Does anyone's Local have a political action committee? If so, has it been successful and how is it organized?

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Mike, I hope that this information - coming to you on July 10; a full 5 months after you posed the question - helps.

Howard County, Maryland Local 2000 has a PAC. It was formed in roughly 2000. It took a while for it to take root, but it was extremely useful in the 2006 election cycle. For that election we were able to hold our first ever Candidate Endorsement process and were able to provide over $20,000 in conributions to six (6) different endorsed candidates. We had a banner year in that election; getting all five (5) county council candidate endorsees elected and our endorsement for county executive elected. We also spent $55,000 of our dues money to partner with our county police officers to gain Police/Fire Binding Arbitration rights through a referendum on the same ballot. NOTE: This was NOT PAC money.

Since the election, we signed a four (4) year pact with 6% COLA in EACH of the four (4) years (does not include step increases) and we have gotten evey single one of them, despite the economy. We did agree to delay implementation of the last years of the raises by six (6) months each; so the raises took effect on January 1, rather than July 1.

While I don't recall the specifics of how the PAC was formed, I know that here in Maryland you need to have two "officers" to form the PAC. You need to go down to your State Board of Elections office and file the necessary paperwork with the signatures of the two members who will take on the necessary roles for the PAC; in Maryland's case they are a Chairman and a Treasurer. Do yourself a favor and find a couple of members who are in it for the long haul with this effort. If you change chairman or treasurer, you are essentially suspended from conducting activities until the Board of Elections is in receipt of the proper paperwork notifying them of the change.

At least in Maryland - and I would imagine in most other states - an Authority Line is mandated to be placed on any signs, shirts, or other campaign materials paid for by the PAC. It is normally something like this: "Authorized by: Howard County Professional Fire Fighters PAC, David J. Sabat, Treasurer." If you change treasurers, you cannot use any campaign material that still has the name of the old treasurer on it. Signs can be altered by placing a label over the old name, but shirts and other items are not so easy. So, find someone who is in it for a long time.

We use a "gift" system in Howard County. Any member who contributes $4.00 or more per paycheck ($104.00 per year) to the PAC gets a gift every election year. Sometimes it is a golf shirt with the IAFF logo on it. Sometimes it is a hat with a logo on it, and this year we offered leather radio straps as an option for those who contribute more than the $4.00. We were fortunate enough to get our county to agree to allow paycheck deduction, so we get a check from the county once a month with a register of who contributed.

Let me know if you need anything else. You can reach me by any means noted on our website,
Paducah fire dept local 168 has a pac fund... and yes it has been successful. since we started it back in 2005 we have gotten 2 commisioners and one city manager gone. All three of wich were antifire dept. trying to cut jobs and close stations now because of the PAC we have gotten 3 commisioners in office that will atleast be fair and listen to what we have to say.


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