Evidently the LEOFF I Coalition has just sent out another fund raising notice. I received several emails with questions about the Coalition yesterday. I urge everyone NOT to donate to the Coalition.
The Coalition does not represent anyone except their Board of Directors.
Regardless of their claims, the Coalition has no members. In fact, the coalition consists solely of the seven members on the Board of Directors. That means that if you donate to them you have no say whatsoever as to how they spend your money. You do not get a vote. You do not even get to elect the Board of Directors. They appoint themselves with no oversight.
The Coalition refuses to provide financial statements or any accounting as to how the spend the money they receive from donations. So, even if you could vote you could not review their expenses because they will not reveal them.
Every LEOFF 1 plan member should have grave concerns about what the Coalition is doing. They are proposing some sort of negotiated settlement over the pension fund surplus but are unable to enunciate any terms or conditions for such a negotiations or answer where they would derive the authority to negotiate on behalf of LEOFF 1 members. (Would you want someone you do not know and did not elect negotiating you pension benefits? I would not.)
The last estimate I heard the Coalition had over $100,000 in the bank. Given that there is currently no bill or proposed bill that would attack the pension, they do not need more money. Rather they need to give us a report on how they have spent the $400,000 they have raised over the years. Then they need to let the donors have membership and a vote to determine how the organization is run.
Some of the claims they are making in their latest newsletter about membership and lobbying activities are wrong or at least misleading.
What should you do…
First and foremost, do not give them any money.
Second, ask them for an accounting of their expenditures and a balance sheet covering the last ten years.
Ask them why, if they have this lobbyist as they claim, they have not filed anything with the Public Disclosure Commission reporting those expenditures.
Demand that they open their books and have an election. All donors, past and present, should be allowed to vote.
None of these are new requests. I was pushing for transparency and elections in 2001 and have do so ever since.
They are not bad guys…
I want to stress that I do not believe anyone on the Coalition is acting in a fraudulent manner. The Coalition has stepped to the plate several times over the years. They have funded legal actions and provided support for several important issues. However they do so solely on their own terms because they have no members to whom they are responsible.
That has led to actions that appear ill conceived or silly – like buying Helen Sommers flowers when she had spent a career opposing LEOFF 1 interests – or buying pocket calendars with “LEOFF 1 Coalition” printed on the cover to pass out to legislators who did not want and did not use them. When they could not give them away they passed them out at a retirement home and then reordered them so they could pass them out to the retirement home again the next year.
The do seem, at times, to be out of touch with what is going on in Olympia. Most recently they failed to take note of an attempt to push through a LEOFF 1/LEOFF 2 merger in the budget. Swift action by the RFFOW and RSPOA helped stop that, the Coalition did not even attend a meeting where the matter was discussed.
So, please do not send them any money. Let them know they need to get their house in order. Other organizations have met with them and encouraged the same. With the proper elected leadership they could become an effective organization, but right now they don’t seem to be interested in moving in that direction.Follow us on Facebook