May 2012 Round Table Report

CONTRA COSTA 

On May 8th, the Board of Supervisors approved a contract between the PPOACCC and the County. Included in the highlights of the contract were: 

  1. Longevity Pay of 2% for Members who have worked 15 and 20 years, respectively for the Department. 
  2. Immediate Reduction of 4.5% of 9% subvention toward Member’s retirement contribution. 
  3. At the conclusion of the contract, the elimination of the remaining 4.5% subvention toward Member’s retirement contribution. 
  4. Contract to expire in June 2015. 

With the conclusion of the fiscal year almost complete, the Chief was pleased to announce there will be no cuts for next year’s budget. This is especially noteworthy considering the vast amounts of reduction in staff over the last several years. 

The initial phase of some Probation Officers receiving EPICS (Effective Practices In Community Supervision) training by Dr. Ed LaTessa’s group recently concluded. 

Last month the Department changed from non-GPS Juvenile Electronic Monitor Program to an all-GPS Monitor Program for those juveniles so ordered by the Court.

With continued Officer Safety, the Department continues to fit Members for Jackets, vests and duty belts as well as equipping the Orin Allen Youth 
Rehabilitation Facility Ranch staff with more contemporary mobile communication system. 

The PPOACCC’s Goodwill Committee is planning the Association’s annual celebratory picnic. 

FRESNO 

As this year’s fiscal cycle comes to a close and another one begins, budget is the big topic of discussion. At this time the budget looks good and on track with no anticipated layoffs and/or layoff notices. If everything remains status quo throughout the budget hearings, this will be the first year in recent memory where layoff notices have not been distributed and rank of DPOs in the department has grown rather than declined. We will keep our fingers cross and hope AB109 funding continues to provide growth. However, our Chief has alluded to lack of split-sentences by Superior Court could negatively impact DPO positions in the future due to PRCS numbers enviably declining. We will continue to monitor this situation and work with administration to ensure positions remain fully staffed. 

Fresno will have its first DPO Swearing-in Ceremony in over four years. Currently the plan is to have a ceremony sometime in June 2012 and another in the Fall, following the completion of the next DPO Core in July. There is a hope that future ceremonies will occur yearly or as needed.

One last item of note, our Chief recently authorized administration to proceed with evaluating the purchase and installation of safety lights in marked vehicles. This is great news for field officers and officers with take home vehicles who are regularly summoned to render roadside assistance to citizens in the community or to assist other local law enforcement agencies. It is also a big “officer safety” win for our association as this topic has been broached in the past with little to no headway. We can only hope budget does not come into play with the procurement and implementation of this potentially lifesaving equipment for officers. 

As always, be safe out there. 

KERN 

We are currently without an agreed contract and are currently working under imposed working conditions. The Board of Supervisors imposed changes to our membership on March 27, 2012. The imposed changes were a new retirement calculation of 2 @ 50 for new hires and the group of employees hired before 1997 now pay 100% of the employees’ share of the medical premium. We are the only group in Kern County who does not have an agreed upon contract. The issue at hand is that our association was the first safety group who gave concessions at the bargaining table in 2009. Not only did we give concessions in 2009, but both SO associations did not give any concessions until March of this year. Our group is looking for some recognition for taking a leadership position to help save the County money over the last two and a half years. We are currently having a good dialogue with the County and can see the possibility of an amenable contract being completed in the next few months. 

As a result of the imposition our Department has been able to start hiring. We are currently hiring 25 Juvenile Corrections Officer and 15 Deputy Probation Officers.

We currently have two AB109 units supervising the post release offenders. There are currently 1,416 post release offenders and 367 pending release. Our Department would like to add two more AB 109 units, which will be determined by State funding and the CCP. 

All of our field officers are currently going through an in house baton training and being issued Manodnock Collapsible batons. This force option is new to our Department. Our Chief would also like to get tasers for all of our field officers and is looking to fund the initial expense. Both baton and taser policies are in place and there is no implementation issue. 

ORANGE 

We are currently in negotiations for our coalition. The County's proposed take aways are equivalent to about 16% in cuts. 

We have a DPO class graduating at the end of the month. 

The AB 109 clients numbers are about 59% above what was predicted We would receive. 

We were informed that we would open 2 day reporting centers for PCS. One would be run by Probation, the other would be contracted. The department would evaluate for a year and see which performed more efficiently and use that. 

A Chief Deputy reported that would be seeing big changes throughout and wouldn't recognize the department when the changes were implemented. So far we are now receiving monthly training emails that include such things as field scenarios and what to do. These are to be discussed at monthly staff meetings. 

We currently have 1 grievance filed for repeatedly not adhering to the agreed shift posting procedure for DPOs only. 

SAN BERNARDINO

SB County Probation Dept. recently graduated 14 new probation officers from CORE Training. They have been assigned to AB 109 and other units. We currently have 28 more new hires in CORE training and they will graduate in June. AB109 continues to be the big news as 100 additional officers are being hired as a result. We just recently rehired former probation officers who were in danger of being layed off as parole agents.

Our contract negotiations have gone nowhere. The county is taking a hard line, demanding givebacks with nothing in exchange. The association has hired an accountant to do a forensic audit of the county finances. The audit shows a financial picture that is different from the doomsday picture the county has painted. Our numbers are going to be scrutinized by a second accounting firm so that we can be sure of our position.

The county went to mediation with us but did not seriously negotiate. We will declare impasse in about a week and then go to fact finding. We are still considering legal remedies should the county continue to negotiate in bad faith. 

SAN FRANCISCO 

  • We finished our negotiations and are pending ratification. 
  • We have a 2-year contract with 3% increase in the 2nd year. 
  • We will be paying 2.5% towards our portion in a fairness float from Prop C. 
  • We also will be paying our 9% towards our retirement, the City will give us 7.15% towards the 9%. 
  • Employee only will pay something towards medical coverage instead of nothing. The PPO, City Plan, is increasing greatly for employee only group. 
  • At Adult we still have no drug testing for defendants. 
  • The move to send 2 POs to a high crime area field office is on hold.
  • We continue to meet & confer on new policies. 
  • We will be training in Marin for OC spray in June. 
  • We have a Reentry Division that recommends too much training. 
  • At Juvenile the administration is slow to give training and police support to  the POs in the Intensive Supervision Unit.

SAN JOAQUIN 

Since the October 1st AB 109 implementation date, the Department has hired 3 out of 16 allocated positions based on AB 109 funding. The remaining 13 
positions are vacant. It is still a concern to us, not only because these positions were tied to AB 109 funding, but because there’s a number of vacant positions that still need to be backfilled. Because our new High Risk Unit (HRU) was created to address the influx of AB 109 offenders, several units were depleted in order to staff the HRU. As a result, those units are being worked by staff left in those units, placing an added burden on them to complete their work on top of the work created by the staffing shortage. Unfortunately, the only one that benefits from our current situation is the County, as they reap the money in the form of savings from unfilled positions. 

After approaching us initially with an “Informal Proposal,” a first in the now fifth round of negotiations that I’ve been a part of over the years, we’ve moved into formal negotiations. We’ve met with them thrice now, and exchanged proposals. It was a little disheartening to learn at our last meeting that we were apparently the only ones taking negotiations seriously. We submitted counter-proposals, and yet the County only rejected our proposals from the previous meeting; not even throwing us a bone on a few of the proposals that we’d made. What was even more upsetting, were the numbers they gave us with regards to current vacancies; they showed 4 when we clearly knew that it was 14 (calculated based on vacancies leftover as a result of the last 2 PO hirings – just prior to the 3rd PO hire just this week). After proving our point, we knew that the County’s hired gun wasn’t too happy with the discrepancy either. Something for him to consider and take back to his superiors for further discussion. That, in addition to us being the first bargaining unit to come out and get a concessionary deal done nearly two years ago, should have afforded us a little more respect in my opinion. Even though this is still at the front end of negotiations, it certainly feels like we’re worlds apart. 

Our recent Labor Management meetings have focused on two issues: officer safety and the need for an Evidenced Based Programs (EBP) programming unit. We have discussed several officer safety related issues, such as: acquiring ASPs for use as an intermediate weapon, installing disposable sharps containers to dispose of needles and the like at all three of the facilities we utilize, and department purchase of Pocket Packs with quick-clotting materials for use in the field. As for the programming unit, we have pushed for a programming unit made up of officers assigned to facilitate EBP classes for offenders. As it stands, officers are on a rotation to facilitate classes. It is our belief that class instruction would be done more effectively by a programming unit, rather than by random facilitators at different times. At a minimum, it would create enhanced fidelity; which is critical to making these classes more meaningful and effective, based on studies of EBP programming. Lastly, it would help place the function of facilitating classes under one unit; instead of displacing field and supervision officers from their other duties.

SAN LUIS OBISPO 

In San Luis Obispo County we are still in the hiring faze. We have added an additional DPOIII position to cover Juvenile Court and have added an additional DPO to help cover the PRCS. That brings our PRCS unit to three DPO’s. 

The department has two certified taser instructors and we are hoping to being training in June to allow officers to utilize this new tool. The department made the decision that all armed DPO will carry taser.

To increase security at our Adult Office the department has installed a metal detector, which probationers must walk through prior to entering an interview room.

SANTA CRUZ 

As most of us have heard, the CEO of Assessments.com has been having some financial and personal difficulties, and the business is in receivership status. Our Chief recently informed us that we will not be using the STRONG and PACT risk assessment. As of now, the department has not indicated what risk assessment will replace it. If anyone has suggestions feel free to chime in.

As for AB 109, we will be receiving significant funding for this next year. In addition, the amount of PRCS's and 1170(h) commitments we are estimated to receive in the next few months is more than was anticipated. We currently have two DPO II's in the unit, but the goal is to increase the unit with the additional funding to one DPO III, 4 DPO II's, and a probation aide. How soon this will happen is unknown. 

Our county is currently supervising 68 PRCS's (this number does not reflect the 290 PRCS's). An additional 12 are currently in custody in state prisons and expected to be released in within the next 2 months. Two of these inmates will be released directly from the SHU. Our DPO's are now going to the state prisons to pick up the high control PRCS's being released, as this was the expectation and custom of parole agents. The AB 109 DPO's also have a second caseload comprised of 1170(h) commitments. 

We are pleased to announce that we conducted our first 2-day officer safety training catered specifically to our juvenile DPO's. We hope to be able to do the same for our adult DPO's in the near future. 
 
The department recently promoted 2 of our juvenile hall staff to DPO's, however, due to lack of office space, their start dates is unknown. We will be opening up to hire Probation Aides in the near future. It is unknown at this time if the promotion of our hall staff will result in having to hire new JH staff. With the news of promotions also came a new addition from Oregon. Our new Adult Division Director, Bill Penny.

SOLANO 

Greetings from Solano County, 

All we can say is…. WOW what a difference a Chief makes! Our new Chief has arrived and already he has made quite the impression. He can frequently be seen, “walking the floor,” meeting and greeting the staff. He appears genuinely interested in the opinions of the line staff and is in the process of meeting with all ranks, WITHOUT the corresponding supervisors. He has been extremely receptive to the needs of the Department, and changes are already in the works both in the institution and in the field. He participated in one of our joint field operations, and appears very aware of our need for proper safety equipment. We wholeheartedly welcome him aboard. 

These above changes have done great things towards improving staff morale, and just the other day I had a member comment to me about how they haven’t seen so many of the workers “laugh” in a long time. Our emphasis, at this time, is in working together (management and labor) to begin moving the “sinking ship” into calmer more productive waters. The cloud is lifting, and for that we are thankful. 
 
A critical Board of Supervisor seat is up for grabs this election and we are hopeful the challenger will prevail. It is time to break up the “Three Amigos” who seem to want to continuously vote against the needs of Solano County labor. A new Chief, a new Board, now wouldn’t that be something. 

Thanks to everyone on the input provided regarding the wording on your Badge Identification Cards. I am pleased to say our cards are now under review and a committee is being formed to come up with a modification plan.

We are hoping all is well throughout California.

Stay safe my friends.

TUOLUMNE 

We are busy with many changes involving restructuring the department to more effectively supervise our moderate to high-risk felons and post release people. We currently have approximately 30 offenders in the Behavioral Interventions Program and are increasing those numbers steadily. Although it was quite a fight, our Chief has finally secured three approved officers for arming, two of which will be trained and equipped by the end of June. With realignment we are finally seeing adequate funding and more open positions being filled than we have in many years. Unfortunately, our juvenile officers are working harder than ever as there appears to be a shift in staffing levels from that division to the adult division. With the new fiscal year right around the corner it should be interesting to see what other changes are ahead.

VENTURA 

The Agency has continued to hire new DPOs and CSOs to handle the expanding caseloads of AB109 realignment. There is a push in the Agency to get as many DPOs through the arming process as possible to prepare staff for an armed assignment. New staff are hired with the knowledge that they may be required to serve in an armed assignment; however, for previously existing staff, it remains a choice. Management is dismayed that more staff are not volunteering for the Defensive Arming Program and acknowledge that perhaps a monetary incentive for armed duty may encourage staff to take on the added responsibility and liability. This issue will surely be discussed soon between the Board and the 
Agency. 

Our June general membership meeting should bring much lively discussion regarding upcoming negotiations as our 3 year MOA expires in June of 2013. Negotiations are expected to commence after the Winter holidays.

Last year, the Board hired a consultant to conduct a survey among the membership that gauged 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 indicated that line staff believed executive management were too insulated from the day-to-day operations of the Agency and not held accountable for the problems they caused. On a positive note, staff indicated they had a strong dedication and pride in the work they do and the quality of service they provide. Chief Mark Varela took the results of the survey seriously and has implemented changes that have improved communication from the top on down. 

In mid-May, the second survey was sent to the membership with essentially the same questions as last year. Hopefully, staff will acknowledge that some improvement has been made and also indicate areas where improvement can still be made. The results of the survey will again be disseminated to the executive management team and, if necessary, to the County Board of Supervisors, media, and the general public. 

YOLO 

Yolo County Probation Association is entering the second of a three year contract. We negotiated a .5% COLA that takes effect July 2012, a .5% COLA in December 2012, and a 2% COLA in July 2013. 

The Grand Jury recently concluded an investigation on the Probation Department and issued a report on its findings. Recommendations for process changes, policy and procedure updates, and training were made, among others. 

No layoffs have been identified as of this writing; however, with the uncertainty of continued AB109 funding allocations for the next fiscal year, we anxiously await updates from the State and Dept. Administration. 

We do have grievances pending; however, the Dept. and Association have been meeting to discuss grievances and other issues in an effort to alleviate the filing of grievances and resolve issues amicably.