March/April 2015 Round Table Report
The PPOA is continuing to lose both new and veteran staff in the field as well as in the institutions, due to low wages and high retirement contributions. Members are torn between continuing to work and struggle financially in a County that they have grown to love and respect, and transferring to a nearby County for a more competitive wage and less retirement costs. Contra Costa County continues to struggle with retention and recruitment and is continuing to be utilized as a training ground for nearby Counties who are attracting our members who have gone through core training and can apply to another department at a higher paying Journey level.
The PPOA recently conducted a Salary Comparison Survey, utilizing Marin County, Napa County, Solano County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and Sonoma County. Contra Costa County came out DEAD LAST in salary comparisons. The average of the monthly salaries of these 7 surrounding Bay Area Counties, not including Contra Costa, was $7338.00. Contra Costa County fell more than $1200.00 below that average. The PPOA has been without a raise for almost 10-years. We are due for a fair and equitable wage increase.
Chief Phil Kader has expressed the Department’s recruitment and retention issue to the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator. Chief Kader is hopeful that the Board of Supervisors will provide the PPOACCC with a fair and equitable raise during the upcoming negotiations, and help stop the bleeding of staff that his department is continuing to struggle with.
Our institution Staff are interested in changing their title from Probation Counselor to Juvenile Institutional Officers. Many years ago, prior to the Probation Counselor title, they were known as Group Counselors. Institution staff pushed for the name change to Probation Counselor, to shy away from the closely related Group Home Counselors that they were being associated with. Counselors believe the title of Juvenile Institutional Officers is more descriptive to their daily job duties. It would identify and attract more qualified applicants, decrease the current exodus of newly hire employees who are unclear of the job title, and follow suit with other departments that have transitioned from Group Counselors to Juvenile Institutional Officers.
Fresno County continues work on avenues to utilized Evidence Based Practices on the Juvenile Side of the house through PACT (Positive Achievement Change Tool). Also in Juvenile, we are still adjusting to the new guidelines of Title IV-E. A transition plan was established for those minor’s being released from JJC (Juvenile Justice Campus) from a commitment. Development is ongoing as to the new laws related to WIC 781 and 786. On the Adult Side of the house, they continue to work diligently to the new rules under Prop 47, expansion of Pre-Trial, and the ongoing AB 109. Prop 47, in Fresno County, as probably in other Counties has had a large impact on our DSU (Drug Suppression Unit). Fresno County is still experiencing vacancies, but new hires continue to come aboard and are growing.
We are gearing up for negotiations, our contract expires in June. Any information on recent contracts would be greatly appreciated. The population at JH has increased slightly.
The Stanislaus County Deputy Probation Officers Association (SCDPOA) has reached a 36 month labor agreement with the County. Negotiations lasted close to 5 months. Here are the highlights:
5% salary restoration
2% equity (salary) increase
2.5% armed qualification incentive pay
2.5% armed assignment pay
SCDPOA and the County have finalized a physical agility assessment, which will be conducted prior to the written test, for all prospective employees. The assessment includes: prone plank, body drag, stair climb, scale a 6 foot chain link fence, scale a 6 foot solid fence, obstacle course, endurance challenge (run) and trigger pull.
The Department had it's first two new hires complete the Field Training program since we extended it to 10 weeks. We currently have a cadre of 5 Field Training Officers, who are responsible for the guiding and training of the new officers. In addition to the 10 week FTO program, all newly hired officers must also completed 832 Firearms and our 40 hour Integrated Force Options Resource Course and Evaluation (IFORCE) program.
DPO's continue to conduct field activities utilizing a vehicle mounted computer aided dispatch system, with the Sheriff's channels being our primary channels. With help and suggestion from our regional dispatch center, we have adjusted the calls signs of our school assigned and K-9 officers to match those of the Sheriff Department.
SJCPOA is pleased to announce that the Law Offices of Christopher W. Miller is representing the Association for discipline and labor issues. Chris has a vast amount of knowledge and experience related to the field of probation.
The Association has yet to reach a contract agreement, after our contract expired on 6/30/14. The County does not appear to be in a hurry to reach an agreement, as they failed to provide a counter-proposal to the Association after 6 months. With no formal response from the County, in February the Association met with the County and pulled all previous proposals. It is hoped that the County will propose a fair contract within the next several months.
The Department has proposed a new reassignment policy, and checklists for supervisor expectations. The Association has requested Meet and Confers on both issues.
The Department convened its first Shooting Review Board Hearing. Results and judgment of the overall process are pending.
SAN LUIS OBISPO
- Proposition 47: We are seeing a drop in felony cases but will continue to see a rise in Misdemeanor cases that we will continue to supervise.
- Our Department’s Shot Gun project continues to move forward. We still haven’t deployed the pilot project. Once we have secured mounting issues in the vehicles and storage process we will begin.
- Our MDC units have all been installed in all vehicles and we have worked out most of the “bugs”. We have scheduled trainings for all Officers.
- Our county is in the process of establishing a county wide protocol on Human Trafficking and Probation is a part of that committee.
- Our Department is responsive to the needs of City Police and Park Rangers and we are actively assisting LEA on the issue of homelessness. We assist in identifying who is homeless from panhandlers in order to offer community based services.
- The Juvenile Hall Expansion continues to be on track. Additionally, the Juvenile Hall is transitioning from Correctional Technicians that run the control room to Juvenile Services Officers.
Since the approval of our contract this past December 2014, the Association and Probation Agency have been meeting to address the new uniform allowance and pending policy. A work group was formed by one of our chief deputies and consists of line staff representing all major sworn staff job functions/locations. One of the reasons for the new policy is to improve our profession’s image in the community by having an appearance that is both professional and easily recognizable. Work group members are engaged with several local vendors and uniform manufacturers to find the best quality, fit, and look for our members.
Late in February, Chief Probation Officer Mark Varela announced the closing of the Agency’s Work Furlough facility. Work Furlough has been run exclusively by the Probation Agency since July 1976. The facility has helped thousands of low level offenders maintain employment and with educational opportunities, while serving their custody commitment in a secure setting. Closing of the facility is expected this upcoming September. Approximately twenty staff will be affected by the closure. It is hopeful that all staff will be reassigned to the Juvenile Facilities or other units. Details of a replacement program were not readily available.
Following the recent contract approval and an industry-leading 7.5% premium pay for armed officers, the Agency continues to struggle filling Defensive Arming Program classes. Arming policy issues and individual supervisor interpretation of policy have been a few of the common reasons members are hesitant to move to an armed assignment. Current staff is becoming disenfranchised with the program and are looking to transfer to unarmed assignments. The Association is attempting to work with management to improve arming policy and to ensure the program’s success.
Lastly, the Association is diligently working on making our 30th anniversary a great year for all and we are looking forward to hosting the next SCOPO meeting in May.
Probation Program Manager promoted to the Superintendent of Institutions. This will open up advancement for other staff.
1 DPO hired and 2 DPO’s coming in the next few months. 2 Juvenile Corrections Officers have been hired for the institutions. Institutions are still understaffed.
Juvenile Hall Staff have had a title change from Group Counselor to Juvenile Corrections Officer.
Large rotation of assignments involving 10 different officers. Takes place on April 1, 2015. Most officers approved of changes.
Hired a Mental Health worker assigned to the Adult Field Supervision Unit.
Pre-Trial Unit created. Will be manned by 2 DPO’s.
New Policy Manual to be put in place in the next few months. Met and conferred with the County multiple times and parties agreed with changes.
Funding for the new Tri-County Juvenile Hall has been awarded and still going through the design stage currently.