Greetings, Unit 621 members. As of the writing of this article, our bargaining unit is still at the negotiations table. Many members have inquired about the $1,375 bonus. This bonus has been offered to us, but it cannot be paid until the contract is settled, ratified by PPOA members in Unit 621 and signed by the Board of Supervisors. The new pay raise would start October 1, but it will be retroactive because the contract won’t be secured before the end of September.
The delay in settling is not on PPOA. The CEO’s office is still running financial figures for two economic requests, and we have a few non-economic requests that are still being fought over. The CEO still has at least 18 contracts open, so we don’t appear to be the top priority at the moment.
One of the ongoing disputes is over LET Station Dispatchers receiving more pay. I am working with the CEO on a pay increase solution while the LET job study continues. On the subject of the job study, there was a plan progressing to take the positions allocated for Desk Operations and reclassify these positions to the Public Response Dispatcher series.
In addition, all Desk Operations training and oversight were also recommended to fall under Communications and Fleet Management Bureau (CFMB). Having CFMB take control of the administration and training would be welcomed as training at the station level for new hires has proven over my years of service to range from acceptable to failure, depending on which station you are assigned to. The new plan also would add items to the patrol divisions to add specialists and supervisors to oversee and develop training and operating procedures.
Unfortunately, as of April, these talks have broken down as the CEO classification manager was making it impossible for the dispatcher at the station level to promote to the higher- level specialist or supervisor job without having worked at SCC. PPOA objected to this because no one at the station level currently would be able to apply for these new positions that will require the expertise of working 9-1-1 calls and station dispatch.
Further, there would be roughly 300 positions at the station level compared to SCC, which has less than 80 positions. This creates a bottleneck. In true County HR fashion, though, this was not an acceptable HR practice. In my opinion, a poor excuse, as Civil Service Rule 5 allows the County to create and delete jobs as they see fit. So, the focus is now on the contract and fixing the pay while this plays out.
The last time I checked, the number of jobs LETs are doing has increased on the administrative side by five. However, this part of the study still has yet to be addressed. COVID certainly played a role in delaying this job study, but that is behind us now. There need to be meaningful discussions about what jobs an LET can perform in the future. Jobs that are being done that should be done by higher-level items, such as Operations Assistant, should be allowed to apply as experience gained to apply for the higher-level jobs.
For now, the LETs will continue to do what is needed. “LET us do everything for you,” as the saying goes in the LET community. Where does it end, though?
Until next time, stay safe, my friends.