Contra Costa County

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The Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Association (DSA) has filed claim against Contra Costa County stating their members have suffered while the county has gained. They are seeking to be made whole again.

The Claim (shown below) states the county is realizing a 4.2% reduction in its required employee contribution now being spent elsewhere.

According to the claim, “To date, the County has refused to make the DSA members whole. The County has refused to consider providing each effected DSA member with an advantage in compensation comparable to that now denied. Instead, the County has proposed using the “savings” realized from the above circumstance (see document below) to fund other County uses, despite the fact that these “savings” constitute compensation owned to DSA members”.

The Claim states the DSA is seeking to recoup the value of their denied compensation; the contributions made on their behalf towards a retirement pension including “terminal pay” and other accrual leave that they now cannot receive as a result of Judge Flinn’s Judgement.

In a Contra Costa Times article today, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff calls this claim a form of “pension spiking” while saying both DSA and Local 1 have ulterior motives:

She also said the two unions heading the referendum have ulterior motives, claiming Local 1 leadership wants to boost dropping membership and the sheriffs association wants to reopen its contract to reintroduce pension spiking.

“How does this help employees get more money in their pocket?” she asked.

Ken Westermann, president of the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association explained Supervisor Micthoff was trying to “muddy the water” and that talks between DSA and the County have been going on since July in trying to get back the 4.1% they say is rightfully a part of their compensation.

The accusation being made is this is retaliation for the Supervisors taking a 33% pay increase.

Westermann argues that the raise taken by the Board of Supervisors is a form of pension spiking because their salary just increased which increases their pensions.

“Our fighting them over their pay raise has little to do, if anything, with our request to reclaim what is arguably our compensation. This is a matter of right vs. wrong, and the notion of shared sacrifice,” said Westermann. “They have chosen, for laughable reasons, to apply a different set of rules to themselves, and they have not made a rational, moral, or ethical, reason to justify it.”

He noted that for 15-years, the County has been making these Annual contributions for the employees now nonexistent benefit. The DSA contends that money is part of the employees compensation for services rendered.

“We simply presented several legal ways in which to recover that lost compensation. All of our ideas were rejected including the ability to annually sell back vacation which is a perfectly legal practice and allowable under PEPRA,” said Westermann.

Below are the pages from the claim: Click to enlarge.

DSA Page 1 DSA Page 2 DSA Page 3 DSA Page 4 DSA Page 5 DSA Page 6

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A coalition of county organizations and community activists will officially announce the launch of a petition signature drive to demand a referendum as a formal recourse to revoke the County Supervisors self-awarded 33% raise.

The announcement will come today at 12:30 at the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office. 555 Escobar St., Martinez and is being led by Local 1 and the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association.

This action is based on Board of Supervisor votes on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, the Supervisors salary now jumps from $97,483 ($8,123.28 per/mo) to $129,216 ($10,768.92 per/mo) annually—a monthly increase is $2,662.72. This action tied Supervisor raises to that of judges.

Over an 8-year period, the Contra Costa County Supervisors have increased their salaries from $58,200 (2006) to $129,216 (2014).

In response, Local 1 and the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association are leading the charge to get this decision reversed claiming the decision County services and County employees should belast, and the Supervisors should be first.

On Nov. 13, Ken Westermann,  President Contra Costa DSA, explained have been given a cost of living increase while the Board of Supervisors received 33% increase in pay.  In fact, over the same 7-year period the Board of Supervisors used to justify their raise, the Sheriff’s Deputies received an increase of just 6.2%.

“The sheriff’s office has seen an abnormally high attrition rate and have lost 40 sheriffs deputies to neighboring agencies,” said Westermann. “We had lost 42 sheriffs deputies  the previous two years. We are the lowest paid and pay the highest in pension costs (13-20% to pension). We are having a hard time retraining our members while the county is now paying a lot of money to train and recruit. We are losing senior officers to BART, San Francisco, Richmond, San Ramon.”

Westermann calls the Change.org Petition a symbolic first step. To date, that petition has 2,038 signatures in just over a week since being launched.

Once the unions move forward with their petition and signatures, they will need to gather somewhere between 24,000 to 35,000 signatures once final numbers of the 2014 are confirmed by January 2, 2015.

If successful, the Board would be forced to reconsider the raise and at that point depending on their choice to accept or reject the raise, the issue would either die on Board action or the raise would then go to voters to decide if the Supervisors were to get a 33% raise.  Salaries would then be frozen until the voters have a say.

Photo provided by Local 1

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The Office of the Sheriff is actively looking for Neighborhood Watch Captains to lead Neighborhood Watch groups in the unincorporated areas. The Neighborhood Watch program is an effective community action and problem-solving program which can help resolve issues within the community.

One of the best crime prevention tools is a good neighbor. Through organized problem-solving activities, you can help remove crime from your residential or commercial area and address any community concerns. A Neighborhood Watch group consists of 12-20 or so homes that surround you.

Neighborhood Watch is simply training citizens on how to recognize and report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. It is implementing crime prevention techniques such as home security, locks, lighting and landscaping.

It is also the identification of personal and valuable property by engraving an ID number on the property in a conspicuous location, and placing the documentation of that process in a secure place.

A Neighborhood Watch group has many benefits, both to the neighborhood and to the community as a whole. As a result of neighbors gathering together, getting to know each other, and learning crime prevention techniques, there is a lower probability of burglaries and a higher chance of catching the perpetrator(s) responsible for the crime.

There is a feeling of camaraderie — working together for the common good — and the sense of “belonging” to the community when you become a Neighborhood Watch member, not to mention the fact that you may even make a friend or two along the way!

The Neighborhood Watch Captain serves as a liaison between residents and the Sheriff’s Office. The captains recruit new members, striving for 100% participation, as well as maintaining and distributing the list of members to the group. They plan activities and meetings on various topics in which the group is interested, and invite the members to those events.

The captains also pass on crime alerts and the county newsletter to the Neighborhood Watch members. It’s that easy!

If you are interested in becoming a Neighborhood Watch Captain in your neighborhood in unincorporated Contra Costa, please contact Crime Prevention Specialist Kristina Gilbert at kgilb@so.cccounty.us or call (925) 313-2663.

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On Saturday November 22, you are invited to turn in unwanted firearms during the Gun Buyback program event.  This is aimed to allow citizens to turn in guns anonymously for payment, in order to reduce the number of weapons on the street and remove them from people who are untrained on how to use a firearm.

The gun buyback will be held from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Pittsburg City Hall (65 Civic Avenue) and is open to Contra Costa County residents—proof of residency will be California ID, Driver’s License, utility bill, etc. The officers on hand will NOT be checking for warrants.

Participants will be paid (gift card) the following for a firearm:

  • Up to $50 for non-operable
  • Up to $100 for small caliber rifles
  • Up to $150 for shot guns
  • Up to $200 for handguns & large caliber rifles
  • Up to $350 for assault weapons as classified in the State of California

The event is being sponsored by Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson in partnership with Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

For more information, contact (925) 252-4811

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In response to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voting to give themselves a 33% pay raise on Nov. 4, the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff’s Association has created a petition to encourage the Supervisors to reverse their decision.

Under Board Ordinance 2014-10, by way of a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to increase their salaries by $32,000 even after unions protested against the decision.

Under the ordinance, each supervisor’s salary will equate to 70 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge’s pay which is set by the State Legislator. They used a salary study to include: The counties of Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

The Supervisors salary now jumps from $97,483 ($8,123.28 per/mo) to $129,216 ($10,768.92 per/mo) annually—a monthly increase is $2,662.72

Over an 8-year period, the Contra Costa County Supervisors have increased their salaries from $58,200 (2006) to $129,216 (2014).

According to Ken Westermann,  President Contra Costa DSA, they have been given a cost of living increase while the Board of Supervisors received 33% increase in pay.  In fact, over the same 7-year period the Board of Supervisors used to justify their raise, the Sheriff’s Deputies received an increase of just 6.2%.

“The sheriff’s office has seen an abnormally high attrition rate and have lost 40 sheriffs deputies to neighboring agencies,” said Westermann. “We had lost 42 sheriffs deputies  the previous two years. We are the lowest paid and pay the highest in pension costs (13-20% to pension). We are having a hard time retraining our members while the county is now paying a lot of money to train and recruit. We are losing senior officers to BART, San Francisco, Richmond, San Ramon.”

He highlighted how the Board of Supervisors are using the same salary survey they have argued for years to use, however, the Supervisors instead force them to compare salaries to Stanislaus and Humboldt counties.

“I’ve always told the Supervisors, we just want to be in the middle, give us the 50 percentile, we would be happy,” said Westermann. “When you can go to Antioch, San Ramon and on the very first day make $1,000 more a month than a deputy who has been here for 5 years. That is not right. The day a graduate from Richmond Police Department, they makes more than a Sheriff’s Office Sergeant who has been here 20-years.”

Westermann calls the Change.org Petition a symbolic first step and are working to put together a referendum to have the voters have the decision of a raise overturned,

Here is what is stated on Charge.org

Based on a salary survey of their peers in similar urban counties in 2007, the county supervisors voted to give themselves a 60% salary increase. Based on a  similar survey in 2014, they again voted to give themselves a 33% salary increase and forever after maintaining their salary at a level equivalent to 70% of a Superior Court judges salary.

Over this same time period by contrast, county employees have consistently requested that their salaries be based on a comparison of their peers in similar urban counties. The county supervisors continually rejected this methodology for determining workers salaries, giving the workers an average pay increase in the neighborhood of 6% over that span. This self-serving abuse of power is the very definition of hypocrisy and has created extreme animosity within the county workforce.

To:
Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Reverse Board Ordinance 2014-10

Sincerely,
[Your name]

To view or sign the petition, click here
https://www.change.org/p/contra-costa-county-board-of-supervisors-reverse-board-ordinance-2014-10?recruiter=180441821&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive

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Contra Costa County Board of Education Trustee Cynthia Ruehlig has filed a complaint with the District Attorney alleging her opponent falsified his educational and professional status in his bid for Trustee.

As it stands today, Jeff Belle is 366 votes ahead of Ruehlig for the the Contra Costa County Board of Education Trustee seat, Ruehlig has submitted a 4-page letter (33-page document) to contra Costa County

In a 4-page letter to Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson, Ruehlig highlighted false information intentionally being presented to the public by Mr. Belle. She concluded the letter by encouraging Peterson to charge Belle with a felony.

“Mr. Belle has made a mockery of the election process and should be charged with a felony punishable with the maximum penalty allowed by law of $1,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment,” said Ruehlig.

It should be worth noting that at no point during the campaign did Cynthia Ruehlig challenge Mr. Belles candidate statement or ballot designation.

We attempted to reach Mr. Belle for comment and had no response.

Here is a copy of the letter sent by Ruehlig to the DA:

Dear Sir:

I would like to request the investigation of Mr. Jeffrey Belle for violation of California Election Code 1803:

“Any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it or any part of it has been made falsely is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years or by both that fine an imprisonment”

Apparently, Mr. Belle knowingly provided false information in his declaration of candidacy filed with the Election Office on August 6, 2014, in an effort to maliciously influence the election result for the position of Area 5 Trustee of the Contra Costa County Board of Education.

Mr. Belle made false claims in his candidate statement which appeared in voter information pamphlet (A), distributed to approximately 88,000 eligible voters of Area 5. Mr. Belle also made false claims on his ballot designation worksheet (B) to gain the designation of “Educator”, based on training of students and health care practitioners in respiratory therapy.

Information verified by journalist Matthias Gafni printed in the Contra Costa Times on October 17, 2014 (c) repudiated Mr. Belle’s claim, to wit:

Voter Pamphlet: “I owned… an institute for training students in health care… a Registered Respiratory Therapist” (A)

Ballot Worksheet: “I trained respiratory therapy students by lecturing and tutoring them as well as other health care practitioners” (B-2)

CC Times: The investigator informed Belle he was illegally representing himself as a practitioner and Belle signed an affidavit saying he would no longer do so, according to the report (C-2).
“… on June 20, the state board cited Belle for “misrepresenting himself as a respiratory care practitioner and engaging in the practice of respiratory care without a current and valid license in California.” He was fined $8,200… Belle has not paid the fine” (C-3)

One June 20, 2014, the Respiratory Care Board of California issued a citation order (D) stating:

“On March 14, 2011, Subject… acknowledging he understood the following:… “No person shall engage in the practice of respiratory care or represent him/herself as such through verbal claim, sign advertisement, letterhead, business card, badge/name tag, or other representation unless he or she uses a valid license issued by the Board.” Jeffery Johura Belle was and is not licensed to practice respiratory care in the State of California nor was he ever issued a work permit.” (D-2 – D-3)

“Jeffery Johura Belle shall immediately cease and desist any and all unlicensed activities pursuant to the Respiratory Care Act.” (D-3)

“Jeffery Johura Belle shall pay civil penalties in the amount of $8,200 imposed for a violation of Business and Professions Code section 3760 (a) and (c) and 3761 subdivision (a) by misrepresenting himself as a respiratory care practitioner and engaging in the practice of respiratory care in California without a valid license. Jeffery Johura Belle shall pay the assessed $8,200 civil penalty to the Board” (D-3)

Mr. Belle signed and understood the order made by the Respiratory Care Board of California not to practice respiratory therapy, nor represent himself in any manner, shape or form as a respiratory therapist. Yet, he claimed to 88,000 voters that he was a “Registered Respiratory Therapist” (A) and that he trained students and health care practitioners in respiratory therapy (B-2)

Voter Pamphlet: “… Bachelor’s degree in Political Science” (A)

CC Times: “… claiming he had a bachelors degree from American University in Washington, DC… it appears Belle has no college degree. An American University registrar said Belle spent only one semester at the school and di not graduate.” (C-2)

Voter Pamphlet: “I’m completing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in Health Policy” (A)

CC Times: “… claiming… a master’s degree from Oklahoma City University… an Oklahoma City University spokesman said Belle studied there, but received no degree” (C-2)

Oklahoma City University does not offer a Master of Public Administration degree (E-1). Even if it did, Mr. Belle would not qualify as “Admission to Oklahoma City University master’s degree programs is open to all students holding bachelor’s degrees”. (E-2)

Mr. Belle’s action is deliberate, calculated and not due to negligence. He has repeatedly submitted false credentials to other government agencies (switching schools and courses at different times) to obtain appointments to boost his profile in the voter information pamphlet.

Voter Pamphlet “ on the County’s Transit Authority Advisory Committee”

Mr. Belles application for appointment as representative to the County Transit Authority Advisory Committee falsely claimed he has the following educational credentials (F-2)

  • MPA-Master of Public Administration (2014) Grand Canyon University
  • Certificate in Public Health (John Hopkins University)
  • B.S. – Political Science (Oklahoma City University / American University)

The admission requirement for Master of Public Administration at Grand Canyon University is a “Degree Bearing Transcript- an undergraduate degree from an accredited, GCU-approved college, university…” (G)

John Hopkins School of Public Health does not offer a Certificate in Public Health for non-degree Hopkins students (H-1) Even if it did, Mr. Belle is not eligible since “Eligibility- the Certificate is open to non-JHPH students with at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university…” (H-2)

Voter Pamphlet: “…Emergency Medical Care Committee”

Mr. Belles application for appointment as representative to the emergency Medical Care Committee falsely claimed his resume that he has the following educational credentials (I-4):

  • University of Penn, Certificate, health Policy and Affordable Care Act
  • Stanford University, Certificate, Critical Writing in the Sciences
  • John Hopkins University, Certificate, Changes in Community Health

The University of Penn does not offer a Certificate in public Health Policy and Affordable Care Act. (J)

Stanford University does not offer a Certificate in Critical Writing in the Sciences (K-1 and K-2) Even if it did, Mr. Belle does not meet the requirement of “a conferred Bachelor’s degree (K-3)

Mr. Belle is not eligible for a certificate program at John Hopkins; aside from the fact that John Hopkins does not offer a Certificate in Changes in Community Health. (H-1)

Mr. Belle knew, or should have known, at the time he signed the declaration of candidacy, the consequence of providing fake educational credentials in election documents. His criminal action is made even more egregious as Mr. Belle aspires to a position of Trustee in an educational agency. Mr. Belle has made a mockery of the election process and should be charged with a felony punishable with the maximum penalty allowed by law of $1,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment.

Your immediate action is highly appreciated

Yours truly

Cynthia Teves-Ruehlig

Editors Note: Letter + documentation was 33-pages

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Drunk and drugged driving remains the number one killer on our roadways, with 802 DUI deaths and nearly 24,000 alcohol involved injuries reported statewide. The Avoid the 25 Anti-DUI Task Force will be combating this deadly problem through enforcement efforts in Contra Costa County. The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff will be administering a recent $132,162 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for the entire county.

“The anti-DUI task force is named Avoid the 25 to send the message that if you don’t drink or use drugs and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the 25 participating law enforcement agencies in the county,” said Captain Will Duke of the Office of the Sheriff.

The grant activities will specifically target those who get behind the wheel after drinking too much or using drugs that impair driving. Officers from law enforcement agencies across the county will jointly staff DUI/driver license checkpoints and roving anti-DUI saturation patrols. Additionally, funding will target the ‘worst of the worst’ repeat DUI offenders with warrant/probation sweeps and court sting enforcement operations focusing on DUI offenders with suspended licenses, who drive from court hearings after being ordered not to by a judge.

“California’s roadways are still among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “But to meet future mobility, safety, and sustainability objectives, we must create safer roadways for all users. The Avoid the 25 Anti-DUI Task Force will be using these and other resources to reach the vision we all share – Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”

Motorists can expect to see special anti-DUI campaigns during the winter and summer holiday periods as well as on Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and during local special events with identified DUI problems.

Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Agencies participating in the Avoid the 25 task force include:

  • Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
  • Antioch Police Department
  • BART Police Department
  • Brentwood Police Department
  • Clayton Police Department
  • Concord Police Department
  • Danville Police Department
  • East Bay Regional Parks Police Department
  • El Cerrito Police Department
  • Hercules Police Department
  • Kensington Police Department
  • Lafayette Police Department
  • Martinez Police Department
  • Moraga Police Department
  • Oakley Police Department
  • Orinda Police Department
  • Pinole Police Department
  • Pittsburg Police Department
  • Pleasant Hill Police Department
  • Richmond Police Department
  • San Pablo Police Department
  • San Ramon Police Department
  • Walnut Creek Police Department
  • Contra Costa Community College District Police Department
  • California Highway Patrol

In Cooperation With:

  • Contra Costa County Probation and District Attorney’s Office

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A Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Sunday, November 9 in the Bay Area.

Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors on Sunday, for the full 24 hours.

Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy. It is illegal for Bay Area residents to burn wood or other solid fuels in fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire-pits, or other wood-burning devices.  This wood-burning ban will be in effect for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southern Sonoma and southwestern Solano Counties. (Visit www.sparetheair.org/Stay-Informed/Todays-Air-Quality/Reporting-Zones.aspx to see if your city is located within the Air District.)

Winter air pollution is mainly caused by particulates or soot pollution from wood smoke. Smoke from wood-burning fires is linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease, and is especially harmful for children and the elderly.

For more information about the Wood Burning Rule, or to check before you burn, visit www.sparetheair.org or call 1-877-4NO-BURN.

You can also call 1-800-430-1515 and register to receive automatic phone calls when a Winter Spare the Air Alert has been called.

To see the current air quality forecast visit www.sparetheair.org.

Download our FREE Spare the Air iPhone/Android application for alert notifications, local air quality forecasts, podcasts and several tools to help reduce air pollution.

Thank you for doing your part to Spare the Air!

This AirAlert is provided by your Bay Area Air Quality Management District

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By way of a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to increase their salaries by $32,000 even after unions protested against the decision.

Under the ordinance, each supervisor’s salary will equate to 70 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge’s pay which is set by the State Legislator. They used a salary study to include: The counties of Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

The Supervisors salary now jumps from $97,483 ($8,123.28 per/mo) to $129,216 ($10,768.92 per/mo) annually—a monthly increase is $2,662.72

Over an 8-year period, the Contra Costa County Supervisors have increased their salaries from $58,200 (2006) to $129,216 (2014).

Here is a transcript of what transpired:

Susan Davis-Lucy, represent Local 1 Board Representative,

Highlighted how Local 1 has supported the Board of Supervisors and have walked for them in the past.

“In 2006, you gave yourself a 60% raise with rational that you are underpaid, in 2007 you received a 2% COLA, now in 2014 you are giving yourself a 33% raise. Shame on you!” said Davis-Lucy. “We want leaders who will you lead and we hope you will reconsider a reasonable pay raise that is in alignment with what you have given to labor.”

David Partida, Local 1

“My message is about doing the right thing and doing what is fair to the public and to the country residents that we represent. I think you realize something today that county employees are not afraid anymore. County employees are not going to take it anymore and willing to take it to the next step,” said Partida. “Your action caused a reaction more powerful from county employees.”

Partida explained how a county employee cannot fix his car on his salary. He explained how a worker in the County Assessor’s office has to work 2 ½ jobs just to make it.

“It doesn’t feel right to get a $32,000 raise when so many people are just struggling. It should be more aligned with what so many other county employees are receiving. Do the right thing, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. All eyes are watching you,” said Partida.

Mike Davis, work for Local 1,
Shared that prior to working with Local 1, he was an assistant District Attorney and said he prosecuted everyone from trespassers to violent felons and been able to sit down to someone who has committed heinous acts in their lives and they have shown more accountability than the Board of Supervisors.

“I encourage you to watch the video of last week so you can actually hear the words that came out of your mouth. I think you would be as embarrassed of yourselves as the county is embarrassed of you,” said Davis. “Ms. Piepho, you pointed to the department head salaries and somehow used that as a justification for what your salary was going to be. Do you think we forgot that you just gave the department head pay raises using the same Counties you told labor we could not use. Mr. Glover and Mr. Gioia, you claim to show leadership, you show leadership by putting yourselves before all of the people who go out and do the work that you direct them to do. All of your gains, everything you can tout as something that you can be proud of is done on the backs of these guys. You demanded respect when people were not happy; you lost a chance at that respect when you four gave a collective middle finger to all your employees and all the residents of this county. Ms. Mitchoff, you came into our Board Meeting three months ago… with a smile you told us no one is getting any raises in Contra Costa, you told us as much. You said don’t even bother coming here asking us for a raise because you are not going to get it.”

He thanked Candace Andersen for everything she has done in showing leadership while telling the Board they should all be embarrassed.

Philip Hu, Local 1
“I can’t express how dismayed I am after listening to you guys last week attempt to hyper-rationalize your decision to enrich yourselves first after pleading poverty and asking your county employees to make sacrifices for the greater good. You lamented about this being a tough decision, no, it’s not a tough decision at all, just say no, say no to the raise like Supervisor Andersen” said Hu. “You dare call this leadership in what world is cutting to the front of the line with your hand out leadership? While you paint yourselves as leaders, you simultaneously bemoan how previous boards have kicked this can down the road. A couple of you have been on this board of quite some time. How do you logically claim both positions. I am sorry, but you can’t put one foot in the leadership boat and use the other foot to keep kicking the can down the road. You want to make it known to the media that employees got 4% and $750 payout that you didn’t get. Really? Seriously, what part of 33% versus 4% and $750 versus $32000 does not compute in your head? Here is how we figure out if this is leadership or self-enrichment, you talk about being committed to your employees and making them whole, you gave yourselves a massive 33% raise in one fell swoop, let’s see if you give them 16% or 38% in one fell swoop. My guess is you won’t so this is self-enrichment. Worse yet, this is wage theft because once you take your pot, there is not much left for them.

Peter Nguyen: Local 1
I hope you can appreciate the public outcry and the feelings of betrayal that your shameful act has engendered among the hard working employees who serve this county. On the one hand you have consistently plead poverty when it comes to cost of living and healthcare when it comes to cost of your workers, but you can somehow see your way to a 33% increase for yourselves. When we asked to use other Bay Area Counties for salary comparisons, you claim that our tax base in Contra Costa County is not the same as theirs, but when it came time for your own enrichment, not only did you sight other Bay Area salaries, but you wanted to tie your salary to 70% of that of a Superior Court Judge. I have news for you; having worked for a judge for myself, there is no way that your work is consistently as complex or your workload as consistently as even 40% of a Superior Court Judge. More insidious is the fact that by pegging your salary this way, you are ensuring that all of your future increases will occur automatically without public scrutiny. This is purely undemocratic. Now, when we aggregate the 60% salary increase you awarded yourself in 2006-2007 to this 33% proposal, it compounds to about a 100% increase over 7-years. How many of your constituents or employees have had that type of increase over the last 7-years. This is not any 7-years, this is the worst 7-years economically since the Great Depression, yet here we are talking about 100% for the members of this board. On a final vote, it was a failure of democracy that two members of this board did not have to face the voters this year; however, we are now paying close attention to your activities and will make sure that you will be held accountable for your actions. If you take this action today, make no mistake, the voters will remember.

Cheryll Grover, VP of Local 2700
Thanked Supervisor Andersen for her thoughtful response to this issue but wanted to note that when the Supervisors saw 1-employee, it’s really 100 because the others who could not be there are working.

Grover said, the Local 2700 would like you to know we are contesting the methodology that utilizes counties that are not used to set any other wages of Contra Costa County other than the board so they cannot be used to correlate these selected positions. Two, counties who do not have similar budgets. Three, Counties who do not have similar populations. Four, seeks to correlation positions, in this case, judges whos jobs require 7-years or more of college education while the Board seats have no educational requirement. Five, seeks to compare to judges whos duties and responsibilities have nothing in common with Boards seats while drawing a correlation to employees cuts over the past 7-years while administering that almost 3% cuts to themselves the same period of time failed in the continuity of correlating wages by the 60% raise and the 33% raise after cuts without similarity providing for their own employees even at the critical level of delivery of services. Seven, has information in your possession regarding other positions more appropriate for job study purposes but is ignoring that information. Eight, ignores the current Constitutional Amendment, Proposition 12, which requires referendum and 100% of the speakers at the last meeting voted no on this proposal and ordinance that is currently proposed.

Grover then highlighted an Orange County Grand Jury found that the system in its current use doesn’t give taxpayers a chance to voice their opinions on salary policy as is required in Prop 12—voters should have an opportunity to veto raises.

Ken Westermann, President of the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff’s
While in the Marine Corp, I learned a few things about leadership and I would like to share that with you today. First, know your Marines and look out for their welfare. Well I know my Marines, they are the Deputy Sheriffs and Dispatchers in Contra Costa County and I am looking out for their welfare because historically they have taken virtually no pay raises and they are the lowest paid sheriff’s office in the Bay Area. To date, since January, we have lost 40 of them to competing agencies, it’s a lot of money wasted. So I am here to voice their opinion for them. Number two, set the example. I do not see any example set other here other than from Supervisor Andersen. I would ask you set the right example and rescind the 33% pay raise you are about to give yourself. Lastly, make sound and timely decisions. This is not a sound decision and certainly not timely coming off the worst economic downturn this country has seen in about a decade, you want to give 33% while the rest of us get 3% or 4%, is simply not right and not fair. As I stated before, nobody begrudges you for getting a pay raise, but we would ask you use the same methodology with all employees that you pegged them to the Bay Area counties which you historically told us no to so I ask in the future when we go through the collective bargaining process, that you show us some leadership and show some integrity and you allow use to use the same comparable jurisdictions and allow us to use same methodology to arrive at our own pay raises.

Board of Supervisor Discussion

Supervisor Candace Andersen:
This has been an interesting week where I have had tremendous feedback from many people and as the last speaker said I have not had anyone say this was a good idea all of them have said sure you deserve a raise, but not one of this magnitude. In particular, as we see today, it is affecting our county employees from everyone that I’ve heard they see this as a slap in the face.

As many of you, I am just getting it out there, that I am not going to be accepting this raise even though legally I will be entitled to it even though legally I am entitled to it as part of this Board of Supervisors. Several months ago when I knew about this raise was potentially coming forward, I did approach through David Twa, county council, who did find it was fine for me to wave a portion of the raise. So I will be only accepting the 4% we are giving our county employees and I have already had Bob Campbell draw up the paperwork so when the 60-days this ordinance goes into law assuming you support it that will be the case.

I honestly wondered if it would bother me sitting up here having all of you make significantly more than I do, but it really doesn’t because it’s not my money in the first place. We have had a lot of discussion today about leadership and I thought a lot about leadership this week and was speaking to some marine veterans on Sunday and leadership is really service and sacrifice and part of being a leader is sometimes looking at our decisions and looking back and saying maybe I need to go in a different direction. So even as you go ahead and pass this measure today I would certainly invite each one of you to voluntarily join me in waiving the 33% that you may legally be entitled to but instead take a smaller portion and bring in your raise to someday you will get up to the bench mark that you hope to, but let’s do it in a way that is fair and equitable to our public employees and it’s something that I think the public would hope we would do.

I want to make it very clear I am not doing this because it’s not the politically expedite thing to do but because I believe it’s the right thing.

Supervisor John Giola:
I think what is good about this opportunity is it allows us to be transparent about the whole issue of our salaries and employee salaries as well as leadership and I appreciate everyone has a different perspective on this. Supervisor Andersen talked about leadership and there is a lot of things that goes into what it means to help solve the problems of this county.

Let me just say since Supervisor Andersen said the leadership with regard to the salary, I think it was leadership that 4 of 5 members of this board voted to put a fire measure on the ballot to raise revenue for our fire district when Supervisor Andersen voted against that because she did not want to raise more revenue to bring back firefighters and fire stations.

I also think its leadership when your own Local 1 President says it should take less than a 2/3 vote of the public to raise new revenue for county employees and Supervisor Andersen does not. So I just want to put in perspective here that we all have different political policies.

The salary is not a very popular issue, I understand that, also with leadership is saying when we need to raise revenue for our employees who do services that is an important issue and I appreciate positions and you believe we should not go to the voters and ask for more money for fire or 2/3 instead of a majority vote of the people of this district or this county to raise revenue to improve services. That is a really important issue.

Let me say, there are many employees who deserve (Gioia interrupted)… I appreciate you get to put your thumb down that’s nice, let me be able to finish as well, I’d appreciate that. There are many county employees who also deserve equity adjustments and I think that is under discussion and negotiation

(Gioia cut off again with union heckles treating him to boos, interrupted, asking if he is qualified to serve—Mitchoff is cutting her off when Gioia asks Mitchoff if he could respond.)

Yes, you commented with judges with 7-years education, yes I have 7-years, I went to undergraduate school and law school and I opted like my father who was a public school teacher in Richmond to stop practicing law and be a representative for the people of west Contra Costa County and I am proud of that. I am proud that for the last 16-years I have worked to establish new youth centers. I looked at Local 1 in 2006 and said we have got to find a way to save Local 1 jobs at Doctors Hospital and look what happened, this Board supported us and that hospital while its on the verge of closing, its open today and hundreds of Local 1 members have jobs because of the leadership of my office and this board to keep Doctors Hospital open… Local 1 members are working at Doctors Hospital today, hundreds of them because of the leadership of this Board. So I want to be clear what leadership means.

I know that raising salaries is not popular, the attempt of this board was to say one, let’s join 12 of the 15 counties who are defined urban counties and Bay Area counties and set our salaries of percentage of judges so we don’t have to do that anymore. So that we can exactly avoid, I think what you are saying, is us setting our salaries. SO the median of the Bay Area and Urban Counties was about $130,000 so we set it a little under that.

We are not trying to set the highest; our colleagues across the County line in Alameda make $147,000 a year. That’s not our goal. Our goal was the median. You know, the issue of peoples education here, whether you have a law degree, undergraduate degree or high school diploma you should know as much as anyone it’s the hard work that you do or the hard work the people of this board do to serve the public and I think everyone here with different points of view does it well.

The issue of trying to take us out of the salaries was at the heart of this and yes can we do it over 2 years and 3 years, the decision at the last meeting was doing it at once so that we would not have all the political controversy around this.

(Gioia again treated to rumblings in the crowd)

In fact, later this afternoon, I am about to go to a meeting at Doctors Hospital to help preserve Local 1 jobs at 4:30. Your colleagues at another public institution. Yes, you can pat yourself on the back, you know I respect your work, and hopefully you respect the leadership of working together and let me say getting back to the point of equity adjustments.

(Gioia read a letter he wrote to US Chemical Safety Board; employees ultimately received a 20% raise)

We are open to understanding where there needs to be equity adjustments going forward for employees. I will say any of you can come to my office and talk further about this; I’ve always had an open door policy talking to every bargaining unit. Everyone does a great job with this county. We understand that there are opportunities to do salary adjustments, we understand that will be a part of negotiations above a 4% and I agree with some of you who say we do not necessarily compare to the right counties, and I have expressed that to the county administrator and I believe that because some of the counties on our list are not appropriate for employees, there should be others. Hopefully we will address that issue because I think comparing equally makes sense. So that was the history of some of this.

I think one of the speakers spoke about the increase in 2006, so I want to be transparent about this again. In 1999, the salary of Supervisors in Contra Costa was about $59,000. The salary of Supervisors in 2006 was $59,000. During those 7-years, while employees did take increases, the Board opted not to. What has happened historically in this county was rather than take increases every year or cost of living; the board has done these jumps all at once. I don’t think that is a good thing either. I think going forward, the idea is to link it to judges so as those go up incrementally over time, this board takes itself out of the decision making process and the increases go up a little at a time, that is better. That is not historically what this board has done. That is why Contra Costa was next to lowest in terms of salary of Supervisors and all Bay Area counties, including those much smaller than Contra Costa.

So hopefully we can avoid this in the future by being able to move on where we set our salary where we do not make these decisions and also the promise to our employees is that we will look seriously on every equity issue that comes up and understand what those needs are so we can treat our employees fairly in equity adjustments just like the 20% that was granted to the refinery inspectors—and I strongly advocated for that. We look forward to continuing the relationship.

Board votes 4-1 (Andersen no) in favor of increasing salary.

Photos by Nicole Marti 

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CONCORD – The Contra Costa Water District Board of Directors on Wednesday, November 5, 2014, decided to fill a vacancy on its Board by appointment, as provided under state law. The vacancy is due to the passing of Division 5 Director Karl Wandry.  Division 5 includes the District’s service area in Oakley and portions of Antioch, Brentwood, unincorporated Contra Costa County, and Bethel Island.  All applicants must reside within the boundaries of Division 5.

The Board set up a process that includes:

  • Confirming 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 21 as the deadline for interested parties to submit an application (applications are now available at the District Center Office and on the District’s website, www.ccwater.com).
  • Eligible candidates will be notified on Wednesday, December 3 if selected for the interview process.
  • Candidates selected will be provided the opportunity to present their qualifications at a regular meeting on Wednesday, December 10.
  • The Board intends to appoint the new Director during the December 17 meeting.

The Division 5 Director’s seat will be placed on the ballot for the November 8, 2016 general election.  The newly appointed Director will hold the office until the general election results are certified.

To be eligible, applicants must live within the boundaries of Division 5 and be registered voters.  A map of Division 5 is available on the website at www.ccwater.com or applicants may contact the District Secretary at 925-688-8024 to confirm residency within the Division.

Applications must be received by the CCWD District Secretary, either through the website at www.ccwater.com or at the District Center Office located at 1331 Concord Avenue, Concord, CA 94524 by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 21, 2014.

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