With the new year just around the corner, PPOA is already hard at work on many of the issues that we will face in 2018. Here are just a few:
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
As most of you know, I will be retiring in March 2018. A good deal of 2017 has been devoted to finding and hiring a new executive director for PPOA. After an exhaustive search, PPOA hired Wayne Quint as its new executive director. Wayne has years of experience as a deputy sheriff, as a sheriff’s association president and as a staff member in the Attorney General’s Office. Wayne started working alongside me on October 2, and will continue to do so until I retire. He is a quick study and I have no doubt that he will be an excellent leader and executive at PPOA for many years to come.
All of PPOA’s bargaining units will have their current contracts (MOUs) expire in 2018. One of Wayne Quint’s first priorities is to negotiate new contracts for our PPOA bargaining units. We have already begun that process for Unit 612, with the other units to follow in spring 2018. President Moriguchi and I will be around to help during those negotiations, along with members of the PPOA Board and staff. As we all know, the Sheriff’s Department has a critical recruitment and retention problem. Good contracts with appropriate pay raises will go a long way in resolving recruitment and morale issues.
MORALE (OR LACK THEREOF)
Speaking of morale, the LASD subcommittees working on the Recruitment and Retention Task Force are now in their second month of taking on this crucial problem. As you know, this was the first of 23 recommendations presented to the Sheriff as a result of the morale survey that we sent to PPOA members last year. The Sheriff has told us that this issue is his number one priority. Let us hope that the committees’ recommendations will be taken seriously and implemented with a minimum of opposition from Department naysayers. A great many PPOA members — at all levels of the Department — are working on these issues. We sincerely hope that their hard work, performed in addition to their regular duties, will not be in vain.
Although it doesn’t seem possible, the Sheriff will be up for re-election in 2018. Already, two opponents have announced their candidacy. In a lot of our members’ eyes, the Sheriff has made some missteps in his first three years (e.g., new snaps, changing the “O”s on patrol units) and this year, PPOA will incur its highest attorney fees ever in defending our members against what we feel is unwarranted discipline. In addition, the Constitutional Policing Advisors (CPAs), which the Sheriff brought to the Department, still have too much power in the discipline process. These are all reasons to take a hard look at the Sheriff’s candidacy.
On the other hand, we have a good working relationship with the Sheriff and find him to be ethical, moral and reasonable when we approach him with an issue. The PPOA Board will tackle these issues when we decide how to approach the 2018 sheriff election.
Every day, more articles are published throughout California blasting public employees’ pensions and how they overburden the governments’ budgets. We fully expect that very soon an initiative to “reform” pensions will make it onto the state’s ballot. So far, we have managed to dodge that outcome. But pension reform is far from dead and we must stay vigilant in 2018 against any attacks on our members’ pensions.
Also in 2018, look for the new PPOA phone app, which will bring immediate emergency help to our members in trouble and deliver vital PPOA and political news in real time. In addition, the PPOA Board is working on training for our delegates to improve PPOA’s representation, outreach and communication with our members in the workplace.
These are just a few of the issues that the PPOA Board and staff are working on in preparation for 2018. Next year will not only be a transitional year for PPOA, but a vital year for all of our members’ futures as well.