Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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March 5th, 2010

Sullivan County’s Tom Mungeer leads state police pba

Every day he makes the trek from Sullivan County to Albany to fulfill his duties representing and protecting the rights of one of the most prestigious police enforcement agencies throughout the United States. He has become the powerful and respected voice of the NYS Troopers.
Sullivan County native Tom Mungeer was recently elected President of the New York State Police PBA by a huge mandate of over 90 percent of the vote.

As President, Mungeer is essentially the CEO of a $10 million corporation. He represents 3,600 active uniformed members from the rank of Trooper up to and including Major. He also represents 2,500 retired PBA members.

“The union fights for the safety of our members each and every day,” Mungeer told me. “In the past seven years we have lost eleven members in the line of duty, including my friend and co-worker Jeff Edelson, and an additional eleven have been shot and wounded. We had fought for and gotten safer patrol vehicles, more powerful side arms, patrol rifles and better body armor. The bleak economic outlook has caused many cuts in State and local government but we must fight off manpower shortages so the people of the State of New York will continue to receive the police service they have grown accustomed to.”

The current Troopers PBA is a far different union than it was during a major turning point in 1993. Back then, Mungeer explains, “The PBA had just negotiated a contract which kept the starting salary at $24,308 but increased the steps needed to achieve top pay from 5 to 9 years for new hires. The PBA Board at that time did not seem like they were in tune with the membership in the field.”

“When I arrived at the State Police, I had this preconceived notion that the Troopers in the field had voted to sell out the new guys in the last contract. I was surprised to learn that there were more than a couple of Troopers who were even angrier than I was. One was Michael Schiff, the current Sullivan County Sheriff.”

Schiff organized a statewide, grass roots effort to replace the PBA with a more accessible union, one which would be more receptive to the needs of the road Trooper. That movement initially failed, but eventually led to a reorganization of the PBA. “Slowly, forward-thinking individuals began to take the union over from within. One of these individuals and a stalwart during this fight time was Undersheriff Eric Chaboty who also served as Troop F Delegate, NCO East Delegate and Treasurer of the PBA.”

In 2003, when the position of Troop F Delegate became vacant Mungeer decided to become active and seek the position. “Law enforcement and politics must run in my blood since my great-grandfather, Frank Mungeer, was both a constable and five-term Town Justice in Liberty over 100 years ago. I was nominated and won the election and became the representative of the 300 uniform Troopers in the five counties comprising of Troop F.”

In 2006 Mungeer won a statewide election for the vacated position of First Vice President. “This was bittersweet because it was a full release position meaning I would only be doing union business and not performing the job I loved as a road Trooper. It was challenging because of the fact that I had to manage the office and employees of the union.”

Sheriff Schiff who worked with Mungeer at the Liberty barracks said, “Tom Mungeer is a consummate professional who cares deeply about his PBA members”.

“Tom has always acted in the finest traditions of the New York State police. I’m confident that he will take that reputation and experience with him to Albany”.

Under Sheriff Chaboty who is a retired state police sergeant told me the troopers are “lucky” to have Mungeer as their president. “It takes the right person with the right type of drive and motivation to be effective in that position. Tom Mungeer is definitely that guy.”

Mungeer was born in Liberty and continues to reside in Sullivan County. His wife Cindi is a nurse at the Center for Discovery and their four children attend Tri-Valley School.

Today the NYS Police are the highest paid police agency in the country and perhaps have most powerful and respected police union. They are very lucky to have Tom Mungeer leading their fight.

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