Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The members of Deputy Probation Officer’s Bargaining Unit (#701) should be proud of your accomplishments in protecting the safety and health of juveniles in the Juvenile Institutions and Probation Camps. Because of your efforts as peace officers and first-line responders, no juvenile under the Probation Department’s jurisdiction and control has tested positive for the coronavirus while in custody. Strict admissions screening also allowed the Department to segregate 3 COVID-19 positive minors to prevent community spread in our facilities.
Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, in her daily report on COVID-19 and its impact on LA County, has acknowledged that the Probation Department – under the executive leadership of Interim Chief Raymond Leyva – has done a remarkable job protecting juveniles from the spread of COVID-19.
The labor-management partnership approach to addressing the operational challenges necessary to maintain critical juvenile and adult probation services has proven very useful. The weekly conference calls with labor and management have enhanced communication and helped resolved many of our members’ concerns about safety, working conditions, deployment, work schedules, and underlying medical conditions, as well as the special needs of your families. While we couldn’t resolve all issues, the Executive Board worked diligently with management to address and resolve many issues.
In DCFS, Vice President Celeste Coleman has spearheaded weekly labor-management calls that focused on safety, working conditions, disaster service worker deployment, as well as long-standing issues at the Village. Our meetings with DCFS management also have proven very useful to addressing COVID-19 positive minor supervision issues. We are pleased that none of our DCFS members have tested positive for COVID-19, and we will continue working with management to keep you safe.
Your Executive Board Members have made significant progress in working with the Chief Executive Office to underscore that our members are California Peace Officers under Penal Code Section 830.5 and serve as first-line responders providing critical services to adults and juveniles during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Chief Executive Office has confirmed that Local 685 members are exempt from the County-wide hiring and promotional freeze.
- The Probation Department is in the process of hiring additional employees to work in Juvenile services.
- Promotional examinations for DPO positions are underway for employees in the classifications of Detention Services Officers, Group Supervisor Night, and Transportation Deputies that have four-year college degrees to Deputy Probation Officer positions in the Juvenile Halls and Probation Camps.
- Local 685 members have started to receive their stipends in their May 2020 pay checks for the negotiated Displacement Bonus adjustment at the Challenger Youth Memorial Center in the Antelope Valley.
- We have received notification that the LACERA retirement board has approved the 2% Bachelor’s Education Degree Bonus for our members.
- The Auditor-Controller’s Office has established a payroll code that is necessary to ensuring that the roughly 400 employees that may be eligible for the bachelor’s degree Bonus may see the adjustment on their June 15, 2020 paycheck. If you are a member of the Deputy Probation Officers Bargaining Unit and have a college degree, please don’t forget to provide the Probation Department with an official copy of your transcripts in order to receive the educational bonus.
As President of the Union, I am particularly proud to inform you that after nearly six (6) years of bargaining with the County of Los Angeles, and with the announced support of Interim Chief Leyva, the Probation Department will request the Chief Executive Office, Classification, Compensation and Policy Division, as part of its budget, to allocate and fund a new position of Deputy Probation Officer III to provide highly specialized, complex, and lead specialist functions.
Both the Probation Department and DCFS have many budgetary and operational challenges ahead. Our Union has always been about improving operational efficiency, increased productivity, and enhancing Probation and DCFS service delivery (adult, juvenile, field office, pre-trial, specialized services, juvenile court, and temporary shelter care).
As we look to the “new operational normal” in both Departments, your demonstrated dedication, professionalism, and support for continuing to perform your bargaining unit assignments as peace officer/first responders will be necessary to support the Board’s juvenile services reform platform and both Departments’ missions, goals, and objectives.
Thank you for your service and commitment during unprecedented times.