Retired Police And Firefighters Association Has No Standing To Challenge Retirement Board Composition

The Detroit City Charter requires the City to have two governing bodies for its retirement plans, one for the general retirement system and one for the police and fire retirement system. The Charter also provides that one member of the police and fire retirement board be a retiree elected by retired police officers and firefighters.

The Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association sued the City, requesting a court order that the City “take all reasonable actions, including bargaining with the unions representing active-duty police and fire employees,” in order to implement the retiree-member provision of the Charter.

The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected the retirees’ lawsuit. The Court found that “the duty owed by the City to bargain collectively is owed to the employees’ representatives, i.e., those designated or selected for purposes of collective bargaining. The retiree Association, while a representative of its members, does not purport to be a representative designated or selected for collective bargaining. The composition of the Board of Trustees is a matter subject to collective bargaining, and Charter provisions cannot contravene the obligations imposed by the collective bargaining law.”

Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association v. City of Detroit, 2007 WL 404160 (Mich.App. 2007).

The article appears in our April 2007 issue.