Marina del Rey / February 13, 2018
The following year-end dues totals are provided to aid PPOA members with tax preparation. If you were not a PPOA member for the entire 2017 calendar year, please contact Clare at (323) 261-3010. Political contributions are not deductible for income tax purposes, and 10 percent of PPOA dues are used for political contributions.
On November 19th, PPOA received the devastating news that Custody Assistant Anthony Thompson Jr. was killed in a traffic collision early that morning. Thompson, son of LASD Sergeant Ottawa Cureton, was driving southbound on the 605 freeway in Irwindale at approximately 12:30AM when a woman believed to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs drove up the southbound off-ramp and entered the freeway in the wrong direction. The woman drove into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with Thompson’s vehicle. Both drivers died at the scene and Thompson’s passenger was hospitalized with severe injuries.
“I spoke to Anthony’s mother, Ottawa, today. Needless to say, she is heartbroken,” said PPOA President Brian Moriguchi. “But she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the LASD family and Anthony’s co-workers.”
Custody Assistant Anthony Thompson Jr. was assigned to Twin Towers. He was 24 years old and started his career with the Sheriff’s Department in 2012. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.
PPOA legislative representatives are keeping close watch on three public employee pension cases currently before the California Supreme Court. All three cases are appeals related to the Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA), which took effect in 2013. PEPRA is already a complex law that generates many questions and these three cases could potentially affect the way retirement and health benefits are applied. Here is an update from PPOA Legislative Representative Karen Keeslar:
October 31, 2017: There are three PEPRA cases before the California Supreme Court. The Alameda case has been merged with the Marin litigation. These cases deal with the “California rule.” The CA Supreme Court has also accepted the Cal Fire case. All of these cases are still in the briefing stage and oral arguments haven’t been scheduled yet. The state has a deadline to file its brief on November 6th, although they could request another extension (there have been several) and the reply brief is due November 27th. Then amicus briefs would be due 30 days later on December 27th. Those dates can be pushed out by any extensions granted to the parties to file their briefs. The CA Supreme Court hears oral arguments from September through June. Generally speaking, the court must issue a decision within 90 days of oral arguments.
The Appellate Court decisions in all three cases contradict 70 years of case law on the “California Rule.” The CA Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the “California Rule” protecting pensions and maintaining they are a vested right. There is broad speculation that the decisions on these cases could open the door to overturning numerous Supreme Court decisions upholding the vested rights of public employees to retirement benefits. If the Supreme Court upholds the Appellate Court ruling that pensions only need be “reasonable,” we are certain to see much more litigation for each agency to determine what is reasonable. That makes it difficult to speculate what might happen to pensions for LA County employees. PPOA will continue to monitor these cases and will keep members informed of any developments.
PPOA’s new Executive Director Wayne Quint joined the coalition of cops and prosecutors speaking on the steps of the state capitol on October 30th to advocate for a proposed initiative that would reverse specific elements of Prop 47 while adding 15 crimes to the list of violent crimes without possibility of early release.
PPOA President Brian Moriguchi has been appointed to the newly-formed Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety. The establishment of this commission was prompted by the murder of Whittier Police Department Officer Keith Boyer at the hands of a recently paroled gang member.
Moriguchi was appointed by County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Lt. Moriguchi will bring the important perspective of law enforcement to the Blue Ribbon Commission,” Hahn said. “His years of personal experience give him the ability to discern what will work and what won’t while the commission examines creative solutions to keep our communities and our law enforcement officers safe.”
The 27-member panel will review categories of violent crime that are eligible for parole and look at policies that allow probation to be revoked. It will also be tasked with tracking “very high risk” probationers, misdemeanor offenders with the highest recidivism rates and the rate of re-offense for everyone released under recent reform laws. Those reforms are Assembly Bill 109, passed in 2011; Proposition 47, passed in 2014; and Proposition 57, approved in 2016 but not yet fully implemented. Those measures shifted public safety responsibilities from the state to counties, downgraded some property and drug felonies to misdemeanors, and allowed for the early release of some inmates, respectively.
We have good news to report from the LA County Board of Supervisors meeting on August 17, 2017. The motion to create a Blue Ribbon Commission to address the impact of Props 47, 57 and AB109 was officially APPROVED.
PPOA is extremely grateful to our members who joined us in speaking to the supervisors about the importance of this commission. As you know, the reform laws in question have resulted in the release of criminals into our communities and, ultimately, higher crime.
Those who spoke in support of the commission included PPOA President Brian Moriguchi, PPOA Executive Director Paul Roller, Sheriff Jim McDonnell, retired Deputies Richard Duran and Dale Nowicki as well as retired Sergeants Gordon Crowl and Vicki Gregory.
We are also thankful to Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn for co-authoring this much-needed motion. The impetus behind it was the February 2017 murder of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer at the hands of a hardened criminal who should have been in prison, NOT on the streets.
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, the Sheriff’s Department notified PPOA that it was their intention to remove the Supervisory Skill Pay Bonus for sergeants who supervise Bonus II deputies. They stated the newly negotiated Supervisory POST bonus exceeded the amount of the Supervisory Skill Pay Bonus and, therefore, in accordance with our 612 MOU, the Supervisory Skill Pay bonus should be withdrawn.
PPOA immediately contacted the CEO’s office with whom we negotiated the POST Bonus. It was never the intent to eliminate other pay incentives and replace them with the POST Bonus. The CEO agreed and instructed the Sheriff’s Department to cease their efforts to remove the Skill Pay Bonus for those PPOA members supervising Bonus II Deputies. To rectify this issue for the future, we will make language changes to the MOU in the upcoming contract negotiations to ensure the MOU is consistent with our negotiations and the intent of negotiated benefits.
“I am deeply disappointed in the Sheriff’s Department for attempting to take away the Skill Bonus,” states PPOA President Brian Moriguchi. “We negotiated the POST Bonus to help create separation between the deputy and sergeant classifications (compaction), not replace other de-compaction efforts.”
PPOA is grateful to the CEOs office for honoring the spirit of our negotiations and for staying true to the intent of the Supervisory POST Bonus. Although we are also grateful to Sheriff Jim McDonnell for his support of the Supervisory POST Bonus following intense negotiations with the County, we have been very frustrated with the inability of the department to complete the process. PPOA has had to fight the Sheriff’s Department every step of the way on this POST Bonus to ensure our members receive their POST Bonus pay on July 30th. We worked directly with the CEO, the Auditor Controller’s Office and LACERA to avoid the delays by the Sheriff’s Department. We believe we have succeeded in our efforts. If anyone believes they qualify for the Supervisory POST Bonus and does not see the 1.5% pay raise in their July 30th paycheck (as well as their 2% COLA raise), please contact Brian Moriguchi directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After Jim McDonnell’s first year as sheriff, I had a conversation with him about morale. I told him based on the conversations I have had with both active and retired employees of the Sheriff’s Department, I believed morale was lower today than ever before. He was stunned. He believed morale was high and that employees were happy with the direction he was taking the department. Unfortunately, the people he was listening to were the executives and staff that surrounded him. A classic example of “The Emperor Has No Clothes” syndrome.
In order to truly determine if morale was better or worse, PPOA mailed a morale survey to union members. We calculated the data and the results indicated morale was low and that it was something that needed to be addressed by Sheriff McDonnell. I read every single comment made in those surveys and produced 23 recommendations based on those comments and the data from the survey.
I presented the results of the survey, along with our recommendations, to Sheriff McDonnell and his Chief-of-Staff, Warren Asmus. They were shocked and expressed concern about the morale within the department. We reviewed the recommendations together and the sheriff agreed with many of them. But agreeing to make changes doesn’t improve morale – making changes does.
Sheriff McDonnell agreed to spend an afternoon at PPOA for a video interview regarding morale as part of our PPOA On Point interview series.
In addition, Sheriff McDonnell provided written responses to our recommendations.
Click here to read PPOA’s 23 recommendations and the sheriff’s responses.
You can also read all recommendations and responses in the May 2017 issue of Star & Shield magazine. The sheriff has made some steps in the right direction, but we are a long way from fixing the morale problem. For example, one of the biggest complaints was the hiring problem and the department’s ineffectiveness at addressing this problem. The shortage of personnel impacts other areas such as CARPing and forced overtime which negatively impact morale. Another huge area of concern was an unfair promotion process that was based on favoritism and nepotism instead of experience and skill. There were many areas of concern that all pointed to one problem – management did not appear to place morale and the well-being of the employees high on their list of priorities.
We are hopeful that the sheriff has a new perspective of morale despite what the sycophants around him choose to tell him. I don’t mind being the naysayer while others tell him how wonderful life is. He needs to know the truth so he can make appropriate changes. I hope the sheriff will take our recommendations and begin immediately to implement some of them to get us moving in the right direction.
Please take a moment to read the recommendations (and the sheriff’s responses) to get a clearer perspective on the morale problem as seen by the members of PPOA and the sheriff’s intent on addressing the issue.