January 5, 2024
Hello DPROA Members,
I am writing today to update you on the status of our fight to recover our Annual Adjustment and Benefit Supplement benefits, as well as share some other association news. As you all know, HB3158, as passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in 2017, stopped all annual adjustments and benefit supplements going forward. The DPROA filed suit in the 192nd District Court of Dallas County. The court subsequently ruled for the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System on June 1, 2022. We appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals of the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas and our case was heard by a three-judge panel consisting of Justices Bill Pedersen, III, Ken Molberg, and Emily Miskel. On November 9, 2023, Justice Pedersen writing for the majority sided with the Pension System. The majority, however, consisted of only Justices Pedersen and Miskel, with Justice Molberg dissenting. Justice Molberg did not write a dissenting opinion. At this juncture we had three options:
- Ask for a rehearing by the same three Justice Panel
- Ask for an en banc rehearing before the full court (Chief Justice and 12 Justices)
- Request review of the appellate decision from the Texas Supreme Court
In consultation with our legal team, we decided to file two motions for a rehearing – one to the original three justice panel and another en banc. Those motions were filed on January 5, 2024, and can be found at: https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=05-22-00644-CV&coa=coa05.
Look for the motion under case events. If you click on the pdf out to the right, you can read the motions in their entirety. You will notice there has been an addition to our legal team as we continue this pursuit. Once we entered the appellate process, we explored the possibility of hiring additional legal representation to assist Feldman & Feldman. Fortunately, we were able to secure the services of former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Justice Guzman is now a partner with Wright, Close & Barger in Houston, TX. She brings decades of experience as a litigator, judge, appellate judge, and Justice for the Supreme Court of Texas. You can find her resume at this link: https://www.wrightclosebarger.com/attorneys/eva-guzman/. She will be joined by her colleagues at Wright, Close & Barger; George Vie III, formerly of Feldman & Feldman; and Cris Feldman at Feldman & Feldman. We have been served well by the representation of Feldman & Feldman but prosecuting a case through the appellate process can present unique challenges. I am delighted to welcome former Justice Eva Guzman and Wright, Close & Barger to our legal team.
Beyond our legal strategy, the DPROA has employed Trinity Public Affairs and The Kelley Group to assist us in the development and implementation of strategies for the shaping of public policy in support of a sound funding plan for the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System. With help from Katie O’Brien from Trinity Public Affairs we are already engaged in one-on-one meetings with council and staff as they work through the process of searching for funding sources. The attitude of all that I have encountered at City Hall has been very supportive to date – totally different from 2017. Chris Kelley from The Kelley Group was instrumental in the drafting and securing of space in the December 13th Dallas Morning News for our Op-Ed and is now working on filming some short videos of DPROA Members telling their stories. Once completed, we will be looking for outlets willing to share our stories.
As you can see the DPROA remains engaged in the effort to recover YOUR earned and accrued benefits stripped away by the pension reforms of 2017. All of this is necessary and none of it is cheap, which is why we need everyone to continue your support through your dues and contributions. If you have not already paid your 2023 or 2024 dues, now would be a good time to catch up. January 31, 2024, is the deadline for paying your 2024 dues, but if you have missed deadlines in the past, we will let you catch up. You can pay by check, cash, Zelle, or pension check deduction. If you have any questions or need help with a payment plan, simply send an email to [email protected]. Our mailing address is 7150 Skillman St. Suite 160 #365, Dallas, TX 75231. (Please do not try to pay through the website)
There is one other piece of good news. Last year the DPROA made a change to our constitution to allow “Surviving Spouses” of retired police officers to choose the type of membership they desire in the DPROA. Starting this month, they can:
- Remain a full member with all voting rights by simply continuing to pay annual dues of $270.00, or monthly dues of $22.50.
- Choose to change to an “Affiliate Membership.” The Affiliate membership does not include voting privileges. Simply send us a letter by mail or email expressing your desire to change your membership. Your dues amount will be reduced to $135.00 annually or $11.25 monthly. You can use the same payment options outlined above. This only applies to “Surviving Spouses” who were not police officers themselves. If your spouse was a police officer and member of the DPROA before passing away, or was not a member of the DPROA, you can still join as an “Affiliate Member.” We understand the reduction you see in your benefits once your spouse passes and we hope this change will allow you to continue your involvement in the fight to recover some of those benefits.
Dallas Police Retired Officers Association