By the time you read this, we will be into July, and hopefully, the state will be reopened, and you will be enjoying your summer. However, I wanted to update you on the Law Enforcement Technician (LET) job study since there were many questions regarding the job survey questionnaire from June.
The job study has been proceeding at a slow but steady pace involving PPOA, personnel, and the CEO’s Classification and Compensation office. If it were not for the fact that this job study completion is part of our Unit 621 MOU, we would be further behind than where we are now.
So, where are we at? First, the job study is being done in two phases. The first phase deals only with the Desk Operations job. This part of the study has been a long time in the making. I will tell you that the Department wants to move toward the goal of reclassifying the Station Dispatch Centers. From Chief Glatt to now Chief Vera, there is an understanding that Desk Operations has been ignored as far as operating procedures, training, recurrent training and most of all, proper compensation. There will be a reorganization of how dispatch centers operate. There will be a career path, and a new training program will be established. Operating procedures will no longer be changed based on who is in charge of the station.
Untrained deputies will no longer be allowed to work in the dispatch center (in principle). The details have not been finalized, but when the CEO and the Department agree on how the reclassification will occur, PPOA will then enter into negotiations with the Department and CEO regarding compensation. Once an agreement is reached, there will still be another hurdle to jump. The Board of Supervisors will need to approve the new classification and provide the Sheriff with the additional funding for the new classification.
Phase two of the job study will determine the LET classification’s future and the 20-plus jobs being performed. Everyone agrees there are many jobs LETs are doing throughout the Department. The question is, what jobs should a LET continue to perform? We have the basic jobs; fleet maintenance, supervising an inmate work crew, mail runner, community relations, etc. This phase has yet to play out. The survey sent in June was at the request of the CEO’s office. The CEO wanted to have an accurate picture of all the jobs being performed currently. PPOA agreed with the recommendation. However, PPOA did request that a survey be sent to all Captains and Directors. PPOA wants to know from the Captains and Directors what jobs they feel are essential and crucial to the operation of their unit.
The LET job classification is beneficial to both the Department and the LETs. However, we can’t continue to have a classification that treats LETs like Deputy Sheriffs when LETs are qualified to perform any job that management sees fit to assign. The responsibility level is so broad, and in some cases, the pay is not equitable. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the fact some LETs are performing higher-level jobs. The biggest problem over the years is that when the member submits an application to test for the higher-level job, meeting the qualifications, the Civilian Exams Unit denies the application. They claim the experience does not count simply because the employee is a LET or the LET is working within their class by supporting the unit’s operation. This practice needs to stop. Recently, this bias became unquestionably clear with a LET applying for a higher-level position. This bias came directly from a Department manager. I am hopeful that a resolution can be achieved with the Personnel Captain and a formal complaint with the Employee Relations Commission can be avoided.
So, while a job study is a long process, PPOA wants to ensure that it is appropriately done with the best possible results for all LETs. You have been patient, and I thank you for that. As more information becomes available, updates will follow.
Until next time, stay safe, my friends.