Critically important for PEF to be fiscally responsible, transparent
By WAYNE SPENCE
As a former PEF vice president and now as PEF president, I have always believed fiscal responsibility is as much a moral duty as it is an economic concern.
I take very seriously my duty to ensure your hard-earned PEF membership dues are spent wisely, responsibly and for the benefit of the membership as a whole.
In 1959, Congress enacted the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, as a result of congressional findings of widespread corruption, breaches of trust, and disregard of the individual rights of employees. The act provides union members with a general “bill of rights,” election safeguards, trusteeship regulations, and it places detailed financial reporting and disclosure requirements on unions, employers, and union officials.
What does it mean for your union to be fiscally responsible?
First, it means being transparent and accountable in all fiscal matters, and the highest level of trust and confidence must exist between PEF leadership and the membership. To that end, one of the first things I did after being sworn into office was to ensure the hiring of an independent internal auditor. And, because I believe no one is above reproach and accountability must start at the top, I asked the auditor to begin her work with me first and then move on to the other four statewide PEF officers.
If, at the conclusion of any of these audits, it is determined that funds have been misappropriated from PEF, as president of this union I will not only seek re-payment, I will take whatever other action is deemed appropriate. Transparency is critical, as it builds your confidence in PEF!
Second, it is important to have financial guardians in place. In addition to sharing my views on the importance of fiduciary standards, I worked to build in financial oversight by creating a PEF Finance Compliance Committee to address issues raised by the PEF auditor and by the PEF trustees.
Third, being fiscally responsible means being ethical and avoiding conflicts of interest. I believe ethical integrity goes a long way in communicating a strong professional culture of financial and legal compliance to our members, the governor, state legislators and to the citizens of New York state.
Being fiscally responsible is essential to creating a better, stronger union. Since fiscal responsibility is at the core of any organization’s survival, I believe the choices we make today — or fail to make — will play an important role in determining PEF’s future.