So this came up on my radar the other day. Tom Bethel decided he had to respond to Paul Doell’s latest State of the AMO address. Tom’s comments are in bold.
Before anyone asks, no, I am not a Doell mouthpiece. I am just another AMO member. As far as I’m concerned, I voted for Doell because he couldn’t possibly have done worse than Bethel was doing, and because Bethel is directly linked to the old guard–never mind that Bethel got his job in very shady circumstances anyway.[B]
Currents July 9, 2015[/B]
[B]Six months in: strategy renews AMO’s financial strength[/B]
[B]By Paul Doell[/B]
[B]By Tom Bethel[/B]
[B]Former National President[/B]
Midway through the first year of a new administration, American Maritime Officers is regaining the financial strength that had for years helped make our union an influential seagoing labor force.
[B][U]The real truth is that when I took over as President in 2007 AMO was in shambles, all of the union properties were falling apart, the AMO treasury was hemorrhaging from enormous legal bills in excess of 4.5 million dollars from a six-year DOL investigation, AMO’s reputation was in the toilette, the school was falling apart and the Star Center had forgotten its mission which was to train AMO members not foreigners. [/U][/B]
[B][U]Jose Leonard and I busted our ass for eight years rebuilding AMO internally and externally, instituting new policies and procedures, overhauling the election process, building AMO its first Headquarters leading the effort to rebuild the school and redirect their focus on the AMO membership only to have 18% of the AMO membership elect two individuals who don’t have a clue about running a union. Jose and I restored AMO’s reputation as the finest officers union in the United States and left the union in the best financial shape it had ever been in in since it was formed in 1949. [/U][/B]
One positive indicator is that AMO payroll savings through calendar year 2015 are on track to reach seven figures, a sum resulting from a combination of attrition and significant salary cuts for senior elected officials. Two longtime AMO Great Lakes representatives retired and three highly paid administrative employees resigned in 2014, and these jobs will remain vacant. The AMO National Executive Board agreed to the reasonable reductions of top-tier pay in a unanimous vote early this year.
[B][U]On January 1, 2015 Doell put himself and Murdock on the payroll at the former salaries of Jose Leonard and I, which violated the AMO Constitution. Under the AMO National Constitution the National Executive Board determines salaries of AMO elected officials. When the Executive Board informed him that he had violated the Constitution they had a falling out and Doell responded by vetoing their salary increase, which was passed by the Executive Board in 2014 and was the Executive Board’s first increase in three (3) years. Doell had received an increase and bonus every year. Doell then proceeded to veto the dues increase, which was also passed by the Executive Board in 2014. Both of these actions were also violations of the AMO Constitution. These actions created an unworkable atmosphere between the Executive Board, Doell and Murdock. [/U][/B]
[B][U]Doell eventually was able to ease the tension between him and the E/B after several months by essentially paying the Executive Board off. He gave the officials the majority of their wage increases back and they agreed to play nice with him providing Doell and Murdock agreed to take a substantial cut in the salaries they initially gave themselves. Doell and Murdock agreed to the cut and still pocketed about a 40% increase, not bad for two people who have no qualifications for their jobs.[/U][/B]
[B][U]As AMO President I requested an audit, which showed the Great Lakes, was running a deficit of 1-million dollars. In an effort to address the shortfall I instituted a four-year plan, which over the course of four years would save the union over 1 million dollars. I reduced the number of G/L, employees and officials from a total of nine (9) to (3), sold the Old Dorm and put Maritime II up for sale for the appraised value of $350,000. The downsizing plan was completed by December of 2014 with the exception of the sale of Maritime II which AMO finally signed off on. The sale was held up by that idiot John Clemons who Paul Doell hired back at a cost of $200,000.00 in wasted wages and benefits. Clemons was hired back as a pay back for his role in the failed conspiracy attempt by Doell, Murdock and Clemons to impeach me in 2014 and their subsequent successful defeat of me in the election by succeeding in getting a low turnout (18% Total AMO VOTERS) by apathetic deep-sea and inland water members and a heavy turnout of G/L members who hated me for negotiating a contract that saved their jobs andÂ benefits.
Additional savings will accrue through December 2015 from proportionate corresponding cuts in salary-based benefits.
On another financial front, operating expenses since January 2015 were trending much lower than what had been projected for the year, and monthly budget surpluses since January 2015 totaled in the high six figures by the July 4 break.
[B][U]The savings are a result of employee reductions that were made by the previous administration. AMO would have more money if Doell wouldn’t have vetoed the approved 2015 dues increase resulting in a (loss - $120,000.00) and his re-hiring of John Clemons whose position was eliminated on December 31, 2014 resulting in a (loss - $200,000.00) in savings which brings the total needless loss to the AMO treasury of $320,000,00.[/U][/B]
[B][U]It cost approximately 6 million annually to operate AMO. A dues increase generates approximately $120,000.00. AMO expenses increase approximately 3% annually. 3% of 6 million is $180,000.00. As you can see even with a dues increase you still are falling behind about $60,000.00 annually. If you skip a dues increase even for a couple of years you are talking about a loss of approximately $240,000.00 to the AMO treasury. You cannot operate a business or a union like this and survive. [/U][/B]
Moreover, this administration has not had to tap AMO investment accounts to meet payroll or to pay routine bills.
“As of April 30, 2015, AMO has operated completely in the black,” AMO Controller Thomas Heaton said in a June 10 email to each member of the AMO National Executive Board. “We are far from operating in ‘deficit spending,’ and we are in the best financial condition in my four-year tenure as Controller.”
[B][U]I think you are starting to understand what I tried to tell the membership during the campaign. You elected a writer not a President. He spent all of his career writing about the accomplishments of Ray McKay and Tom Bethel and the rest of the time covering up for Michael McKay. Now he spends his days taking credit for things he had nothing to do with. His campaign centered on the fact that the union and the plans were broke. The first action he took after taking office was to veto an AMO dues increase. July 1, 2015 he gave all the employees and officials a 3%wage increase. Are we to believe that AMO went from the brink of bankruptcy according to Doell and Murdock on January 1, 2015 to the best shape financially it has ever been in four years due to something his administration has done in 6 months?[/U][/B]
Administrative confidence in sensible spending strategies was so high at the outset that, through a unanimous vote in January, the board was able to cancel the AMO membership dues increase that had gone into effect at the New Year. This particular initiative was the subject of much candid conversation within the board, given the AMO treasury’s precarious position at the time. But we all agreed that rescinding the dues hike was the right thing to do.
[B][U]Once again, Doell expects this membership to believe that according to his claims AMO was broke in December of 2014 and administrative confidence by the AMO E/B in him and Murdock, both of whom to this day can’t even fill out an AMO expense report, was so high that the E/B voted to cancel the very same dues increase that they voted for one month earlier. The fact is Doell and Murdock vetoed the dues increase and in doing so violated the AMO Constitution and the Executive Board let them get away with it.[/U][/B]
The financial facts presented here - and the forecasts of continued economic stability - testify to the unified AMO National Executive Board’s commitment to the sound, responsible management of the seagoing AMO membership’s money. They also confirm the board’s collective belief that a prosperous union eases pursuit of long-term job and benefit security for all AMO members and their families.
Our union reached this encouraging state in a short time without limiting or interfering with the effective, efficient representation of seagoing AMO members in the deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters fleets, and without undermining AMO’s traditional distinction as the nation’s largest and strongest union of licensed seafaring professionals. And these achievements were possible despite the sale over a two-year stretch of AMO-owned, rent generating residential properties in Dania Beach - properties that had been identified as a principal source of AMO operating revenue.
Having ended budget bloat and extravagance in our union, the AMO National Executive Board is considering additional ways to contain costs.
[B][U]As was reported numerous times at membership meetings the 15 or so called AMO rental properties were in such deplorable condition when Jose and I took over as President and Secretary Treasurer of AMO in 2007 AMO was considered to be a slum landlord and had been fined and served with numerous property violations. In addition Jose and I learned that AMO was paying the water bill, cable bill, mowing the lawn, collecting the trash and making repairs for all the tenants and the rent had not been increased in over ten years. Believe me these properties were not netting a profit to AMO. AMO increased the rent and spent the next 8 years renovating the properties with the goal of selling the properties when the market turned around. Jose and I made it a point to keep the AMO membership apprised of all these matters.[/U][/B]
[B][U]When the market was right the properties were appraised and the majority were sold to one investor at for a couple hundred thousand above the appraised value. Again, this is what happens when you elect people that don’t know anything about finances. Everything I am saying can be verified by the AMO controller, Independent accountant or in an AMO LM-2.[/U][/B]
Meanwhile, the good faith expectation is that all seagoing AMO members will be inspired to support this ongoing recovery strategy by keeping current with dues, and that applicants for AMO membership will follow their shipmates’ example not only by making timely dues payments, but by paying off their initiation fees on or ahead of schedule. If this administration and the seagoing men and women we are privileged to represent work together on this, the emerging financial trends outlined here will become lasting characteristics of an increasingly secure union.
[B][U]Paul Doell and Charles Murdock chose to run a attack campaign in AMO’s 2014 election. They were not content with limiting their attacks to Jose and me. They chose to attack their fellow AMO employees, officials and even went after Steve Nickerson questioning their abilities and qualifications. In one particular case they centered in on my girlfriend Phree Baker a fifteen-year AMO employee, her mother a 20-year employee and her father who has never worked for AMO. They made racial comments about her Dad, questioned Phree’s qualifications for the various positions she held over the years at AMO, claiming she was unqualified, overpaid and inferred that she had been given these positions because of her relationship with me. [/U][/B]
[B][U]Funny it was Doell who recruited Phree to be the Assistant Legislative Director in Washington. Phree’s salary was 50 % less than Paul Doell’s. Doell threatened to close the HR Department after he was elected which would have put Phree as HR Director, still making $70,000 less a year than Paul Doell as Legislative Director, out of a job. They posted these lies about Phree Baker and her family on their website, in their e-mails and in their mailings to the entire membership ruining this young lady’s reputation[/U][/B] . [B][I]Phree Baker was not a candidate for office in the AMO 2014 Election![/I][/B]
[B][U]Phree filed a suit to try and have Doell and Murdock take down the defamatory articles about her and her family during the election and they refused. Phree contacted them twice after the election and offered to drop the suit. Doell and Murdock failed to respond for 6 months. Finally after a recent third offer to drop the suit Doell and Murdock responded with a no and demanded a letter of apology from Phree and $10,000.00 in cash.[/U][/B]
[B][U]I also attempted to contact Paul Doell on several occasions and offered to bury the hatchet and expressed my desire to work for AMO as a special assistant, lobbyist, consultant or trustee and never received the courtesy of a response. I had an AMO official intercede on my behalf to see if he would have a problem with me working in a position with the plans. He said he would. So he has essentially blackballed me from working in any position with the union or the plans and refused to drop a lawsuit with my now wife Phree Baker, demanded she write a letter of apology to Murdock and him and enclose a check for $10,000.00 to compensate them for smearing her name and her families and forcing her and her mom to resign from a job they loved.[/U][/B]
[B][U]My wife and I just wanted to move on with our life but Doell and Murdock simply won’t let us. Apparently destroying AMO is not keeping them busy enough. So if they want four years of this shit bring it on![/U][/B]
[B][U]Stay tuned. I am going to give you the full details on the two idiots that are running AMO. If you have your time in get out while you can.[/U][/B]
[B][U]AMO’s security left with me and Jose.[/U][/B]