Friday, July 19, 2013

Cunningham: We Must Kill This Beast

Here’s the email sent by former state senator Jane Cunningham, and current Monarch Fire District board member, to the St. Louis County Republican Central Committee Members

Per the requests from your members, below are my notes from the presentation to the Central Committee.  Attached are the presentation notes from Mehlville Fireboard Directors Bonnie Stegman and Ed Ryan and my handouts at the meeting.  Since that time, our work to clean up the union abuses in the Monarch Fire Protection District have been recognized nationally because what we face in St. Louis County is symptomatic of a national issue.


Unfortunately but as expected, pro-union Governor Nixon has signed Eric Schmitt’s legislation into law that ties our hands from correcting the abuses recognized in the national publication linked above.


Please feel free to forward this information or share it with others.  We are happy to speak to other groups to spread the word.  Taxpayers need to understand how they are being taken to the cleaners not only by the firefighters’ government employee unions but by some Republicans doing their bidding.


Jane Cunningham, former State Senator (R-Chesterfield)

Director, Monarch Fire Protection District





I.  *Fire Districts in Missouri* are political subdivisions controlled by publicly elected boards usually with three to five members.


     A. This system which was instituted to serve the public is being corrupted by the firefighters government employees’ union.  The union leaders recruit and elect their own Fireboard members that they can then direct to provide the salary, benefits and work rules they want.


          1.  *TYPICAL CAMPAIGN RUN BY FIRE FIGHTERS' UNION* - Typically they will provide $50-$100,000 per candidate for a local Fireboard race.  In addition they provide all the manpower one could possibly desire for door-to-door, phone banks and double staffing all the polls.  I had 35 polls for my Monarch Fireboard race. There were at least 70 firemen out all day for Cole McNary. He had no campaign other than what they provided.  In addition to that, there are independent expenditures from an organization called Citizens for Good Government whose purpose it is to destroy the reputation of anyone who would dare run against their chosen candidate in any of our districts.  They fund negative brochures, radio ads and phone calls.  You may have heard some radio spots against me.  Even after representing West County as Representative and Senator for 12 years, I had to spend $85,000 to get elected to a local fire board.  It has been reported that between $105,000 and $130,000 in money and in-kind value of manpower was expended to beat me by the firefighters' union.  Regular citizens cannot compete against this mafia-like machine.


II. *THE MEHLVILLE MIRACLES* - Bonnie Stegman and Ed Ryan are two miracles who are exceptions to the citizens who were able to beat the cartel (term used by firefighters who are embarrassed by the union tactics).  The union spent $60,000 to beat Ed for his re-election in April of 2013.  The firefighters union tried to get Bonnie fired from her nursing job at the local hospital to intimidate her from serving on the Mehlville Board (see her attached notes).  Their stories are attached of how these courageous public servants turned the district around, reduced costs and lowered taxes significantly.  They are an example of the dramatic difference between a union controlled board and a taxpayer controlled board.


     A.  Monarch fire district (Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley and parts of Creve Coeur, Ballwin and Wildwood) where I just got elected is another example of what happens when the union controls the board.  *John Winston*asked what firefighters make in districts that have union control.  A Monarch five year private (lowest grade) with a high school education and two years of paramedic training who works nine days per month with enough leave time to take three months off annually, receives a compensation package of $119,000/yr. ($81,241 in base salary, $15,000 in health insurance, and $15,000 average in pension payments to which they contribute nothing).  Compare that $81,241 base salary for Chesterfield with a similarly situated firefighter in New York at $76,499, St. Louis City at $51,168, Ladue at $66,406 and Chicago at $78,012.


In addition to that pay, Monarch firefighters receive even more overtime pay and there is abuse of our work comp system to have even more time off and make more money.  When they are off duty on work comp, they earn more than when they are working per our previous union controlled board decision.


The work comp insurance premiums for Mehlville (where taxpayer candidates have prevailed) are $400,000 annually for 135 employees with seven firehouses (see Ed Ryan's attached notes).  As a comparison, Monarch under a union controlled Fireboard with 125 employees and only five firehouses, has insurance premiums alone (no additional medical or legal costs) of $1.2 Million!!!  *Taxpayers wake up!!*


     B.  Union candidates masquerade as Republicans saying they are the conservative, taxpayer candidate and they try to secure Republican endorsements to fool the public.  Steve Swyers was one of those candidates in Monarch in 2011.  He promised not to raise taxes in his brochures.  Within five months of being on the Monarch Board, he proposed and voted for an unprecedented $1 Million tax increase which was only rescinded because of public outcry including public calls for reversing the tax increase from Allen Icet, Norm Baxter and Jane Cunningham.  Steve Swyers was able to get elected because Republicans like DON GOSEN endorsed him even after being warned by myself and other recognized Republican leaders not to.




     A.  Some time ago many Missouri cities realized the danger of the employee unions taking over and running the city by getting involved in campaigns for mayor and city council or running themselves to become their own boss.  They passed ordinances prohibiting their employees from campaigning.


     B.  Fire Districts, reacting to the abuses described above, have begun to institute the same ordinances. But now the legislature has tied the hands of locally elected officials with a state mandate protecting the government employees fire and police unions. SB216, HB307 and HB336 *(exact language is attached that was handed out at the Republican Central Committee meeting) *from the 2013 session....


          1. Eliminates the rights of locally elected leaders to direct their own first responder employees.


          2. Makes first responder unions into kingdoms where they work.


          3. Gave Police Chiefs all over the state a guaranteed job for life unless they commit a felony or something similar.  The person most responsible for these bills says it only provides police chiefs with parity to city administrators and other city employees but the Missouri municipal league representing cities all over the state described the legislation this way,* "The legislature gave super protections just to police chiefs with a state-mandated contract with no expiration date.  It may not allow us to discharge ineffective police chiefs."* * THIS IS A PUBLIC SAFETY THREAT COURTESY OF A REPUBLICAN!!*




     A. With term limits and just generally, one tends to trust colleagues in our own party.


     B. This legislation was misrepresented as a *"simple Firefighter Freedom bill to just allow firefighters to put yard signs in their yard."* That was the description given to me when I called the person who advanced this legislation.  Even committee members I talked with were totally unaware of what this legislation really did.


     C.  All the bills came through one committee, the chair of that committee chose to personally handle two of the bills himself on the Senate floor, he rewrote a Floor Substitute that never even made it through the committee and managed to keep things quite to outsiders who would recognize the dangers of the legislation.




     A.  I personally called the person most responsible for this legislation to confront him and let him know of my extreme disappointment.


     B.  He knew well the abuses of the unions in our fire districts that we have briefly described.


     C.  He took donations and poll workers from the firefighters government employees union.  (one page of his financial report attached that was handed out at the Republican Central Committee meeting)


     D.  ERIC SCHMITT (R-Kirkwood) is the person most responsible for doing the bidding of this "cartel" (term used by firefighters disgusted with the union tactics).  As additional proof, see attached, a Post Dispatch article that quotes Schmitt as a key leader on this legislation.





     A. Contact the Governor to veto the legislation.  *New note: Too late now, Pro union Nixon has gladly signed Eric's work into law.


     B. Get involved in local nonpartisan races like Fire Boards, School Boards and City Councils.

          1. There are major direct consequences as we have described, especially on your property taxes.

          2. This is a way to vet candidates *before* we elect them to the legislature where they can produce these kinds of damaging laws.

                a) Clearly better vetting is needed if we can't pass Republican principles like Right to Work and merit pay for teachers and the elimination of teacher tenure.


          3.  When you recruit candidates, add to your litmus test of questions, will you take firefighter union money or manpower.  If they do, refuse Republican support and recognition.   It should be right up there with tax increases, abortions, gambling, etc. that are not Republican principles or platform.  We have seen the results when the "cartel" influences elections.





     A. Network of activists like Jane Cunningham, Ed Ryan, Bonnie Stegman, former fire chiefs, fireboard members and firefighters who are disgusted with the "cartel" (their term).  Firefighters, whether or not they agree with the union, are required to contribute $100/mo to the union or be subjected to retaliation.  In Monarch alone, that would produce around $300,000 in a two year election cycle.


     B. We will be endorsing and publicizing candidates for local Fireboards and legislature who are "cartel" free and true advocates for the taxpayers.


     C. Work with us to help vet your candidates


We must kill this beast, will you help us?

Republican House Summer Caucus $$$

The Republican House summer caucus is a month away.  They’ll be meeting in St. Louis, and so far word is that the sponsorship money is rolling in nicely.  Last year the summer caucus sponsors kicked in $330K, an all-time high for that event.

This being a non-election cycle, that was expected to drop off, and it has.  But right now, it’s nearing the $300K mark so there’s the potential that they will run even with last year…

Laffer Finds a Tax He Likes

Dr. Art Laffer, whose famous curve has launched thousand tax cuts, has published a study favoring closure of the online sales tax “loophole.”

From the press release

“Laffer’s study suggests that passing e-fairness legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act would create a tax system with fewer loopholes, a larger base, and lower rates for all taxpayers, which could lead to an increase in GDP of $563.2 billion and over 1.5 million jobs over the next 10 years… The Marketplace Fairness Act received a bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate on May 6, 2013, and similar legislation is already pending in the House of Representatives with over 60 bipartisan cosponsors. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri was a cosponsor of the bill in the Unites States Senate.”  See the study here.

More MEC Fines

The Missouri Ethics Commission found that Pam Boyd, in her aldermanic race against Chris Carter, started her committee late, and didn’t use a “paid for” disclaimer.  She was fined $1,000. See the order here.

And Matt Robinson was fined for a second committee for which he is treasurer.  This time for the 78th Legislative District Committee.  He was fined $4,900 for filing late and inaccurate reports.  See the order here.


The complaint against Rep. Elijah Haahr was dismissed.  See it here.



Tweet of the Day

@JasonKander:  Dear music industry: I'm a country music guy but I like rap when I workout. Quit trying to put both into one song.

Help Wanted

Journos: “The Sullivan Journal News is seeking a part-time (may become f/t) community journalist…. We need sharp story/photo packages on topics ranging from local human interest, profiles, rural life, government, and local business… Telecommuting might be a possibility.” See ad here.

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Schaaf for Senate - $5,197 (in-kind) from David Steward.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Steve Garner added Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

Garner is starting his term as president of MATA, so we’ll be seeing him in the halls next session.


Happy birthdays to former Sen. John Griesheimer (61), Springfield Chamber’s Jim Anderson, and MO Retailers Association David Overfelt.

Saturday: Sen. Brad Lager (38), and former RCGA topper Dick Fleming.

Sunday: Former Rep. Sally Faith (68), Ann Wagner’s Christian Morgan (36).