Dunce

Sunday, November 29, 2015 – 09:00 a.m.

With neighboring Los Angeles County handing 36-month contracts containing 10-percent across-the-board salary increases for employees, certain San Bernardino County employee unions find themselves in an uncomfortable situation to say the least.

Several San Bernardino County unions have secured new collective bargaining agreements with a varying degree of success in securing competitive compensation for their respective members.

Those unions include the San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association (SBCPAA), San Bernardino Public Employees Association (SBPEA), a Teamsters Affiliate, and San Bernardino County Professional Firefighters (IAFF Local 935).

Two large groups, the San Bernardino County Safety Employees’ Benefit Association (SEBA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) haven’t come close to securing any semblance of a deal.

The two unions have engineered one blunder after another in attempting to pressure the county to fork over money for their respective memberships.

Like the adage goes “If you’re going to kill the king, you better chop off his head.”

In this case, both unions tried and failed. Now it’s time to suffer the consequences.

The latest power play to lob off the head of the county chief executive officer failed miserably. The unions, particularly SEBA, entered into a backroom alliance that attempted to serve the interests of a group wanting CEO Greg Devereaux and his authoritarian influence gone. In the end, they hurt themselves and more importantly the interests of their members.

The end result? They embarrassed the CEO and county supervisors, and nothing more. They even continue to do so today.

But in the end nothing has changed.

Neither union has any open doors on the board of supervisors, and certainly not in the administrative office.

A recent board meeting at SEBA would be a prime example.

The union invited a few county supervisors to meet with the union board. What they received was nothing like what they expected.

What is described as a lukewarm tone can best be summarized by the comments from Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales.

In paraphrasing, Gonzales is said to have essentially told the union board members in attendance that;

  • The sheriff’s department lawsuits are costing the county a lot of money, as in tens of millions of dollars.
  • The union has nothing coming.
  • She’s not running for reelection.

The last comment is most telling in that Gonzales is basically saying take your best shot because I don’t care.

The feedback from other county supervisors, who also responded to the invite, wasn’t much better.

For any union, in any county, you have to count to three votes on any five-member board of supervisors. These unions can’t even count to one!

San Bernardino County deputies are once again one of the lowest paid groups in the Inland Empire and there shouldn’t be any surprise as to why. It’s no wonder that sworn personnel are defecting for other higher-paid agencies in droves.

Who can blame them!