BY JOHN H. “JJ” JONES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL ASSOCIATION
Good news is always welcome, especially when it pertains to our own. We are thankful for the release of State Trooper David Schiers from several weeks in the hospital after involvement in a very serious vehicle accident.
WE WISH DAVID AND HIS FAMILY THE VERY BEST IN his long recovery, and speedy return to duty. Congratulations to Major Mike Kuehn on retirement, and the very best to him and his family moving to Arizona.
Additional news in a positive light, the Utah State Legislature is conducting hearings on POST Retirement to review the law and see if changes are needed. At the present time retention and recruitment is a real problem, even more so in the outlying areas of the state. From a personal view, I wouldn’t think this would be that hard to figure out, but this seems very difficult for some in the legislature to come to grips with. Why they want retired personnel with experience, training and education to wait for some time period to be utilized in another position, or even leave our state to be treated better is not forward thinking, and should be highly reviewed and corrected immediately. It would behoove legislators to walk in the public servant’s shoes and maybe they would have a different view of what is necessary to maintain skilled, professional state employees. This is not about salary; that’s an argument for another day! They should educate themselves about the issues at hand. I suggest a concise knowledgeable reference is the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. NCPERS is holding a conference meeting titled Public Safety Employees Pension and Benefits Conference, October 25 – 28, 2015 in Rancho Mirage, CA. It will offer a true picture about retirement, you would be wise to attend and investigate the facts. The investigations and research should lead to further benefit of the Utah Public Employees Association (UPEA), Utah Highway Patrol Association (UHPA) as well as the Utah Retirement System (URS). By all means employees should communicate with Utah State Senators and House Representatives, representing their district. If you are retired, planning to retire, or working in hopes one day you will retire, you must get involved. You cannot in any way, let someone else do your bidding for you without your input. Retirement is what we work towards for our families, and we must stand together and make our concerns known. Our citizens deserve the very best public servants can give. We deserve in retirement the total earned by our service, that being what we have worked towards over our careers. Your public service career, whether you are a fire fighter, police officer, or school teacher is your life and your responsibility.
I hope you enjoy the articles in this issue. Remember the top three things that make Utah shine are Manufacturing, Tourism, and Public Safety. Utah State Troopers have a stake in all three.
Wear the uniform with pride, travel safe, stay alert, arrive home alive!