August 29, 2017
Local 685 Puts County Board of Supervisors on Notice:
Implement Our Contract NOW!

Recent actions by the Department Human Resources Divisions and the Chief Executive Office Employee Relations Davison leads Local 685 to believe that the Department and/or the Chief Executive Office, is attempting to renegotiate, or outright abandon, these board negotiated and approved provisions.... 

Local 685 believes that it would be bad faith for the County and the Department to stall implementation of these provisions, or try to renegotiate these provisions, in up-coming bargaining.

Representative Stacy Ford Asks:
"Can I vent?"
I usually don't do this but I feel the need. I don't mean to be disrespectful to any of my union brothers and sisters - God knows how much I care about your well-being - but some of you are digging your own grave and committing career suicide. I just don't understand how some of you can be so_______!
I'll leave that blank. You can fill in the word after you finish reading this story.
I just don't get it. I'm not using names but I am using real situations that have come across my desk over the past three months. Imagine being sick. You go to an auto mechanic and explain how you feel. "So, I have bad headaches that won't go away. On the onset of the headache, my eyes usually water and being in the light bothers me. These headaches are really bad." The mechanic stands there and looks at you for about ten minutes. Then he explains to you that you need to flush your radiator and change your oil.  You say 'ok,' and walk away. In the meantime, the headaches are getting worst because of lack of treatment. This is what's happening in RTSB and DSB. 

Let me explain...
Situation One:  An officer calls the Union office, and request to speak with "Ford." The call is forwarded to me. The conversation goes something like this:
(Officer) "I just want to spin your brain for a minute. I witnessed an incident, and was told by my supervisor not to report it because I wasn't involved in the situation."
(My response) "It doesn't matter if you were involved or not, the fact that you witness an event involving a youth in our care requires a SIR or maybe a supplemental report."
(Officer) "Well I talked to three other people that work for the department and they told me not to write anything."
This conversation went on for another twenty minutes. I explained the importance of documentation, and how it would keep the officer out of trouble. I then advised the officer to send me a copy of the SIR/Supplemental before it was submitted so I could review it for accuracy. I never got it. Now that officer is under investigation for not reporting the incident!
Situation Two: I met with several officers regarding an SCM that went wrong. We met for an hour or so. I thought I was on the case, until I received a phone call. The phone call went something like this:
(Officer) "Hey Ford, after speaking with representatives from ANOTHER union, I think it's best to go with them because they seem to know what's going on and to me they make more sense."
(My response) "Are you sure you want to do that? I've been a union rep for over 30 years and I can spot a snake when I see one."
I then explained to the officer that the representatives that the officer was speaking of were dirty and had no business representing the officer in the first place. I went on to explain that due to the nature of the situation, those other representatives were only going to cover up the mistakes that were made by management and protect their own interests. "You'll be thrown under the bus," I said. I also explained that that there was no need to be afraid of management at that facility, and that I had no problem going up against them. Well, to my dismay the officer allowed those other reps to represent him/her at the investigative interview, and... all I can say is, the outcome will be unfortunate.
Situation Three: We all panic from time to time. That kind of goes with our job here at Probation. In this instance, an officer called and told me he/she has an investigative interview in Downey. We discussed the situation, I give the officer solid advice, based on other similar cases that had positive outcomes. I also explained to the officer that this particular investigator plays mind games, and would attempt to be the officers friend just to get information.
We got to the interview, and the investigator did exactly what I said he/she would do.  The officer gave in and let his/her guard down and did everything I told him/her not to do. The interview was a disaster. My point? When I am ill I do not go to an auto mechanic for medical advice. I go to Kaiser. I see my doctor, and if necessary he gives me a referral to see a specialist. I go to the people who have my best interest at heart--the folks who are looking out for me. 
Let me be straight with you: some of you officers are doing stupid stuff. You are making horrible decisions that will end your probation career. You are listening to other officers who are mad at the union for something that happen 20 years ago. They're telling you not to trust the union. You are using other organizations to fight for you - organizations who don't know the department's politics. You are losing you cases.
In Situation One, the officer witnessed a situation where several minors were hurt. Why would a manager instruct that officer not to write the necessary paperwork? That officer has approximately 15 years in the department and knows better. This upsets me, to say the least. When this officer gets disciplined for not reporting, the first thing this officer will say, "I called the union and they didn't tell me nothing" which is B.S!
In Situation Two, the officers used the supervisor's union, because a supervisor was involved. Why? Whose interest do you think the supervisor's union fights for? It sure won't be the DSO or the DPO l (the local 685 member). When officers are disciplined -- and there will be severe discipline in this case--that officer will blame local 685, and say we didn't represent her/him when in fact that officer elected to listen to other representatives from another union.
In Situation Three, the officer didn't listen and follow instructions given to him by the union representative.  Local 685 representatives deal with situations in Downey every single day. We know how they think, how they work and what tactic they use. Sometimes, depending on the situation, we know when the case will be substantiated or not.
To sum this up:  L isten to your representative and don't be fooled by stupidity! I am sick and tired of some of you who continue to talk STUFF (and 'stuff' is not the word I want to use here) about the union. We work hard, we fight hard and we give a lot of our time.
Since I'm venting, a word to you representatives who don't come to training (and it's just a few of you): stop saying your family comes first.  My family come first as well, but sometimes I have to sacrifice and give time to the union so my family can benefit. Bring your "A" to training and stop complaining.  We are in the fight of our lives right now and no one should take it lightly.  We have to fight with the Chief, fight with HR, fight with the Board, and-unfortunately-sometimes fight with members who don't have our back. Our president, Ralph Miller is not taking anything for granted. We are in this to win. Get with us. When you call us for advice, listen to the advice we give you and follow it. It may save your job.    

Re-filing on Juveniles When They Assault Staff
The uptick in assaults on staff by juveniles in the Halls and Camps is very concerning. In discussions on why this may be occurring, staff point to changes in the culture of the Camps and Halls that is happening so fast, neither the juveniles, nor the staff, have an opportunity to adjust to the changes. Consequently, the facilities have not established a culture of rehabilitation, or determine establish which programs work and those that don't.  These issues contribute to a hazardous environment.
Campus Kilpatrick, which just re-opened in late June, has already had eight physical intervention reports--described as fighting incidents--in what is being called a 'racially tense environment.' In one incident, a staff member was injured and has a concussion. A juvenile was so violent he was removed from the facility and taken back to court.
Officers also cite that some of the facilities are unstable and unsafe, and the Hope Centers are not being run properly. When speaking with camp administrators, Local 685 representatives have emphasized the importance of encouraging the staff to properly follow all de-escalation protocols, which include always completing all sanction forms in a timely manner.  If a juvenile is out of control, this form should be served on the juvenile.
Local 685 has informed Probation Department administration that staff needs time scheduled to complete PCMS entries.  If a minor's behavior warrants it, an MDT should be requested in writing. If the juvenile is extremely disruptive, the director needs to come up with a strategy on how to deal with the delinquent behavior.
Most important, the staff must be certain to write all necessary SIRs and PIRs. If the paperwork on a juvenile is incomplete and not in order the judge may not file on the minor--even if you take the juvenile back to court.
In addition, managers need to inform juveniles that actions will be taken against them if they continue to assault staff, or if they are repeatedly involved in violent behavior toward other minors. Juveniles should understand that the Department will send them back to court, and that Probation staff will serve them with sanctions that are enforceable. Although the juvenile will be sent back to court, an officer can request an emergency MDT to determine what services are need and why the youth keeps failing. 

AFSCME Local 685 Host SCOPO Meeting in Los Angeles

AFSCME Local 685 hosted the State Coalition of Probation Organizations (SCOPO) Aug. 18 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. Probation groups throughout the state sent representatives to share probation issues and experienced in different Counties.
SCOPO was formed 35 years ago when a group of probation officers saw the need for a statewide organization that would speak for the interests of the line probation officer. Some of the unions or associations belonging to SCOPO are independent, while others are affiliated with international unions.
Presentations were made by Local 685 First VP Hans Liang, who discussed an overview of our union, including the Halls and Camps; Staff Attorney Esteban Lizardo, who talked about legal matters - some of which focused on ERCOM and Civil Service; and, Matthew Siverling, our lobbyist in Sacramento, who discussed legislative matters impacting probation officers. Greg Stuber, the SCOPO Legislative Vice President, talked about the success SCOPO has had in changing the language of Legislative bills to benefit probation officers or peace officers.

Matthew Siverling, Local 685 Lobbyist in Sacramento

An especially interesting part of the meeting was when representatives from each County organization shared what is happening in their county. The takeaway: probation officers across the State have very similar challenges.  A few examples:
  • The Santa Cruz Probation Department is proceeding with the construction of an enclosed multipurpose recreation facility to improve large motor skill physical activity for the juveniles. The project was approved to receive SB 81 grant funding by the State. This funding will allow for significant renovation to the facility and facilitate improved programming for youth in detention. The most significant program addition will be the creation and support of a garden, horticulture, and culinary vocational programs, along with rehabilitation support and a "Seed to Table" program.
  • Kern County probation officers have not had a raise in nine years and have been working without a contract for two years.
  • San Bernardino County Probation has a retention problem. Low pay and excessively high health insurance co-pays have caused several staff to leave the department and take corrections-related jobs.  Additionally, San Bernardino has a lengthy probationary period for new hires, lasting almost 2 years. 
  • San Luis Obispo Probation Department will be arming their gang unit with the Glock pistols.  They recently got a 21 percent pay increase, the details of which were not discussed.  They are hiring.
  • Ventura County also has a retention problem: no one wants to work in their field division. They also have a recent addition to their therapy: a pony, which has been a big hit with the juveniles they are supervising.
At the conclusion of the meeting, SCOPO President Brian Ronan called Local 685 "A powerhouse union-the strongest probation group in the nation," and discussed ways SCOPO could partner with Local 685. 

From lyrics to legislation: 
Common comes rapping on California's Capitol
(Reprinted from CALmatters)

It was one stop in a larger effort that has recently brought Common-a musician who blends hip-hop beats with an activist message-close to key California decision-makers. After an artistic career that propelled him from the south side of Chicago to poetry nights in the Obama White House, the 45-year-old rapper is now working to influence state policy. A resident of Los Angeles, Common is trying to change the criminal justice system in California.

In This Issue...
Calendar of Events

  Stewards Meeting: 
  Aug. 31,   7:30 PM

  General Membership Mtg:
  Sept. 14; 7:30 PM
  Stewards Meeting: 
  Sept. 28, 7:30 PM

Member Benefits

AFSCME Advantage


Discounts and benefits for AFSCME members that can help stretch your dollars and make life a little easier.


* AT&T Wireless Discounts

* Energy Efficient Rebates

* Health Club Discounts

* Vacation Tours

* AFSCME Credit Card


Click here for details




Several scholarship programs are available for AFSCME members and their children. Select an individual scholarship for information on requirements and deadlines.


Click here for details


Education & Trainings

Our union is only as strong as our activist core. That's why AFSCME is dedicated to working with our affiliates to provide high-quality training for AFSCME leaders.


    Online Learning

  • See upcoming live online workshops
  • See available self-paced courses
  • Investor education for working families

    Classroom Learning

  • See AFSCME programs for info

    Women's Leadership

    & Training


    Additional Resources


Click here for details

Like us on Facebook