Mark Spencer's PLEA Backstabs Own Members

markspencer222.jpg
Mark Spencer, betraying PLEA members one endorsement at a time

What would you call law enforcement union leaders who claim to battle for their members' public benefits during tough economic times, while handing out endorsements to lawmakers hell-bent on wiping out those benefits for good?

Hypocrites? Backstabbers? Secret scabs? Something worse?

Whatever it is, it applies to Mark Spencer, president of the still powerful (despite a decline in membership) Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, and PLEA's board of trustees

Recently, PLEA posted an update on its Web site talking about how hard the union is fighting to keep cop pension benefits from being slashed by the current Legislature. The update addresses two bills, Senate Bill 1609 and House Bill 2726.

The Senate bill would reduce the amount of money the state will contribute to the retirement systems for elected employees, law enforcement, and corrections officers. The House bill offers similar "reforms," including the elimination of the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, a plan much prized by cops.

Under DROP, firefighters and police officers can retire after 20 years, then work for five more, while pulling their pension.

That's a sweet deal no cop, fireman or DPS officer wants to lose. But it and other benefits are on the chopping block right now. The Senate bill has already been voted on and passed. The House bill has passed through two committees and awaits a vote on the House floor.

On its Web site, PLEA warns its members of the worst possible scenario:

In the next few weeks the Bills will be assigned to a conference committee (assuming both pass through both chambers). On this committee there will be representatives from both the House and Senate. They will work to come to a consensus on a "final" bill draft. The "final" Bill might look like the Senate version, the House version, a hybrid of both, or something completely different. This "committee" process does not allow for much public discussion and whatever comes out of the committee will be extremely hard if not impossible to change.

Knowing this, it is appears more and more each day that we will have to depend on the Governor to veto the items in the final Bill that are obviously illegal and unconstitutional. We've had very positive discussions with the Governor's staff on the retirement issue for several months and she undoubtedly understands our concerns.

However, if the Governor signs one of these bills into law, we must begin to prepare for a long and expensive legal challenge.   

Problem is, PLEA has consistently allied itself with the very legislators hell-bent on axing public employee benefits.

For instance, in 2010, PLEA endorsed Republican state House Speaker Kirk Adams' re-election to his House seat. Adams is the primary sponsor of HB 2726, and he's been on record as a foe of the DROP program. Yet PLEA gave him its seal of approval. 

PLEA also supported several House members who voted for the bill in committee. These include, Republican state Representatives John Kavanagh, Steve Montenegro, Andy Tobin, Jerry Weiers, and Bob Robson.

In the upper chamber, state Senate President Russell Pearce, one of Mark Spencer's bosom pals, is a sponsor of SB 1609. So much for friendship, or PLEA's wholehearted support for Pearce's "breathing-while-brown-law" Senate Bill 1070. Neither PLEA's endorsement of Pearce in 2010, or its pro-1070 stance paid off.

Similarly, numerous Senate members who scored a 2010 PLEA endorsement voted for the anti-pension bill on the Senate floor. These include Republican state Senators Lori Klein, Michele Reagan, Linda Gray, John Nelson, John McComish, Andy Biggs, Al Melvin, Frank Antenori, and of course, Russell Pearce.

Most of PLEA's 2010 endorsements were for Republicans, who are hardly known for being sympathetic to the plight of unions. Interestingly, the nine Dems in the state Senate either voted no or didn't vote. All 21 GOPers voted yes.

And so it will likely play out on the House floor. Suddenly, it becomes crystal clear how deeply Spencer and his cronies on the PLEA board have betrayed the PLEA membership. 

By transforming the police union into one focused on the political ambitions of Spencer and his obsession with demonizing Hispanics, they have allied the union with anti-union politicians, politicians who would like nothing better than to see public pensions obliterated, if they could get away with it.

BTW, in 2010 PLEA also endorsed Governor Jan Brewer, who is likely to sign these proposals into law.


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29 comments
Susan Rastella
Susan Rastella

Another outstanding article from the Phoenix New Times. I do wish to bring to your attention a serious omission of your list of "notables". Working with Dr. Parker from 1980 as his Administrative Assistant I can attest to his never ending activism for human rights. His contribution to the world has been largely overlooked by many. Here is a little bit about him; I hope you amend your article to include him.

Dr. Rev. EVERETT C. PARKER - U.S. Media Activist

Everett C. Parker played a leading role in the development of public interest of American television. He served as director of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ from 1954 until 1983. In that position, he was at the forefront of Protestant communications, overseeing the public media activities of one of the leading mainline Protestant religious groups. He is better known, however, for two other contributions: his leadership in the development of an influential media reform and citizen action movement in broadcasting; and his activism directed at improved broadcast employment prospects for women and minorities. Near the end of his career, he was named one of the most influential men in broadcasting by the trade publication Broadcasting Magazine.

http://www.museum.tv/eotvsecti...

A brief biography:

EVERETT C(ARLTON) PARKER. Born in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., 17 January 1913. Educated at University of Chicago, A.B. 1935; Chicago Theological Seminary, B.D. magna cum laude 1943, Blatchford Fellow, 1944-45, D.D. 1964; Catawba College, Salisbury, North Carolina, D.D. 1958. Married: Geneva M. Jones, 1939; children: Ruth A., Eunice L., and Truman E. Began career as assistant public service and war program manager, NBC, 1943-45; lecturer in communication, Yale Divinity School, 1945-57; founder and director, Protestant Radio Communications, 1945-50; founder and director, Office of Communication, United Churches of Christ, 1954-1983; editor-at-large, Channels of Communication Magazine, 1983-84; Professor, Fordham University, from 1983; founder, Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, 1985. Honorary degrees: L.H.D., Fordham University, 1978; L.H.D., Tougaloo College, 1978. Recipient: Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia University Award; Human Relations Award, American Jewish Committee, 1966; Faith and Freedom Award, Religious Heritage Broadcasting, 1969; Roman Catholic Broadcasters Gabriel Award for public service, 1970; Lincoln University Award for significant contributions to human relations, 1971; Racial Justice Award, Committee for Racial Justice, United Christian Church, 1973; Public Service Award, Black Citizens for a Fair Media, 1979; Pioneer Award, World Associate for Christian Communications, 1988.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

He's made his name by being a backstabbing twit, so what's new?

XSoldier
XSoldier

It appears that PLEA's endorsements are as worthless as a 3 dollar bill. Just like the Flaccid Fool of MCSO. PLEA is just upset that it is losing a lot of memberships and more officers are going without unions..... Smart move, if I say so myself.....

Pearce is just a mentally deranged old man who beats his wives and supports woman-beater Bundgaard.

Brewer has shown she is incapable of leading the state. Just look at what she's done to the budget......

The Flaccid Fool is a major financial liability and I really don't know why the dimwitted voters of this state open their eyes to the destruction the Old Fool has caused.....

Thomas is just a mentally unstable, corrupt "lawyer" and he's irate because we voted for someone other than him for state AG. I think the people supported Mr. Horne and Ms. Rotellini.....

Hendy is too fat to be a police officer and even when he was one he abused his powers to the point where county government essentially had a meltdown. His claims will be booted out of court any day by any judge with a brain in their heads.....

Aubuchon has deluded herself into believing that all those people she and Candy charged, perp-walked, and attempted to indict are all guilty. Sorry pal, hate to break the news to you, but all them people are not guilty.....

SB 1070 will be thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. A voter-approved law similar to 1070 was enacted in 1914. By 1915 it was thrown out due to none other than the 14th Amendment. You know, the one Pearce & Co. want to change to suit their twisted needs.....

FOPdidthesame
FOPdidthesame

What is funny is the Arizona FOP has endorsed or has given PAC money to most of the same people. All one has to do is look on the Secretary of State website. I like how PLEA gets singled out when the FOP and the Firefighters union gave PAC money to Russell Pearce and other Republicans, including a significant amount of money to the Arizona Republican Party. The bottom line is, those people were going to get elected whether PLEA or anyone else supported them. Wouldn't you rather be able to at least talk to the decision makers instead of sit on the sideline?

PissedoffatPLEA
PissedoffatPLEA

And the pretend officers are all you PLEA board and puppets. Before you turn it on me Me mr truth I was talking about PLEA.One thing to know is phoenix police officers and detectives follow there leaders and support the decisions made at that level. YOu guys are the kids in theplayground that take ther play and run away when they dont get there way.

PissedoffatPLEA
PissedoffatPLEA

The truth hurts dotn it, come on dude wake up and realize that Mark spencer and his ten hoop jumpers are all politcally motivated and thats the truth. The truth hurts because you did a great job of deflecting all the attention to every other city or union. Thye dont represent us PLEA is suppose to. Most of the facts that are said about Mark and PLEA are the sad truth. The reality is PLEA has lost its way and trying to make this about a political agenda for mark and his puppets. You know the sad thing is Mark and PLEA can take credit for all the crap that has come our way. Truth hurts your as clueless and pathetic as Mark is and I am tired of you guys and your bull crap political agenda that has effected all of us in a bad way. Yes I think its time for Mark to shut up and represent us like he is suppose to. Along with that so called board of puppets he has talking for him. I dont have to support anyother union to know that there is nothing i would not do to get all of you out of your little high horse and pedistool you think you sit on. TIME TO KNOCK YOU OFF that stool so you feel the pain. Let me tell you PLEA better prepare in a big way becasue they will not have an answer or excuse to what coming out about PLEA. Be proud for putting us in this type of position and you guys are a disgrace to the phoenix police badge. PLEA is out of control!!!!!!!!!! Mark and his puppets have made the last embarrasement of this department. The officers on this department are proud to be phoenix officers and I still have faith in just that. Its not about management mr truth hurts its about your stupid agendas to try and make something of yourself after you leave the department because you failed to make anything of your self while on the department but a bunch of complaining and making your selfs look stupid in the publics eye. I will say this all you pretend officers souldnt even sign on to a computer to enforce a damn thing.

President
President

There are several good responses to the article. But most of you should realize you can't speak against spencer witout one of them crying or calling someone names, plea is famous for that and god forbid anyone should leak info heaven knows plea never has. I like the king kong analogy

Ross
Ross

No one "pulls" a pension for five years from DROP. The pension is paid into a separate retirement account, which is then available when the member finally retires. The mistake that the Public Safety pension system made was to guarantee a 9% return on these set-aside funds. Had they simply paid the same return (or deducted the same loss) as the rest of the funds in the pension account, the pension system would still be healthy.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Undocumented Migrant Wormers ("UMW") are what the anti-illegal bigots ("ALB") crowd has their panties in an bunch about. These are people who migrate here for work and then, for the most part, move back to the country they came from after the work has played out. The ALB doesn't care about the immigrants (many of whom may have overstayed that work or tourist visa) that make up the vast majority of the diplomatically challenged in this country. It's all about the border and who's crossing it illegally for them. THAT is how you can tell these ignoramouses are bigots. The negative economic impact on our economy the UMW make is practically nil and in most economists forecasts actually provide our economy with a net benefit.

It's like the bigots who were upset in the 1950s about the vast communist threat when in fact there were only a few hundred actual communists in the U.S. at the time. ALBs don't care about illegal immigration, they care about scaring people and causing hate and division amongst the U.S. population so they can push their own economic agendas of destroying the working class of this country. It's against their own best interests but their hate and fear confuses them.

We can have pity on them but we should not let these loonies lead our public institutions. Please people, place the UMW in the proper context and stop letting ALBs take away your spirit of true Americanism, tolerance of others who are different.

Heed Jesus' mandate to care for 'the least of these among us' (Matthew 25:34-40), to care for the 'strangers' who reside in our land (Leviticus 19:34; Hebrews 13:2) and to act justly and mercifully (Micah 6:8),

There is no crisis about illegal immigration other than the failure to implement comprehensive reform - reform that these ALBs stand in the way of. That's the real problem, not dishwashers and farm workers !

Truthhurts
Truthhurts

Ha - I actually agree with you on most of this article, not all but most. As a union PLEA has an obligation to endorse elected officials that will provide the most/best for their unions and union members. PLEA has not done this in this case you are correct (see how articulate you write when you are sober).

But alas you back peddle into you sophomoric diatribe again on how if you support SB 1070 - YOU MUST BE RACIST! Let not pay any attention that being here in the country is illegal, hence the term "Illegal Alien."

Its always the same for you Stephan, SB 1070, Arapio, Andy Thomas, Russell Pierce. Except that one day :)

That one day hen you and the other New Times author got into that pissing match in New Times itself over gun control shortly after the Gabriel Giffords shooting. That last a total of about two days then suddenly stopped. I suspect that the two of you got taken out behind the wood shed and had your fannies paddled by your bosses who ordered you to stop chastising each other in New Times.

By the way, although I am sure its nit as high as PLEA, did you check to see how many of those candidates were also supported by PPSLA? You remember that organization, its the one run by Mark Hafkey your pal who loves to give you dirt on Spencer including the cell phone numbers of other supervisors to call for you diatribe.

Or perhaps you do know about it and don't want to report it like the negative comment in the PPSLA Survey about PPSLA itself. No, you only wanted to report about the handful of negative comments about Spencer and PLEA and missed the big story about how the mid-level supervisors were fed up with corruption, lies and cronyism going on in the executive levels of PPD. The same executive levels that Hakey kisses up to every day (your buddy).

By the way...if you were actually a journalist and not simply a columnist maybe you could have done some research to see if it was only PLEA that endorsed all or most of those politicians. What about Phoenix Fire? What about the cities of Glendale. Mesa, Tempe, Chandler or the other police/fire union municipalities?

Oh thats right, you can't comment on that because Hafkey only has info to provide to you on PLEA and not the others....Nice :)

Yellow Journalism defined again :)

Meoig30
Meoig30

Pissed off at PLEA needs to take a few deep breaths before constructing a sentance and then needs to use spellcheck before submitting his response. I'm just sayin...

Ross
Ross

They are also foregoing higher benefits that might result from earning more years of service and a higher ending three-year salary. And, they are saving their employers the expense of paying additional money into the retirement fund for them. What the legislature seems to be saying is that the retirement system is like Social Security -- since it is now underfunded, we have to rely on more contributions from current employees in order to pay pensions for those already retired. This is somewhat like Bernie Madoff complaining that his problems are the fault of new investors, for not continuing to put in more money so that old ones could be paid off.

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

Thanks for the clarification, Ross. Without getting into all sticky details, they're getting the money and earning interest on it (in the special account), while they're getting paid their salary for another 5 years. So it is a nice benefit. If I were in their shoes, I'd want to keep it.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Dude - you're the one who sounds like a foreigner, what with completely misusing the term "yellow journalism." Be critical all you like, but at least try to get your insults right. Seriously, you come off like a dolt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

FWIW, a LEO you should be ashamed of yourself for being so ignorant of US immigration law. Illegal Alien is a media term, not a term used at law. The overwhelming majority of aliens whom you call "illegal" actually have broken no criminal, and most certainly no felony, law; rather, they have broken a civil code.

As for SB1070, if it dealt with just "illegal aliens," I don't think most of us would care. Instead, it attacks any American who might look like an "illegal" (read, have brown skin like mine) to the whackjobs to whom the bill gave the right to sue the Police if enough brown skins aren't harassed/ arrested.

The point is this: in one short post you committed three demonstratively wrong claims of fact, yet you want us to trust your claims of opinion and advice.

That hardly seems prudent, don't 'cha agree?

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

The info on PLEA's endorsements is on PLEA's Web site. I linked to it. What sparked my curiosity was PLEA's recent statement on the pension problems. Linked to that too. You raise an interesting point about other unions. But PLEA has made itself a focal point by going after cops, politicos, and others on the immigration issue. It has allied itself with Russell Pearce and others, regardless of their stands on pensions and so forth. Plus, they've made themselves the topic of conversation and enjoy getting Spencer's mug on the Tee-Vee. So they have to take their licks like men, instead of crybabying about it, like you're doing for them here. PLEA is like King Kong in this town. But even Kong fell off the Empire State Building, eventually. Pride goeth before a fall.

Truthhurts
Truthhurts

LOL...I totally agree :) Lots of talk of "puppets" and "political agenda's" but not much on fact? This is a typical disgruntled former PLEA member (maybe Nick Wubker or JR Poole) who cruise the internet of Facebook trashing PLEA almost like a second career trying to get people to join FOP (Fraternal Order of Police).

Spencer and the PLEA Board are not perfect, there are many things I disagree with them on however - the major, number 1 issue in PPD (both PLEA & PPSLA survey;s show this - even if Lemons ignores it and talks about how the survey got leaked or a single comment about "fire him") is the Executive Command Staff of the PPD.

The downward trend, embarrassment and lack of leadership on this department originates on the 4th floor - not 1102 W. Adams or 8033 N. 7th Street (PLEA - PPSLA Offices).

Truthhurts
Truthhurts

Awh the truth comes out :)

Stephan Lemons NEVER strays far from his core topics; SB 1070, Arpaio, Andy Thomas and Russell Pierce. Its not about PLEA, or political endorsements or even Mark Spencer..its about (and always has been) about you forcing your political agenda down the throats of readers and "disguising" it as story.

Have you ever gone to PPSLA.org or had Mark Hafkey give you any of the PPSLA E-flashes spread about the PPD like confetti talking about PPSLA's efforts to stop those bills? They are absolutely in the thick of the DROP/Pension Bill effort to and did they support any of those candidates??? I'm not sure of that one either but the again I'm not a columnist for New Times like you. In other words its not my job, its yours. I;m just a street cop trying to do my duty and stop injustice :)

Check on the other unions valley wide and see if their endorsements are similar...

Where is Monica Alonzo when we need her?????

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

"Stephan Lemons NEVER strays far from his core topics." Did exactly that last week with Scott Bundgaard. Pearce is the most powerful politician in the state. Arpaio's still a big deal. Thomas, though out office, is still news because he and Hendy are suing the county for $60 mil (along with Aubuchon). Immigration's always a topic. And Spencer will remain one. If you don't like me covering them, cry me a river, bub. You know, like the one you're cryin' right now. I am happy to know that the PLEA sycophants are whining like stuck pigs, though. Giddy, even.

Truthhurts
Truthhurts

@Hock - Hmmm I guess you're right, Spencer is just a one issue person. Patrol Rifles, the highest paid officers in the state, a benefits package that makes most law enforcement agencies statewide jealous, the TAPS Program (the the children of officers killed in the line of duty), assistance to the 100 Club and fund raisers for the families of slain officers such as Officer Rabjohn who wasn't even killed in the line of duty here but in Afghanistan are not a concern for Mark Spencer. Its just a robotic machine that walks, talks and looks like Spencer that does these good deeds while the real Mark Spencer focuses 100% on SB 1070....

Please put down the kool aide before blogging next time :)

Hock
Hock

Benefits...sorry for poor spelling.

Hock
Hock

It's no secret that spencer is a one-issue person, and the one issue in immigration. And this laser-beam of issue means all other issues regarding working condition, wages and benifiets are left behind.

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