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By John Jacobsen M

ost of us had at least a few interesting jobs before choosing our careers on the LAFD. If you are anything like me you prob- ably worked in some sort of maintenance capacity, had some

type of job dealing with customers or clients face-to-face and hopefully rounded it out with some heavy lifting in a hands-on or back-straining construction gig. Those of you who were fortunate enough to have been in the military got all of these experiences wrapped up into one. (I know some may not agree)

What did you do for work before the LAFD? Many kitchen

table conversations have evolved from this question and the memo- ries seem to have molded how we view ourselves in the workforce. Laughing and scratching about some of the stuff you did for work as a kid seems to always lend its way into a lengthy series of personal experience and topper stories. Nonetheless, it was good experience and I don’t think anyone should be shorted of these memories. Be- ing able to draw off some of your life’s experiences is primarily what drives your actions today. At the very least, we should all be able to relate to maintaining something or fixing a broken piece that will keep things working. Having dealt with difficult people at an earlier time in your life certainly lends experience to the level of skill you have today. When someone doesn’t think twice about grabbing the heavy end of whatever needs to be moved, this was surely engrained into them and not read from a book. Today’s workforce is significantly different than it was 20 years

ago and I’m not just referring to the Fire Service. Formal educa- tion seems to have taken the lead position in building out a resume and is constantly driven into our youth. Encouraging as much learn- ing in a lifetime that one can manage should be something we all should look positively upon. However, the work experiences you bring with you are the backbone that the formal education should enhance and build upon. The next time an incident, some new program or a project goes

really well, ask yourself “Did this go well because someone matric- ulated from an exceptional educational institution? Or was it more likely because the guys with their feet on the ground just made it happen?” Probably some of both, but I’m gonna lean toward the latter. The old saying that you are never too old to learn something new is absolutely true and we prove it every day. Just remember not all learning is read from a literary piece. Most of you by now should have heard about the Non- Medi-

care Health Subsidy increase for retirees. There has been a rather lengthy delay in bringing this to its conclusion for the July 1, 2012 target. Countless hours of meetings, documentation, financial pro- jections, medical inflation statistics and education brought this to a successful close. The LAFPP Board of Commissioners voted to give the maximum allowable increase of 7%. I would encourage as many as possible to keep this fresh in your mind, as this increase is going to be on the discussion table next year before you know it. I don’t know what the political climate will be at that time, but I

do know that medical inflation is something from which we cannot hide.

The Pension Department just completed a comprehensive au-

dit of the Relief Association Medical Plans. The focus of this audit dealt with the Retiree Subsidy Program and how effective the pro- cesses in place are working. I’m happy to say that we were able to demonstrate what we knew to be true and have been communicat- ing all along - We run a professional top notch healthcare plan and work at squeezing every dollar to its maximum. The end result is that we were able to show that we continue to give the highest level of benefits at a significantly lower cost than comparable plans, our financial processes are sound and accurate, and our pensioners are being provided a very high quality of healthcare. Do you have a bottle full of pills that you didn’t use because you

changed prescriptions? How many times has your doctor wanted to try out a new medicine just to “see how it works?” The you go to the pharmacy, get a 30 day supply, and from the get-go, it isn’t working the way your doctor thought. So he changes this medication and you’re left with half a bottle of useless medication that you had to paid for. For members that take multiple specialty medication or are starting a regiment of medications, this can be a common problem. Here is a useful tip that may help prevent pill waste and additional out of pocket expense - • If you are starting a new medication and have a follow up office visit scheduled in the subsequent weeks, ask your doctor to write a prescription for the shortened period of time (i.e. 2 weeks) between visits instead of the standard retail 30-day supply. The pharmacist will charge you for the actual number of pills purchased, potentially saving you the additional expense of filling the entire 30-day supply.

Many of you have receive our electronic newsletters via the

email address you provided to us. This is something we send out on a monthly basis just to hit the tops of anything that might be going on. Any of you who haven’t signed up for it, I would encourage you to do so. We aren’t looking to clutter up your inbox, but rather keep you abreast of anything that might be going on that might be of interest to you. Visit: and select the Members Only list to sign up.

See you at Hope for Firefighters on June 7th. Respectfully,

John E. Jacobsen (323) 259-5200

June 2012 • 5

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