Greetings to my SFFMA Family. The 142nd SFFMA State Convention and Training Conference is upon us and it’s shaping up to be one for the history books. Dynamic speakers offering challenging and engaging classes. Exciting motivational speaker to kick things off. A Presidents reception that is family oriented and sure to be a big hit as we “Take You Out to the Ball Game” to watch the Texas Rangers take on the San Diego Padres. All the traditional events that we hold each year like the Vendor Showcase, Golf Tournament, Pumper Races, Committee Meetings and various contest. PLUS ….. We are in the heart of Texas Family Vacationland as we are within walking distance to Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, and a multitude of eateries and places to shop. Therefore, there is something for everyone, young and old, member or visitor, fire service or family thereof.
We will also be asking the membership to vote on two by-laws proposals during this convention. These two proposals will no doubt have significant impacts to our membership, both direct and indirect, short term and long term, and the future of our association. I ask as your President to carefully research both of these proposals for yourself and have your delegates also research them to allow each of you to make an informed decision and to cast your vote making your voice heard. Do not rely on “I Heard” and “They Said” or “as I understand it”, research it for yourself, especially if you will be casting the vote. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that “Chance Favors the Prepared Mind”.
The Executive Board Proposal for the dues increase has been meeting some opposition as of late. During my travels to the various District Meetings, I have listened and I have heard you. I fully understand and respect the struggles that the smaller volunteer departments go through and the financial impacts this dues increase could have. When trying to balance keeping fuel in the trucks, electricity on at the fire station, keeping your staff in proper levels of PPE and all other regulations you must meet, I know firsthand and see it daily as it drains not only the pocket book, but also the Desire, Dedication, Determination and Discipline of your department. Therefore, when you say, “We Can’t Afford a Dues Increase”, my question becomes, “Can We afford Not to Support It?
Let us look at it from this perspective… Are you still paying the same rate for the following items today that you paid for in 1998?
GASOLINE: 1998 > $1.10 Per Gallon 2018 > $2.49 Per Gallon
MILK: 1998 > $2.20 Per Gallon 2018 > $4.10 Per Gallon
EGGS: 1998 > .93 Per Dozen 2018 > $1.69 Per Dozen
HOTEL: 1998 > $59.00 Per Night 2018 > $109.00 Per Night (Standard Room)
At first glance (aka Sticker Shock) the $20 per member increase seems like a lot. Moreover, in some cases, it is. However; if you look at it from an annual perspective as to the increase, it is ONLY 13 cents a day. How many of us waste 13 cents a day? How many of us could save those 13 cents per day by streamlining our operations and find areas within our budgets to offset this cost? For that matter, how many of us could simply put our change each night into a coffee can and raise the $20 per person ourselves to help our departments? It is all a matter of how you look at it and how you approach it.
Currently, your SFFMA is absorbing a total cost per individual member to the tune of $42 per member. Your Executive Board is charged with finding ways to adjust the budget to pay for items that we are contractual bound to pay along with taking care of unexpected expenses. Combine that with the ever-rising cost of doing business, we must keep up with the times and stay poised for whatever issues arise and maintain a pro-active approach rather than a reactive (Knee Jerk) reaction to the complicated issues that arise each day.
I have also heard our membership say, “What’s In It for Me”? There are wide ranges of personal benefits that will be increased for each dues paying member new benefits that we are incorporating for the future.
- Legislative Representation
- Represent SFFMA Firefighters on issues at the legislature
- Support SFFMA’s legislative initiatives
- Increase support and funding for state fire service grant programs
- Develop legislative agenda and new legislative initiatives
- Maintenance and Operations
- Extended Membership Benefits
- New policy for members: $10,000 AD&D/LODD (On/Off Duty, Severe Burn Policy)
- Better Customer Service
- Additional Staff Person to assist with processing of certifications, membership dues, sales, membership outreach
- Develop Sustainability of SFFMA:
- Establish Reserve/Investment Fund o Rising costs of utilities, technology, etc reasons for Dues Increase Proposal & Spending Plan
Although it is unknown exactly how much the additional dues increase might bring in to SFFMA, we are setting this plan into effect to provide a guideline to work from, should the increase take effect.
In closing, it is my hope that we will have a great turnout at the State Convention, and that we can make the right decisions to move our association into a sound and profitable future.
Remember the motto… “Ask one… Bring one, Show up… Step Up”
With all my respect for what you do,
Harvie E. Cheshire
SFFMA Executive Board President 2018