County makes 3-year con­tract with deputies

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Wes Bow­ers NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

STOCK­TON — San Joaquin County reached a new three-year con­tract with the Deputy Sher­iff’s As­so­ci­a­tion on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease from Deputy County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Jolena Voorhis.

De­tails of the con­tract include:

• A 6% cost-of-liv­ing in­crease over a three-year pe­riod.

• A new longevity sup­ple­ment for deputies with 7, 10, and 20 years of ser­vice.

• Some em­ploy­ees will be con­tribut­ing an in­creased per­cent­age to­wards their health in­sur­ance and re­tire­ment costs.

The DSA rep­re­sents nearly 300 peace of­fi­cers in the county.

“To­day is a good day for San Joaquin county res­i­dents,” said Su­per­vi­sor Chuck Winn. “Our goal through­out this ne­go­ti­a­tion process has been to bal­ance the com­pet­ing needs for fair to­tal com­pen­sa­tion, mone­tary re­spon­si­bil­ity and the con­tin­u­a­tion of vi­tal pub­lic pro­grams. This bal­ance is re­flected in the agree­ment our Board ap­proved to­day, and we will work to re­solve our re­main­ing bar­gain­ing unit ne­go­ti­a­tions in that same spirit.”

The agree­ment came just hours after res­i­dents in un­in­cor­po­rated parts of the county urged su­per­vi­sors to reach an con­tract agree­ment with the DSA so Sher­iff Pat Withrow could put more deputies back on the streets in their neigh­bor­hoods.

Dur­ing pub­lic comment at Tues­day’s board meet­ing, a hand­ful of Wood­bridge res­i­dents said that since the sus­pen­sion of the Com­mu­nity Car Pro­gram, crime has in­creased al­most im­me­di­ately and they no longer feel safe.

Wood­bridge res­i­dent Tasso Kan­dris said the com­mu­nity just north of Lodi had been try­ing to get the San Joaquin County Sher­iff’s Of­fice to re­in­state the Com­mu­nity Car pro­gram since 1993.

A for­mer chair­man of the Wood­bridge Mu­nic­i­pal Advisory Coun­cil, he said the small com­mu­nity had been plagued with ram­pant gang and drug ac­tiv­ity un­til the pro­gram had been re­in­stated in 2008.

“Once we got it back, we had the gangs dis­ap­pear, we had the graf­fiti dis­ap­pear and the drug houses dis­ap­pear,” he said. “As soon as the pro­gram was gone, the gang mem­bers started com­ing back to the park. The graf­fiti has re­turned. Some­thing has to be done.”

The Com­mu­nity Car Pro­gram as­signed eight deputies to densely pop­u­lated ar­eas of un­in­cor­po­rated the county as part of com­mu­nity out­reach ef­forts.

Those com­mu­ni­ties in­cluded Wood­bridge, Thorn­ton, Lock­e­ford and Cle­ments, Mo­rada, Lin­den, Gar­den Acres, the Country Club area of Stock­ton, the Taft and Boggs Tract ar­eas of Stock­ton, and por­tions of Tracy and Escalon.

Withrow in Au­gust an­nounced his de­part­ment would sus­pend the pro­gram in order to put more deputies on reg­u­lar pa­trols in the midst of stalled con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the county and the DSA. He said the la­bor union had been work­ing with­out a new con­tract since 2015.

Last week, Wood­bridge res­i­dent Mary Avanti emailed her neigh­bors de­scrib­ing an in­crease in gang tag­gings, cars speed­ing through the streets and tran­sients rum­mag­ing through trash and re­cy­clable bins.

In ad­di­tion Avanti pro­vided a list of calls for ser­vice she re­ceives from the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice dated be­tween Aug. 31 and Sept. 23 that in­cluded a theft on Lu­cas Road, a res­i­den­tial bur­glary on Tami Lane, thefts on North Lower Sacra­mento Road and East Yel­low­stone Street, as well as an auto parts theft on North Lower Sacra­mento Road.

She also said a drive-by shoot­ing oc­curred on Tri­olo Street in Septem­ber in which eight rounds were fired, but for­tu­nately no one was in­jured or killed.

On Tues­day, she said she and her neigh­bors could not have cleaned up Wood­bridge a decade ago with­out the aid of the Sher­iff’s Of­fice and the Com­mu­nity Car Pro­gram.

She said it was shame­ful that cer­tain county staff mem­bers are given tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in raises each year, yet deputies haven’t had a new con­tract in four years.

“When all the deputies walked out of the court­house, it was a big to-do for you guys,” she told the board. “Now they’re walk­ing away from us, and that’s got to do with all of you.”

Last month, the Stock­ton, Man­teca and French Camp branches of the San Joaquin County Su­pe­rior Court sys­tem were shut down for a day when part-time deputies called in sick.

Shortly after the sick-out, su­per­vi­sors unan­i­mously voted to re­quire deputies pro­vide se­cu­rity at all county meet­ings.

When Withrow an­nounced the Com­mu­nity Car Pro­gram’s sus­pen­sion, he said 10 deputies had al­ready left the de­part­ment in 2019, and 26 more have been ready to leave for other agen­cies.

Those 10 de­par­tures left 66 deputies to pa­trol the streets for an agency that is funded for 129, he said.

Wood­bridge res­i­dent Steve Dake called out San Joaquin County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mon­ica Nino dur­ing the meet­ing, stat­ing he was con­cerned that she has re­ceived a wage in­crease each year since she was hired six years ago.

Nino took on the county ad­min­is­tra­tor po­si­tion in 2013 with a base salary of $244,000, after serv­ing in the same ca­pac­ity in Stanis­laus County.

In 2016, her base salary was $266,000, and the fol­low­ing year it was in­creased by 12 percent to $315,000, with a pos­si­ble two ad­di­tional pay raises over five years.

Those ad­di­tional 3% in­creases could boost her base salary to $334,183 by 2021.

“(Nino) shouldn’t re­ceive an­other raise un­til deputies re­ceive a raise that’s com­pa­ra­ble (to oth­ers),” Dake said. “We should freeze the pay of all county ex­ec­u­tives un­til you have a con­tract and a raise for our deputies.”

In Au­gust, the county said the DSA re­ceived a 27.5 percent wage in­crease un­der the terms of a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween 2007 and 2015.

New con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan in 2015, with 25 bar­gain­ing ses­sions held since that time.

Fol­low­ing pub­lic comment Tues­day, board chair­man Miguel Vil­la­pudua an­grily ad­dressed the ac­cu­sa­tions levied at the county ad­min­is­tra­tor, as well as de­mands from lo­cal la­bor unions to re­move her from her post.

“Miss Nino is ne­go­ti­at­ing on be­half of the county on good faith,” he said. “She will con­tinue to work tire­lessly un­til we reach an out­come that is am­i­ca­ble to both par­ties.”


San Joaquin Sher­iff’s De­part­ment Deputy Melissa Grif­fith demon­strates with her K9, Char­lie, dur­ing the Stomp Out Child­hood Cancer event at the San Joaquin County His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum at Micke Grove Park in Lodi on Sept. 23, 2017.

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