Are your union financial books in order?
2019 has seen a flurry of labor union indictments and investigations into labor union financial records. Police and other labor unions around the Commonwealth, and accross the country, have been the subject of grand jury subpoenas resulting in indictments of leadership officials. In the past week alone we saw:
- the indictment of the State Police Union president;
- a leader of a major trade union indicted;
- In June, an office, a Methuen Police Patrolman’s Union official indicted;
- Earlier this year, it was reported that the Somerville Police Union may be the victim of $50,000-$90,000 funds embezzled by a union official.
Of course, we are aware of other active investgations that are ongoing.
It is difficult and time consuming to monitor and reconcile financial records, credit card statements, expense receipts, income statements, etc. – but it must be done. It is harder to see red flags when treasuries are flush with cash – no bounced checks, missed payments, etc. However, the fact that plenty of money is in the treasury is when a treasury may be most vulnerable to misuse.
With all the recent attention on union funds, take this opportunity to get your union’s books in good shape:
- Put together a group of people to share the work and to provide more sets of eyes on the information
- Look for red flags in credit card statements, checks written, expense reports (if you read the paper, you can see that is what investigators are looking at)
- Address and resolve any concerns or questions
- Document everything properly so you can avise your members (and anyone else that might be compelling information)
- consider hiring a bookeeper or professional if the project is too cumbersome or complicated.