Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The state of our Lodge is STRONG and continues to grow stronger as the days go by. When I took over as President in January 2016, my Board of Directors and I were tasked with many difficulties, both socially and financially. Over the past year, we made some difficult decisions. However, I am pleased to report that we are taking the Lodge in the right direction and overcoming some of the shortfalls we faced.
Throughout the past few years the Lodge has been faced with many unexpected financial burdens. We had to replace the elevator, replace the heating and air conditioning, fix the roof, and had numerous unforeseen expenditures occur, from broken pipes to fixing the front door. This left the Lodge in financial disarray.
In addition, I was faced with handling many situations that were creating, in large part, the financial strains the Lodge was experiencing. For example, Labor Committees were not paying on time or not paying the correct amount. And the largest financial strain I faced was that our Club continued to fail financially. I am proud to say that many of these issues have been addressed and corrected, strengthening the Lodge’s financial position. All Labor Committees are paying the correct amounts, most Labor Committees are paid in full for their membership, and the ones who are not paid in full are working with us.
Finally, some difficult decisions were made about the Club. Over the past year, I, along with the Board of Directors, realized that the Club was financially burdening the Lodge to the point that we could no longer sustain the subsidy we had been providing for many years. Just as an example: the Club made $85,000 in 2016 and paid out over $115,000 in salaries. This doesn’t even include Club expenses, daily operating costs, and fees/taxes. The Lodge subsidized this difference year after year. Unfortunately, our Club has faced many hurdles over the past years, which has resulted in these losses. With fewer officers going to court in the morning, our breakfast hours took a major hit. Then, all of the nearby construction has further limited parking around the Lodge and lunch and dinner began to suffer more. Although the bar was still doing a decent business on Thursday and Friday nights, the restaurant portion of the Club was failing. Realizing that we had to subsidize the Club over $100,000 a year with money from dues, the decision was made in 2017 to close the restaurant and just keep the bar open only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
I have always vowed as President to have the best interest of the membership at heart. I couldn’t continue knowing that so much money was going into the restaurant when so much of our membership never utilizes it. The decision to close the restaurant came with some devastating and heartbreaking result. We had to terminate two of our long-term employees here at the Lodge. Amparo and Rosario –who had been with us for over 25 years each – had their job positions within the Lodge eliminated, unfortunately. This was difficult for us all, but they still return on occasion to work banquets and special events.
With the changes to the restaurant and bar, the Lodge is saving an enormous amount of money and I’m proud to say we are starting to show a profit from the Club for the first time in years. We are now exploring the possibility of serving a very basic menu while the bar is open.
I do want to publicly apologize to our members who have been directly affected by the decision to close the restaurant. Every day we had some extremely loyal members who visited the lodge to eat breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. The fact that we had to close the restaurant directly affected you, and you have my deepest apology.
I find it necessary to report to the membership that because we had to make such drastic decisions, one decision that I personally made was to sell the FOP Lodge #1 president’s car. I could not morally or ethically drive around in a Lodge vehicle knowing I had to terminate employees that had over 25 years each with the Lodge. I sold our 2008 Dodge Charger for $9,000, which was put right into the operating budget. I will utilize my own vehicle and continue to cut every cost I can to be fiscally responsible to the membership. This is a promise I made in the beginning of my presidency and one that I will continue to follow. Before answering any question, I always ask myself, “How does this benefit the membership?” The only vehicle the lodge currently has is our extremely old Dodge 15 passenger van.
Another issue I would like to report on is our current relationships with Labor Committees. In the past, the Lodge was burdened with some hostile relationships between the Lodge and certain Labor Committees. I am pleased to announce that through enhanced communications and meetings, we now enjoy outstanding working relationships with ALL Labor Committees associated with the Lodge. This speaks volumes to the type of leadership that is portrayed both at our Lodge and with the Labor Committees. This further illustrates how the state of our Lodge is strong and continuing to grow stronger.
One issue, which has always been difficult to conquer, is communications both within the Lodge and with our membership. If you are not signed up for email, then chances are you can’t even read this very message I’m sending. With close to 10,000 email addresses, we currently show a 20% read rate. We can only do so much to make the membership aware of what we are doing and how we are doing it. Each member bears a responsibility to keep their information updated within the Lodge and to read the information that is disseminated.
The Lodge has been involved with numerous fundraisers and community events throughout the past year. We have raised over $8,000 for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, and we gave well over 1,500 toys to Washington DC Central Mission Operation Christmas Miracle that were donated to the Lodge, valued well over $30,000. We have raised tens of thousands of dollars for members in need through Go Fund Me pages, and we had an extremely successful year with our National Night Out involvement. These are just a few examples of the countless ways we have given back to our membership and the community we serve.
I am also proud to announce that we will be starting a scholarship fund for members’ children attending their first year of college. Although we do not yet know the dollar amount or number of scholarships, I plan to advertise them within the next two months. The process will be competitive, with a scholarship committee in place to do the selection. This is just another way for us at the Lodge to give back to its membership.
With the tough stuff behind us, I now want to move forward with unity and vision for the Lodge. It’s time this Board takes the Lodge into the future with financial stability, a strong reputation and an overall authoritative stance when supporting our own. My goal is to have Labor Committee Chairs, Agency Trustees, and all Board of Directors to join us in making 2017 our best year so far. The Fraternal Order of Police has a rich history in Washington, DC and I will not let this organization diminish or become extinct.
On another note, there is an article of interest that I think you should read at PoliceOne.com entitled 6 Changes Cops Think Will Improve Policing in 2017. It’s thought-provoking and a good read.
In closing, I ask support from each and every one of you. Not only for me but for each other. There are too many external forces and agencies for us to be against each other. Now is the time we all must unite and stand up against those who are bringing us, our agencies and the FOP down. We are FOP Strong!!!
God Bless you and please be safe!
Andy Maybo, President