Summer is almost over, and several critical issues are still impacting members while new issues have materialized. We continue to deal with COVID and seem to have become accustomed to daily life with wearing masks and keeping our distance from the public.
Some have asked the question about our pending pay raises. I can tell at the time of writing this article that we are still set to receive 2.5% on October 1, and for those at top-step, a 2.75% pay raise on January 1, 2021. If you are not at top-step, don’t worry, once you reach top-step, you will be given the 2.75% raise. This will be the last pay raise for the current contract. As far as the future contract, we will have to wait and see how long and how bad COVID will affect the County tax collection and the ability for the County to provide service.
We still have the battle of wills going between the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors over the state of the County budget. There is little talk from what we see, and both parties are waiting for the other to flinch. The only problem here is that this rift between the parties has a huge impact on the members of the Sheriff’s Department. From captain on down, we stand to permanently lose items that we won’t get back. PPOA has talked to both sides, encouraging the parties to come together and work out a deal. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with a job fair this month.
Law Enforcement Technician Job Study
The LET job study, I am sorry to say, is moving with the speed and agility of a three-toed sloth. COVID has been the excuse for the delay, and while we have had commitments from the CEO’s office to conduct site visits, those visits get canceled, citing COVID concerns. In an email to the CEO’s employee relations representative, I made it clear to him that this study is a contractual obligation, and asked that he meet with his people to figure out a game plan. The site visits only last a few hours, and all of our facilities have taken the appropriate measures to ensure a sanitized environment.
Some good news: the federal appeals court struck down California’s ban on high-capacity magazines, which prohibited law-abiding citizens from having magazines that held more than 10 rounds. It is a huge victory for our Second Amendment rights. The question now is, will Attorney General Becerra risk taking the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court? I’m thinking no. If they were to uphold the ruling, it would apply across the nation.
With all the protests and calls to defund law enforcement in America, the California Legislature has certainly not missed out on the opportunity to introduce new legislation. Many bills have come out to tie the hands of peace officers and place new rules and restrictions on how they perform their jobs. Reading some of these bills would just make your head spin. If much of this legislation becomes law, it will certainly make being a peace officer in California a job that most will not consider in the near future.
Speaking of politicians, our very own Board of Supervisors decided to jump on the bandwagon in the name of addressing social justice and racial inequities by placing a measure on the November ballot. The measure introduced by Supervisors Kuehl and Solis would require that 10% of locally generated, unrestricted County money — about $400 million — be spent on housing, mental health programs, jail diversion, employment opportunities and social services. The County would be prohibited from using the money on prisons, jails or law enforcement agencies.
Here is the problem: the County is already spending millions on these issues, but now Kuehl and Solis want to play “identity politics” by mandating anywhere from $350–$500 million a year, depending on taxes collected, to be spent. What better way to make that permanent than getting the voters to approve such a measure? Who do you think is going to take the biggest hit? The Sheriff’s Department, of course, but it will spread to the other County departments as well.
The other problem I have is the way the board went about doing this. It was put on the agenda last minute, with no notification to the Coalition of County Unions or SEIU, other cities within the county and County department heads. That is a clear violation of the County Code and the board’s obligation to give 90 days’ notice to the unions. I don’t believe the board can delegate authority over the County budget to the electorate, and most importantly limit or restrict the power of future Board of Supervisors to determine budgets.
No one is saying there cannot be improvements or that the issues brought forth by Kuehl and Solis cannot be addressed, but the board’s actions in this matter (with the exception of Supervisor Barger) are reckless, irresponsible and, quite frankly, draws into question their ability to govern. Perhaps it’s time to have a discussion about placing oversight on the Board of Supervisors.
Until next time, stay safe my friends.