Proposed Change to Endorsement Procedures
Posted On: Nov 18, 2013

FOP Members,

Proposed Change in Endorsement Procedures

Since the mayoral election, your FOP elected officers have been discussing many issues brought to us by concerned members about the endorsement procedure for candidates for public office. We know that as with any decision or action taken, we must evaluate the process and always strive to improve.

Brother Thom Bell, one of our elected Lodge Trustees, has been instrumental in brainstorming for ideas on how we can improve the process. Members of the Executive Board of the FOP have worked with him since the endorsement and we have come up with a proposed Standing Rule for our lodge which Brother Bell will move to adopt this Wednesday night at our regular lodge meeting. It begins at 1900 hours.

Brother Bell’s motion will be similar to the following:

A vote to make any public endorsement in the name of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 for any candidate seeking elected office shall require a minimum of 48 hours notice be given to the membership to inform them that the vote may occur. The notice will be sent by email through the lodge website, tulsafop93.org”

This rule, if adopted by the Floor, will address many members’ concerns about the latest endorsement. It will require notice to all members through FOP email (tulsafop93.org) before any vote can be taken on an endorsement for any candidate for public office. It will also allow members who wish to attend the opportunity to make a motion that such a vote should go to an online election in which all registered members could vote (requires 2/3 majority of those voting at the meeting). Of course, the Board of Directors can always vote to take any question before the Lodge to an online (“station-house”) vote.

There was discussion about making all possible endorsement votes online elections but there was one main concern with that rule. For most station-house elections, FOP leadership can go to squad meetings and send emails discussing the pros and cons of the options such as contract votes, FOP officer elections, dues increases, etc. In an election for city officers such as mayor or city council, we are not allowed to discuss those openly or become involved other than voting and stating our opinion in private. Therefore, we could not go to squad meetings or send emails about the pros and cons of particular candidates for fear that we would be disciplined. The only way to have those discussions, is in the privacy of a lodge meeting open to members only. However, if the membership in attendance at such a meeting feels it must be a station-house vote, 2/3 of those in attendance can vote to hold the election electronically.

In the end, this rule provides for more communication and involvement by as many members as possible. We hope you all come Wednesday night to weigh in on this and the many other issues that come before the Lodge Floor at every meeting.

We still intend to do a thorough vetting of any candidates prior to making any proposal for an endorsement. You may or may not remember that prior to the mayoral primary, we interviewed each candidate, asked them each to complete a survey on our issues, and had a forum at the lodge where they all spoke and answered questions. We also paid for a scientific poll of likely voters then presented all of those findings to the membership for an endorsement decision.

Other Important Reasons to Attend Wednesday’s Meeting

Nominations for Lodge officers will be accepted Wednesday night at our regular meeting.

The election will be held November 28-December 4, 2013. A member must have attended at least 6 lodge meetings during the 12 months prior to the beginning of the election to run for office. Offices that members may be nominated for are the following (Incumbents are in parentheses):

President (Clay Ballenger)
1st Vice-President (James Stump) 2nd Vice-President (Marcie Brannon) Secretary (Tim Stendel)

Treasurer (Jean Vanlandingham) Conductor (Gary Otterstrom) Inner Guard (Jeri Tucker) Parliamentarian (Robbie Bowman)

Board of Directors (2 Positions, 3 Year Term: Jack Pike, Jacob Johnston))
Board of Trustees (1 Position, 3 Year Term: Quentin Houck)
Negotiations Committee (3 Positions, 3 Year Term: Ron Neal, Shane Tuell, Brad Sharpe)

The FOP Health and Welfare Trust Board (3 Positions, 3 Year Term: Jeff Edwards, Darin Filak, Gene Watkins) These names were submitted by the Trust Board for an up or down vote by the FOP membership. They are also currently in the positions.

Please keep mind, some of the incumbents may not be running for re-election.

We will have a few special guests with us Wednesday night as well. Our new lobbyists for the State FOP will be coming to speak to us and visit with our members. They are Gary Huddleston and Lisette Barns. They are by all accounts two of the most professional, respected, and successful lobbyists in Oklahoma. Gary and Lisette have already started representing us and attending meetings at the state capital on our behalf. Also, Brother Mark Nelson, OKC FOP, will be in attendance to address our membership about his upcoming run for State FOP Vice- President.

We hope you all come and meet these individuals. Dinner will be served starting around 1800 hours and the meeting will start at 1900 hours.

Fraternally,
Clay Ballenger, President 


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