May 2014 Round Table Report
On May 12, 2014, after a long hard fight, the Court ruled against us in the Pension Lawsuit. Based on the 60-day Stay Order, eligible Members will have an opportunity to retire being able to utilize Terminal Pay (unused accruals) toward their final calculation for their pension. However, in an effort to offer an Appeal in this case, PPOACCC Members will have the opportunity to continue to fight this case through a special election, scheduled for May 28, 2014. It is not clear what sort of impact this ruling will have Members and other county employees retiring.
Kern County is having financial problems with our local hospital, Kern Medical Center. KMC is currently costing the County 3 Million a month in from the general fund. The County Supervisors are asking all the departments to submit their 2014-2015 Budget with 5% step-down from their 2013-2014 budget to help offset the losses from KMC.
Kern County Probation's loss in revenue from Title IVE is approximately 2 to 3 Million for 2013-2114. Our Department is holding off on hiring any new officers until the budget is solidified for next fiscal year.
Kern County Probation has just signed and MOU to participate in the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative cost-benefit analysis project.
Our Chief announced officially that he will be retiring in January 2015. A search for a new Chief will start soon.
Few changes since last month….
Probation and Institution officers have been working without a contract since December 31, 2013. The last offer made by County negotiators was for a 3.5 % pay reduction and for employees to pay for part of their health insurance. The County has asked us to sign an extension to our past contract till July 1, 2014, so they can complete an audit of their books. We have declined to sign the extension. We were informed this past week that negotiations will be commencing in late June. We have no intentions on agreeing to any cutbacks
We have hired several new Probation Officers. Most of the people hired are filling positions left vacant from retirees. We anticipate adding another position to the AB109 unit in the next coming months in addition to hiring two to three more Officers. Caseload numbers are still extremely high.
We have just entered negotiations with the county. Hiring 4 Dpo's. A supervisor is retiring. Will attempt to fill the position as quickly as possible. Continues hiring at juvenile facility. Staff issues at facility due to various issues. Juvenile Institution Officers (JIO) and Dpo's working overtime at the facility. Sending a supervisor and Dpo to taser instructor training.
We are just beginning spring here in Mono County with some late winter Storms. Fishing season has begun, and many are enjoying the lakes and streams. We are continuing with our Union negotiations though little progress has been made. The union and the county appear miles apart on several issues. One of our officers is on an eight day jury trial. The legislation on jury duty exemption would have been very useful for him right about now. Thank you for your time and be safe.
We’ve been in negotiations with the County since February, and have passed our drop dead date for new proposals. The County appears to be dragging their feet on responses, both for counter-proposals and for responses to several of our information requests. Besides some proposals dealing with language clean-up and non-substantive changes, the County is focusing on increasing our contributions towards our Retirement
COLA Cost Share (capped by the passage of PEPRA), and creating an 80%/20% split for medical costs across the board. Kaiser’s premium costs are scheduled to go up a little over 3.5%, while the County’s premium costs will be remaining relatively flat for the 2014-2015 plan year. The County did not prepare a proposal for salaries, but will instead be working from our financial proposal; which covers equities and COLAs. Based on the 2014 presented equity study, we believe we have a good argument to make for equity increases for our DPOs.
Morale is at an all-time low in the Department. On top of workload issues, our chief effectively threw everyone under the bus in her April Chief’s Symposium. Blaming staff for not getting recidivism rates lower, and insinuating that if there are layoffs next year it would be our fault. To top it off, we found out after the fact that the meeting had been recorded. As you can imagine, people were about ready to riot. Subsequent to the meeting, information was forwarded to our attorneys for appropriate follow-up. We are still weighing several options that are available to us as additional courses of action.
Politically, we have been active for this election year. We have endorsed the following local candidates: Jim Cooper for State Assembly, District 9; Mike Mulvihill for Superior Court Judge; Tori Verber Salazar for San Joaquin County District Attorney; James Mousalimas for San Joaquin County Superintendent; and Kathy Miller for San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, District 2.
Month eleven of negotiations has brought us no closer to a contract. VCPPOA continues its fight for a fair contract for our Corrections Services Officers, Deputy Probation Officers, Airport Operations, Harbor Patrol and Park Ranger members. Since both sides were reaching a stalemate, VCPPOA suggested the use of a mediator. On May 2, retired state mediator, Draza Mrvichin was brought in to keep the process moving. After a long day of back and forth meetings, mediation was continued to early June for another meeting.
VCPPOA has continued to ask its members to boycott extracurricular agency activities including participation in committees such as the Holiday Party Committee, Morale Trust and Communication Task Force, and several other voluntary committees. The largest show of member solidarity has been to the annual county wide Corporate Games. Traditionally, probation agency members have been the largest group of participants to the “county team” and have won gold over notable teams like Amgen, Naval Base Ventura County, and Anthem Blue Cross. This year, members have stood up to the show county administrators that it is not business as usual and that we must be treated fairly at the table.
Lastly, our armed probation officers continue to be assigned Tasers. We consider this a great step forward in providing our officers with a less-than-lethal use of force option. We continue to fight for appropriate financial recognition for our armed and unarmed officers in the wake of Realignment. There has been a constant struggle to get our Chief and his executive team to acknowledge that AB109 has increased the risks and responsibilities of all our officers. It is hoped that our Chief and his executive team will soon realize the dangers our officers face every time they are out in the field and that this realization will occur at their own expense, and not at the expense of one of our own.