January 2012 Round Table Report
The AB 109 numbers are going through the roof. The split sentenced defendants are getting out daily and the numbers are already approaching the cap. Some of this may be attributed to the fact that “Split Sentenced” individuals were not taken into consideration. Alas, there is relief in sight with the AB 109 getting two additional Probation Officers February 1st.
The PPOACCC President, John Ebrahimi, continues to meet with individual County Board of Supervisors members stressing the importance of Probation Peace Officers safety, both in the Institutions and in the Field.
A number of Probation Peace Officers attended the funeral for Vallejo Police Officer James Capoot on November 30th. Officer Capoot, who was a 19-year veteran of the Vallejo Police Department, was tragically killed while pursuing suspects in a bank robbery on November 17, 2011.
The Department celebrated a series of Holiday luncheons at various work sites. At what has become a standard, the Department remains #1 in the county with the amount of money donated to the Contra Costa County Food Bank.
Congratulations to Michelle Keith who will be replacing Leandre’ Williams as the Association’s new Probation Officers’ Vice President. Leandre’, thank you for your dedication and the hard work you have given the PPOACCC. Kudos to Treasurer Mike Schroer and Cassandra Latula for going unopposed for their respective Executive Board position elections.
Congrats to Probation Counselor and Shop Steward Laurie Griffith, who recently promoted to Probation Officer.
With the holidays behind us, contract talks are scheduled to resume between the Association and the County in January.
Belated congratulations to long-time Probation Counselor, Jeff Parks, on his retirement. Good Luck Jeff!
Over the past few months, our Department has been plagued by the clamoring of SEIU’s saber rattling of a strike. SEIU represents several bargaining units within the County of Fresno , with one being the Juvenile Correctional Officer classification. In December 2012, the County imposed a 9% salary reduction on the bargaining units represented by SEIU. Currently, SEIU is pursuing litigation against the County and talks of a strike have quieted for now, yet have not been completely dispelled.
As for our association, we are convening to consider amending our current MOU to include the on-call language and compensation.The County is also proposing a new retirement tier (Tier-IV) for all new employees hired after June 2012. The County has presented the new tier as needed pension reform to offset current pension actuaries. Highlights of the new tier include 1.67% @ 571/2; 2% @ 61; 2.43% @ 65, three year average for final compensation, and (0) zero cost of living. The new tier will need to be carefully reviewed by our membership, as our Department is set for continued growth in the coming months.
Inyo County Probation is moving ahead with the implementation of programs geared to support evidence based practices. Juvenile officer will be undergoing training from the Change Company and an unknown facilitator for Anger Regression Therapy in the next few months. Also, the department is doing its best to keep up with the ever changing dynamics and economic questions surrounding AB109 and AB12/212. Contract negotiations are ongoing and hopeful, however the reality of medical benefits being capped is looming.
Greetings from Madera County! We are hoping to bring in the new year with a shiny new contract, however it's seems that most of us are at an impasse. Madera County is expanding it's Department of Corrections in hopes that we can accommodate the realignment of prospected prisoners coming in. Otherwise we are all looking forward to the new year, trying not to set our sights too high, but grateful for what we have!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!
Merced County Probation Officers with AFSCME Local 2703 recently ratified their contract and started out the New Year with a 5% pay reduction plus furlough days. The contract is for two years. We were able to maintain our Longevity Bonus of $750 for employees with 10 years of service, and there was a voluntary retirement plan (VRP) put into place. Employees, who were eligible to retire, received $1,000.00 for every year of service up to a maximum of $30,000.00. They had to be off payroll by December 18, 2011. We lost one
Supervising DPO, one Division Director, and three clerical staff. The Contract includes 21 set days off and 40 additional hours to take off whenever we want to use them. The 40 hours are a use them or lose them over the two years of the contract. For the first furlough days, the County shut down for the week of Christmas. Only essential functions operated.
Our Department is implanting a Evidence Based Program, involving Interactive Journaling and group discussions for probationers. The probation groups have started for the Juveniles and we are looking to implement the adult group in the upcoming month. Our department is adjusting to the new AB 109 populations as well as the high numbers then initially indicated by the State.
We are hiring or promoting within both the institution and field ranks due in part to AB 109. Classes are expected to begin around March from what we are hearing.I mentioned that our county CEO gave a series of raises to top level managers (about 80% of county managers were recipients.). UPDATE: That has since been rescinded by the BOS.
However, the CEO is going to make another attempt to restore them.
The department either reduced or eliminated all bilingual pay for field staff. Some were able to keep their standard bilingual pay, but nearly all of the exceptional pay was eliminated. This was reportedly ordered by the BOS for all county departments to evaluate, however not all did (ie OCSD.)
We are preparing for our contract negotiations coming up in spring.
Juvenile Probation administration does not want to arm probation officers in the Serious Offenders Unit; they will not even consider pepper spray. Also at Juvenile Probation there is a Brady motion pending on one of the officers.
At Adult Probation the PCRS unit is experiencing larger numbers of offenders than was anticipated by CDCR. The 1170(h) numbers are also higher than anticipated. Some officers are being placed into temporary offices at another building, while the administration locates a permanent location.
Since the October 1st AB 109 implementation date, the Department has promoted 1 ADCPO, 4 POIIIs and is pending a unit supervisor promotion. Several moves have taken place in order to beef up our Adult Division, specifically the creation of our High Risk unit designed to handle the incoming Post Release Community Supervision offenders (PRCSs) and the Local Community Supervision offenders (LCSs). All of this is being done as a precursor to the POI and POII hiring’s that the Department will be doing in the coming months. 15 positions total are open for new hires, or those coming from/back from other agencies. We will welcome the new additions into our ranks.
Not directly related to AB 109, but as important in its own way, are the trigger cuts going into effect as a result of lower than projected revenues for the state for the 2011-2012 budget year. Due to the shortfalls, on January 2nd the state began charging counties up to $125,000 annually for every youthful offender committed to a Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facility! According to our data, we have 20 offenders currently housed in DJJ with 4 of them being Direct Files. Thankfully, once the Direct Files turn 18, DJJ we’ll be able to send them to CDCR for safekeeping. To date, I haven’t heard of a solution to the funding issue and as a result we may end up having to re-house most or all of the offenders that have been sent to DJJ.In the midst of year 1 - AB 109 implementation, we’ll also be in the middle of contract negotiations with the County. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we’ll see proposals to reduce the County’s share of costs; which will include changes to our medical and retirement to name just two. Based on recent contracts that were ratified by other bargaining units in the county, it is likely that the County will look to single employees to start paying for the employees’ portion of thehealthcare premium, up to 20%; which has traditionally been paid by the County. Additionally, the County is likely to target savings from the employees’ retirement COLA cost share at an additional 4.395%; effectively doubling what safety employees currently contribute.We’ve had several Meet & Confers since my last update, the most important of them being the Department’s revised Transportation policy. Our main concern is for officer safety, and at a minimum we are having our concerns placed on the record in the event an incident occurs as a result of what we believe are unsafe and potentially dangerous working conditions.
SAN LUIS OBISPO
San Luis Obispo County currently has 3 DPO’s assigned to the AB 109 realignment. Also there are 2 additional DPO’s who are doing both AB 109 and regular probation supervision. Like most counties our staff are adapting to the movement with the department. Currently SLO county has hired 5 new DPO’s and has began there FTO programs. The department has an active hiring list for bilingual DPO’s which we are hoping to hire off of soon. The association is half way through our contract extension. We are expecting the County to begin requesting concessions with in the next year prior to our contract expiring.
As with virtually every county in the state, we too opened up for hiring. We received an overwhelming amount of applications for 6 spots. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that all the vacancies will even be filled due to continued budget issues. Thus far we have hired 4 DPO’s, 3 of which were internal promotions. Our department continues to function with just a skeleton crew and an overwhelming amount of work.
In regards to AB 109, we still do not have our unit up and running. The PRCS’s being released to us are currently being dispersed among our intensive officers for the time being. The Chief has offered overtime to any DPO’s willing to drive to CDC to interview the PRCS’s and do a STRONG assessment prior to their release.As for our association, with negotiations behind us and our MOU approved, we are focusing on officer safety concerns. As many may recall, we are not armed in any capacity and our officer safety training is not offered regularly, nor has it been made mandatory. Our association is hoping to change this. One of the steps we are taking is to participate in a 2-day officer safety training with Sonoma County Probation. Thank you to all the counties who offered their support and assistance in this matter and to our request for copies of your bylaws.
Greetings from Solano County,
We are still Chiefless, here in Solano, with no formal announcement yet as to whom our new Chief will be or when they will arrive. We are finding it difficult to get much accomplished as we wait for the “Interim” Chief to be replaced.Overall morale is at its lowest, with staff finding the uncertainty of the Department unnerving at best. On a positive note, we are in the process of filling 11 limited term Probation Officer Positions, related to AB109, and fortunately this means the recall of those remaining on our prior lay off lists. There is an open recruitment for those positions left to be filled.With regards to AB109, we appear to still be in a state of “unknown”. We currently have two assessors and one supervision officer assigned to the unit.
With the pending increase in DJJ housing costs, and the County’s determination that they still have millions to cut in general fund expenditures, we fear more cuts in the near future. Those of us who do the work have absolutely no idea how any supervision will be done or services provided if more cuts are made.
We hope all is well in the other Counties, and we will continue to hold out hope that things for us will improve in the near future. Regardless, we continue to do the best we can, with what we have.
Stay safe my friends.
As AB 109 has rolled out and is up and running in Tuolumne County . We are still scrambling to work out many details, but the majority of our programs have been put in place. In addition to hiring two Deputy Probation Offices we have contracted with Behavioral Interventions Inc. (BI) to run a Day Reporting Center (DRC) at an off-site location which can serve up to 50 offenders in the program. In addition to using BI for the DRC we have opened a Day Treatment Center as an alternative sanction for misdemeanor offenders which in the past would have served short terms in the county jail. At the same off-site location we have expanded our Work Release Program to handle the increase in misdemeanor offenders that typically would have also served a short jail sentence. We are also in talks with various Electronic Monitoring vendors and hope to have a GPS monitoring system up and running in the months ahead. This too will free up space in our jail for the more serious offenders.
In regards to the PRCS offenders which seem to be increasing each and every month we have formed a task force with a our sheriff’s department and are in the process of getting selected DPOs armed. This has not only been a big step, but a step in the right direction for this department and county in regards to officer safety and protecting the community. As time progress and we continue to supervise offenders that would typically get sentenced to prison and/or supervised on parole we hope to get all of our field supervision officers armed.
Our Courts have been sentencing several offenders pursuant to 1170(h) and that transition seems to be going smoothly from our perspective. As time goes on and more offenders are serving multiple years in the county jail I’m sure we will begin to see the impact that has on the Court’s, jail, and ultimately us when providing the community supervision.
As we continue to work out the details and road bumps we face in regards to AB 109 we continue to do our best job and move ahead in serving/protecting the community, serving the Court, and rehabilitating offenders.
What a difference realignment money makes! Months ago, the agency was preparing contingency plans for the loss of the VLF money and other State funding. Plans included re-allocation of personnel, contracting, and eliminating programs, eliminating vacant positions, and possibly reassigning DPOs as CSOs, or laying off officers.
Now with realignment money coming from the state, thirteen potential candidates for DPO are in the background process, eight new CSO have been hired, one former SrDPO lateraled back from Parole, and additional interviews for CSO are set for late January.
The Agency, like all across the state, are playing AB109 by ear, making plans and adjustments, working on partnerships in the community and establishing standards as more parolees come onto our caseloads.
Last Summer, we reported that we hired a consultant to formulate a survey for our members that gauged line staff’s opinions on the effectiveness and leadership of the executive management team, including their ability to work together as well as morale issues, and the direction and challenges of the agency. The results were an apparent “eye-opener” to Chief Mark Varela. He seems to be taken the members’ concerns and thoughts seriously. Already, changes have been made to more effectively disseminate information from the Executive members to line staff. We hope to see additional positive changes. An updated survey is planned for the future.
Our December General Membership meeting coincided with annual elections. Departing long time president Diane Hubbard stepped down as she plans to retire on 12-12-12. The board recognized her long-time service with a gift of appreciation, and Vice-President Jim Schmitt delivered a fine speech. New President is Don Douglass, formerly on the board as DPO Rep four years ago prior to taking some time off. DPO Rep John McKinley was re-elected for a 3rd term. SrDPO Robert Barna is the new secretary, replacing DPO Jennifer Krewski. Richard Gallarza replaces Rich Johnson as CSO Rep. Welcome to our new board members!