What You Should Know About TPOAM’s Extended Legal Representation Program
(NOTE: The answers provided below are for informational purposes only. Reference should be made to the agreement for the detailed terms of coverage.)
1. WHAT IS IT?
The program provides extended legal representation for association members in the event of criminal charges. This coverage begins where basic labor coverage ends.
2. WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDED UNDER THE PLAN?
The legal services provided will include representation by an attorney selected by the TPOAM for all post-indictment and post-complaint/warrant stages of prosecution, including, but not limited to: investigatory interviews, arraignment, pre-trial, preliminary examination, bond hearings, pre-trial evidentiary proceedings, pre-trial motions, trial (bench or jury), and sentencing, excluding all other post-trial proceedings and appellate matters.
3. DOES THE PROGRAM COVER CRIMINAL CHARGES RESULTING FROM OFF-DUTY AS WELL AS ON-DUTY CONDUCT?
Yes (applicable only to PERA-regulated members paying the $5 per month membership fee).
4. HOW ARE CLAIMS FOR COVERAGE UNDER THE PROGRAM MADE?
By notifying the TPOAM within the time limits of the agreement, by use of forms that are available at the TPOAM office.
5. IS THERE A LIMITATION ON THE NUMBER OF CLAIMS THAT A MEMBER MAY FILE UNDER THE PROGRAM?
No, an unlimited number of claims may be filed by a member of the program during the year of coverage.
6. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM?
The program is available to all member associations regulated by PERA.
7. WHAT IS THE COST OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE PROGRAM?
The cost of membership in the TPOAM’s Legal Representation Program is $5 per month per member. This amounts to approximately one-third the cost of any other comparable program, and can be paid in a number of ways, i.e. dues deduction, through a local fundraiser or as an employer-paid benefit through negotiation.
8. MAY A PARTIAL GROUP OF EMPLOYEES BECOME MEMBERS OF THE PROGRAM IN THE EVENT THAT THE ENTIRE ELIGIBLE GROUP DOES NOT ELECT TO PARTICIPATE?
Yes, partial groups are also eligible for coverage under the program. Those employees in membership should contact the TPOAM office for enrollment information.
9. WHY SHOULD A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE PROGRAM?
In recent years the number of criminal charges issued against public employees have soared. Whenever this occurs, the employee faces the necessity of providing for his or her own legal defense, at a cost that can easily run into thousands of dollars, and at a time when he or she may already have been suspended without pay or even fired. Even if the employee prevails in court, these economic consequences can be, and often are, devastating. The TPOAM’s program protects the public employee from this grave and ever-present possibility, by providing extended legal representation whenever criminal charges are issued.