement Seminar cancelled
- Backing the Blue Line Ball cancelled – $2500 donation will be retained by Backing the Blue Line. They have ongoing expenses throughout the year, and we’ve been a supporter of them for years for the good they have done for the Minnesota Law Enforcement.
MSRS/MLEA Retirement Seminar Background Information
- We have distinct differences from other non-law enforcement state agencies, so we have continued to hold a separate seminar from regular state employees.
- MLEA foots the bill for the seminar, but Vice President LeDoux presents the information.
- Talked about the usefulness of a meeting separate from the normal MSRS seminar put on by the state.
- Jake Ayers (current LELS President) is a candidate for the MPPOA President position that will be voted on this summer. Jake spoke to the group about his history and why he wants to run for MPPOA president.
- Dave Titus is also running for MPPOA President and he will speak to the Executive Council at a later date
- Treasurer Berglund presented budget report.
- Phone donations are up even with COVID
Grievance: Lt Col Schrofer provided an update on active issues. President Dellwo provided an Internal Affairs update.
Pension/Retirement: No discussion
- Met via conference call on April 6th
- Presentation on lighting systems.
- There is a quantity of high gloss tourniquet holders in stock at the warehouse. Have your fleet lieutenant order. Lt Zak will be ordering non-high gloss holders for CVI Troopers.
- 30 – 2019 Ford sedan squads left to be issued. 82 Dodge Chargers to be coming in soon. 15 Ford SUV hybrids are expected to be delayed.
- There have been no new developments. Everything is on hold. Reopening will happen slowly.
- April 14th – Representatives and Senators hopefully meeting back at the Capitol.
- New budget forecast coming out
- Mediation on April 8th was cancelled.
- Unknown rescheduled date with MMB at this point. MLEA Attorney sent MMB an e-mail asking for a Zoom/WebEx meeting of some sort to continue to bargaining process.
- Discussion around the letter DNR sent to Representatives and Senators. Discussed the history of MLEA.
South: Discussion around purchasing badge customized challenge coins for each Trooper and to tie into the trinket for Retired Troopers Day. Will discuss with whole board on April 15th.
V.P.: If we go down the road of issuing reusable masks – can we push for them being optional?
CHQ Follow-up: Currently there is no intention of making them mandatory.
President: Follow-up conference call with the whole board on 4/15.
Minutes from the follow up meeting on 4/15 via conference call to all executive council board members.
All board members were present for conference call.
- Agencies have varied in response by taking pay cuts to avoid layoffs, cutting OT enforcement projects, hazardous duty pay and non-road officers working from home.
- Not all states have the presumption bill like we do in Minnesota.
- Reopening the House and Senate will happen slowly
- Some conference calls taking place with committees.
- MLEA is taking a wait and see approach with the contract/mediation process. Once meditation continues, we’ve requested all members of the negotiations committee be present either in person or via conference, and not limited to just the union Presidents and MMB.
- Provided Caribou Gift Cards to all State Patrol dispatchers for National Telecommunications Week
- Three members received hardship fund money to assist with their personal hardships.
- Magazine a go for the next issue.
- Articles due May 1st by Delegate Pearson, Delegate Maikkula & Delegate Phillips.
POST Board Update
- Next Meeting on April 23rd via conference call
- Complaint committee next meeting set for late May.
- License renewals not due until January 1st, 2021.
- Mark Fahning (ret) is still on the board – no idea when the Governor will fill the vacancies on the board.
- Mark willing to stay on the board until he is replaced
Motion to standardize the amount of $250 donation to in state officers involved in a violent, felonious injury against them by Delegate Beasley, seconded by Delegate Veldkamp: CARRIED
Motion to purchase MSPTA challenge coins for each member with their badge number, in addition to purchasing extra for Retired Troopers Day by South Delegate Miles, seconded by Delegate Olson: CARRIED
Motion to donation $1500 to each of the 5 regional food shelf hubs around the state for a total of $7500 by Delegate Weinrich, seconded by Delegate Phillips: CARRIED
2000: Will the state still take out pension contributions if out on COVID leave? During COVID leave, you will not accrue vacation or sick time.
VP Follow-up: If they are taking out taxes, they are taking out pension contributions.
President Follow-up: We did not bargain for this – the state gave it to us.
2300: Contractually, we are required to have a summer and winter schedule posted in the district office. Is there a need to still have these paper schedules posted?
3100 Follow-up: We post ours on the L: drive and that works fine in our district.
2400: Blake Cederstrom will be the new 2400 district delegate when I leave for Flight.
2600: We post paper schedules in our district. Also, that is correct with COVID leave, you do not earn sick or vacation time while on COVID leave.
Vice President: None
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