August 2013 Round Table Report

CONTRA COSTA

The AB 197 lawsuit continues, with the case being heard in Contra Costa County, which impacts three other counties---Alameda, Marin and Merced, as it pertains to “Terminal Pay” for final retirement calculations.

We have completed all the prior work necessary to arm our first group of approximately 18 DPOs and transportation PCs. We are waiting for our handguns to arrive as they have been on back order for several months. Once the range training is complete we will likely continue to train monthly. We will closely monitor how things work out and a second phase of arming additional officers will be considered.

We expect to begin our pre-trial project that would include five DPOs and support clerk. We expect to use AB 109 revenue with a start date at least several months away.

We had a very productive and successful legislative year so far with further clean-up work being done with AB 109. However, there is some legislation that is still troubling us such as the Yee bill about what he refers to as "solitary confinement."

The Department celebrated Probation Recognition Week with a series of appreciation luncheons at various job sites. Additionally, we received special recognition at a recent county Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Our management team fully understands what turns the wheels, and as Chief Kader so appropriately puts it, “our folks that do all the heavy lifting day after day after day.”

Congratulations to outgoing PPOACCC’s president and newly hired Institutional Supervisor John Ebrahimi. Much thanks to John for all of his accomplishments as president and good luck in his new endeavor. As a result of a Special Election, Rich Berkery will assume the duties of the Association’s president.

Elections for four different Executive Board positions were conducted on August 7, 2013. Congratulations on the following who were elected: Cassandra Latula (Probation Counselors’ Vice President), Mindy Jarrett (Secretary), Mike Schroer (Treasurer) and Leandre Willams (Probation Officers’ Vice President).

FRESNO

  1. Appointed Chief Probation Officer is Rick Chavez, he will take office on 8/5/13. Rick was a Director with our department and has been Chief Penner’s right hand person for the past few years.Appointed Chief Probation Officer is Rick Chavez, he will take office on 8/5/13. Rick was a Director with our department and has been Chief Penner’s right hand person for the past few years.
  2. Retirement Party for Chief Penner is 8/9/13, she will be taking a new position, as most of you may know, with Governor Brown on 9/1/13.
    Retirement Party for Chief Penner is 8/9/13, she will be taking a new position, as most of you may know, with Governor Brown on 9/1/13.
  3. Budget for our Department appears to be sound for the time being.
    Budget for our Department appears to be sound for the time being.
  4. Thanks to SB monies and next installment of AB monies, we should be hiring between 10 to 20 new officers. Currently our department has 135 officers.
    Thanks to SB monies and next installment of AB monies, we should be hiring between 10 to 20 new officers. Currently our department has 135 officers.
  5. Fresno County hosted the last Range Master Coalition Meeting on 6/27/13, it’s a good forum for networking and idea exchange.

MADERA

Warm weather greetings from Madera! We are currently starting the negotiation process for our contracts. The Probation Department is looking at a 3.5 percent pay reduction and employees would be asked to contribute a larger portion towards their healthcare. The Juvenile Hall has had quite a reduction in staffing levels due to several resigning and one retirement, we are currently looking to fill at a minimum of four positions in the facility. We have also had a lot of new hires in Juvenile and Adult Probation and have seen several of our own receive promotions as well. Congratulations goes out to Frank Rojas, he was recently named as Officer of the Year for our department. There definitely seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel in Madera!

MERCED

Merced County is having staffing issues at juvenile hall. With numerous staff being out on workers comp or for other reasons, probation officers have had to fill in on vacant shifts. Staff are being held over, even though they are getting paid OT, they are getting extremely burnt out. Overtime costs are through the roof. We have recently recruited for Juvenile Institutions Officers, and hopefully will be able to hire a couple soon.

The pension law suit is still pending. The case is now being heard in Contra Costa County. The Attorney General’s office is now involved, and they are trying to consolidate all the counties involved. Don’t think this will be over anytime soon.

MODOC

Modoc County Probation Department is continuing to deal with AB109 and working with other organizations and community partners. It continues to be a learning experience for everyone involved. Our Department hired a second Deputy Probation Officer in May, who will be handling some of the adult caseload, including Drug Court, Prop 36, and Domestic Violence offenders. Our Juvenile Officer continues to learn AB12 Extended Foster Care and creating better flow of communication and services between partners to ensure success of the juvenile participants.

MONO

We just added another Deputy Probation Officer to our department that will start early in August. We also had a Promotion from within our Department. Our Probation Unit is planning to begin negotiations with the County soon; however, the County is using doom and gloom tactics and reporting a "budget shortfall." It is interesting how there always seems to be a shortfall when the bargaining units plan to negotiate.

MONTEREY

We are beginning our contract negotiations as our contract expired as of July 1st 2013.

We have had 1 meeting and may be meeting again this week.

We are looking at a 2 or 3 year deal. The county wants us to pay 13.5% into PERS and we are working on mitigating that cost. There is not a lot of talk regarding raises at the table.

Violence has increased in the last several weeks in Salinas .

We are getting our website for the association up and running for our members.

Have a pending federal lawsuit in regards to the county’s ESS (Electronic Payroll system).

ORANGE

  1. Lots of reorganization in the DPO ranks due to creating an additional AB 109 unit. Many vacancies in the field and supervisory positions that will not be filled. 16 officers went to armed units.
  2. Changes in the institution due to cost savings. Eliminating 4-10's, etc.
  3. BPOC and JCORE beginning. Class if 14 and 6 respectively. 
  4. 14 months without a contract.
  5. $3 million shortfall in the Department.
  6. Increase in officer assaults both in field and institution.

 SAN BERNARDINO

Our membership is now at 403 officers thanks to the hiring that took place due to AB109 realignment. Our department has now consolidated all of the adult supervision units, i.e. every caseload is now a mix of probation, mandatory supervision and Post Release Community Supervision. We remain in the first year of a two year contract and we are anxiously looking forward to our next negotiations. We remain equally concerned about securing increased pay and benefits along with insuring job security for our new members.

The association is in the final stages of securing an AFLAC accident policy with an illness rider for each of our members. The premiums will be paid by a combination of dues and county paid funds for long term disability. We are also offering $500 college scholarships to children of our members for the second year. Additionally, the association has sponsored a cohort program with National University. We have approximately 15 members enrolled in a Masters Degree Program in Criminal Justice and the savings is 40% for our students. 

Lastly, we are building out our association office. We are redesigning what was essentially a warehouse into office and general meeting space. That should be completed this summer.

All in all, a busy time for us. The association is also planning the next SCOPO meeting in December here in Ontario. It should be a good event for everyone.

SAN JOAQUIN

After nearly two years, our Adult Division now has an operating weapons screening station at the main entrance of the building! After having continually pushed the issue, the Association is proud to have accomplished something which will directly impact the safety & security of our officers and staff in the building. Additionally, two security personnel were hired to operate the weapons screening x-ray machine and to conduct manual wanding of individuals entering the building. To date, a small bucket of miscellaneous knives, scissors, edged objects and a canister of oc spray have been seized.

Another long standing issue that our Association had pursued was the selection of an intermediate use-of-force weapon. Late last month, the Department selected Tasers as our intermediate use-of-force weapon, giving us another option other than our oc spray and deadly force (duty weapon) for armed officers. The Department and the Association will soon be conducting a Meet & Confer over the proposed and affected policies. It should be noted, that the Department plans to purchase Tasers that utilize a camera which is activated once the Taser is deployed. The Department is also looking into the possibility of having several officers trained as Taser trainers.

The Department and the Association are still reviewing and working on several revised policies; including: Critical Incidents, Discipline, Transportation, and CCWs for retired probation officers. The policy would effectively operate as a way for retired probation officers to carry a concealed weapon with approval of the chief. Current law dictates that upon retirement a CCW be issued to a sworn officer that was authorized in the course of their regular duties to carry a firearm. Absent the officer having left for a disciplinary issue or specified medical/psychological issues, the officer shall be granted a retiree CCW.

Lastly, as of 5:00 p.m. today we will have completed the first part of our second annual survey of the Department by our membership. Using the same company that the VCPPOA used, Lavell Communications Inc., we were able to create and complete our survey online within a short period of time. Once data are compiled, we plan to make a presentation to our chief in the hope of opening up a dialog on several issues; including: trust and communication between line-level staff and management, competency of management, workloads, and promotions. Last year’s survey resulted in our Association being able to emphasize the importance of the first two items that I wrote about (security for our Adult Division building and the introduction of an intermediate use-of-force weapon).

SAN LUIS OBISPO

We just completed our training for writing our own crime reports. We hope to be able to start writing them soon. Some officers are looking forward to it and some not so much. It will be low and slow but I'm looking forward to one more tool to help us do our jobs out there.

Our Juvenile Hall will be adding 20 beds onto the facility but that most likely won't be done until 2016.

The marking of our Probation Units has begun and so far 4 units have been marked which clearly designates them as Law Enforcement. We will be keeping some unmarked units and are hoping to get a couple "Cold Plate Vehicles" unmarked cars sometime in the future.

We have seen a rise in "word on the street" threats to law enforcement and are hitting these cases hard and heavy.

SANTA CRUZ

Staffing

The Board of Supervisors approved the department to hire an additional six probation officers. All new hires will be assigned to the adult division. Within the last year, eleven new probation officers were hired. The department is in the process of filling vacate management positions. Interviews were conducted during the week of July 15th, for Juvenile Division Director and a new Assistant Juvenile Division Director position was filled last month. Nonetheless, a vacant juvenile supervisor position and a juvenile probation officer position will not be back filled due to budget cuts.

Furloughs and negotiations

The current contract is due to expire in December 2013. Per the MOU, furloughs were to cease on June 21st. The County provided the SCCPOA with a letter indicating an additional 29.06 furlough hours would be imposed from June 22nd to Sept 29th. The SCCPOA disputed the hours and was informed the county has a right to “temporarily layoff” employees for up to four weeks. The SCCPOA disputed that “temporary lay-offs” and furlough could not be used interchangeable as they are two separate actions; the Countydisagreed. SCCPOA has since filed a grievance against the County. Pending the grievance, the furloughs were imposed.

Due to the recent imposition of additional furlough hours, SCCPOA decided to meet with the County Personnel Department and begin negotiations early. The negotiation team met with the SCCPOA attorney, Larry Katz, on July 15, 2013 and began discussing negotiations concerns.

Training

Eleven Officers completed Probation CORE Training on July 9th. The training was conducted in Santa Cruz County. Despite staff continuously requesting training such as officer safety training, defensive tactics, weaponless defense, working with PRCS defendants and how to debrief PRCS, it has not been provided. Officer safety training was provided for staff by staff in spring/summer 2012. The training covered basic officer safety information. The POA was informed that staff will not begin to get trained in the requested areas until August, 2013. Defense tactics and weaponless defense will not be provided until new policies and procedures are revised and implement. SCCPOA will continue to advocate for staff training.

SOLANO

Greetings from Solano County

Hoping this roundtable report finds everyone safe and well. Things in Solano County continue to move along. We appear to be perhaps the only Solano County group not currently in negotiations, although we continue to work under imposed terms and conditions. Things appear to be looking up for the County, financially, although they are unwilling to truly acknowledge that at this point. The uncertainties related to healthcare and retirement changes appear to be a stumbling block for those currently negotiating.

We continue to grow as a Department, with recent promotions to Supervisor, Senior Probation Officer promotions on the horizon, and recruitments for Journey Probation Officers still being processed. We have yet to get our PRCS unit fully staffed. Our Juvenile Detention Facility just hired two new Group Counselors, and it appears now there will be focus on beefing up our extra help list there. Our Vallejo Center for Positive Change is just beginning to open, and we are hopeful it will be a success.

Safety concerns continue as we watch our fellow “unarmed” Departments gradually bring on armed units more readily than us. When the subject is brought up we are met with cryptic responses, so it is uncertain where we currently stand in that process. It seems all the law enforcement Departments we work with recognize the need for us to be armed, while our County remains in denial.

While morale initially improved, with the hiring of our new Chief, there are times now when it dips. Some fear we are changing too rapidly, while others fear we aren’t changing rapidly enough. The Association is facing new challenges, when dealing with the Administration, but we continue to work towards finding common ground where amicable relationships can be formed.

We continue to hope for a safer and brighter future.

Until next time…… stay safe my friends

TUOLUMNE

After an extended fight and a very aggressive campaign by the DSA to make the public aware of our plight, we were so close to “breaking even” in our contract negotiations. However, this apparently was unacceptable to the County, as all they want is more concessions every single time we negotiate a new contract. For the past five or more years we have had to fight like hell to minimize our losses, forget about receiving any extra. After making more concessions and coming to what we felt like was a tentative agreement, the County decided to impose on us last minute, without so much as a meeting. So, the fight continues. Who knows where it will end up?

YOLO

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our new Chief Probation Officer, Brent Cardall. He comes to the Yolo County Probation Department with a great breadth of experience in Probation, Corrections, and education. We are excited to see what the future holds under his leadership. Welcome Chief Cardall!

Two of our board members, Tim McReynolds and Daniel Hoffman, attended the Contract Negotiations Training offered by Mastagni and Sacramento County. The training was highly informative, and well received by those in attendance.

We have had some recent retirements and separations, reducing our membership numbers. However, we have avoided layoffs thus far, and are in a good position moving forward.

Contract negotiations for a successor agreement should begin in early 2014, as our current 3-year contract expires in June of 2014.

As always, stay safe and make it home to your families and loved ones at the end of the day.